I have a few questions regarding the various options available for connecting an external DAC to a computer. The first and most common option would be via USB and in that case an item like the Musical Fidelity V-Link is a great, if not essential, little piece of gear. The second option would be via an HDMI output, if the computer/laptop is equipped with this type of connection. Some questions regarding the use of an HDMI connection for digital audio: First are there any DACs, other than those within a A/V receiver/processor equipped with HDMI inputs, which have HDMI digital audio inputs? Are there any way to convert an HDMI to a S/PDIF connection? Second are there any advantages to using an HDMI digital audio output rather than a USB output? The third option would be via a S/PDIF digital audio connection on computers/laptops equipped with such a connection. My desktop computer has a S/PDIF digital audio connection which is built into the motherboard as part of the Realtek ALC888S Audio subsystem. The same question asked above for the HDMI connection also applies here, i.e. are there any advantages to using the S/PDIF digital audio output rather than a USB output? Since there appear to be several ways other than USB to connect a computer/laptop to an external DAC, except for MACs (which seem to live in Appleland all by themselves and have many, many issues regarding audio playback), why is Stereophile's main and only focus on the problematic USB output? I thank you (meaning whoever answers) for your insightful answer.
Loudspeakers Digital Sources Accessories