I've had an Akai DPS12 12 track recorder for a few years and it works flawlessly. I scored it for next to nothing. Only problem is, I've been using the RCA master outs when dumping the tracks into my computer (which is using Kristal by the way). I would like to keep the signal digital, I believe this would make it easier to get the tracks into the program without having to time align the tracks since I have to click the recorder play button and the record on the computer at the same time. I've been able to resync them in the computer but its a royal PITA. The DPS12 has an optical out and I'm just curious as if there's anything on the cheaper side to connect this baby up and would it even make anything easier? I'm sure the sound quality would greatly improve, but again I don't really know. This will be used primarily to record demos and such for my band. I'm using a PC with USB only, does not have firewire.