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  1. #1
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    Cool The best optical cable you have found.

    First I'd like to say to all those that say I'm an Audiophile when I tried to say I wasn't, this thread has me convinced! I can hear a difference in Optical cables. I started with a Sony from Best Buy and found a Fusion from Radio shack that sounded better. Even my son, who inherited my ear, could tell a difference without me telling him. That was years ago. I now have a DVD player & pre/pro from Integra Research that have four different ways to output sound for stereo. For DVD-A the sound is transfered from DVD to pre/pro through a DB-25 computer cable and I can also use it for stereo, which is the BEST sound of all. I am using Blue Jeans cable RCA's for Digital coax and Analog output and they sound virtually the same. The worst sound comes from my Digital Optical out. Considering the DVD & Pre/Pro both have the same DAC's and Apogee clock, the digital sound, in theory, should be the same as what comes in analog, the differences being only in the transfer method. The RCA cable sounding the same as the Digital Coax proves this theory but tells me the optical cable is losing something.
    After that background, here is my question - What can someone who has already sat down, compared and found the best optical link recommend? Or should I just stick with my Coax connection?
    Last edited by IBSTORMIN; 01-19-2008 at 01:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    All optical cable should be the same. It transmits digitally, 1's and 0's. Same for digital coax! The music is encoded to 1's and 0's. Music is either being transmitted or it isn't! There should be no difference between optical cable brands.

    check out this site.
    http://www.hometheatermag.com/advice.../907cablesweb/
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
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    Parasound A21 amp
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    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
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    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
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  3. #3
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    All optical cable should be the same. It transmits digitally, 1's and 0's. Same for digital coax! The music is encoded to 1's and 0's. Music is either being transmitted or it isn't!

    yeah, this will sound weird, but my dealer has experimented with various optical cables, and he found a big difference between different cables.

    he said he found Audioquest sounding the best (they have synthetic fiberglass and real fiberglass cables) the real fiberglass cables proved to be the best (it costs like $300 or so), but he said their best synthetic fiberglass cable (costing about $70) came really really close.

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  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Placebo effect! You should only be able to hear differences on long runs(15' or more) with poor quality plastic optical due to signal loss! There cannot be a difference if the same 1's and 0's are being transmitted to the DAC! If the same 1' and 0's are arriving at the DAC then there cant be any difference in tonality.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  5. #5
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    Angry Why waste my time.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    Placebo effect! You should only be able to hear differences on long runs(15' or more) with poor quality plastic optical due to signal loss! There cannot be a difference if the same 1's and 0's are being transmitted to the DAC! If the same 1' and 0's are arriving at the DAC then there cant be any difference in tonality.
    Did you not read my post? If you can't hear the difference, why did you post??

  6. #6
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    Talking Thanks for your response!

    Quote Originally Posted by basite
    yeah, this will sound weird, but my dealer has experimented with various optical cables, and he found a big difference between different cables.

    he said he found Audioquest sounding the best (they have synthetic fiberglass and real fiberglass cables) the real fiberglass cables proved to be the best (it costs like $300 or so), but he said their best synthetic fiberglass cable (costing about $70) came really really close.
    No, it doesn't sound weird because I can hear the difference and as my post said, there HAS to be something lost in the optical cable. Thanks for the advise, but $300 to make a slight difference in my H/T doesn't seem like a good idea. The Synthetic @ $70 might be worth it, but I think I'll just use the Digital Coax at this time.

  7. #7
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    Talking Blackraven, I apologize, you did not waste my time.

    I checked out the site you referenced and found my answer.

    check out this site.
    http://www.hometheatermag.com/advice.../907cablesweb/[/QUOTE]

    "Arguments about which type of digital connection is superior have been going on for years, particularly in the audiophile world. Coaxial digital cables can generally pass a wider bandwidth signal than Toslink, and many audiophiles are firm in their belief that coaxial actually sounds better than optical."

    ******* I can hear the difference they are talking about!!!!!

    "Others say this is nonsense. Bits are bits, and both should sound the same. They also point out that optical, by omitting the metal link, minimizes the chances for ground loop hum."

    ******** Sounds like your argument, eh Blackraven?

    "You may very well not hear any difference between these two flavors of digital cable, but since no one that we know of has ever argued that coaxial sounds worse, we'd recommend a coaxial connection unless it results in hum—which in our experience it rarely does. If you run out of coaxial inputs, then use Toslink for your less critical sources. Some sources, in fact, offer only Toslink digital outputs."

