Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 46
  1. #1
    I love beans orgasmdonor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    58

    Digital coax vs. Optical

    I have been confused on this issue until today. Some say digital coax some say opitcal for sound. Eddie has stated that you must have an opital cable for best audio. I have been told that the digital coax and opitcal cables both do the same task and not one is better than the other...signal is just transmitted differently..I got two opinions on this. One was by tech support at Best Buy the other from a tech at Crutchfeild both said exactly the same thing not one is better than the other.. To coax vs. optical...The ONLY way the optical cable could be a better source is if you have to run 25 feet or more from one source to the other. Then the optical light would in essence transmit quicker. I doubt any of us would even notice the difference especially if your receiver has auto or manual "lip-sync" capabilites while watching a movie...music only; no difference at all. Please give me your opinions on this subject and what you ahve experienced. Thank you

  2. #2
    LMB
    LMB is offline
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    101
    I find that the optical has more of a tinny sound
    base seems better with digital cable

  3. #3
    I love beans orgasmdonor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    58
    I have never owned the optical cable always had the coax..I have heard through out the years differing opinions on this and when I have asked a "pro" they say there is no difference but the way it is transmitted. So why both options then? The only reasonable one that I have is for game consoles. Alot of them do not have the coax just the optical connection for dolby surround.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    1,370
    If optical is the default, you can be sure that it's cheaper to implement. Back in the day, the high end sided with coaxial, but even then, the differences weren't terribly evident at the mainstream level. It's really a non-issue unless really long runs or ultra-resolution comes into play. Then testing of the various options may be in order. Personally, I feel more comfortable with coaxial. I've bent and trampled a few optical cords in my day.

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
    Posts
    9,025
    Length of cable isn't an issue in homes usually, unless you have some absurd 50 ft runs or something.
    Technically, there shouldn't be any difference between coax and optical.
    The reason why coax is said to be better is simple. With optical cables, the data is converted one additional step. From electrical modulation to light modulation and back. This extra conversion step doesn't occur with coax.
    No matters though. These chips don't make a mistake. It's a 1 or a 0, always. So there should be no advantage to either.

    Coax used to be more durable, I think manufacturers have optical cables down pat now though.

  6. #6
    Suspended markw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Noo Joisey. Youse got a problem wit dat?
    Posts
    4,659

    the only time optical has a benefit...

    ..is in a high EMI/RFI environment and electrical noise is a problem or there
    s a ground loop fbetween the source/destination.. Other than that there's no difference in performance but coax is more flexible, has much more forgiving connectors, and virtually ANYcheapo interconnect will work fine.

    Trust me, that light/time thing is pure BS.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    halifax,nova scotia,canada
    Posts
    1,083
    a friend of mine and i tested two cable of about the same value and we could discover no real difference in performance.The big thing was the cable ends,the coax have a much tighter seal than the optical.I do think however as you get into expensive cables,coax performance will go up,while optical will improve if you use glass plugs instead of plastic.
    thanks
    bill

  8. #8
    Suspended markw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Noo Joisey. Youse got a problem wit dat?
    Posts
    4,659

    why?

    Quote Originally Posted by musicman1999
    I do think however as you get into expensive cables,coax performance will go up,while optical will improve if you use glass plugs instead of plastic.
    if the 1's and 0's make it through the cable and to the error correction, it's all the same.

  9. #9
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Anywhere but here...
    Posts
    13,243
    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    These chips don't make a mistake. It's a 1 or a 0, always. So there should be no advantage to either.
    though.
    Optical "sounds" cooler though. If you tell your friends that you have optical cables in your stereo set-up, they say, "that's cool dude. You must have a great system!" If you tell them you have coax, they don't blink an eye.

    Now there's something you can base a decission on.

    For those of you who don't know me, this has been a joke. Please smile.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Margate, Florida
    Posts
    614
    I have and older Zenith and Pioneer dvd player that has opt and coax output. My opt. wire was from GE. The coax wire was some unnamed source. I had both wires connected into the Sherwood 6095R that I use. I hit the input switch switching back and forth between the two connections trying one player at a time. Both sounded good, but both did not sound the same. I felt the coaxial gave tighter control over the audio much like a higher damping factor in an amplifier. Lets say you were looking at the mark of a fine and medium ball point pen. The coax was more "fine", the opt. more "med". I liked the coax for movies and the opt. for music(the opt. had a more "tube like sound).

