Originally Posted by astrallite;11850172
This thread is so full of fail lol.
^^^This. Almost none of the above posts answered the OP question, but rather went on tangents, creating confusion.
If you are asking, "does it make a difference if you are connecting to an external DAC (as in an AVR/reciever?")...
From a basic standpoint, 5.1 or less... there is absolutely no difference in the signal passed from an onboard sound device or a dedicated soundcard across either a digital optical connection, digital coaxial connection or HDMI. NO encoding or decoding of the signal is done in the computer, there is NO conversion of the signal. That is left to the DAC (Digital to Analog converter) which is in the AVR/Receiver that the digital connection is made to, as the Onboard's or dedicated sound card's DAC is bypassed. The sound track encoded onto the disk is passed to the DAC untouched.
There is actually some good info in someones post above. Uncompressed DD-HD or DTS-MA from Blu-Ray disks (the only place this applies) can not be sent over digital SPDIF (coax) or toslink (optical), as the bandwidth need to pass these signals is not available from these connections. The uncompressed DD-HD or DTS-MA must be passed over an HDMI connection, or as an alternative, decoded in the computer and passed to an amplifier as an analog signal.
If only a digital coax or optical connection is connected, only the "Core" Dolby Digital (5.1/[EX]6.1) or DTS (5.1/[ES]6.1) is carried over this connection.
This is the same wether it be a computer, or a stand-alone DVD/Blue-Ray player.