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Can you connect analog 5.1 speakers to Sound Blaster ZxR?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I've been doing a lot of reading but ended up a bit confused with the input/outputs of certain cards so I was hoping someone could please clear up a few questions for me.

My old sound card (X-Fi Fatality Champion) died on me so I need a new card. I use both headphones and Logitech 5.1 speakers to play games and watch HD movies + some music. I believe my speakers have an analog only connection with the orange/green/black connectors.

Initially I had narrowed my sound card choices to either the Asus Essence STX w/H6 board or Creative's Sound Blaster Zx as the best 2 cards that would allow my speakers to plug-in with 3x 3.5mm outputs.

But after doing more research I've seen a lot of comments that the ZxR is better than both of these cards and also supports 5.1 as well. However after looking at photos of the ZxR layout, it only appears to have 2x 3.5mm outputs (1 for the rear speaker and 1 for the centre/sub) and none for the front (except an RCA front output).

So I was just wondering:

1) Is it true that I could connect my Logitech 5.1 sound system by using a Male RCA to 3.5mm Female cable for the front speakers and then use the 2x 3.5mm outputs for rear and centre/sub???

2) If this would work, would there be any audio quality issues doing it like this (either due to the conversion cable or due to the way Creative software works with the card)? In particular am I going to get better quality using the Essence STX w/H6 or SB Zx board with the 3x 3.5mm outputs vs the ZxR with the conversion cable?

3) The answer to question 2 may answer this but for gaming I do like good positional audio in FPS games... just wondering if the RCA -> 3.5mm cable on the ZxR would cause worse positional accuracy somehow? Couldn't find any info on this.

I'm going to upgrade my headphones and speaker system to a more high-quality system early next year and I believe the ZxR card will be best for that when it comes to gaming and movies. I guess I just want to make sure that I'll still be able to use my 5.1 speaker system with it for now without any issues.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 9
I am a bit confused by the outputs on that card also in the end I got the Sound Blaster Zx.

But this is from Newegg's page on the ZxR

Headphone : 1x Amplified 1/4" jack
Speaker Out : 2x RCA (L / R)
2x 3.5mm jacks (Rear, C/Sub)
Microphone In: 1x 1/4" jack

So it looks like you can do 5.1 with that card so you should be good to go. By the way Newegg is out of stock on that card.
 
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post #3 of 9
It will work. Unlike the Titanium HD they actually have the option for analog 5.1 out this time. There shouldn't be any quality issues unless you get some cheap cables.
    
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Oh sweet thanks guys. So in that case if it's compatible and won't cause any quality issues I'll go ahead and see if I can get my hands on a ZxR and then connect it via RCA + the 3.5mm outputs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aksthem1 View Post

It will work. Unlike the Titanium HD they actually have the option for analog 5.1 out this time. There shouldn't be any quality issues unless you get some cheap cables.

Do you know of any good brands of Male RCA -> Female 3.5mm cables you can recommend? I was reading that Signal Cable was supposed to be good but they only seem to have a Male to Male version of it. And then most of the others I look at are only a few dollars so I'm guessing they're the ones you're telling me to stay away from. Is there any other good brands you know of that I could go shopping for?
post #5 of 9
I think you can....I used to set up my Bose Home Theater 5.1 to Creative Sound blaster live SB0100 it sound alright. Now I am using my onboard Realtek 892 connected to my home theater system it work fine except annoying static sound that come along sometime. If my older SB card work with 5.1 than your newer SB card should work too. Better connecter can make a different sound qulity too but I just use normal RCA connectors ( L/R to 3.5mm Jack) that it. Check your connection...good luck
Edited by Golden Eagles - 4/7/13 at 12:06pm
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by redpower View Post

Oh sweet thanks guys. So in that case if it's compatible and won't cause any quality issues I'll go ahead and see if I can get my hands on a ZxR and then connect it via RCA + the 3.5mm outputs.
Do you know of any good brands of Male RCA -> Female 3.5mm cables you can recommend? I was reading that Signal Cable was supposed to be good but they only seem to have a Male to Male version of it. And then most of the others I look at are only a few dollars so I'm guessing they're the ones you're telling me to stay away from. Is there any other good brands you know of that I could go shopping for?

Well the sound card does include a cable. I'm sure it wouldn't be a bad cable. Though Monoprice's premium cables are pretty thick and shielded.
    
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post #7 of 9
I use Monoprice cables for everything in my sound setups, including my recording/editing/mixing/mastering setup, and have yet to see anything that woul, ffor any reason, be superior. They have the best 12AWG speaker wire I've used, and every single cable or wire I've ever bought from them is still 100 percent functional regardless of the amount of use its seen.
   
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Awesome that's exactly the info I was after smile.gif

Thanks to all your advice I'm going ahead with getting a Sound Blaster ZxR card and a Monoprice RCA -> 3.5mm cable to connect my current sound system. I finally managed to find someone local who has stock of the ZxR and so I should now be getting it sometime next week.

Thanks again for all your help guys and it has been much appreciated thumb.gif
post #9 of 9
I have no clue if you are still around this very old thread, but I was curious:

How are you liking the ZxR? I am building a new computer soon, and I can't decide between the Zx and the ZxR. Does the 5.1 RCA -> 3.5mm cable work fine? Do you think the extra $100 is worth it for the ZxR? What sound card were you upgrading from??

Thanks so much in advance!
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