• 03-02-2013, 09:11 AM
    LeRoy
    My new findings.....Toslink can get the job done and really inexpensive too!
    Up until about three weeks ago I had never explored the Toslink option on my Stello units. After a couple of pints at my favorite watering hole in Austin,Tx and a visit to Fry's electronics I came home with a $17.00 Matix toslink.

    I replaced the Blue Marble Audio coaxial with the Matix and was surprised at how much more quiet the optical cable was...darker background, greater resolution, and an even handed forward push toward the listener without favoring any particular frequency. I was simply missing the bass slam and upper end sparkle of the BMA cable.

    So, went online shopping at Parts-express last week and all 4 new Toslink's arrived yesterday. Long story short- I am in love with my Belkin Toslink -part# 249-166, $3.00. With the Belkin I do believe I hit paydirt. I now have the bass weight and upper end liveliness that I was missing with the Matix. A very close second best is the Parts-express toslink 181-040, $4.30. This P.E. Toslink is all that the Belkin is except it's just a smidge less lively than the Belkin. Both are exceptional value. The P.E. really locks on really tight to both Stello units so that's and edge the P.E. cable has over the Belkin. The Belkin connects tightly to the transport and somewhat loose on the DAC.

    I dismissed the Opti-glow optical cable as when I opened the package I realized the connectors themselves are plastic so not even going to bother with them. I also dismissed the Acoustic Research Toslink and put it on the HT straight away after listening to the Belkin. I don't want to disconnect the Belkin.

    The bottom line...I am enjoying my $3.00 Toslink over my $300.00 BMA Coax and am kicking myself in the pants that its taken me all this time to discover this toslink stuff.... lol

    L
  • 03-02-2013, 12:28 PM
    bobrock
    Purist Audio design
    I have my entire system wired with purist Audio design cables and am very satisfied with them. Great cables, but not cheap.
  • 03-03-2013, 07:15 AM
    LeRoy
    Hi Bobrock. I checked out the P.A.D. website and the cables appear to be very well made. What line did you buy into?
  • 03-10-2013, 07:32 AM
    LeRoy
    Mini update. I am still hooked on the what the Toslink Digital cable is doing for my audio listening experience. I received my latest order from Signal Cable, Toslink and also Analog 2 XLR/RCA.

    I have the Toslink going from the Stello Tranport to the HHB CDR-850. Out from the HHB I have the XLR/RCA going to the Quinpu. Well, this combination of Toslink with XLR is the ticket for me. Detail, inner detail, delineated bass notes that can be followed and quiet. One attribute that I have noticed with any of the toslinks that I have tried recently is the way male vocals are presented/delivered.

    I know most of us audio dudes really hone in on the female vocals but the toslinks seem to treat the male vocals with as much TLC/accuracy as with the female vocals.
  • 03-10-2013, 08:59 AM
    StevenSurprenant
    For years, I too used Toslink for the same reason as you and that was after trying many different brands of coax. I did find one brand of coax that I liked better than the Toslink and that was from Silver Sonic. I also had a Toslink made from glass that was better than the ones made from plastic.

    FYI, while I think wire in either the digital or analog domain sounds different, I have yet to hear a HDMI wire sound different.

    Here is an interesting article about HDMI: Expensive HDMI cables make no difference - the absolute proof | Expert Reviews

    Here is also a very interesting discussion about" Why do digital cables sound different?" on Audiogon. I think the entire thread is worth reading...

    AudiogoN Forums: Why do digital cables sound different?
  • 03-10-2013, 10:04 AM
    LeRoy
    Hi SS, thanks for your feedback. It's good to know that someone else has also experienced the Toslink difference. I thought I might be experiencing some kind of audio hallucination/audio delusion just because I was buying and trying this new stuff.