    I know we talk alot about one's and zero's here. Recently my brother put an older Pioneer Dv-525 player on his system and then put back his Pioneer Elite Dv38. The output tested was the coaxial. Both players deliver the one and zeros but that elite player is putting out some kind of better one and zeros then the 525. There is a hell of a difference of sound between these two machines. I have long ascertained that the one and zero thing has a SIGNATURE. We can all write the same words and numbers on a piece of paper, but due to our differences in handwriting they will look similar but not the same.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,023

    At Last A Voice of Reason

    Forgive the rest of these people, they do not understand. They claim that if you connect a $50 DVD player by optic cable to say a $1500 receiver the sound of a CD will be exactly the same as if you connected a $500 DVD player by optic cable to a receiver. They also claim that a $10 optic cable will sound the same as a $100 optic cable. In regards to the former, you & I obviously have experienced the differences in sound but other people who for the most part haven't actually done a real life comparison, but yet are all to willing to dismiss someone elses comments , out of ignorance. To quote Mr. T, I pity the fool.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    halifax,nova scotia,canada
    Posts
    1,083
    ed

    you are saying two different things.That different dvd players will sound different and that different cables will sound the same.Different dvd players may have slight differences in sound due to better quality internal components reading and transmitting those 1's and 0's.If you listen to a $29 dvd player and a $2500 player may sound a little better,but even then it may be hard for the average person to detect.But then you also say different cables sound different,but the cable comes in after those 1's and 0's have been read and sent to the output stage.In the analog world cables make a difference,digital world no.
    bill

  13. #13
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    X
    Posts
    2,286
    Ed-

    I appreciate your posts, really. But this topic is making me mental. It's 1's and 0's. The grey area in between exists only between your ears. There's nothing wrong with that, every one is entitled to have opinions that are not grounded in reality. But to not recognize them as such is ignorance.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Mike Anderson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    722
    It's 1's and 0's, OK, but isn't there also the matter of jitter?

    I had the impression from people who've tested such things that coaxial typically results in slightly less jitter, but the difference is not audible.
    There's an audiophile born every minute. Congratulations; you're right on time.

    FREE RADICAL RADIO: Hours of free, radical MP3s!

  15. #15
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    1,994
    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Forgive the rest of these people, they do not understand. They claim that if you connect a $50 DVD player by optic cable to say a $1500 receiver the sound of a CD will be exactly the same as if you connected a $500 DVD player by optic cable to a receiver. They also claim that a $10 optic cable will sound the same as a $100 optic cable. In regards to the former, you & I obviously have experienced the differences in sound but other people who for the most part haven't actually done a real life comparison, but yet are all to willing to dismiss someone elses comments , out of ignorance. To quote Mr. T, I pity the fool.
    Dont forget when running through the optic, the receiver is doing the bass management and the Dac's. Really, but for just reading the signal and sending it,thats all the player at any cost is doing.
    Look & Listen

  16. #16
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Margate, Florida
    Posts
    614
    Quote Originally Posted by musicman1999
    ed

    you are saying two different things.That different dvd players will sound different and that different cables will sound the same.Different dvd players may have slight differences in sound due to better quality internal components reading and transmitting those 1's and 0's.If you listen to a $29 dvd player and a $2500 player may sound a little better,but even then it may be hard for the average person to detect.But then you also say different cables sound different,but the cable comes in after those 1's and 0's have been read and sent to the output stage.In the analog world cables make a difference,digital world no.
    bill
    The difference in the digital audio quality out of my brother's Marantz 5400 receiver of the Pioneer DV-38 and the DV-525 players was far more than slight, more like quite significant on his system. Years ago, like back in the late 70s, he had a rather powerful stereo system with large floorstanding speakers. I tested two phono cartridges, the Shure M91ED and the V15 type 111. On that system, the M91ED sounded like mud in comparison to that V15 111. On the same token, I was using a Fisher 35 watt tube amp on two Marantz IMP 6Gs. I performed the same test and found there was not too much difference in audio quality between the two cartridges on that system.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    1,370
    Yes, jitter or timing problems are theoretically possible with optical cables, and it is possible to design optical cables with an eye toward minimizing jitter--that is, the possible scattering of light that could make the reading of those digits slightly less reliable and steady. It's also possible to vary materials in optical cables to ensure signal stability over long runs. But loss of a digital signal is unmistakeable; sound disappears or drops out. It isn't a delicate sound-quality issue. Although, theoretically (at least according to some wags), the smearing that jitter can cause may be audible, the vast majority of people--experts and amateurs alike--maintain that such differences are either very hard to hear or absent altogether. To claim that an obvious difference in sound quality between different optical cables is routinely evident flies in the face of both science and universal experience. If someone is capable of discerning sonic variations in optical cable, I can't imagine why he would ever have to ask other people endless questions about whether sound quality really varies in far more obvious contexts.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Margate, Florida
    Posts
    614
    ED, some time ago, my brother's audiophile friend had bought a DAC for his CD player that featured a opitcal output. One day he came over and stated that he had been getting rather lousy sound so he sold the DAC and bought another one that used a coax cable instead. He was pleased with the result. He also gave my brother the optical cable which was from AR. It sat around for a year or two in our home. When I got my first D.D. receiver I had bought a GE opt. cable. I tried both cables on my Zenith player. The AR was dull as can be in audio quality. The GE on the other hand was fine. The way I see it was that for some reason the AR cable's signature or function was not up to snuff. If I were a technichan with equipment to analyze this stuff, I would be experimenting right now. I can tell you one thing; I am not about to play Consumers Union and spend a bunch of monies on different optical cables too see how much of a difference there is among brands and their costs.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Margate, Florida
    Posts
    614
    Edtyct; If what you say is true, then why did the AR cable I describe sound so flat and failed to produce much high frequency detail?

