budget USB S/PDIF converter?

long time lurker. thanks in advance for all the amazing info here.

looking for a budget (under $100) solution for usb > s/pdif from my PC laptop. this is a temp solution as i'll be upgrading to a dedicated PC for music that will have digital outs (btw, would love a recommendation for a good sound card with digital out too if anyone has one).

thanks in advance.
Amazon may have the original Musical Fidelity V-Link usb/spdif converter (24/96) for well under 100.00. Last time I checked, they were 89.00.
thanks...i don't see any up there now, but will check.
for a cheap fix, behringer uca202/uca222 usb to spdif converter--works just fine. 30 bucks on amazon.
thanks guys - great suggestions.
Whatever you spent for the DAC, you should spend about the same or even more for the converter, otherwise you are not hearing what your DAC can do.

Would you buy a $1K turntable and then put a $50 cartridge on it? I dont think so.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
i totally hear you, but this is for a month or so until i build my media PC which will have optical out. fittingly, i was actually just on your site reading some tips!
digital out from a PC is a waste. Ive built a PC music server from scratch, played with the ASUS Essence STX, Musicstream II async USB DAC, and am using a Vlink async USB converter to PS Audio Dlink III DAC now. No onboard PC option ever sounded close to an async USB option. Buy the Musicstreamer II if you are cash strapped,
There is a PCI card with USB ports on it that evidently makes USB from a PC desktop more listenable. Have not heard it yet myself though..

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
any chance that the PC industry will use digital audio out over CAT-5 cable in the future? Ran into a shop at the Capital Audio show who thought this was a better cable option than USB.
I just bought a HLLY MMK-I 24bit/96k USB to SPDIF off eBay for $70 or so. It works amazingly well. Add a 10v dc wall wart and it kicks it up another notch. Remove the power feed leg in the USB cable altogether and it sounds even better. It doesn't do anything over 96k, however. What a great sounding unit. No complaints.
thanks again everyone.

i'm debating between shiit bifrost and emotiva dac.

re: USB vs optical, it seems optical produces better results. as for a high end sound card, isn't that redundant (or rather pointless?) if you're out to a nice DAC? i thought the whole point of a PC music server is to circumvent all internal hardware to get to the DAC as directly as possible.
Davide256 - already being done. It's called Play To and available on Win8. There are several CE manufacturers that have in on their receivers, including Yamaha. These of course are not high-end implementations, so they will probably not beat a CD transport.

There are fewer hoops to jump through with Ethernet, but USB performance can match it with the right software/hardware.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
"USB vs optical, it seems optical produces better results. as for a high end sound card, isn't that redundant (or rather pointless?)"

Actually no. The jitter from a USB interface can be much lower than Toslink from the computer. The DAC will not reduce jitter significantly, so you need it to be low going into the DAC. Anything that you have read to the contrary is marketing BS IME.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
thanks Steve. again. really appreciate the guidance.

so, what combo of usb card and software sets one up for the best out to a DAC?