So am doing a ground up rebuild of my system apart from the source.
Source: HTPC output options are HDMI (and USB if I buy a DAC)
I want good stereo music sound.
However, I also will be wanting HDMI for movies.
Currently using an AVR (which is due an upgrade for 3D capability).
Background current beliefs:
Speakers and room acoustics make up for 90% of the listening pleasure, as all my source options are 100% digital domain. Most ouput specs, (SNR, THD etc.) of the actual DAC chips are pretty similar so it's the post DAC conversion when in the analog stage that will have the most impact on audio changes.
I am a believer that one might have great speakers but in a bad room it can all go wrong. So I am not totally against Multi EQ XT32 which actually takes this in to account very accurately and makes the appropriate changes. Something that audiophiles will cringe at but quite frankly the technology has allowed this to occur and shouldn't shy away from it. At the end of the day it's more likely to bring you closer to how the album was mastered as that was done in near field listening environment. Where as my listening environment isn't the same and certainly wouldn't produce correct response at the seating position. Something I believe the majority of home enthusiasts would have as well.
Anyway, as I am doing an over haul I thought I would search for some options.
Only option I have come up with is
1) JRiver -> DAC (via USB) -> Power Amp (is this possible?, what controls the volume?)
2) JRiver -> HDMI ->AVR-> L/R Channels Power Amp
3) JRiver ->
JRiver -> music+ movies via HDMI -> AVR -> Speakers