I am probably going to get my head bitten off for this, but I decided a long time ago that if I wanted to know anything I would have to be prepared to risk asking extremely stupid questions, so, here goes: Is there any PC-based sound device that can rival a dedicated Home Cinema processor for sound quality? (I'm thinking of processors like Arcam's AV8 or the Tag AV32R). At first glance things don't look promising: most sound cards aren't exactly regarded as audiophile grade, and the inside of a PC case is about as eletrically noisy as you're likely to encounter, which doesn't bode well for any sort of analogue sound output. The more obvious solution is to take the Dolby Digital (or DTS or whatever) digital stream and pipe it into a decent home cinema processor. But there are a couple of types of product which sound interesting. First off I'm sure there are "high end" sound cards that leave the average Creative Labs effort in the dust. Second would be an external sound device, something like the Creative Labs Extigy. Being in a separate box with a digital feed from the PC (via USB) this stands a good chance of avoiding interference problems. Finally I believe there are PC motherboards that actually have a built-in valve-driven audio pre-amplifier - things like the AOpen AX4B-533. Are there any products like this which are actually worth buying, or is a dedicated processor the only sensible way to go for home cinema?