Various manufacturers, including the majors, make the make some of their cards as both PCIe and USB. I have 3 questions:
1. With a reasonably new pc, would I have a notice an audible difference in sound quality between the same design packaged as PCIe or USB. The computer difference I am aware of, but not sure it would have real world effect, is that PCIe is a more direct connection to the CPU than USB, but will that difference have any effect on sound quality produced by either the device?
2. If the USB and PCIe sound devices real world sound-wise are the same, then my next question is regarding cabling. My receiver is a 25' cable run from the PC. If I place the USB sound device at the PC end, I will have to run 2-25' RCA ended cables (carrying an analog signal); if I place the USB sound device at the receiver end, I will only have to run a single USB cable (carrying, I believe only a digital signal). Is there any reason I should not place the USB sound device by the PC and use a single USB cable, and very short RCAs into the receiver? A single 25' USB cable would be a lot less expensive than 2-25' RCA ended cables and that is motivating part of this question, but sound quality is the primary concern.
3. If the USB sound device is an acceptable way to go, what hardware would you recommend, from both a budget and better than budget perspective?
Thanks in advance for helping a novice get better sound for his complete digital library of music, etc.