I have a bit of a unique situation and having trouble sorting through the mountains of information available.
I have three PCs in the same room, each with a pair of M-Audio BX5 D2 monitors. I want to be able to use each PC normally, but also have the ability to play Rocksmith together on all 3 PCs at the same time (using one PC as the A/V source). I've got the video figured out and wired up, and I've figured out how I can get audio to the speakers using my onboard RealTek AC'97 7.1 (3.5mm to two unbalanced XLR). Unfortunately, this assumes I'll keep using onboard sound, which probably isn't the brightest idea with my equipment profile.
If I buy a discrete sound card (I have both PCIe 1x and PCI slots available), I can easily wire this using the 3.5mm jacks and force stereo to all jacks using speaker fill. But I keep reading about interference and noise using them. I haven't experienced any noise from PC chassis ground (yet) that I'm aware of.
Should I be looking for a 5.1/7.1 solution to send stereo to all the jacks? Or should I go with a stereo output and splitters? Stereo output and a speaker selector?
Should I buy a discrete sound card? Buy a USB DAC? Which one? There's so many to choose from! Right now, the ASUS Xonar U7 seems like an easy choice.
Budget is about $100. If it has an external sound knob, I'd add about $40 to the budget (the cost of a Griffin PowerMate).
Edited by thadius856 - 4/27/14 at 9:41am