I'm using iTunes to play Apple Lossless files (encoded from EAC-generated .img/cue files) through an Onkyo SE-U55. This SE-U55 is connects to the PC via USB 1.1 and has both coxial and optical S/PDIF outputs.
My computer is about 50 feet from my DAC, which has both optical and coax inputs. Would I be better off spending cash on a long USB cable or long digital audio (Toslink or Coax) cables?
I've tried a 50ft optical cable (Hosa Premium), and to my surprise/dismay/astonishment it sounded thin, bland, and lifeless in comparison to my 3ft Philips coax cable ($12.00). I'll likely return the Hosa cable.
As much as I hate to say it, there does seem to be a difference in digital cables (at least between short coax and long toslink). As such, I'm going to try to use the longest USB cable possible (16ft) and the shortest digital audio cable possible.
So, the question is now: Is the USB audio signal from the PC to the USB sound card as "fragile" as the digital audio signal from the USB sound card to the DAC?