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I recently bought a (2) 3.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter for my speakers/sub (2.1 setup) to cooperate with my computers onboard audio.

 

The thing is, my old computer allowed me to separate the outputs and run it in 5.1 mode via Realtek HD manager but I just had to manually set the audio output to stereo in any application to get it work properly otherwise there would be missing high's and sometimes missing sub signals. Since then I built a new computer and and the software doesn't allow me to do that.

This is where the adapter comes in...

 

I bought this adapter to allow me to get my 2.1 audio and actually have it be true stereo rather than being in 5.1 all the time (and also because I can't separate the jacks). The thing is though is that there is a minor change in sound since I have been using the adapter. Before, the bass sounded like "true" bass, whereas now it sounds... different (still good bass, but just not quite crystal clear it seems). Am I just imagining it or is there really a difference in quality here?

 


 

I used to have the speakers plugged into the green jack and the sub in the orange jack. This is not the case anymore.


So here's the current setup:

2 powered speakers each plugged into a 3.5mm to (2) 1/4" adapter. See here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005HGM1D6/ref=oh_details_o07_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

A powered subwoofer plugged into a 3.5mm to RCA adapter. See here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002K8A75I/ref=oh_details_o07_s01_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Both of these are plugged into a (2) 3.5mm female to 3.5mm male adapter. See here: http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10218&cs_id=1021813&p_id=5614&seq=1&format=2

 

Now this is the only way that I have been able to get this to work without having to buy an expensive AV receiver as well (since they are powered speakers and also since for some odd reason computers don't do 3-channel audio as I have found out).

So is the audio quality as it should be? Was it better before (and why, if it was)? Will getting a receiver do the same as the adapter setup I have now or will it give me my previous experience with 5.1 but actually do 2.1 as it is now?