I've been toying with the idea of using my PC as a transport rather than my CD player. I own an studio-quality soundcard that happens to have an SPDIF output. If I were to rip an audio CD and then play the resulting .wav file off my computer from the SPDIF output to an outboard DAC, would there be any gains to be had over just using a regular CD transport right into the DAC? Is there potential for less jitter when ripping a wav rather than playing a CD right into a DAC?
Avoid soundcard like Creative using kernel-mixer of OS.
Use AUDIOCARD supporting ASIO and audio-grade DAC.
search manufacturer like RME, MOTU, M-Audio.
SP/DIF sucks. No two ways about it. Unless you go to a lot of trouble it is very very hard to get a reconstructed clock back from an SP/DIF stream with low jitter. The chip manufacturers have paid attention and are doing a MUCH better job with their USB audio receivers. TI's chips reconstruct (reclock) the clock and claim to have gotten rid of (almost) all jitter in the I2s signals coming out of their new stuff. So whatever your PC's drive is generating in the way of jitter, it's not there anymore if you use one of these chips to interface to USB!
So I say bypass that soundcard entirely and go USB.
As a temporary measure, I'm running direct from the computer to stereo. DVD-ROM drive> 24/96 Audigy soundcard> minijack at computer end/rca at amp end. A'int bad at all. Sounds better than the two 5k redbook machines recently here for audition. ymmv
The easiest (and cheapest) way to avoid jitter is not to use an external DAC in the first place. Use the CD player's DAC or your soundcard's DAC.
It'll depend on the quality of the soundcard vs. the transport you are using. There is the potential for either to be better. It's hard to control everything that's going on in a PC (too many audio drivers with sample rate conversions, etc.) Some transports do a pretty good job of dealing with jitter and have great drivers for the SPDIF output. Some soundcards (and their drivers) are also excellent.
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