The bitfrost costs $350 w/o USB or $450 w/ usb. Is this your budget or are considering a greater budget?
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My initial thought was budget up to around $500. The Schiit w/o USB + Juli@ is around $550 I think, so close enough.
I think one of the advantages is there are more DAC choices if you don't require a well-designed USB input. You could also pick one of the many USB to S/PDIF converters, but their performance is all over the map and they add cost and complexity. It seems like the Juli@ is a simpler way to solve the computer to DAC route and performs very well as a transport.
Thanks for your thoughts. I think you answered the question I meant to ask. An inexpensive DAC (in the price range I mentioned) isn't going to have a really well implemented USB interface. It's probably better to go with a USB/SPDIF converter or soundcard with a good SPDIF output.
Just curious, what converter do you use?
I have been using a M2Tech Hiface which plugs directly into USB port thus avoiding need for USB cable. Have just purchased a used Audiophellio2 with power supply. Haven't received it yet, should have it in play next week. I used the hiface with a PS Audio Digital link III.
What type of music files will you be using? Are you ripping CDs to your computer?
I have a Squeezebox Touch in my main system so most of my music is ripped with DBPoweramp into FLAC files and stored on my PC and also a NAS drive. I use the Squeezebox server software to stream music to the Touch.
I was thinking of getting JRiver for the PC to play my own music and I would also like to use services like Pandora and internet radio from the PC. Any suggestions there would be welcome.
Given that you use a PC (I use MAC) and your source will consist of ripped CDs and internet radio, then you might go with the soundcard and the non-usb DAC option. With the soundcard you will only need a digital cable and not both digital and USB. Both items should hold value allowing for an inexpensive upgrade path should you chose to take one.