USB card with digital out for laptop
Mar 6, 2008 at 12:41 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11


New Head-Fier
Feb 28, 2008

I'm looking for a USB card with digital out that will be connected to a laptop and to a receiver over a digital connection. so basically it will serve as a transport.

I'm thinking about either the m-audio transit or the Edirol ua-1ex.

What I would like is:
1. capability of AC3/DTS pass through (not sure it is possible with the edirol)
2. simple installation (I see posts where the transit dedicated driver may cause problems)
3. bit perfect playback of CDs/Mp3s/FLACs
4. software auto sample rate switch (AFAIK it's not possible, at least not with these cards)
5. ASIO support

Any pros and cons or other alternatives will help.

Mar 9, 2008 at 12:16 AM Post #2 of 11
Edit: Nevermind... The card I recommended only had USB input and no digital output.
Mar 9, 2008 at 12:30 AM Post #3 of 11
I don't know if the Trends Audio UD10.1 serves you right (retails at around $160), but it has been reviewed by many (do a google search, you will see) as one of the best transports for the buck you will find. It has all sorts of output connections. I love the little thing.
Mar 9, 2008 at 6:43 AM Post #5 of 11

Originally Posted by terrymx /img/forum/go_quote.gif
it does not have digital output, but the 0404 usb does.

Oh, duh... Thanks for catching my mistake. And I wondered why more people hadn't recommended the 0202 USB as a digital output solution.

The 0404 USB would do well, but the price is closer to $149, and it would be a shame to limit its use to the digital output. Plus, from what I've heard, the 0404 USB's digital output requires the playback program to support ASIO. sejarzo has commented on what's necessary for digital output in a few different threads.
Mar 9, 2008 at 10:02 AM Post #6 of 11
Thanks for your input

The Trends Audio UD10.1 looks nice, doesn't look like it supports AC3/DTS pass through.
Regarding the 0404 USB, do you think the analog output would be better then using the Yamaha 2700 dac?
Mar 9, 2008 at 8:28 PM Post #7 of 11

Originally Posted by grandaddy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The Trends Audio UD10.1 looks nice, doesn't look like it supports AC3/DTS pass through.
Regarding the 0404 USB, do you think the analog output would be better then using the Yamaha 2700 dac?

Probably (depending on your personal preference), but when using the analog output, you'd be limited to two channels.
Mar 10, 2008 at 12:27 PM Post #8 of 11
Yes, thanks.

Anyway, seems like the 0404 usb is an overkill for what I need,
unless it really improves the SQ compared to the 2700 DAC.
In addition the 0404 USB requires an external power source which makes it less convenient.

ok, guess I'll have to think about it a bit.
Mar 11, 2008 at 5:21 PM Post #9 of 11
i think the EDIROL is perfect for what you want. I dont Think it has the AC3/DTS capability though (correct me if im wrong). I believe you are intending to use it for the same reason as myself.

It's compact, it has analog RCA/Mini/Mini optical outputs, powered by USB, works perfectly with ASIO or kernel streaming, a switch between native and proprietary driver modes 16/24bit.

As far as i can tell, my laptop w/ the edirol sounds exactly the same as my desktop all else equal.

The analog mini out isnt that great. I use it at work with IEMS sometimes. Highs are a little muddy and everything else is only Acceptable. However, the noise floor is good whether my laptop is charging or on battery. There's enough volume for a K701 or HD650 connected directly.
Mar 12, 2008 at 2:02 PM Post #10 of 11
The intention was to be able to play bit-perfect audio files and use the receiver (Yamaha 2700) DAC for that.
The laptop has an optical out but the internal sound card resamples everything to 48 Khz.

The Edirol looks nice but looks like it lacks the AC3/DTS capability which kinda complicates the situation.
In addition, I think all the USB sound cards need their sample rate to be set manually, and that's another small complication.

Another option I can go with is hook the receiver to the wireless router and then play music using the receiver GUI which
requires the TV to be on and probably not too convenient to operate.
The good thing is the laptop doesn't have to be wired to listen to music.

Or maybe I should go with something like the Emu 0404 USB and use the analog outputs and maybe gain in SQ for music,
and use the optical out of the laptop for AC3/DTS.

I don't know, we'll see.

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