Computer to DAC with no USB

I have a Benchmark DAC I purchased based on quality, not connectivity. I have been trying to figure out how to connect the DAC to my computer having only an optical, coaxial, and XLR connection at my disposal.

I found an RME audio interface with optical output (and coaxial clock), will the audio interface take output from my computer, or does it only come from external inputs?

Or am I barking up the wrong tree altogether?



Do you not have a sound card on your computer with a optical output. I connected my Benchmark DAC3B to my computer this way. This is not the ideal way to listen to music, but OK for watching my hockey and baseball games via the computer.

For music streaming, you could consider the Denafrips DDC products that are supposed to be good quality and relatively low cost. This will solve your connectivity issue to the Benchmark DAC1.

DDC | denafrips


Here is the sound card I use on my computer. It was supposed to be good back in the day.

ESI - Product Archive: Juli@ (


A streamer will improve sound quality and most will have spdif outputs. Take a look at the ifi zen streamer and their website for information 

I should also point out that a lot of motherboards have S/PDIF outputs built in.  Double check before buying anything more.

Thank you for your responses.


The idea of a DDC makes sense, but there aren’t many products on the market yet. Maybe the demand for a DDC isn’t all that high. Maybe it’s the fact that the i/o overlap so much with audio interfaces.

dCS Purcell Inputs

RME Hammerfall

As for the streamer, it’s a great idea in terms of connectivity, but I’m not looking to stream. I much prefer playing saved files.

At this point, is it a driver/software difference? The DDC provides gain, but so does a preamp, which my DAC will plug into. I dunno.

I have an ASUS Mini PC. Good processing and storage, but the motherboard is under the HDD and cooling fan. Lots of USB and video connections, though.

Use a usb to spdif converter    USB on computer to spdif converter spdif output to dac spdif input. Easy Peazy. 

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+1 Stereo5

"Use a USB to S/PDIF converter"

This is a perfect solution for older DACs running in iso-synchronous mode.

Bel Canto made a great one, and they are still around on the used market.

Supports up to 24/192 PCM


Looks like you are headed in the right direction with a USB-to-SPDIF converter. There are a number of them on the market that work well. Also, if budget permits and you are using software that supports streaming (Roon, Tidal, Amazon) them something like an Auralic Aries would be a great option, and probably upgrade in quality.

To reinforce, though, using standard consumer sound cards or the SPDIF output on the motherboard is not considered a best practice. Some prosumer cards and those that support ASIO drivers are an improvement, but really you want your digital stream not to be affected by all that noise inside the PC - something external is generally considered better.