Audio Subsystem Requirements
If you’re like me, you already have either a surround sound processor or a full surround receiver. And, like me, you’re going to want to incorporate that into your home theater system in order to get the full movie theater effect of hearing the sound coming from all around you, instead of just right in front of you. Like with the video subsystem, most PCs built within the past five or six years have multiple audio outputs on the back. Some will have headphone outputs for front, rear, and subwoofer channels. Unfortunately though, these won’t work too well with your surround receiver.
Other PCs will have an output jack that looks like an RCA plug, with a black center insulator. This is a digital audio output, which you can connect to the appropriate jack on your surround processor or receiver and will deliver that full surround sound impact. Still others will have a digital optical output jack, which delivers an even richer surround experience.
Although you only need one of these cables, one or both of them might have come with your receiver or processor, which means you won’t need to go out and buy one. If you don’t care about having the full surround experience, the 1/8 inch headphone output, connected to your stereo amplifier by way of an RCA ‘Y’ adapter, is all you need.