Switching to JRiver's Music Center software reduced the interference even further. Now, the music interruptions were limited to every once in a while. But JRiver did have trouble operating in what is known as the WASAPI-Event mode, which some experts consider the best sounding choice.
Switching back to a trusted computer - one running Windows 7 (64-bit) - we had absolutely no audio problems with any hardware combination we tried.
The worst results came from trying our DACs with Windows RT. We tried getting our DACs to work with a shiny, new Asus VivoTab RT.
Since you can't add second-party software in RT, we couldn't install the drivers needed to run our USB 2.0 DACs. But both new OSes supposedly now support USB 2.0 audio devices. Still, that didn't really make much of a difference. All of our outboard DACs reproduced the loud clicking/stuttering sounds along with the music.I've turned to the people at Audioquest, along with the man who designed their Dragonfly DAC, Gordon Rankin - considered the Godfather of high-quality DACs. I'm told this might be a problem with overloading software buffers - but since Windows 8 is so new, more time is needed to investigate. Until then, Audioquest has posted a note on its FAQ page: "There are some known issues with external USB-Audio devices, including AudioQuest's DragonFly, and Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system on some hardware platforms, as well as tablets running the Windows RT, including occasional and/or consistent clicks and dropouts. Microsoft is aware of these issues and working toward a fix." Microsoft has not yet responded to TheStreet's request for comment on this story. --Written by Gary Krakow in New York. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com.