Environment: - ASUS p4b266, 2.0 ghz, with 1gb memory - Windows 2000 service pack 2, not really tuned for audio but given my little experiment I don't think this should matter. It was not installed as a standard PC. I have another partition that I had installed as a Standard PC. I don't remember how much tuning I did with it, but the problem I am about to talk about also occurs there. - ASUS C-Media audio driver: 7/16/2002, 18.104.22.1689 (installed two days ago). This came with p4b266. - old SONY DAT PCM-2600 without a manual. It is connected via COAX(S/PDIF) to the S/PDIF In on the back of the PC. That is internally connected to the p4b266, it dosn't use a PCI slot. - the cable I am using is NOT an S/PDIF RCA-to-RCA cable, it is just typical analog RCA cable - I changed a parameter in the C-Media mixer to send S/PDIF directly to the analog out which in turns goes to my Hi Fi. What works - ignoring the digial I/O, the analog I/O (line and mic), really high quality (ho ho), works fine. The problem: when I switch the C-Media mixer to S/PDIF in as opposed to Line In, I can hear the audio, in this case just someone talking. It is 95% clean. The remainder is crackling/fuzz/distortion that is only audible when someone is talking. When the person stops talking, the crackling goes away. I have read about clicks and pops that people have because of clocking problems. My impression is that they are hearing intermittent sounds, they do not occur constantly. In my case this is constant noise when the person is talking. The audio from the analog out of the DAT is fine. The meters on the DAT only go up to about -6. I haven't tried sending audio from the PC via its S/PDIF out to the DAT because I can't figure out what to do about clocking due to the lack of a manual. With the DAT set to Digital In, it just flashes "UNLOCK". I don't really care about this path. Question: - Is it possible that the distortion, or whatever it is, is caused by my cheating and just using an analog RCA cable as opposed to a true S/PDIF cable?