    I will be checking out links you provided and also look up the Silver Sonic cable. Thanks for the feedback :)

    L
  • 07-27-2013, 05:13 AM
    IBSTORMIN
    I have found the toslink to introduce noise in the conversion to optical signal and back again, one of its major weaknesses. Digital cable just transfers the signal without changing it.
  • 08-03-2013, 08:01 AM
    LeRoy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN View Post
    I have found the toslink to introduce noise in the conversion to optical signal and back again, one of its major weaknesses. Digital cable just transfers the signal without changing it.

    I have only heard noise once and that was due to a very loose connection. Once I snapped the plug back in the noise disappeared.

    A few weeks ago I bought a 20" glass Toslink from Lifatec. The adaptor plugs are excellent and snap in perfectly at both ends. Initially I really connected with the mid range textures and low end depth. After a few weeks I have tired of this cable because this particular cable is not particularly adept at delivering some top end sparkle.

    Last night I put on some Jean-Luc Ponty: No Absolute Time. As much as I enjoyed the low end presentation the top end really failed to engage me and if anyone is familiar with this particular piece of music you know how important the top end is throughout this recording. So, today I pulled the plug on the Lifatec and put back the $3.00 Toslink from Belkin. Now playing Lisa Lynne: Hopes & Dreams, and harp notes sound rich and defined as they should be. The overall sound is balanced with the Belkin.

    While I still prefer a Toslink in the mix somewhere the Lifatec is best suited for those who would prefer low end over everything else or for those trying to add warmth to a bright system.
  • 08-03-2013, 09:37 AM
    IBSTORMIN
    Just try it!
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LeRoy View Post
    I have only heard noise once and that was due to a very loose connection. Once I snapped the plug back in the noise disappeared.

    Not talking that type of noise, just not as clean as a digital cable link. The highs are crisp and clean and the bass is tighter with coax.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LeRoy View Post
    While I still prefer a Toslink in the mix somewhere the Lifatec is best suited for those who would prefer low end over everything else or for those trying to add warmth to a bright system.

    From your description of what you want, you should just try Blue Jeans digital cable and see what you think. They aren't very expensive and I believe they are a solid cable, not stranded. You might be surprised.Digital Audio Cables at Blue Jeans Cable I have tried several toslink and found this to sound best to my ears.
  • 08-03-2013, 10:30 AM
    harley .guy07
    Yeah I have some Blue Jeans stuff and they seem to be pretty good cables. they might not be the best out there but they do an admiral job for their price.
  • 08-03-2013, 10:34 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN View Post
    From your description of what you want, you should just try Blue Jeans digital cable and see what you think. They aren't very expensive and I believe they are a solid cable, not stranded. You might be surprised.Digital Audio Cables at Blue Jeans Cable I have tried several toslink and found this to sound best to my ears.

    From Blue Jeans Cable ...

    "Digital audio cables (or, as they're often called, SPDIF cables) provide a handy way to route multi-channel audio from one device to another with minimal to no signal loss. The specs for a coaxial digital audio cable are the same as for a typical video cable: 75 ohm impedance, coaxial construction. A good impedance match, and wide bandwidth, help keep the digital square-wave signal from rounding off to a point where data loss occurs, so impedance consistency and wide bandwidth are important here, just as in video cabling. The other option, optical or "TOSlink" digital audio cable, carries the same signal in plastic optical fiber; it's less robust over distance, but is generally reliable up to about 50 feet in good fiber."

    As I understand, those rounded square waves can not only lead to lost data but, even more likely, to jitter in the case of S/PDIF in which case timing is dependant on signal arrival time.

    However I think it's fair to day of digital cable in general that it doesn't have to be perfect, it only has to be good enough. Or to put it another way, in case of analog, quality will improve if ever so slightly as you approach perfection, but in case of digital, beyond a certain point of "goodness" improvements make no difference.

    I know that my hearing isn't terrific. I'm not sure how bad it is, but on the conscious level I'm deaf above 10 kHz. Beyond the really cheap, unshielded Radio Shack stuff, I've never heard a significant difference I could be certain of, even in case of analog cables.

