is there a difference btwn. QED digital auido cables vs. monoprice cable? - AVS Forum

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Audio Theory, Setup, and Chat

happy hopping's Avatar happy hopping
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http://www.qed.co.uk/hdmi-digital/optical-digital-audio/qed-performance-optical-digital-audio-cable.htm

This 10 m cable w/ TOSLink is about $100, at monoprice it's about $8 or so. QED said they have less loss per metre, among other features. Since we're dealing w/ fiber optic digital signal, can a human ear actually tell the difference?
Peter M's Avatar Peter M
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No.
Kilian.ca's Avatar Kilian.ca
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'Less loss per metre' is never mentioned on the linked page.
67jason's Avatar 67jason
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The only difference is price.
William's Avatar William
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There are lots of differences between the cables. However ONE thing is the same for both. If you put 100110011001001001 in one end then 100110011001001001 comes out the other end.
arnyk's Avatar arnyk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happy hopping View Post

http://www.qed.co.uk/hdmi-digital/optical-digital-audio/qed-performance-optical-digital-audio-cable.htm

This 10 m cable w/ TOSLink is about $100, at monoprice it's about $8 or so. QED said they have less loss per metre, among other features. Since we're dealing w/ fiber optic digital signal, can a human ear actually tell the difference?

As far as I can tell, no reliable evidence that the claim of reduced loss is either true or relevant.

10m is at or near the recommended limit for runs of Toslink.

I recently put an 8 meter run of commodity Toslink obtained from Micro Center for less than $10 into service with no apparent problems.

At this point I see no rational justification for spending the extra $90.

BTW the run I installed included a number of sharp bends, so I had some concerns about damaging the cable. I bought 2 spare similar but different toslink cables and the total bill was still under $35. It turned out that the cheapest of the lot was very flexible and the install was completed without incident.
kbarnes701's Avatar kbarnes701
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happy hopping View Post

http://www.qed.co.uk/hdmi-digital/optical-digital-audio/qed-performance-optical-digital-audio-cable.htm

This 10 m cable w/ TOSLink is about $100, at monoprice it's about $8 or so. QED said they have less loss per metre, among other features. Since we're dealing w/ fiber optic digital signal, can a human ear actually tell the difference?

 

It's digital. If it works, it works. Nobody can improve on 100%, so my advice would be to buy the $8 cable and use that - if it works, then you are good to go. And you have saved 92 bucks that you can put towards things that actually do make a difference to the sound - eg better speakers, a better sub or room treatments.


Nethawk's Avatar Nethawk
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Monoprice's premium optical cable has great build quality. Heavy protective sheathing and flexible enough that no compromises are warranted for cable management. I had this 50' cable in my home for a few years before HT rebuild and rewiring. I never had a problem, but then I never expected to.

I was curious about the claim of "medical grade", I couldn't find any specifications with regard to grade of optical cable. Hats off to them for good marketing.
Colm's Avatar Colm
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There is such a thing as medical grade fiber. It typically differs in a number of ways from the inexpensive fiber used for Toslink. Some of those differences, like being autoclavable, are totally irrelevant to digital audio. Some, like lower attenuation, may be releveant in some cases. Lower attenuation gives you a longer maximum run, but you can get that by going to glass fiber without going to medical grade fiber. That said, if you aren't getting dropouts or pops with a cheap Toslink cable, replacing it with an expensive one made with medical grade fiber won't audibly improve your sound.
SAM64's Avatar SAM64
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It's plastic light pipe, driven by a red LED....don't worry about it.
David Susilo's Avatar David Susilo
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I'm a huge proponent in cable makes a difference... Except for optical cable. It works or it doesn't (although I never can get reliable consumer grade optical cable longer than 30ft without getting the ocassional dropouts.
Nethawk's Avatar Nethawk
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Yes! Cable does make a difference! Without it, well...

Why is cheap glass ok but cheap copper not?
Glimmie's Avatar Glimmie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Susilo View Post

I'm a huge proponent in cable makes a difference... Except for optical cable. It works or it doesn't (although I never can get reliable consumer grade optical cable longer than 30ft without getting the ocassional dropouts.

