COAXIAL or TOSLINK ? - AVS Forum
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I hope this is the right forum to ask an old but very basic thing:

Which connection will give a BETTER audio (surround) quality:

Coaxial Cable (Single) or Optical Toslink connection of SPDIF surround input of AV Receivers?

And Why? Some basic technical explanation please.

I always use Optical Tosklink connection, but recently an "Audio Expert" told me that Coaxial connection should be the one to go !?!?!
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:21 PM
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both the same. coaxial needs proper shielding to reduce noise
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:23 PM
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Well, you won't hear any real technical explanation from me...

...but I can tell you I thought for sure toslink but be better. Then I ended up with a progressive-scan DVD player that only had coaxial output. The sound from it was as good, better in fact, than the output from the other DVD player and it's toslink output. Now maybe that had more to do with the DVD player's output and less to do with the connection, but this much is certain: there is virtually no difference whatsoever...at least not to my ears.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolyan2k View Post

both the same. coaxial needs proper shielding to reduce noise

Do we need special coax cable for this?

Is there any available in the market?

Or just pick any good audio coax cable will do the trick?
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwanrs View Post

Do we need special coax cable for this?

Is there any available in the market?

Or just pick any good audio coax cable will do the trick?

75ohm characteristic impedance.

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Old 07-30-2007, 08:26 PM
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That's what listening to "audio experts" will get ya. They are both the same. Optical uses light to transfer the signal so it's not as prone to interference as coaxial.

Sound quality is going to be the same for both. Use a good cable the interference isn't an issue with coaxial.
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I think this is a common knowledge:

Fiber Optic (Toslink) is much better in data transfer in term of speed and noises reduction than common wire transfer (coaxial cable) ?
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwanrs View Post

Do we need special coax cable for this?

Is there any available in the market?

Or just pick any good audio coax cable will do the trick?

anything like this will work

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...ormat=2&style=
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakeman02 View Post

That's what listening to "audio experts" will get ya. They are both the same. Optical uses light to transfer the signal so it's not as prone to interference as coaxial.

Sound quality is going to be the same for both. Use a good cable the interference isn't an issue with coaxial.

Do you say Toslink is a "sure thing" in opposite to Coaxial with "but" factors ?
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jakeman02 View Post

anything like this will work

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...ormat=2&style=

Thanks Jake, that is so . . . cheap!
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Old 07-30-2007, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwanrs View Post

Do you say Toslink is a "sure thing" in opposite to Coaxial with "but" factors ?

Not completely. Some (older) TOSLink units had inadequate bandwidth and the cables are sometimes flimsy. Toss up.

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Old 07-30-2007, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:46 PM
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TOSLINK has had plenty of problems in the past with clock jitter, and the optical fibers have had many problems. It's gotten a bad rep from that. Coaxial has been more reliable, which means it sounds better more often. The interference issue hasn't been real in the home.

If you buy a quality glass multi-fiber TOSLINK cable, and don't bend it too tightly, it will work as well as the coax over a short distance. For distances over 10 meters, use the coax because the fiber has too much loss. Remember that TOSLINK uses a cheap LED, not a single-mode laser like the real fiber systems!
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:57 PM
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blue jean cables

outlaw audio makes quality stuff, but it costs a little more (maybe not)

i have 50/50 blue jean and outlaw cables in my setup, except for speaker wires which are from Home Depot.
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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At this stage, the favour swings to Coaxial, so my "Audio Expert" is right with his statement after all?

I have to replace over 10 Toslink cables with Coaxial, damn !

Unless someone has another "Toslink Theory" ???
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:12 PM
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Not another one of these threads!

For my latest Reviews and Stuff google -> Joe Rod Home Theater .Com
Check out my Dolby Atmos/Surround first take:
http://hstrial-jrodriguez996.homeste...=1409517748063
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

Not another one of these threads!

Joe, Was there any before? Direct me please.

Thanks
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwanrs View Post

At this stage, the favour swings to Coaxial, so my "Audio Expert" is right with his statement after all?

I have to replace over 10 Toslink cables with Coaxial, damn !

Unless someone has another "Toslink Theory" ???

I think you're getting the wrong impression here. THEY IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!. Yes the coaxial IN THEORY can be more prone to interference but after setting up many systems using both I've had not 1 problem with either. Was your audio expert trying to sell you some cables? I would not replace over 10 cables that worked with cables that will work equally as well. But that's me.
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwanrs View Post

Joe, Was there any before? Direct me please.

