Question Logitech Z5500 - Need help with DAC?


Feb 15, 2012
Beyond what I've been trying to research on my own, my experience in the field of audio-related stuff is very minimal. That said, I own some Z5500 with a Sennheiser 360 PC headset and I plan to upgrade my PC very soon to current gen. The sound system is great, I don't need the very current or very best so I have no plans to replace this sound system until it dies. The headset I'm open to upgrading. I utilize the PC for gaming/watching movies etc.

I currently use the system with a Asus Xonar Phoebus sound card (not my choice, I was given this at the time). For a long while, running the z5500's via analog to this sound card has worked just fine but in recent years there have been quite a number of little issues that pop up, likely due to the last time this sound card received driver support was back in 2016. I'll add that this driver comes with Dolby Home Theater which I do use.

I was looking to replace this card when I upgrade my overall PC hardware. I've read that the market has shifted away a lot from sound cards and lean more towards DAC's. I understand /most/ of the reasoning behind this. I've also read that most on-board sound seems to be adequate.

1) Would you suggest I need a DAC or sound card at all anymore? I don't doubt mobo sound has come a long way since I last upgraded but personally, I've found the sound system + card to be much more pleasant through this setup than using the on-board sound connectivity (current mobo about 10yrs old)

2)Which DAC would you suggest? I would need a DAC to facilitate both speaker and headset connectivity (for gaming). The most ideal setup for the z5500's is using the analog cables to the sound card since most DAC's would be more powerful than utilizing the built-in DAC of the z5500's through optical connectivity. I also plug my headset (not USB) directly into my current sound card. I'm not looking for the very greatest, just a fairly affordable dac.

3)What would be the most ideal way to connect the z5500's to a DAC? This system has 6-ch direct through analog, coaxial/optical out through digital. This is where I become very confused since I have no personal experience with external dac/amps. Since its pretty much an external version of a sound card, do I still use analog cables to the DAC?
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Why not recycle the sound card and have it in your new system? You could also do a blind test, of sorts, to see if you like the onboard audio or of the discrete sound card is superior.

From my search and my understanding, DAC's are good for stereo output, not multichannel output. EVGA had a high end multichannel sound card but they've discontinued it.