  20. #20
    Suspended markw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Noo Joisey. Youse got a problem wit dat?
    Posts
    4,659
    Quote Originally Posted by kelsci
    The difference in the digital audio quality out of my brother's Marantz 5400 receiver of the Pioneer DV-38 and the DV-525 players was far more than slight, more like quite significant on his system. Years ago, like back in the late 70s, he had a rather powerful stereo system with large floorstanding speakers. I tested two phono cartridges, the Shure M91ED and the V15 type 111. On that system, the M91ED sounded like mud in comparison to that V15 111. On the same token, I was using a Fisher 35 watt tube amp on two Marantz IMP 6Gs. I performed the same test and found there was not too much difference in audio quality between the two cartridges on that system.
    Understand, phono cartridges are transducers which are euphonic by design. IOW, they are made to sound different. And, comparing different speakers/amp combinations to a digital feed is likewise foolish.

    Neither of these are valid comparisons to a digital signal where ones are ones and zeros are zeros, and never the twains shall meet.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,671
    If I may, I'd like to quote Doyle from Sling Blade:

    "If you all don't shutup, I'm gonna go out of my mind!"

    As Mark said, it's 1's and 0's people. Digital is a totally different animal than analog. With digital it's either on or off. Is there light coming out of your optical cable? Yes? Good. The cable passes. It works. Here's an idea..look down the end of an optical cable and see which light looks better. That will tell you which cable will sound better. The cleaner the light, the cleaner the sound..right?

  22. #22
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications
    Posts
    9,025

    ROFLMAO - Quote of the week!

    So good, I have to post it again:

    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    Here's an idea..look down the end of an optical cable and see which light looks better. That will tell you which cable will sound better. The cleaner the light, the cleaner the sound..right?

  23. #23
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    1,370
    Quote Originally Posted by kelsci
    Edtyct; If what you say is true, then why did the AR cable I describe sound so flat and failed to produce much high frequency detail?
    kelsci,

    My casual answer would be jitter, or some flaw in the transmission in the light pulses--in other words, the information getting to the right destination but not before the light stream scattered, causing the high frequencies to smudge. Just a guess. The point is that the difference was not due to a discrepancy in how the cables sent the data but to serious timing interruptions in the AR. The AR certainly wasn't trying to achieve a "dull" signature sound. Other than that, I'm at a loss. I've used a multitude of toslink and coaxial digital connectors over the last two decades. I prefer coaxial for certain practical reasons, but I can't say that I've heard any glaring differences between digital cables during that time. I should say, as well, that I'm not a skeptic about cables in the analog domain, having heard major distinctions through the years. Nor am I so wedded to current scientific doctrine that I can't imagine something completely unforeseen changing the terrain. History is littered with supposedly incontrovertible scientific dogma that some brilliant little observation overturned forever (think of the transition from Newtonian physics to relativity and quantum mechanics, for instance; Newton's version had oodles of empirical evidence to back it up before other empirical evidence supervened). But variations between optical cables has never caused me a moment's notice. If someone else hears them when I, and presumably others don't, so be it. Discussion over, as far as I'm concerned, unless we're all prepared to rewrite the new laws of physics--to which I'm not opposed at all.

    Ed

  24. #24
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    727

    Excellent Post!

    >My casual answer would be jitter, or some flaw in the transmission in the light pulses--in other words, the information getting to the right destination but not before the light stream scattered, causing the high frequencies to smudge. Just a guess. The point is that the difference was not due to a discrepancy in how the cables sent the data but to serious timing interruptions in the AR. The AR certainly wasn't trying to achieve a "dull" signature sound. Other than that, I'm at a loss. I've used a multitude of toslink and coaxial digital connectors over the last two decades. I prefer coaxial for certain practical reasons, but I can't say that I've heard any glaring differences between digital cables during that time. I should say, as well, that I'm not a skeptic about cables in the analog domain, having heard major distinctions through the years. Nor am I so wedded to current scientific doctrine that I can't imagine something completely unforeseen changing the terrain. History is littered with supposedly incontrovertible scientific dogma that some brilliant little observation overturned forever (think of the transition from Newtonian physics to relativity and quantum mechanics, for instance; Newton's version had oodles of empirical evidence to back it up before other empirical evidence supervened). But variations between optical cables has never caused me a moment's notice. If someone else hears them when I, and presumably others don't, so be it. Discussion over, as far as I'm concerned, unless we're all prepared to rewrite the new laws of physics--to which I'm not opposed at all.<

    Whether I think your post is sensible because I agree with it or I agree with it because I think it's sensible is irrelevant!

  25. #25
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,671
    Quote Originally Posted by kelsci
    Edtyct; If what you say is true, then why did the AR cable I describe sound so flat and failed to produce much high frequency detail?
    Maybe you didn't plug it in all the way? Maybe some dust got in front of the lens? Bent it too much? Jacket is nicked? Recevier configuration problem...maybe you were actually hearing the analog signal?

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •