Solved! looking to build a reasonable pc audio system on a budget

Oct 25, 2018
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Hello, I am looking to upgrade my multimedia PC audio but the process of trying to research what i need/want has been daunting to say the least. In terms of my pc output I just acquired a creative labs audigy rx 7.1 with multi channel 3.5mm ports and one Toslink out.

What i am looking to to is find the best system i can make on a limited budget regardless if its a 5.1
true surround (I noticed most budget 5.1 setups only have L/R RCA input which to me indicates pseudo surround) or if it be a 2.1 setup. I use my PC as a total multimedia unit for movies, music and gaming.

Budget is topped off around $150 and no issue getting some parts piecemeal and expanding later as funds allow

more specific questions would be, would I be better off just getting a setup already configured for PC audio (such as some of the set ups by Logitech), or begin with getting a home theater setup (recommendations on good budget receivers/amps either new or used appreciated) and decent book end speakers (such as some found on monoprice)

Also if a set up only has RCA In, is it worth it to get an external DAC (again recommendations appreciated as that too seems to be a sea of options and i can't seem to sort good from trash) and go from TosLink to RCA or just get a 3.5mm-RCA adapter?

again I am not looking to go audiophile Hi Res but just want to do the best i can with what i can afford. Thank you all for your time and any recommendations you may have for my situation.

just for reference I am currently running $15 logitech slimline pc speakers so most anything is probably an upgrade.
 
At that budget u ain't gonna get a traditional AVR Audio Video Receiver with discrete speakers.

I see you have 2 options:

1. Use your current 5.1 sound card to output discrete analog signals to your 6 speakers, that's lots of cabling, and they should go into a sub that has amplification built-in, and the rest of the speakers would be hooked up to the sub. I don't even know if they sell them like this, disclosing am not into PC speakers.

2. Return that sound card and use your Mobo's Optical out, and buy a surround speaker set, where it comes either in a separate box, of built into subwoofer the amplifier with DAC, u don't need to know it has DAC, if it can decode an optical signal into multiple surround speakers it has a DAC, this would be a simpler 1-Toslink cable out of the PC and technically would have better fidelity. Some of this are called "Home Theater" something, u just have to make sure it has a Toslink input and has at least Dolby Digital 5.1. After having selected make/model, go get manual from web and verified.

Because I've been answering threads like this for years now, whatever you get, you probably want it to have a MODE (besides DD 5.1, DTS etc) to be able to play stereo source in all 6 of your speakers, but NOT the fake surround modes like prologic. Because different vendors use a different name for this, you have to dig into the manual for this unfortunately. Most people want this, you have 6 speakers and all of a sudden you are playing a stereo source and only 2 of the speakers comes on, you feel cheated.
 
At that budget u ain't gonna get a traditional AVR Audio Video Receiver with discrete speakers.

I see you have 2 options:

1. Use your current 5.1 sound card to output discrete analog signals to your 6 speakers, that's lots of cabling, and they should go into a sub that has amplification built-in, and the rest of the speakers would be hooked up to the sub. I don't even know if they sell them like this, disclosing am not into PC speakers.

2. Return that sound card and use your Mobo's Optical out, and buy a surround speaker set, where it comes either in a separate box, of built into subwoofer the amplifier with DAC, u don't need to know it has DAC, if it can decode an optical signal into multiple surround speakers it has a DAC, this would be a simpler 1-Toslink cable out of the PC and technically would have better fidelity. Some of this are called "Home Theater" something, u just have to make sure it has a Toslink input and has at least Dolby Digital 5.1. After having selected make/model, go get manual from web and verified.

Because I've been answering threads like this for years now, whatever you get, you probably want it to have a MODE (besides DD 5.1, DTS etc) to be able to play stereo source in all 6 of your speakers, but NOT the fake surround modes like prologic. Because different vendors use a different name for this, you have to dig into the manual for this unfortunately. Most people want this, you have 6 speakers and all of a sudden you are playing a stereo source and only 2 of the speakers comes on, you feel cheated.
 
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