View Full Version : Do I need a sound card to play my computer sound on a home audio system?
11-29-2008, 01:36 PM
I would like to run the sound of my computer (monitor has built in speakers), in to my home audio system (5.1).
Do I need a sound card to do this?
What is the best way to do this?
11-29-2008, 02:26 PM
It depends. Most newer computers have onboard 5.1 or even 7.1 speaker outs. Look at the back panel of your computer. There should at least be a green speaker out for stereo sound. Do you also have orange and black? If you do, then you have 5.1 sound. I don't know what the 7.1 outputs look like. What I would do is either buy or make cable that will convert the 1/8th inch stereo plugs your computer uses to whatever your amplifier takes and run them to AUX.
Some computers also have SPDIF, but I don't know how that works. Hopefully someone will be along shortly.
Wait, this isn't a laptop, is it? None of what I just said applies to laptops.
11-29-2008, 02:35 PM
Most computer systems and motherboards for systems have sound systems built in these days. If you're missing one and plan to pick one up, I'd strongly recommend buying one with an optical output and connecting to your stereo with a fiber-optic "TOSLINK" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toslink) interlink (the much less expensive ones available at music equipment stores are perfectly fine). This will get you a 5.1 channel sound with a minimum of fuss, and avoid any potential hums and buzzes from ground loops (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_loop_(electricity)).
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