    I think I'll stick with coaxial - THANKS!!!

  8. #8
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    So little time

    Quote Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN
    Did you not read my post? If you can't hear the difference, why did you post??
    Waste your time, eh? Some people will learn nothing, so whose time is being wasted? blackraven is trying to pointing out that many of the differences enthusiasts suppose they hear, are sefl-delusional.

    Based what I've read, the differences between cables isn't due to lost bits but to jitter, i.e. uneven arrival time of the data in case of cables. I have heard it stated the coaxial is less jitter-inducing than optical: personally I haven't noticed a difference. Be that as it may, I use a glass optical cable from Parts Express with which I'm well pleased ... http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=180-952

  9. #9
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    Can't we just all get along???

    [QUOTE=Feanor]Waste your time, eh? Some people will learn nothing, so whose time is being wasted? blackraven is trying to pointing out that many of the differences enthusiasts suppose they hear, are sefl-delusional.

    Thanks for the advice, but why do you feel the need to be offensive?? I am new to this and do not understand why everyone is so hateful ! ! ! I said in my post to reply if you have sat down and compared. Blackraven just went off on me, trying to tell me that I can't be hearing what I hear and you flipped me off ! ! REAL nice, I feel so welcomed. I take it this means you didn't read on to where I apologized to blackraven even if he wasn't very nice to me because he gave me the answer I was looking for with his link. I LEARNED and you both should re-read the article and my comments on the post. If YOU can't hear the difference, that doesn't mean it isn't there, just that YOU can't hear it.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=IBSTORMIN]
    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Waste your time, eh? Some people will learn nothing, so whose time is being wasted? blackraven is trying to pointing out that many of the differences enthusiasts suppose they hear, are sefl-delusional.

    Thanks for the advice, but why do you feel the need to be offensive?? I am new to this and do not understand why everyone is so hateful ! ! ! I said in my post to reply if you have sat down and compared. Blackraven just went off on me, trying to tell me that I can't be hearing what I hear and you flipped me off ! ! REAL nice, I feel so welcomed. I take it this means you didn't read on to where I apologized to blackraven even if he wasn't very nice to me because he gave me the answer I was looking for with his link. I LEARNED and you both should re-read the article and my comments on the post. If YOU can't hear the difference, that doesn't mean it isn't there, just that YOU can't hear it.
    Mate if anyone should feel 'hurt', it should be blackraven. Don't you think telling him that his response was a waste of your time a little... well not nice? Personally i'll back what he said about those cables. The difference in what you'll hear is probably minimal.
    As for Feanor, he's just messing with you, probably because of what you said to raven.
    People are allowed to give their opinions, even though you may not agree with what you read. Please chill and accept different answers.
    AA.
    Last edited by audio amateur; 01-20-2008 at 04:10 AM.

  11. #11
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    I used optical cables from Transparent. I had one for cable/satelite box and one for DVD. When I bought my Blu-ray player I just used the same Toslink cable when I put it in the DVD's place. Well I developed a problem when I switched from cable to satelite, the sound from the satelite box was tinny and no surrounds. I first thought bad cable, It wasn't, the same thing with both. I switched inputs on my processor, what?, the same horrible sound from my BR player. The last thing I suspected was a bad optical input. What happened to it I don't know. Here's the point, my satelite box only has optical, so I put that into the good optical, my BR has coaxial out so I bought a cable and I think it ended up being a Monster just because the closest place open at the time was Radio Shack. I had a noticeable improvement from my BR player using coaxial over optical. Until this experience I didn't think their was much difference either. Coaxial is also less likely to develop problems. Those optical ends seem to be more fragile.

    I would take what you read on those online magazines with a grain of salt, one of the HD sites posted an article trying to say all HDMI cables were the same regardless of price.

    Blackraven the operative words in your statement "IF ALL 1'S AND 0'S WERE THE SAME WHEN THEY REACH YOUR PROCESSOR". Just because a signal is digital doesn't mean it isn't immune to interference and data loss.

    When I replaced a 1 meter coax from Transparent with a short Zu, the shorter length recommended by the owner manual, I didn't detect any difference. Both of these are good cables though.

    So I'm not sure how much difference there might be between quality coax cables but I'm fairly convinced now that coaxial is a better method of delivering data over optical.

