This is why I generally avoid using PulseAudio. I use just plain ALSA because it's simpler (in this case it would have been as easy as switching which sound card to use in alsamixer) and can also achieve higher audio quality than PulseAudio.
When I'm using Linux, I don't like applications that take control of everything for you. Nice if you don't plan on customizing, but impossible to configure if you want to do something more personalized or advanced. That's why I switched away from PulseAudio and Cinnamon. Now I use vanilla ALSA and vanilla Openbox.
I have to agree with the whole "Linux control panels are better," but that's mostly because the Linux community doesn't have stupid GUI designers (or even if there are their stuff doesn't get used). I edit most of my settings through text files (to which most Linux "control panels" are simply a frontend to) with a command-line editor, but that's just me. I'd just like to avoid installing software (especially large pieces of software) unnecessarily, as my budget when buying my computer only allowed for a 60 GB SSD, and with the kind of speed boost I was going to get from it I was willing to buy that. Then again, my laptop came with a 60 GB spinning hard drive because it's used and from 2006... but that's besides the point.
Glad to hear you got your DAC working!