    Once I A/B'd two pairs of 3' analog cables for about 3 hours; I started off listening for 20 minute intervals, then gradually shorter intervals down to 30 seconds or less. At the end I felt I heard a small difference between the two. The moral of this story to me is that such tiny differences -- if they exist at all and aren't just my imagination -- are too small to matter.

    OTOH, I'm not totally deaf: I have heard clear differences among vacuum tubes and even opamps. Viz. I rolled Siemens 6922's for Amperex PQ white label 6922's and recognized a difference immediately; just the other day I swapped LME49720 opamps for OPA627's and heard distinct difference at once
  • 08-03-2013, 12:18 PM
    LeRoy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN View Post
    Not talking that type of noise, just not as clean as a digital cable link. The highs are crisp and clean and the bass is tighter with coax.
    From your description of what you want, you should just try Blue Jeans digital cable and see what you think. They aren't very expensive and I believe they are a solid cable, not stranded. You might be surprised.Digital Audio Cables at Blue Jeans Cable I have tried several toslink and found this to sound best to my ears.

    Thanks for the feedback and the link. I will let you know if I pick one up.
  • 08-03-2013, 12:21 PM
    LeRoy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    OTOH, I'm not totally deaf: I have heard clear differences among vacuum tubes and even opamps. Viz. I rolled Siemens 6922's for Amperex PQ white label 6922's and recognized a difference immediately; just the other day I swapped LME49720 opamps for OPA627's and heard distinct difference at once

    Hi Bill, what did you conclude when you were done with the Siemens-vs-Amperex listening session?
  • 08-03-2013, 12:59 PM
    IBSTORMIN
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    As I understand, those rounded square waves can not only lead to lost data but, even more likely, to jitter in the case of S/PDIF in which case timing is dependant on signal arrival time.

    Feanor, you seem very knowledgeable. My question for you or anybody else out there that can answer it: does the digital signal go through a change from an electrical signal to light and back again to be transmitted through the Toslink? If so, doesn't that signal stay electrical if a coax is used? I have heard this somewhere and that the reason Toslink is being used more is because coax looks too much like an analog wire to the consumer.
  • 08-03-2013, 02:57 PM
    LeRoy
    Interesting question IBSTORMIN. I found this link and thought you might have an interest.

    http://www.digikey.com/Web%20Export/...f?redirected=1

    As best as I understand what the explanation given on the link above, the answer to both your questions is, yes.
  • 08-03-2013, 03:59 PM
    IBSTORMIN
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LeRoy View Post
    As best as I understand what the explanation given on the link above, the answer to both your questions is, yes.

    Thanks for the link, that's interesting. I understand there would be no magnetic field generated by light, but also understand something can be lost in the translation.
  • 08-30-2013, 09:11 AM
    ned
    I still use Toslink in exchange with Connectionlab and I could go on comparing these two. I'll try to write it later but Toslink does the job almost as good as the other one:)
  • 08-31-2013, 04:08 AM
    ned
    So, my short review of Toslink/Connectionlab:

    I use Toslink optical for few weeks and I'm also positively suprised about how good it is! I bought it just because it was really about 3$ and I wanted to check if the price has a lot in common with the quality, as I discussed this issue many times (even here, as far as I remember).
    Anyways, I purchased Connectionlab optical earlier and it is more than ten times more expensive. The truth is Toslink changes the sound. With connectionlab the bass is deeper and tighter and the highs are clearer. Toslink makes the sound less deep but this is what you sometimes want. I don't hide I use toslink mainly not to "overuse" the connectionlab one but I honestly enjoy the sound it help produce.
    I am not sure about coaxial anyway in terms of sound because I am not a fan, I prefer optical for this purposes. To sum up: I might consider purchasing stuff like toslink (actually this particular brand only, from few dollar cables) but I still can hear the difference.