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Looking for PCI-E sound card with coax output

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I used to have a system which had the following audio configuration:

Asus P8P67 mainboard -> Asus Xonar DX PCI-E soundcard -> (optical cable from SPDIF to toslink input of DAC) -> Audio-GD Compass AMP/DAC -> Beyerdynamic DT880 250 Ohm

I've upgraded this system and the Xonar DX got damaged in the process. I did not care much about this, because I thought that I will connect the Audio-GD AMP/DAC to the toslink connector of the integrated sound chip (Realtek ALC 1200) on the motherboard and everything will be fine. So I did this and connected the Realtek toslink out with the toslink input of the Audio-GD AMP/DAC. The thing is, the sound quality is now different than before and it is not placebo. I feel there is some quality loss and the music is not as "full" as before. The highs are also kind of capped out. This is weird because I was thinking that all digital outputs are the same and there would be no difference. The current audio configuration looks like this:

Tomahawk X570 WiFi (Realtek ACL1200) -> (toslink out to toslink in) -> Audio-GD Compass AMP/DAC -> Beyerdynamic DT880 250 Ohm

The Audio-GD compass has USB, Coax and Toslink inputs. I've talked to manufacturer of the DAC/AMP and he told me that this being an older model, he would advise against connecting via USB. Also he recommended me to test "coax in" and "toslink in", while mentioning that "coax in" would be what he considers best. Toslink could be better in some cases, because it totally isolates the computer and the DAC.

Now I'm facing some difficulties on what to do next. I have the following options:

1) Buying a new internal sound card and connecting to "coax in"

I was thinking of getting a PCI-E sound card with "coax output" (Asus Xonar D2X - because it can be had be had cheap, Asus Essence STX) and connect it to the "coax input" of the AMP/DAC. Then I read the Asus specifications that the coax output is made with an "adapter". Does this mean that the output is actually toslink with a "coax adapter" plugged on it? I'd rather prefer a "straight" coax output. Are there any PCI-E sound cards with "real" coax outputs?
Or don't I need a sound card with an coax output and I could get a card with toslink and connect it with an adapter cable to the coax input of the AMP/DAC?

2) Doing something else?

What would you recommend me doing? I would not want getting an external soundcard, because my desk is already too crowded. Maybe getting a sound card would solve my problems regardless of the connector (toslink or coax). I am really wondering why the SPDIF output of the Xonar DX was better than the Realtek output.

I really appreciate your input and help on this topic!

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45 minutes ago, Downtheline said:


This is looks like a fantastic, high-quality solution, but I am afraid that it is out of my budget. Do you know a cheaper alternative?

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15 minutes ago, chrisr34000 said:

cheaper alternative

The only cheaper alternative I am personally familiar with would be an external option.


I have seen these go for about 250 used, I thought it did a good job when I used it with a fanless nuc streamer. I replaced the sonore unit with a matrix one, that was frankly similar. Gotta power the sonore unit though if I remember correctly. Hopefully other folks chime in here. 



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