A direct cable from your sound card to your stereo receiver is the least expensive and most straightforward approach to connecting the two. For most people this will be an analog connection, because the majority of consumer audio equipment and sound cards include analog inputs and outputs. Audiophiles with the right equipment may prefer the digital route.
A drawback of analog connections is that improperly shielded cables are prone to picking up noise, and running cable over a long distance (more than six feet) can result in some loss of high frequencies (treble). However, an analog connection with high-quality coaxial cables can transmit very high-fidelity sound.
The simplest method of playing music on your computer through your home stereo is to make an analog connection between the two. To do this, simply run a cable from the line-out jack of your sound card to a line-level input of your stereo receiver, as shown in Figure 3-4.
Figure 3-4. Analog connection to stereo
If your sound card’s line output is a stereo 1/8” mini-phone jack, you’ll need a splitter cable to separate the left and right signals into two RCA connectors. The end of the cable that plugs into the sound card will have a stereo 1/8” mini-phone plug, and the end that plugs into your stereo will have two RCA plugs.
Splitter cables can be found at most stores that sell home stereo ...