Up to the Minute: Streaming Bits to Audiophile DAC

I have some unanswered questions from another thread, and also some new ones despite searching the archives. So I hope this thread might be a good place for all of us who are interested in state of the art audio quality from hard disk drive based files.

Kublakhan in another thread suggested using the Sweetwater Creation Stations as hardware for a PC based audio solution and so far this gear looks pretty good to me.

My questions, however, arise from the fact that there may be some disconnect between the conventions for "pro audio" and "audiophile" audio.

So as of this writing, can anyone please explain:

Why does every pro audio person seem confused when I tell them I want to use an external DAC?

What is the BEST way to extract bit for bit data from a hard drive, to export to an audiophile DAC?

Why oh why do expensive $$$ music or media servers, which are supposedly configured to optimize audio use, nonetheless require some sort of cheapo "interface" to stream the data into an audiophile DAC?

Why on earth would I want to buy an audiophile "sound card", which I presume (in addition to an "interface") also has its own DAC?

Given the options which are available for "sound card" and/or "interface" type devices, what is the BEST way to tap the bitstream and/or maximize performance of the audiophile DAC? Optical? TOSLINK? Spdif?

Given the choices I might have for the "interface" between the computer and the DAC, what is the BEST way to minimized "jitter" or other audiophile nasties? Or is that phenomenon more of a downstream issue AFTER the bitstream hits the DAC?

There is a lot of great information in the other threads about ripping, tagging, Foobar vs Itunes and a million other complications of hard drive based audio.

But for now, I would really appreciate just some basic, conclusive opinions on the best way to get bits off the hard drive and safely on their way to my speakers from an audiophile DAC.

Please advise.

Hi Steve and thanks.

* So this thing will output SPDIF, but only through an optical output which is not best execution?

* Furthermore it is limited to 48khz?

* And the whole set up will be prone to jitter?

* And whatever problems you would also get from a cheap and noisy power supply?

Sounds like we are still in the dark ages for streaming bits to an audiophile DAC?
CWlondon - No, we are not in the dark ages, you are just looking in the wrong places IMO.

Steve N.
I agree with Steve. We are NOT at all in the dark ages with this. As with many
things in audio, there is a range of devices that will accomplish the same task
but to varying degrees of quality. You can spend anywhere from $40 - $1400 on
a USB to SPDIF converter. You can also decide to spend anywhere from $50 to
$5000 or so on a USB capable DAC.

You must decide on what you want to do with your digital front end. I will take
delivery tomorrow of one of Steve's Offramp Turbo 2's which is a USB to SPDIF
converter. I have been expirmenting with these devices for almost 2 years now. I
really like my DAC so that is why I am committed to having a converter of this
sort. If I did not already have a DAC I really enjoyed though, I would probably be
trying to audition some of the USB capable DAC's.