Fiber Optic vs. Digital Coax for DVD to receiver hookup? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-15-2004, 06:00 PM
WHich Cable shoudl I use to hoook up a Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai DVD Player to a Pioneer Elite VSX-55tx receiver? Since they are both i-link compatible, is it better to just use that? Or stick with the traditional digital coax or toslink? Thanks.

03-15-2004, 08:19 PM
I think the Fiber connection is better, i used it on a friend's system to connect dvd to receiver and it makes the receiver auto select the mode your dvd is set on. for exaple when i changed the movie audio to 5.1 the receiver changed too. I'm not sure if it does it on all receivers but it sure is a cool function.

03-15-2004, 08:35 PM
Mebbe I'm old and/or out of the loop but I have absolutely NO idea what I-link is.

On the other hand, as far as transferring digital data from a source component, either fibre (toslink) or coaxial cable both do the same function equally well. It's more a matter of convenience, cost and availability of inputs that should determine which you choose.

IMNSHO, given a choice I'd opt for coaxial every time. Cheaper, more flexible, more sure connections. A triple header in my book.

03-16-2004, 05:35 AM
I believe I-Link was actually Sony's name for their firewire connection. From what I understand about fiber and coax connections, the coax is supposed to be better because there's a conversion from optical to electrical which supposedly injects jitter. The coax connection is supposed to be as close to a "pure" source signal as you can get. I've listened to both and honestly feel the fiber sounds deeper and warmer. I have a degree in Electronics and understand about the conversion. I have decent, respectable equipment but not what I would call "high-end" so I can't speak about microsonics, or degrees of "grainieness" in the mid and upper frequencies, but I know what sounds good to me and the optical connection just sounds better.

03-16-2004, 08:36 PM
agreed, fiber just gives a more complete sound

03-16-2004, 09:27 PM
Both simply pass an identical string of ones and zeroes, yet one sounds different from the other. I wonder if by going through the two additional stages of processing toslink requires somehow alters the overall sound somewhat. I've never noticed this on my Denon 2803.

If there is a difference in the sound, it's due to something other than the cables. Either in the source unit or the receiver/processor.

03-17-2004, 12:01 AM
My Sony manual for my DD receiver recommends a coaxial connection instead of an optical connection but doesn't explain why... From my experience optical cables are more expensive and are more sensitive to damage compared to coax... Experiment and see what you like best, everyone has their own personal preference to this (I believe both transfer that same digital signal that's eventually converted to analog at the receiver stage).

03-17-2004, 12:35 AM
Scientifically, a fiber link is probably better.
With the cable, a beam of light is reflected within the internal walls of the fiber by critical refraction much like the way a diamond is designed to reflect light in a way that makes it seem exceptionally shiny. Reflection in this way is infinitesimally close to 100%, hence conservation of the signal. In addition, you may find many telephone cables in your area are being converted to fiber optics. This is because optics can accomodate more lines at once compared to copper. But I hardly think this is applicable in this case. Speed is faster in optics also such as new apartments feature a "broad band fiber optics connection". However, I dont think this will apply either.

03-18-2004, 10:31 AM
WHich Cable shoudl I use to hoook up a Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai DVD Player to a Pioneer Elite VSX-55tx receiver? Since they are both i-link compatible, is it better to just use that? Or stick with the traditional digital coax or toslink? Thanks.

I too have a 55txi and have spent hours pondering the same question. My opinion/answer is i-Link. i-Link is Sony's version of IEEE1394 or firewire as some call it. The advantages it has over coax/fiber is that it is jitter free and inherently smart. It incorporates a protocol which allows units to talk to each other. They can identify who and what they are and send messages indicating what kind of signal is being sent.

Besides the technical advantage i-Link has, it's implementation on the DV-59AVi makes it even more desirable. I know you have the 47 so this point may or may not apply. i-Link is the only connection which will allow the 59 to transmit every audio format it can read. If you use the coax/fiber you will need to also connect the 5.1 analog channels in order to get multichannel DVD audio and SACD signals. The i-Link passes it all.

Finally, I would say it is cheaper as well since a good quality firewire cable is much less expensive than a TOS link (fiber). A minor point but hey, the difference gets you a new CD or two...


03-18-2004, 10:20 PM
First let's tackle the iLink question.

If your DVD player has an iLink output, then it must be a DVD/DVD-A SACD player right?

If so, and you plan on listening to DVD-A and Super Audio Cd and your receiver does indeed have an iLink in, then it's a no-brainer, it's all about iLink baby.

Currently, iLink is the ONLY way to pass the DVD-A 24/96 - 24/192 Khz streams digitally. It's also the only way to pass the DSD Super Audio CD stream digitally.

Now the only question is are the DACs in your DVD player that much better than the ones in the receiver? Okay, who in the hell knows right? iLink is easy too, just one cable instead of six. If for some reason you had a DVD/SACD player with DACs that were to die for I might skip the iLink unless I had like the flagship Sony 9000ES receiver that's way too big and expensive IMO.

Now let me chime in on the coaxial - optical business. I'm sure this is an issue that will never really die, but here are my two cents. People that speak of fiber as better because it can't get interference from RF and that the signal stays pure always forget one key issue, the fact that the electrical signal must be changed into light, and then back into electrons on the other end. A lot can go wrong here. How good is the change from original signal to light in the player? How good is the conversion on the other end?

I don't think this can happen without some errors. And let's be honest, how many people have problems with RF interference?

I like coaxial based on theory alone. It is an electrical signal from beginning to end. Can I tell the difference with my own ears? Probably not.

- Tony

Fallen Kell
03-20-2004, 07:47 AM
I agree about what DAC's are more capable. You are very correct in this as many DVD-A SCAD players will have better DAC's then lower and middle-end receivers (even many high end receivers can not do as good a job). So it becomes more of a question about your overall equipment capability then just using the quote, "best tech", connection. iLink is a nice connection and you will probably not go too wrong using it. But you might be better off using fiber or coaxial, but again there is a difference in using these two connections as well.

Rule of thumb I would say try the iLink first, then use coaxial if you have a very short cable or very high quality coaxial cables (short as in 1-3 feet). If the cable is going to be longer then that, you will probably do better with using fiber optic. The fiber optic will not be affected nearly as much as a coaxial will over distance, but this depends on the quailty of the fiber converters (conver the signal from electrical to optical and vice versa), if these are not high quality then it will sound worse then coaxial no matter what the distance.

iLink is probably the most hassel free connection, so you might just want to use it for that reason. But you might get better sound depending on your receiver DAC quality by using coaxial or optical (if you know your DAC's on your receiver are of the same quality or better then the ones on your DVD-A then you can safely use the iLink knowing it will give you the best sound quality).

03-20-2004, 04:38 PM
Does an optical connection take priority over a coaxial connection if both are hooked up?

03-21-2004, 08:19 AM
WHich Cable shoudl I use to hoook up a Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai DVD Player to a Pioneer Elite VSX-55tx receiver? Since they are both i-link compatible, is it better to just use that? Or stick with the traditional digital coax or toslink? Thanks.
I am not sure but will take a stab at it..The DV 47AI has BM for both SACD/DVDa.Maybe distance setting also..I would use Ilink as mentioned above to play all formats with one connection..This is the part Im not sure on,.If using Ilink on the VSX55 it may use the BM and distance settings on the Receiver...That woul be a big + ...I would check into this,,