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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 02-12-2012, 08:24 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2011
Distribution: Debian
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Looking for a USB sound card with optical out

Hi all,

I've done some cursory Googling and such, and not come up with anything concrete.

I have an Acer Revo (single-core Atom 1.6GHz, 2GB RAM) as an HTPC running Ubuntu 11.10 and XBMC. Everything works fine, apart from one detail - the HDMI audio adapter works and passes the audio to the TV, but even though my TV is hooked up to a high-spec amplifier with optical SPDIF, it only passes through stereo from the Revo to the amp. I would really like to have 5.1 surround sound from the Revo, but there seems to be no way to connect it up as it is.

I've used optical SPDIF in the past and have blown away by the quality. So, I'd like to add a USB sound card with optical out, and hook it straight into the amplifier. In theory, if I tell XBMC to use the USB sound, it should pass the audio straight to the amplifier to decode, right?

My question comes as, can anyone recommend a card that works like this under Linux? I've had a look at some Creative USB devices, which aren't very expensive, but I really need one where optical output is known to work. Hopefully latency won't be a problem, since the Atom isn't being stressed too badly with XBMC - the ION graphics chip handles a lot of it, and it's running as its own session, not on top of Gnome, to save RAM.

Any suggestions? I'm looking to spend not more than 50 on this.
Old 02-12-2012, 07:56 PM   #2
Ion Silverbolt
Registered: Sep 2004
Distribution: Gentoo/Xfce, Manjaro/Xfce, SolydXK
Posts: 194

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I have no experience with this particular device, but I have had good luck with Turtle Beach stuff. Also in the user reviews, there seems to be some happy Ubuntu users.

I didn't see anything about anyone using the optical out feature though, so it wouldn't hurt to research it some more. The description says only for Windows for optical, but that's never a reliable statement as far as Linux goes. I do know the older TB Micro USB adaptor supported this in Ubuntu, but I'm not sure about the Micro II. At least it's only $20.

Last edited by Ion Silverbolt; 02-12-2012 at 08:09 PM.


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