Hard Drive - Audio Logic 2400 HQ CD transport?

Hi folks, I'm going to go out on a limb here and shoot for a high quality PC-based hard drive music rig and was hoping for some comments/feedback/suggestions/rants :) I have very limited knowlege about this stuff so bear with me. I currently have a Wadia 301 player and just picked up an Audio Logic 2400 DAC to do my little experiment.

From my understanding, even the best CD transports, at least when reading redbook audio, use real-time error correction, allowing for little errors here and there. Data on hard drives, OTOH must be read verbatim, as there is built in error/crc checking into the file system. So, correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as just just READING of data, hard drives should win out, given I have an uncompressed rip of the audio track.

Now, here's my first real question, are there differences in quality as far as the digital encoder is concerned? I know that audio digital signals are one-way transmissions and have no error-correction, hence the jitter issue (although some forms of proprietary synchronization schemes exist to ameliorate this). I can understand how a low-quality digital encoder (if there is such a thing) can degrade the sound.

Now, hypothetically speaking, let's say I purchase a sound card with a Digital out that's just as good as a HQ CD transport and output this via glass optical or AES/EBU, whatever. Should this in theory sound just as good, if not better than the transport, due to the better data-reading?

I guess my real question is, what components in a good transport, aside from the CD spinning/reading portion helps it acheive good sound?

There doesn't seem to be much discussion on this topic, this will be more of an experiment on my part more than anythign else. I just like the convienience of having all my CD's easily accessible. Should my PC with high quality digital out (Lynx , RME, etc...) fail miserably, I'm planning on selling my Wadia 301 and grabbing a CEC TL-1X :)

Either way, I will report back and let you guys know how it sounds :). Just for reference, I currently use a headphone only setup. I use a Corda Prehead amplifier, powering Sennheiser HD600's using the Cardas cable. IC's are Luminous Audio Synchestras.

Any suggestions on Sound cards for this trial? Thanks!
There is an excellent list on this subject called PAMS on YAHOO:


Steer clear of any of the AC97 cards (including all Creative products - Audigy included) as they upsample all 44.1 KHz content to 48 KHz. If all you want is digital out, an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 should give you a reasonably inexpensive place to start. As with most audio stuff, your ears are the best judge of whether this will work well for you. I too am tinkering with this idea as I have tired of switching CDs in my transport - would be interested to hear your findings.
Thanks for the yahoo group! Just what I was looking for!