This may be a 'dumb' question but I can't seem to find an answer for it, should be quick answers so thanks for the help!
I'm trying to make DAC plans - my PC motherboard has SPDIF built in (optical & coax). Does any sort of 'processing' go on in my motherboard on the data that travels through that cord? Can I 'trust' that my DAC will be receiving a quality signal? I was briefly considering only purchasing a new headphone amp and just using the line out of my Xonar for a DAC, but I've heard PC power is dirty, so I'm thinking of getting a DAC now but trying to understand the options for computer connection.
Is SPDIF hit or miss based on the quality of the port, or is the fact that it transmits digitally make the quality consistent on most ports? Would a more reliable solution to be to get a USB DAC? Since both USB & SPDIF transmit 1s and 0s I thought it wouldn't matter which you choose?
I'm sure there's a certain amount of debate on that issue and that's OK, but I need to hear some of the arguments and basic positions.