Thanks

Yes their have been many, use the search feature and you will stay busy for days.
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakeman02 View Post

I think you're getting the wrong impression here. THEY IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!. Yes the coaxial IN THEORY can be more prone to interference but after setting up many systems using both I've had not 1 problem with either. Was your audio expert trying to sell you some cables? I would not replace over 10 cables that worked with cables that will work equally as well. But that's me.

Thanks, and yes I can live with that too.

Why the industry can not agree to just one solution? That will some how reduce the cost, right? Not to mention the confusion to many users!
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Old 07-31-2007, 03:46 AM
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You could look at it this way...

They are giving us options to use whatever connection we have lying about.
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Old 07-31-2007, 04:38 AM
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I certainly did not mean to imply that you have to replace working TOSLINK cables. I was just giving the background issues. The major problem with TOSLINK is that it is price-constrained. For my money, I would prefer the coaxial because those connections go longer distances without running out of signal strength. That's ironic, because its precisely the long connections that can have noise issues. But for home use, a "long" run is generally less than 15 meters, and people are just hooking up a rack. Use what you have there. TOSLINK is fine at < 5 m.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsmollin View Post

I certainly did not mean to imply that you have to replace working TOSLINK cables. I was just giving the background issues. The major problem with TOSLINK is that it is price-constrained. For my money, I would prefer the coaxial because those connections go longer distances without running out of signal strength. That's ironic, because its precisely the long connections that can have noise issues. But for home use, a "long" run is generally less than 15 meters, and people are just hooking up a rack. Use what you have there. TOSLINK is fine at < 5 m.

Thanks, gsmollin.

At least for now on, I am not so "sure" about Fiber Optic superiority agains Coaxial Wire.
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Old 07-31-2007, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsmollin View Post

I certainly did not mean to imply that you have to replace working TOSLINK cables. I was just giving the background issues. The major problem with TOSLINK is that it is price-constrained. For my money, I would prefer the coaxial because those connections go longer distances without running out of signal strength. That's ironic, because its precisely the long connections that can have noise issues. But for home use, a "long" run is generally less than 15 meters, and people are just hooking up a rack. Use what you have there. TOSLINK is fine at < 5 m.


Besides cost and limited length, the other downside of Toslink cables is that they should NOT be bent sharply..

Both Optical and Coaxial work well within their design limits..

Another crucial point for Coaxial cables is their impedance, if the shielded cable is inexpensive it most likely will have much higher mismatch which will cause significant attenuation for its signal level..
Thus limiting its ability to drive longer cables..
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Old 07-31-2007, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwanrs View Post

At this stage, the favour swings to Coaxial, so my "Audio Expert" is right with his statement after all?

I have to replace over 10 Toslink cables with Coaxial, damn !

Unless someone has another "Toslink Theory" ???

Get over it. The differences are small, variable and generally indistinguishable with most equipment. If you want better, modify your equipment to use I2S or, at the least, AES/EBU.

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Old 07-31-2007, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

75ohm characteristic impedance.

I use a short (3ft?), cheap (free with something), yellow composite video cable (coax) to carry the digital audio signal from my cable box to my AVR. Am I doing myself a disservice with my admittedly modest setup? As far as I can tell, it passes a DD5.1 signal just fine. If there's any chance that it's problematic, I'll just replace it with a monoprice optical or something like that. What do you think?
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Old 07-31-2007, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmccully View Post

I use a short (3ft?), cheap (free with something), yellow composite video cable (coax) to carry the digital audio signal from my cable box to my AVR. Am I doing myself a disservice with my admittedly modest setup? As far as I can tell, it passes a DD5.1 signal just fine. If there's any chance that it's problematic, I'll just replace it with a monoprice optical or something like that. What do you think?

Composite video cables are, nominally, 75ohms as well.

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Old 07-31-2007, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Composite video cables are, nominally, 75ohms as well.

Thanks Kal. I'll scratch that off my list.
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Old 08-01-2007, 08:21 AM
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TOSlink only goes short distances because the LED driver suffers from scattering and diffusion losses in the fiber. A single-mode laser can transmit signals for miles. It is just not a quality implementation, but is adequate for rack connections.

I have run the SPDIF coaxial cable runs for a hundred feet without a problem, using RG-6 cable, which costs about $20. You need to convert the F connector to the75 Ohm RCA jack.
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:32 AM
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So, is a 6ft optical cable (not sharply bent) OK? I just ordered some from Monoprice. Until now, I've always used the RCA plugs (old equipment recently updated). I'll be connecting my HR10 (HDTivo) to my Yamaha 861 AV receiver.
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