Wiring- digital vs analog - beginner help

I have a Marantz SR8200 receiver that has a shit ton of digial input and output ports on the back, including digital coax, optics, etc for all of the major components. Right now I am running my cd player, dvd player, and digital cable box through the receiver with either stereo rca cables or component cables.

The display on my receiver treats everything as "analog" output, which even I know with my rudimentary knowledge of music listening, is the only way to hear music. Except when my friend Bender comes over and he sings to me in Ones and Zeros.

At any rate, the RCA cables and component cables I am using are 15 years old, and very crappy, that I purchased from Radio Shack back in the day. I want to clean up the mess that the web of cables behind my entertainment center, and reduce the complexity of the wiring.

1) Can someone explain to me how using digital coax/optic inputs/outputs with my components would impact the sound quality of the music I listen to and movies I watch?

2) The best digital to analog converter I have is certainly going to be in my receiver, as my cd changer (Onkyo DX C330 - also 15 years old) only has analog output anyway, so how can I make sure that it is the receiver that is doing all the heavy lifting and conversion work?

3) Barring a transition to digital input/output for my other components, can you give me a low down on what makes for a higher grade analog cable hookup and recommend a low cost/high quality online provider of such cables?

My current speaker set up is 2 TotemAcoustic Mites connected directly to a Totemacoustic Storm subwoofer, for stereo listening. At some point, I may want to work out a surround sound set up when I move to a bigger apartment, and that would probably require a replacement of the sub directly to the sub output on the receiver. As right now I am basically simulating a large floor speaker set up in front of me, would I lose full range listening and imaging for music if I changed to a 5.1 set up?

2) Connect each of your sources to the Marantz by a digital cable.

Since you say your receiver has the best DAC, then, as Kal said, use digital inputs to it where you can. Since your CD player does not provide a digital ouptut you're stuck with an analog connection for it.

I'm a big fan of Blue Jeans cable for all cabling.
One more hint, when connecting your sources to your receiver, Use the coax digital connection and not the optical toslink for best sound. These will have an RCA termination like your analog cables but you can't use those...use a digital cable (75 ohm)
To clarify my previous post, I just realized that with the age of your equipment you may only have toslink outputs on your CD player, so that may be your only choice. If you have an option, use the coax.
Swanny - my cd player only has stereo (red/white) audio output, which is what I am using now. I am going to take a look at blue jeans to buy some upgraded stuff.

With the components I have, I plan on the following:
Digital Audio out from Cablebox and DVD to Receiver
Stereo Audio out from CD to Receiver

All component video from sources to receiver, then component video output from monitor to TV.
Apogee digital makes a nice economical digital cable called the wyde eye and they sell direct.

You may get comparable sound from cds if playing them in your dvd player using digital out to the receiver.

try and see

If you need ultra detailed help, feel free to contact me
A good source for reasonably priced cables is BetterCables. I just ordered their silver coax cable and will try it out later today with my new Bel Canto DAC3 that is supposed to arrive today! I think this cable cost about 40 bucks with free shipping. I hear you should use at least a 1.5 M length to minimize jitter and bad artifacts. I ordered the 2 M length. 1.5 M seems the ideal length. I bet your receiver does not offer the best DAC and probably not the best jitter reduction.