I recently acquired my first external DAC, a JAVS DAC-2 March edition, capable of doing 24/192, just like my soundcard at the time, an Asus Xonar DS.
I hooked it up using the optical output from the Xonar, and almost immediately started getting BSODs. Mind you, that was after making no additional changes to the software or internal hardware, using the latest of the Uni Xonar drivers. The ONLY change I made was to change the setting on the soundcard, so that the default device was the S/PDIF output.
All the BSODs were driver-related, which is apparently a known issue with Xonar cards when it comes to using the S/PDIF output. I tried several other drivers and kept getting BSODs.
In desperation, I started looking around for other options and after much reading here, ended up picking up a used X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro edition. Like an idiot, without realizing that despite being able to output 24/192 through the front speaker output, it could only do 24/96 through the S/PDIF interface. Which strikes me as being friggin' retarded.
Other than that quibble, the card seems to work fine. The WASAPI/ASIO implementations certainly seem more solid than they were on the Xonar DS. But that being said, I wasn't exactly blown away by the sound-quality. Frankly, when it was working, I think the Xonar DS sounded cleaner. On the plus-side, no more BSODs.
So, that all being said, what's a man to do? I don't really want to spend 400 dollars on a soundcard. And I'd really like the ability to output CMSS or similar via the optical for gaming/movies.
Are there better options than Creative for this? Is there a Creative card that I missed that actually will sound better than the Xonar DS and can do 24/192? Oh, and I should add, I'm not really that keen on an external USB soundcard. My desk is crowded enough as it is!
Any help is appreciated.