This interrogation has stemmed from my apparent incapacity to understand how the E09K/E17 docked combo actually works.
For some context: I recently bought a FiiO E09K desktop amp, and I am currently strongly considering the purchase of a E17 Amp/DAC to replace my current Hifiman HM-101 which I use as a USB external DAC, but that I find brings too much noise, picking too much RF and stuff...and I wanted something portable too, which the E17 seems highly suitable for. Obviously, while I'm home, I'd like to use the E17 docked into the E09K, as apart from being the most logical and aesthetic setup, it charges the unit. Like most people, I'd put it in lo-bypass mode for DAC-only usage, with the E09K doing all the amplifying.
Now comes the problematic part. I am very unsure about my computer (a 4 year old HP HDX 18 laptop) having any S/PDIF output jack whatsoever. While the sound control panel does list a S/PDIF Digital Audio Device, I can't seem to find any actual RCA jack...Now I've read somewhere that some laptops have 3.5 mm (mini) headphone jacks with SPDIF output, but I can't be quite sure of it until I have something to try it on..And I'd rather not spend more than 150$ just to learn it's not there afterall.
Obviously, all of this trouble could be avoided if I could just use the USB input on the E17, but it's on the underside, just besides the dock port. That seems to mean that I can't dock it as long as I plug the USB in. However, there is a USB port on the backside of the E09K. Am I wrong, or is it the actual USB input for the E17, that goes through the dock?
Is the overall chain : Computer -> USB input E09K -> dock E17 -> E17 Headphone LO -> E09K Aux IN -> E09K Heaphone Jack ? That seems rather long...
Or is it the other way around (dock passing data from E17 to E09k, as in : computer -> spdif -> e17 -> dock -> e09k -> e09k headphone out )?
If someone could share some light I'd be really grateful!
N.B. : I've checked some pictures of wired setups but all of them showed the front and not the back, so I couldn't see if any USB cables were plugged in the back. However, most of them showed an interesting absence of any S/PDIF input, which supports my theory.
Edited by CognitiveBiased - 5/26/13 at 4:25am