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I want to set up a 4.1 surround sound "square" (5m x 5m) at the end of a long room (5m x 18m) for an art installation which will run for a few months, where participants will stand in the middle of the 4 speakers (sub is in a niche on the side). I am considering several inexpensive active/powered (PA) speakers e.g. Behringer Eurolive B108D, Behringer Eurolive B112D or Samson Auro D208 together with subwoofer DAP Audio DRX-12BA which seem to fit the requirements for the space. I am considering using a 5.1 DAC connected to a PC with an external USB soundcard to connect the speakers via 5 RCA outputs (using a 1/4" adapter). I have found several 5.1 DACs for 25-50 Euro on Amazon, but I am not sure if any of these are sufficient.

Which specs do I need to consider when shopping for an external USB DAC?

Is it required to add an amp/receiver/mixer somewhere in the mix?

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This will depend entirely on the output level from the DAC. If it is sufficient to drive the input of the PA, then you should be good, otherwise you'll want some kind of preamp before the PA input stage.

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