Purchasing New Sound Card: Optimal Setup?

Acapella

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Jul 25, 2013
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Hello! I am purchasing a new Sound Blaster Z Sound Card for my desktop. I am aiming to improve the audio quality that I hear through my new sound system. I have an old, yet solid Toshiba tube amplifier in pretty solid condition. It's been retired for over ten years, and I've just been given it as a hand-me down and I love it. I have it paired with two JBL floor-standing speakers. However, the sound I hear from FM radio stations is magnitudes more full and crisp than the audio I hear from my desktop.

For this reason, I am investigating the purchase of the above sound card to improve the audio quality. I have a series of questions about my system and audio stuff in general. I'll number them for ease of response.

1. My main music listening medium is Spotify, and I have a premium account. The standard quality is listed as 160 kbps and high quality is 320 kbps. I have the music downloaded to my system at the high quality level. How will the sound of the high quality sound with a sound card as opposed to my onboard audio?

2. With the addition of a sound card, I believe that audio from all sources sounds better. How exactly does this work? Does the sound card alter/amplify the incoming data before it reaches the speaker?

3. My Toshiba system does not have a Toslink port, but instead RCA cables for AUX input. Will using an adapter from Toslink to RCA lower the audio quality? Would there be a difference in Toslink to RCA and 3.5mm audio to RCA? Basically, is it work buying a Toslink cable and adapter?

Thank you in advance to anyone who gives their insights to helping solve my problem. Let me know if there's any more information I can provide to help find a solution.
 

SBMfromLA

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Nov 11, 2011
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I should point out that perhaps you should hold off your purchase for now until after Windows 10 is released... because many sound cards are having problems working with the new O/S. When I tested out Win10 Preview and my soundblaster's drivers didn't work at all and so far there hasn't been any word on whether or not new drivers will be released or not.
 

SBMfromLA

Distinguished
Nov 11, 2011
160
0
18,710
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I should point out that perhaps you should hold off your purchase for now until after Windows 10 is released... because many sound cards are having problems working with the new O/S. When I tested out Win10 Preview and my soundblaster's drivers didn't work at all and so far there hasn't been any word on whether or not new drivers will be released or not.
 
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