While a agree that a standalone is less of a hassle, I endure the hassle becuase there is no standalone player, including the oppo and the oppo combined with av processors or recievers, which can come close to the sound quality of a pc properly and directly connected to amplifiers. The software does the decoding and the soundcard, in my case the asus, is directly connected to my amps, with J river controlling the volume. I listen to 2 channel but I believe the asus also offers a surround sound version which can be connected to a 5 channel amp. Also, this conviguration offers the option to use a high-end usb dacs. This avoids the preamp, which is unnecessary and causes distortion. Believe me, I tried many standalones, etc, but a direct connection from a pc to an amp (in my case monoblocks) via soundcard or external dac must be heard to be believed, and it worth the occasional hassle.