Yes, one digital optical cable will transmit all sound (for mp3's, cd's, dvd's, etc.)....there is no need for analog cables.2. I plan to use a soundcard that sends an unmolested 44.1 kHz from CD sources...it is possible to do so from CD images or wave files on the hard drive, right? What about mp3's, do they necessitate a separate analog out? What about lossless compressed files? Is there any sense in worrying about resampling if the Alpine is doing things like time alignment once it recieves the signal? Does the Alpine need to resample in order to work its magic? If there is nothing to be gained by having a bit-perfect output on the carPC, I'd almost rather do a DD Live or DTS Live capable sound card, and having one digital output from the carPC to the processor.
Not sure about the Zapco, but you would be extremely hard pressed to find an amp or sound processor that could out-perform the H701. The H701 route would be my choice.3. What are the advantages/disadvantages of using something like a Zapco amp with optical input/time alignment/crossover vice the 701 run into something like a JL audio monoblock and separate 2 or 4-channel? Is there a Zapco solution that has optical in and can be tuned for individual time alignment to tweets and midrange separately? How's Zapco's digital processing, EQ, and built-in crossover compare to the Alpine 701?
In that case, I would do an active setup with the 701...you can't go wrong.FYI, the Rockford Fosgate processors are not an option, the time alignment in them is nowhere near precise enough for me, and having separate tweet and mid time alignment for my front stage as I expand to a 5.1 setup is important.