Connecting speakers to PC with best quality


Sep 20, 2014
I am looking to buy some new speakers to use in my bedroom (and eventually as living room speakers). Currently looking at Q Acoustis Concept 20's or KRK Rokit 5's. Either way, there will be 2 speakers (maybe a separate subwoofer in the future) to connect to my laptop.

I currently have a Samsung RF711 laptop with a 3.5mm connection only. I also own this external sound card that connects to my laptop via USB - it has a S/PDIF optical input and output, as well as the 3 separate connections for surround sound (I imagine I wont need these for this setup though).

My question is - can I use this sound card alone to drive the whole system, or do I need to buy an amplifier too? If I do need to buy an amp, what would be the best way to connect everything together? Is the optical output through the external sound card better quality than an RCA connection to my laptop standard 3.5mm output?

Any help would be appreciated!


that depends on what kind of speakers you want to buy.

from what i can tell the Q acoustics are normal unpowered speakers while the krks are powered.

unpowered speakers need an amp. powered speakers do not.

if using an amp it would likely be best if you used optical but you could use the line-out jack (provided you have one) on your soundcard as well. if using powered speakers then you would connect them up to your soundcard as normal.

looking at the price of some of those speakers it may also make sense to get a pair of bookshelf speakers and an amp or receiver if you have the room for them instead. you can only expect so much out of small speakers, even expensive and highly praised ones like the audioengine a2's are (not familiar with the ones you listed though so cannot say about them). larger speakers are a better choice.

if you're in the uk diamond 10 bookshelves are great. if in the usa you have a few more options.


Sep 20, 2014
Thanks for your quick reply! OK I have decided that I'm going down the amp + bookshelf option so I can easily upgrade if needed. I love my music collection but they are all only 320kbps MP3s. Is it worth spending a lot on speakers or an amp or will I not be able to tell the difference? Any idea on how much a good setup might be? I know you can probably spend a fortune but at what price point does me using MP3s make it pointless?

Many thanks
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