Denon AVR-3200, currently running in 2.1 mode with a set of NHT SuperOne (midgrade enthusiast) speakers and an old Altec Lansing sub...
My Media PC...
either my SB Audigy 2 ZS
Motherboard's onboard ALC883
Or the audio-out on my HD4870
Right now, I have the Audigy 2 running analog out to the receiver. For what it's worth, the system is hooked to my tv as its sole display output through a DVI-HDMI cable.
I remember when I hooked my old cable box up to the receiver that the digital output sounded better than the analog... so I'd like to do the same with the PC.
Since this PC splits its time 33/33/33 between gaming, media playing and web browsing I'd like to hook the sound up in a way that is good for all three.
I figure that the Audigy 2 ZS is good because it still is a good sound card with true hardware acceleration. I'll take all the extra performance I can get. But I don't know if it's really the best option for playing the audio of my media through a digital output.
For what it's worth I WILL very soon hook up a few other speakers so the receiver becomes capable out 4.1 or 5.1 output. I've been ok with the 2.1 output for a long time, but I think it's time to upgrade.
If the audigy 2 is no longer a viable option for any reason, should I instead use my onboard audio, or the audio from the HD4870?
I will be getting a Blu-Ray drive for the system this summer, does that play into this at all with regards to, um.. what is it, HDCP?
And lastly, to hook the PC up to the receiver, I'd need a 1/8 to optical cable, is that right? The receiver has an optical digital in and an RCA-plug style digital in.
Sorry for the mess of a post but I really don't know enough about this and thus have settled for 2.1 analog audio for too long, especially given that my receiver and speakers are dang nice.