    It's interesting the firewire sounds best. I think that was actually the best upcoming connection until HDMI gangstered it's way onto the market. HDMI has been nothing but a point of confusion and deception since it's roll out. It's the worst thing to ever hit the industry. But, I digress.

  12. #12
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    Thanks Mr P, as usual an intelligent post.

  13. #13
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    AA
    What part of my apology did you miss?

  14. #14
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN
    Or should I just stick with my Coax connection?
    You’re probably better off with Coax.

    The problem with optical connection is not the cable, but the couplers at each end of it. Since optical use reflective property to transmit signal, a precise position of connectors are critical to achieve proper angle, timing and reflection.

    So quality of couplers will matter with optical cables.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Hey, I meant no offense and I'm sorry if you think I went off on you. I'm just expressing my opinion and what I have read and experienced. I have a pretty good ear and so do my 16 and 20 yo kids. I thought that this is what this forum is all about-sharing idea's. I'm just throwing them out there for open discussion. We don't have to get nasty about it. I'M SORRY IF YOU FELT I HIJACKED YOUR POST!

    While I do believe that there can be subtle differences in cables, I don't believe that there are differences in optical cable at such short distances of 3feet. Its just my opinion and that of several engineering people and a physicist. And feanor is right, with optical cable, jitter is the source of distortion.

    I take everthing I read with a grain of salt. I believe every thing should be evidenced based. I'm certainly no audio expert and there are plenty of people here that are more knowledgeable about A/V tech than me. Any thing I say should be taken with a grain of salt as should most things on this forum which is about peoples experieces and opinions trying to help people make informed decisions as best as possible. I've always appreciated the open discussion and sharing of idea's and differences of opinion. Without these differences the forum would be boring and we would never learn from each other And I always try to respect other opinions even if I don't agree. Check out other forums. This cable debate is a hot topic and ever on going.

    And I didnt say that there cant be a difference in sound from optical to coax. There sure can be differences depending upon the quality of cables, EMF interference, the quality of the connection at the source and receiving end and well as the electronic components that deliver the optical and digital coax to the DAC. These all play a factor in the equation.
    Last edited by blackraven; 01-19-2008 at 11:10 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  16. #16
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN
    AA
    What part of my apology did you miss?
    I hadn't read it before posting what I wrote, so you can forget part of what I wrote

  17. #17
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    All optical cable should be the same. It transmits digitally, 1's and 0's. Same for digital coax! The music is encoded to 1's and 0's. Music is either being transmitted or it isn't! There should be no difference between optical cable brands.

    check out this site.
    http://www.hometheatermag.com/advice.../907cablesweb/

    Placebo effect! You should only be able to hear differences on long runs(15' or more) with poor quality plastic optical due to signal loss! There cannot be a difference if the same 1's and 0's are being transmitted to the DAC! If the same 1' and 0's are arriving at the DAC then there cant be any difference in tonality.
    Blackraven, did you even read my whole post where I explained my experience? It seems to me you just were trying to set yet another misguided soul straight on the fact that ALL optical cable should be the same once you saw the post but you did not read my post. IF you did read my post then you dismissed my saying that I hear a difference as not possible, basically insulting me and my abilities. You are FORCING YOUR OPINION, NOT tryin to help. YOU got nasty.

    Go back and re-read all the posts and you will see that you actually, in trying to prove me wrong, gave me what I needed. What I found out thru your link is that, as an Audiophile, what I was experiencing is what other audiophiles hear in the expanded range the coaxial cable has to offer. The highs I can hear on the DB-25, Coax & RCA are muffled on the optical cable. The article goes on to describe people like you, that insist that there can be no difference, and then recommends Coax as the best option. I think you inadvertantly answered my question with that article better than anyone else. I was just offended you, after I took the time to explain where I was coming from, dismissed what I had expereinced, whether it was from not reading it, or trying to tell me I'm wrong when all I asked for was a recommendation, neither was a help.
    Here is a direct quote from "BLUE JEANS CABLE" where they explicitly say there IS a difference in optical cable and talk about losses:

    "When we have a choice, we prefer to run digital audio in coax; it's more robust over distance, and the cable is interchangeable with cable used for certain other applications (e.g., composite video). However, an increasing number of devices are coming onto the market with digital audio available only in optical form, following the TOSlink standard. For these applications, we build our optical cables using the finest high-performance Plastic Optical Fiber (POF), Mitsubishi's ESKA Fiber. While POF is in general rather lossy stuff compared to glass optical fiber, we prefer it for optical digital audio use because it's much more physically durable and because its aperture matches the spec for optical digital audio use, unlike glass fiber which is too small and must be used in bundles. We hand-cut and terminate each of these cables ourselves so we know they're done right and tested before they go out."

