Should direct DAC connection sound the same as network endpoint?

Hi all
Apologies if this was asked somewhere previously and I overlooked it - I looked through the forums quite a bit before posting.

I am just trying to understand a detail or two about the way RAAT gets audio from point A to point B and trying to confirm my understanding of how it works. Lets say we are talking about a roon-ready DAC, and we are considering two ways of hooking things up. 1) connect the DAC via USB directly to the PC/mac running core, or 2) specify the DAC as a network device connection in roon and send data to it across the home’s network.

in terms of what is being sent to the DAC is there any difference at all in these two setups? should they be equivalent in terms of SQ?

Thanks for the help~

If you have a DAC which has a network port and is RoonReady, then that is the way you should go. As of now, there are not a lot of DACs in this category. Adding extra steps in the chain is going the wrong way. If you can go straight via the network and providen isolation of the signal from noisy source to the DAC, why would you want to add potentially extra noisy, jittery steps back to the chain?

Thanks Daniel for the quick reply - i am not fully up to speed on the ‘noise’ issue a direct connection to my mac mini would introduce, but i understand the concept (just havent fully researched it yet). In terms of just the raw data the DAC is being fed though, am I correct in assuming that it is equivalent in both cases (that there is no difference in the data the DAC is seeing between being connected via USB vs receiving it over the network)?

Thanks again~

Roon can feed both options bit perfect output. whether or not the computer/usb chain forwards this still being bit-pefect to the DAC is all in that equipment’s setup as well as options selected in Roon.