Originally Posted by Roweyi7
I cant seem to justify what you actually gain by using a sound card? isnt it down to the quality of the actual file to how it sounds? these things baffle me, haha
People who don't care about sound quality baffle me. Sure, some crappy MP3 track with 128kbps fidelity won't sound any different no matter what; it'll probably actually sound better on low-end sound processors. But I almost never settle for an MP3 with less than 200KBPS, and if I really like certain music I'll download the WAV's well over 1000KBPS. I can't even begin to understand the people who rip music from YouTube audio, which is usually very low quality.
However, I DON'T use a sound card. Why? Because if you don't use headphones, they're enormous wastes of money. I used to have an HT Omega Halo Claro XT and Z-5500's, tried Z-2300's, Swan's, and Klipsch's too... But all the PC speaker systems are junk, IMO, too.
S/PDIF doesn't sound any different coming out of your onboard than from your sound card. Don't waste money on a sound card unless you use headphones.