If you mainly use USB for main source, you need a good USB asyn. DAC or USB professional sound card though signal by USB2 ASIO / special driver .
Even listen 44.1khz/16bit CD material, the sound will get much better that just most DAC that though PCM270x.
For Aysn. USB transfer, good driver mean the signal will very soon pass though USB2.0 to DAC internal memory and DSP with time and correct stamp, reclocked and rescheduled at DAC internal DSP before pass to other chip, if any loss, the DAC will require computer send it again, if any too fast, the DAC will require computer hold it and send it later.
I just purchasing a DACMAGIC PLUS (must PLUS) which have USB interface come from ABC-PCB (Anagramtech)
http://www.abc-pcb.com/?page_id=187. The result is very good, at Windows by foobar and ASIO driver, 95% sound quality compare as our Firewire interface S/PDIF output at MAC.
USB to SPDIF will not get better but need more money, buy a semi-professional sound card with a good SPDIF output but the cost need at least more that $300 just SPDIF output,and most cheap SPDIF should worst. It is not relative to SPDIF, the weakest point in USB and most important is the USB driver that the solid line.
Originally Posted by asoiaf7
Thanks for all the replies.
I was planning on using USB as I don't have a spdif output from my PC. I would not be opposed to buying a soundcard with a spdif output. Looking around Newegg, there seems to be plenty of cards with spdif.
So what would be a good used DAC to look for if I do go the spdif route? Or in contrast to the post title would it be better to spend some more and go with something like the PS Audio Digital Link III or Benchmark DAC1? I would just have to save a little while longer. Around Head-fi and the web there seems to be more support for spdif than usb so it does seem to be the better way to go.
Edited by sclee - 12/24/11 at 6:59pm