If it ain't broke, fix it.
I too listen to a lot of music through YouTube, and find the quality wildly variable depending on how good the file is in the first place. My setup is very similar to yours except that I access YouTube through the app on my Roku. That connects to my TV via HDMI, and the sound is then output from the Samsung TV via optical cable to a Remedy Reclocker and then to my DAC (Sonnet Morpheus). I find that in this configuration, the reclocker makes a positive difference to the sound--a bit fuller, rounder, and a little louder. I agree that the spatial image isn't quite as good with the reclocker in place, but its upsides outweigh its downsides.
So if it's just YouTube you're interested in streaming this way, have you considered doing it through a Roku box? A lot cheaper than a new streamer, I think. Just one caveat if you haven't already experienced this: there are a lot of very irritating and ill-timed commercials on this app unless you pay for an ad-free subscription, which I can't bring myself to do.
Hope you find this helpful.
I tried 2 other methods without success. I found out today that the Nvidia Shield Pro USB ports can be used as an output to a dac. I use one in my bedroom as a streamer. I connected it up to my dac and sure enough it works outputing USB audio when playing Youtube. Unfortunately it was slightly less of a quality than the optical toslink out directly from the tv. I also tried Jriver as they claim it can stream Youtube through their software. Well I found out that you can but for streaming, it wont let me change the output device to my dac and uses the direct driver from windows. I dont know if this is because Im using the trial version but it wouldnt let me do it.
I havent tried tried any of the Android boxes although there are some audiophile ones. I just dont think they will have any better jitter reduction than the PLL loop in my dac. I wish Youtube had a dedicated app on Windows or more of the high end streamers supported Chromecast Built In. I really do prefer Youtube over these streaming services.
I have an Android phone and use BubbleUPnP to stream YouTube / YouTube Music to my Raspberry Pi 4 B running moOde. The Pi is connected to my DAC via USB.
To set everything up, you first need to have a streamer that can act as a UPnP renderer. This will be the destination for the stream that you cast from your phone. Then you need to open up BubbleUPnP and select the streamer from your list of renderers (it should auto-populate). Finally, when using YouTube or YouTube Music, tap on the three dots next to the video or music selection you want to hear and select ’Share’, then pick BubbleUPnP from the list that appears. This will start the stream from your phone to the renderer.
Here’s a nice explanation from Cambridge Audio if all this is a little confusing - https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/row/en/blog/what-upnp
Positives are that this method gets rid of any ads. Downsides are that if you try to stream a playlist, BubbleUPnP seems to buffer each song in the list before playback starts so it can be a while (perhaps a half minute or more) before you hear music.
I can also use AirPlay to cast from an iOS device to my streamer, but it doesn’t strip out any ads.