I'm looking for someone with some time to read through my post and provide some feedback, any comments will be much appriciated, and should I be in the position to help you in return I will do so gladly.
Okay, here's some background.
Prompted by a friend I've been doing allot of reading about surround sound headphones and the various ways it's accomplished. I've been lucky enough to try 2 of the common flavors of surround sound extensively. I have both "multi angled driver" headphones, and Dolby surround headphones sitting on my desk, both from reputable brands. However they're both "Headsets" and work either through USB, or USB and multiple 3.5mm jacks. I'm very keen on getting a Dolby surround source to try with any stereo headphone.
So this is my Layout idea. (kind of messy, but gives you an idea of what I'm working with) I'll put it in writing aswell after-wards.
/=---->Multi channel accepting headphones/speakers
/--------> Current 6 channel sound card-------<
PC--|-------------------> FiiO E17-------------------\__
\----------->My future Dolby device-----------/ \-------> FiiO E09K -------> Stereo headphones of my choice
I will use windows as my base. it will then split to 3 audio devices, FiiO E17, a creative 6 channel sound card, and a Dolby processing device. These 3 devices will then all go to the FiiO E09K(through an RCA selector box if required). The creative card will have it's stereo signal split, going through the E90K and going elsewhere in my setup. The E90K will then output to whatever headphones I feel like.
That explains the necissary parts of my setup. The Dolby processing device is the item in question. it needs to be able to accept a signal from my PC, and then output the dolby surround signal through an analogue interface. From what I have read there are 2 main types of devices that can do this, a sound card and a "device". I'll explain my concerns with both below.
So, the sound card seems like a nice option, nothing sitting on my desk, everything packed away inside my PC, However:
I am very wary of getting an expensive sound card as I've had loads of issues with interference and sound cards. I've never really been sure whether this is a sort or electro-magnetic interference, or if it's actually coming through the PCIe interface itself. I see many modern sound cards from Asus and Creative have a sort of shroud covering them, similar to modern GPUs. Is this really for the purpose of shielding? this would suggest that EMI sensitivity (electro magnetic interferance) is a common problem in sound cards, which they have addressed.
I am, however, easier convinced that those shrouds are there only to make the card look good, which I have no problem with. I have no issues with dressing up a nice piece of gear, even if it serves no practical purpose.
This seems to be a slightly larger market, presumably because it is really piggy-backing off the enormous console market. I also don't mind having the extra little box on my desk, as long as it is of high quality and reasonably weighty. I will have the E09K and an E17 sitting there anyway, so I'd have no problem putting something underneath them, or on the side.
Thanks if you took the time to read this, I would appreciate any feedback.
Edited by Chris Haigh - 10/25/12 at 2:38am