2.1 or 5.1, and what soundcard?


Mar 29, 2010
Hi guys;

First of all let me confirm that I have had a browse for info on this site, but you all know how fast the industry changes and new components/peripherals come out, so this is a fresh query hoping for up-to-date information.

My dilema is this, like a lot of people who build their own rigs and upgrade regularly, I have left the audio till last, reason being I'm not as 'au fait' in the audio area as say the gpu, cpu, motherboard area.

I have a decent desktop rig which I would roughly estimate is used for:
75% music (mainly FLAC)
25% gaming, movies

I only have 2 questions really:

1. Do I go with 2.1 or 5.1 speaker set-up (space is not an issue in the house or on the motherboard)
2. What soundcard would you guys recommend.

Am I correct in thinking that generally audio (lets just say music) wouldn't benefit to much from 5.1 anyway?
I'm not particularly bothered about having 5.1 though certainly not against it.

I wouldn't consider myself an 'audiophile', I've no interest in spending £1000's on the audio aspect of my system but I love my music, mainly guitar based stuff.

To give you an idea of budget, and possbily to highlight my ignorance in all things audio, I've been looking at these as possible purchases:



I've looked at these products basically because I would like to come in £400 or under for both the card and speakers, but as I've stated I'm clueless when it comes to audio, maybe I don't need to spend as much, maybe these products are totally wrong for me, I certainly don't accept that I have to spend more just to have my music sound great, I'm happy to spend the £400 which is why I haven't just bought some £50 speakers and plugged them into my motherboard.

Sorry if this post is a bit long winded and bit of a ramble but I'm eager to spend the money and finish my rig and I'm trying to encourage as much feedback as possble, I suspect that there are many people in a similar situation, be safe guys,




Oct 15, 2007
headphones or 5.1 for games and movies.
filling the air with music can have its benefits.

i havent seen the industry change much.
are you at some factory filling boxes with new hardware ?


Feb 4, 2011
IF you want good sound go buy some creative Sb for 50 euro MAX and go buy some home HIFI 5.1 Surround ampilfier 300 W and this is a best solution IF you really want to have a good sound , dont buy this small PC speakers because is high price for nothink !

GOOD AND quality come from A BIG WOOD BOX :)
this is cheap but good for room

IF you want to remove your windows


AND just buy a good speakers for this beast :) and you have a good sound !

DONT WASTE A MONEY ON PC 5.1 sound system because is to weak :) trust me !


Feb 5, 2011

I would say, you get what you pay for. If you want something you'll use for years to come, I'd recommend a Creative Sound Blaster X-FI and a good set of 5.1 surround sound speaks.

Unlike the previous post, I have a set of Logitech X-530 5.1's and they are great for general listening/gaming. All you need to fill a room with great sound is 1 watt!!! Car factory systems are only 7 RMS watts usually. 45x4 is full blown with distorting speaks. Nominal is around 14.

If your 75% Music if for audio production, then I would suggest a different approach all-together. For a budget home system, the same setup would apply, but if you are an audiophile, then you will need some deep pockets. You get out of your DAW what you put into it!

Big wooden boxes do indeed sound great, if you have the space, but for PC, it simply is not worth the wiring nightmare to set it all up. The amplifier in computer sound is not your sound card, but the speaker setup you use.

I could go on and on for days. I have gone through several setups to find what works for me, but I am both a gamer and an audiophile. I do my own music production on 1 machine, and gaming on another. I spent more for the speakers and card I use on my DAW than I did to build my gaming rig!!!! And my gaming rig ain't no cheapo ($3,125 invested so far)

You just gotta factor in your space, what you want it to achieve and you will figure it out. 5.1 is ALWAYS better than 2.1.
as stated before it all comes down how much you want to spend, how much an audiophile you are, and if you need to do actual work in the music industry.

if you're looking to get off the hook with a nice sounding system just for personal listening go with any of the soundblaster cards and either the klipsch promedia 2.1 or the high-end logitech 5.1.

if you're looking to get the best possible sound or you need the speakers for music industry work an external av unit & real speakers will work best. this route can easily blow your budget though.
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