Well as 30 feet Is the limit for TOSLINK I am not surprised you have problems. People tend to hear fiber optics and think of high speed data links across the world as well as very high performance computer interconnections. That's a good thing isn't it? But TOSLINK is not the same fiber technology as those two examples. TOSLINK is a dirt cheap plastic fiber using visible light modulation. A copper SPDIF connection is always superior and can run 100 feet or more over cheap RG59 coax. In broadcast plants AES digital audio is carried by copper unless going many thousands of feet. Either coax or low capacitance twisted pair cable is used. There is no TOSLINK found in professional audio systems for a good reason.
arnyk's Avatar arnyk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Susilo View Post

I'm a huge proponent in cable makes a difference... Except for optical cable. It works or it doesn't (although I never can get reliable consumer grade optical cable longer than 30ft without getting the ocassional dropouts.

It turns out that all Toslink outputs and inputs and cables are not the same.

There are actually several grades of Toslink optical transmitter with the more powerful ones being more widely used for professional applications where up to 8 channels of 48/24 are run down one Toslink link (ADAT format).

Since you mention consumer grade cable I suspect that you are aware of the possibility of using glass core or enhanced plastic core cables with far greater optical efficiency for longer distances.

As Glimie points out converters between Toslink and coax are readily available reasonably priced and are there for us to use.

Distribution amplifiers designed for video can be used to boost and distribute digital audio over coax.

Bottom line, there is no need to be frustrated or hindered by any reasonable requirement related to equipment with Toslink I/o.
David Susilo's Avatar David Susilo
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Yes, I specifically mentioned consumer grade because they use the bottom of the line plastic as the medium. I used to own several studios and use ADAT light pipes and AES connections. I'm glad there are still people who remember ADAT lightpipe. i used to run 8 ADAT machines in-sync for a theme park in Ballarat (Australia) too... Ahhhh, the good old days!
SAM64's Avatar SAM64
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Quote:
There is no TOSLINK found in professional audio systems for a good reason.

...except for ADAT
arnyk's Avatar arnyk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

Yes! Cable does make a difference! Without it, well...

Why is cheap glass ok but cheap copper not?


????

Commodity (cheap) copper is just fine.
Glimmie's Avatar Glimmie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAM64 View Post

...except for ADAT

Yeah, I remembered I have two devices at work that do use ADAT with TOSLINK.
Nethawk's Avatar Nethawk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

????

Commodity (cheap) copper is just fine.

I was being sarcastic. Surely you can relate wink.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Well as 30 feet Is the limit for TOSLINK I am not surprised you have problems.

I used a 50 ft. premium toslink cable from Monoprice for years with no issues whatsoever. There are 58 user reviews, 57 of them rated it 10 out of 10. Even their 100 ft. cable is rated excellent. I can't say that there weren't bit failures, but if they were it was inaudible.
David Susilo's Avatar David Susilo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

????

Commodity (cheap) copper is just fine.

I agree... IF they actually use pure copper and properly shielded. However, some cheaply made cables don't use pure copper, some of them use as low as 40% copper only with zero shielding and cheap metal connectors.

When I say I'm a big proponent of cables make a difference, what I mean is there are differences in cable quality. of course, if you already use a good gauge size with pure copper, proper shielding, proper connectors, that's all you need.

Some esoteric priced RCA cables, for example, are even built cheaply with no shielding and cheap connectors which their $200 price delivers sonically detectable inferior sound than $40 cables of the same length. biggrin.gif
Glimmie's Avatar Glimmie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

I used a 50 ft. premium toslink cable from Monoprice for years with no issues whatsoever. There are 58 user reviews, 57 of them rated it 10 out of 10. Even their 100 ft. cable is rated excellent. I can't say that there weren't bit failures, but if they were it was inaudible.

Well specs can always be pushed. One manufacture I worked with in the days of multipin analog parallel control panel interfaces would add cable length until the unit failed. Then they would divide that distance in half and that's what got printed in the manual as the maximum allowable cable length!
happy hopping's Avatar happy hopping
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I email 1 of the dealer for price, he quoted me the cost of the cable is 62.95 GBP plus 9.99 GBP shipping with tracking (discounted). Another dealer quote me a higher price, and then ask me "Where do you get a $5 10m Toslink cable?" I'm going to stick w/ Monoprice, as I also can't see any loss on digital fiber optic cable, either I get the signal or I don't
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