I consider myself a noob still in the audiophile world despite gathering a ton of knowledge on this forum. However, one topic i havent quite researched much on is what the title states: connecting a DAC to a pc using SPDIF, either optical or coax.
I plan on buying the Schiit Gungnir DAC to pair with my an Audeze LCD2 which i will own in the future. Like i said im still a noob with this particular subject so please bare with me.
Let's start from the beginning. The Schiit has the following input as stated on it's website:
Coaxial RCA SPDIF
Im after the absolute best sound i can get from this setup, so USB is out of the picture (plus i save 100 bucks too without it). So it's one of the other two that i'll use. *flips coin*...optical it is! Moving on.. I have a Sony Vaio FW laptop which has no form of SPDIF output on it. Bad start. But then i remembered something my brother bought a while back, a Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro 2 which is a usb soundcard with spdif optical out. When i plug it in, the jack has a red light coming through so that's good. Here's an image of it.
However my question is, does the quality of the sound card in the Micro 2 matter? The Micro 2 sounds pretty bad to my ears when i set it up as Laptop > Micro 2 via USB > headphone via jack. Here it uses the DAC from the Micro 2. It was a very inexpensive device so that's understandable. Or does the SPDIF out not depend on the dac within the device? Because when i connect the Schiit to my PC like this: Laptop > Micro 2 via USB > Optical cord > Schiit DAC > Amp > Headphone, it wont be using the Micro 2 as a Dac, but the Schiit right?
And lastly, the whole point im choosing SPDIF is to not use USB, but with this implementation, the signal is still passing through USB followed by optical. As the saying goes, your only as strong as your weakest link. Will the fact that my SPDIF jack is connected with USB degrade from the quality at all?
edit: something i forgot to ask.. is it possible for toslink cables differ in sound quality? For example would a $3 cable sound much different from a $50 cable?
Thanks for reading, hopefully this is the right section for this.
Edited by beaver316 - 8/25/12 at 9:21am