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After the death of my 7.1 surround system blue ray box, I am trying to find a device that does basically this:

  • Can be connected to the existing speakers from my 7.1 system
  • Can be connected to a pc/mac using USB
  • Has a line in good enough for being used as input for electric guitar or mic
  • Can be used from a Nvidia Shield TV

Probably can't get them all, but I am trying to look at options.

I did check online and I did find 3 items; each with pros and cons:

  • StarTech.com 7.1 USB Audio Adapter External Sound Card: this looks cool, since it has the plugs for the 7.1 speakers; and it is USB; also has the SPDIF connection, which can be used with the shield TV (using the usb to SPDIF adapter). The cons is that it doesn't look much of a good item, considering that it cost just 40 dollars. I am concerned about quality and damages that it may cause to the devices connected to it.

  • Behringer Xenyx Q502USB: Perfect as mixer, has many input and it is USB ready so it will work on anything that has usb. The cons is that it is big, bulky and has no way to pilot 7.1 speakers. Also it is pretty cheap and lack the features of a real external audio card, with DAC and all extras.

  • Sound Blaster X G5: This is a proper external sound card with lots of power, due to the dedicated CPU for effects and audio processing. Basically replace the internal sound card, and is able to connect both headphone and line in for a mic and guitar, which is perfect for music studio usage. The cons is that you can't connect speakers to it, since it has only one output, and the 7.1 system is made for headphones, so it is a virtual dolby system.

I used to have a SB Audigy; which was an awesome card, although it was on PCI and my motherboard does not even have that anymore. Lovely piece of hardware.

What would you suggest? My Shield TV is in my living room, with the speakers already set; while my PC is in my office. I was hoping to get one device to move in either room, depending if I want to watch TV on the Shield with the 7.1 system, or work in my office/sound studio; but I think I will need 2 different devices.

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