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External USB Sound card and general set up help

Captain Silver

Standard Member

Just to say I know there are a lot of similar threads to this which I have trawled through but none help me that specifically!

I've recently upgraded from my Cyruslink Linkcentre 2.1 speakers which I was running out of my laptop through a Creative Xmod. I've just gone and bought a Marantz PM6002 amplifier and a pair of Mordaunt Short Aviano 1 speakers. I listen to music almost exclusively through my computer and I simply want to know the best way to get decent sound quality from my laptop (so an internal sound card not really feasible) to my amp.

Bearing in mind I'm a student and money is tight, I was thinking of getting a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi 5.1 (Creative Labs Online Store (UK) | Sound Blaster | Buy Creative X-Fi Surround 5.1) and either using its on board DAC and running straight from the RCAs to the Amp or using it's optical out to a Beresford DAC and then to the amp. Also, the majority of my music is in compressed mp3 form, the Creative's 'X-Fi Crystalizer' apparently fills in frequencies lost in compression and basically restores the quality somewhat. I don't know if this is just a gimmick or genuinely useful.

I must stress that money is very tight and I'll have an absolute maximum of £200 to spend on the solution, ideally a lot less.

Absolutely any suggestions, within the parameters of my current thoughts or completely new ones, would be very gratefully received.


EDIT: Just looked some more and see that Beresford TC-7520 has a USB input. The Question really is then, are my amp and speakers sufficiently good that I would be doing them a disservice by going for the Creative rather than the Beresford?
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