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Old 08-21-2010, 06:47 PM   #1
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Question 5.1 speakers with 2-channel sound card


I've been searching for a good 5.1 speaker set for my 5 year old Dell laptop (Inspiron 9300), but after some initial research I've learned that most internal laptop sound cards only support 2-channel audio and that 5.1 audio speakers either don't output surround sound or just plain won't work with 2-channel audio cards.

I admit to knowing little to nothing about computer audio equipment. My purpose for posting here is to get some clarifications so I don't make the wrong purchases. I'll try and outline my *limited* knowledge/assumptions here, so please correct me if I am wrong.

My Knowledge/Assumptions:
To my understanding, "true" 5.1 speakers will not work with sound cards that don't support 6 or more channels even with cable adapters, and the best one can do with a 2-channel sound card is:
a) buy a 5.1 speaker set that emulates 5.1 sound using the 2-channel audio output
b) buy an external sound card that supports 6-channel output
c) buy an external audio adapter that supports 6-channel emulation/output

1) Can I get true surround sound out of my internal 2-channel audio card?
2) If not, am I better off getting a 5.1 speaker set that emulates surround sound or buying an external sound card that supports 6-channel output?
3) Is an audio adapter supporting 6-channels essentially the same thing as a 6-channel external sound card, or does it just emulate 5.1 sound? How do I tell if the audio adapter supports 6-channels (i.e. what kind of interface should I be looking for)?

Additional Information:
My computer uses a 3.5mm audio-out jack for primary audio output so I'm almost certain that it is a 2-channel audio card, though it does contain a single IEEE 1394 interface. (Not really sure how to check - DXDIAG output was fairly uninformative)

My 3.5mm audio jack is busted (seems to be a common problem with the Inspiron 9300). As such, my only audio interface is via usb or IEEE 1394


Thanks in advance!

technomage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2010, 06:59 PM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Smile Re: 5.1 speakers with 2-channel sound card

Buy low priced headphones for excellent sound.
BUT a decent creative soubd card.I have Augigy 4 with remote.

BRUTUS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-22-2010, 04:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: 5.1 speakers with 2-channel sound card

Creative also make a sound card which slots into the laptop's PCMCIA slot which I'm pretty sure can do true 5.1, here is a picture for illustration purposes http://www.cnet.com.au/i/r/2004/Note...le_500x375.jpg
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