    Looks like, instead of asking the question, I should have just researched it myself like I usually do. It would have been less hassle. Lesson learned.
    Last edited by IBSTORMIN; 01-20-2008 at 08:12 AM.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    I think you've got issues my friend. Raven hardly wrote anything, half of which was directed to Basite.

  19. #19
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    One thing that gets under my skin more than anything is when a discussion of cables happens and some one says, "it's the placebo effect". That is a major insult and doesn't hold water. I don't care if some one tells me they didn't have the same experience but to incenuate what I experience is imagination does make me angry. Myself I'd love nothing morre than for cheap cables to do the same job, what kind of idiot wants to throw away money. But I've had experiences where cables have made a big enough improvement it warranted the extra money. I personally don't believe it, or they have to prove it, when they say a cable will improve my system. I have to hear it. I audition before I buy or make sure there is a return policy and I have returned some cables. To say it's a placebo effect is too say we are to stupid to evaluate if something makes an improvement or not. Also if the placebo effect goes for cables it goes for every single piece of equipment in ones system. So those who want to claim placebo, how did you choose your gear? I'm sure it wasn't the cheapest you could find because there isn't a difference between anything.

    Then there is the matter of respecting one another and each other's opinion. From different discussions Feanor and I have quite different views on things from the importance of source to why play vinyl. Well, I guess maybe even cables. I can't remember ever having a heated discussion or argument with him. Sorry to single you out Feanor but you are the first to pop in to my head. After buying my PS Audio Quentessence I posted here because I had excellent results with it, some one else on the board tried one and I believe sent it back, but we had a different experience, we didn't get into name calling and insults over it. I'm not a saint either because if one searched hard enough you'd find were I have had heated posts as well. Some one probably accused me of having a placebo effect I don't know where I'm going with this, it's hard to know from reading off a screen what a person's demeanor is when they post something, so let's not go off half cocked on some one and let's try to respect each others opinions and experience. Even if you never heard a difference in a cable isn't a reason to say there isn't because you haven't heard everything. So at least keep an open mind and try to convey your experience without calling the rest of us crazy, in so many words. And, before firing back at me this is not pointed at anyone in particular but a broad open thought for all of us.

  20. #20
    abNORMal IBSTORMIN's Avatar
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    And again, Thanks Mr P, as usual an intelligent post. But I believe you are pissed off this time.
    I apologize to any I have offended. The fact that Basite felt he had to start his post with " Yeah, this may sound weird" and Mr P is expecting someone to FIRE BACK AT HIM tells me you guys need to chill out, I thought this forum was to help each other, not tear each other apart. But I'm just new, maybe that's the way you like it. If so, I'm done. Can we all just start over with a little bit of decency toward each other?
    Last edited by IBSTORMIN; 01-20-2008 at 09:25 AM.

  21. #21
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    Not at all. See what I mean about not being able to tell from reading what a person's feeling. I've also been around here long enough and involved in enough cable discussions not to let the "placebo" statements really bother me anymore. I do hate to see that attitude conveyed to newbies because if they don't have the nerve to try things for themselves they could miss out on a good thing. Also, as I stated it's insulting and usually flametory. But I'm not upset with anyone.

  22. #22
    Forum Regular diggity's Avatar
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    i now mainly use coax cables in my current system, but i have owned both cheap and more expensive optical cables in the past. i honestly didn't hear much of a difference in sound, but many years of nightclubbing probably hasn't helped my hearing that much.but the dearer optical was a thicker cable,so i put this down to the fact they made it this way so it would be harder to bend to the point of breaking or damaging cable inside. but i could be wrong.

    cheers: dazza

  23. #23
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    nitght clubbing is a no no in this hobby

  24. #24
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    That's why 'audiophiles' aren't the most popular with girls

  25. #25
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Speak for yourself

    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    That's why 'audiophiles' aren't the most popular with girls
    Women my own age dig me

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