audio out help [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : audio out help

03-22-2009, 02:26 PM
Hi I'm sorry if this is a stupid question but I currently have my hd cable box connected to my receiver via digital audio out...what would be better this setup or using optical audio outs. I'm a newby with no idea of either one.

Mr Peabody
03-22-2009, 02:54 PM
What do you mean by "digital out"? Optical, Coaxial and HDMI are all digital outputs. If you are using a coaxial digital you are fine. If you meant to say analog, using the two RCA connections usually red/white then the optical or HDMI will be much better. The analog connection will not allow your receiver to do 5.1.

03-22-2009, 08:02 PM
I guess the author wants to know which would sound better, coaxial digital or optical?

In general, if both cables are at low price (like below $20 for 1M) then it would be hard to define differences. But at higher price like $100 and above then I would personally invest on Coaxial digital. In my experience, I think the coaxial digital has more definition and carry a bit more dynamic than the optical.

BobbyCD, I would rec the coaxial digital Canare LV-71S from
And, since a new optical cable can be had cheaply from eBay, buy one and give yourself a run for an experiment. It's really fun.

03-22-2009, 09:13 PM
IMO, there is no difference in sound.

The digital coaxial cable is usually cheaper but more subject to interference if that is a problem (usually not).

The toslink/optical cable is usually more expensive but is subject to damage if you bend it too far.

Whichever you buy save big bucks and buy from this company ... wholesale prices on good quality built cables and connectors. I have bought from them several times ... great service and very prompt shipping. The cables are slightly stiff but not a problem in my case.

They come in many lengths.


Mr Peabody
03-23-2009, 05:46 PM
RR6, I differ with you on this some. Optical is light and sharp curves and bends can cause distortions. Whenever possible coaxial is a more stable and reliable connection for digital. In the same manner digital may be 1's and 0's but they have to be read as such so a quality cable is necessary. I would at least spend the money on a Blue Jeans version.

With you buying higher quality A/V gear I hope at some point you experiment with better cables in order to get what you paid for out of it. I don't know what to attribute it to but I have had noticeable differences in cables including HDMI. I don't want to start this debate over again for the millionth time, I just urge each one to at least try for themselves. If they don't hear or see a gain then return the cables.

04-07-2009, 03:24 PM
Saw this relevent qoute from Alan Lofft when I was at the Axiom Audio site.

"..........What about digital connectors? For those who’ve wondered, there isn’t any difference in the digital audio signals conducted by a coaxial wire cable or a fiber-optic interconnect. In the former, the on and off pulses representing the binary code of a digital signal are conducted electrically; in the latter, a "Toslink" interconnect uses pulses of light to transmit the same code. Fibre-optic digital links are not subject to hum pickup or electromagnetic interference, a nice feature. But apart from that virtue, coaxial and optical digital connectors "sound" identical..........."

Mr Peabody
04-07-2009, 07:27 PM
The web is full of opposing views and we can tit for tat but as your articles states, Optical is light, you can't honestly believe that light will travel through that cable and hit a sharp bend and not suffer some distortion. The 1's and 0's have to be maintained and people who say digital is digital is sorely misinformed, it's much more to it than 1's and 0's. If the optical was on a pretty straight run I agree there may not be any difference in sound but most of us rarely achieve this. The cable runs out one shelf up or down to another and usually a nice 90 degree bend where it plugs into the unit. I've used both and only optical have I had problems. A good quality coaxial digital cable should not have interference issues. Out of the two my experience has been coaxial is much more reliable and that's more my issue than sound. I believe the potential is there for possible sound degradation with optical but unless you A/B the two connections you wouldn't notice.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about here's an article where Steve Nugent says "optical is the worst of these connections" when referring to digital connections. He don't even address the light distortion he is only talking about jitter caused by the light to electric and electic to light conversion process. This article is mainly about why computer based could be better than a stand alone CD player but he goes into depth on digital.

04-07-2009, 09:55 PM
Mr. P said: ".....I don't want to start this debate over again for the millionth time..." If that is the case then avoid the temptation to sneak in your comments (I know you just couldn't help yourself :hand: ). I don't want to get into the debate either unless it is in a specific thread that we can freely offer our differring opinions. However, since you started it, how about if I defend myself in light of your comment and then we drop it. That seems fair, OK? (I am guessing that you will not be able to resist the temptation to have the last word ... no, no ,no :hand: had the first comment, I have the last one).

Mr. P said: ".....With you buying higher quality A/V gear I hope at some point you experiment with better cables in order to get what you paid for out of it......"

As far as the quote from MR. Lofft, you're getting off the subject. His comment was about sound. (So you don't think that fibre optics ever go in any direction except in a straight line? ... no response please, that is a rhetorical question)

I might not be able to afford the superior equipment that you own but I guarantee that doesn't mean I don't know about this hobby. I have spent 40 years reading every monthly publication I can get my hands on including "audiophile" publications like Stereophile and Absolute Sound, etc. I have on a number of occasions conducted my own objective comparisons with friends not only on my own cheap system but on their audiophile gear.

I have many years in marketing and sales at a retail, wholesale and factory level. I am thus familiar with the dwindling bottom end in many businesses such as audio/home theater. The push for decent profits has lead to a number of accessory lines that claim amazing improvements in sound. My findings backed up by credible objective sources are that almost all the significant sound differences attributed to cables, speaker wire, power conditioners, speaker stands, green felt pens, etc., etc., are non-existant. Those that come from sincere folks such as yourself are in many cases attributed to the fact that when someone is listening very carefully as when evaluating a new cable, etc., they notice characteristcis that they would not notice under casual listening.

Our opinions differ. Just let me assure you that it is not due to any lack of knowledge, experience or experimenting on my part.

RR6 :biggrin5:

04-08-2009, 06:38 AM
Premium cables and extended warranty plans are places where there is still good margin in hi-fi retail. Good margin for the retailer rarely translates to good value for the consumer.

As for the technical arguments of optical vs. electrical. Over these short interconnect distances, they're both going to have no problem getting the digital data there without error. The only other thing that needs to be considered is jitter. Jitter is introduced in an electrical connection by noise in the transmitter, receiver and picked up along the way. Jitter is introduced in an optical connection by by noise in the transmitter and receiver and smearing of the signal due to multiple reflections through the cable (in this contribution, there is some technical merit to Peabody's "bend" arguments). Comparable pictures but not exactly the same. Since data integrity is perfect with either interconnect, it will be impossible for most people to hear imperfections in either.