Bypass built-in CD player DAC

Quick question: if the digital output of a CD player is used to connect to an external DAC, is the CD player’s DAC bypassed or is the signal processed by the player’s DAC and then processed again by the external DAC? My old CD player has a bypass mode but the new one I am just testing doesn’t.
I compared the CD player and external DAC setup to CD Player without external DAC  setup via RCA connections and it sounded very similar, which makes me think that the CD player’s DAC is used. Bypass mode on my old CD player with external DAC sounds completely different.

Signals aren’t processed twice...if you are using a digital out with a CD player, then it should be passing unprocessed digitstowhatever you are plugging it into...
That makes sense as the internal DAC converts to analog and that can’t go into the external DAC. Still strange that both setups sounded similar although different DACs were used.
What cd player and external DAC?
Might just be that your newer CD player playing through its own DAC is a vast improvement on your old CD player.
Hence the reason you do not hear too much difference now.

Both setups probably sound the same because the jitter is so high from the digital output as well as the internal master clock.  If you reclock the digital output before going to the DAC, it will probably sound a lot better, but this depends on the DAC.  Jitter is the #1 problem with digital.

Here is the jitter of a good transport and how much a reclocker can reduce it:

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Thanks for all the responses. It could well be the jitter. Set up was Rega Apollo with Berkeley Alpha DAC. My old CD player in pass-through mode with the Alpha DAC sounds much better. I am looking to replace the old CD player with a a more reliable one, ideally a transport only, but wanted to see if the Rega could be an option.
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@stereonista - have you considered storing your CD data on a server with a solid state drive?
Letting the clock of the server, and software, deal expressly with the timing delivery of the bit stream, all with no moving parts. Many have CD ripping software built in.

You may be surprised at the sound quality available now, playing through music servers these days, that also offer online streaming capability. It may not be for you, however, the convenience and possibly better performance of your entire collection in one small package might be a consideration?

This jitter issue (which is a very real one) can be more highly resolved by the engineering efforts of well respected brands available for reasonable investment.