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Optical vs Coaxial

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
Just curious if anyone else can tell a difference between these two. To me optical sounds way better. I have a nice monster cable coaxial cable vs a ultra thin optical cable that came with a satelite box. No comparison the optical sounds way better. And it's the thinnest cable i've ever seen. Xm satelite also sounds amazing via satelite-optical.

Also curious for cd playback if anyone prefers digital, i run analog interconnects but am starting to doubt myself if digital is not better.
post #2 of 64
Quote:


No comparison the optical sounds way better.

Then you have a broken coax cable. No cable, optical or coax, can change the way the analog signal sounds, once it's been decoded and converted from a digital bitstream.
post #3 of 64
Sounds better in what way?
post #4 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Targus View Post

Then you have a broken coax cable. No cable, optical or coax, can change the way the analog signal sounds, once it's been decoded and converted from a digital bitstream.

Not even Cardas?

But seriously...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zues View Post

Also curious for cd playback if anyone prefers digital, i run analog interconnects but am starting to doubt myself if digital is not better.

It's an apples to oranges comparison. The analog outs will use the CD player's DAC, the digital out will use your receiver's DAC. Whether or not that will translate into an audible difference....that's where the really fun debates start.


Scott
post #5 of 64
Thread Starter 
My center sounds much better, less boomy and dialog seems much cleaner, more tolerable, less distracting.
post #6 of 64
Has this change required a recalibration on your part?
post #7 of 64
Thread Starter 
Not really, it just sounds better. Same result on two different receivers, two different dvd players. Movies on the optical connection via satelite always sounded better than my dvd player with coaxial. Using optical on the dvd player sounds as good or better now than satelite. Another test i did while ago i compared optical vs coaxial and with different speakers, i couldnt really tell a difference, putting my ear to the speakers though you could hear more noise from the coaxial. Anyways those are my findings, however much bs you might find them to be
post #8 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssteel01 View Post

It's an apples to oranges comparison. The analog outs will use the CD player's DAC, the digital out will use your receiver's DAC. Whether or not that will translate into an audible difference....that's where the really fun debates start.


Scott


I find with the analog outs the db's arent as loud at a given level than digital connection. Warmer sound, maybe less detailed. For sure a difference, whether it's the dac or the analog interconnects i dont know, i would guess the analog connection.


Thats a nice system, btw ssteel.
post #9 of 64
It also depends what has a better DAC and what is the better component.. If you receiver is of better quailty than your CD player use the optical, if it the other way use a coaxial cable. Again as noted above your preference of sound comes into play.
post #10 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zues View Post

Just curious if anyone else can tell a difference between these two. To me optical sounds way better. I have a nice monster cable coaxial cable vs a ultra thin optical cable that came with a satelite box. No comparison the optical sounds way better. And it's the thinnest cable i've ever seen. Xm satelite also sounds amazing via satelite-optical.

You are talking an optical digital output, as compared to a single, coax digital cable, correct? They should sound identical.
post #11 of 64
Thread Starter 
Just did another test, this time both optical and coaxial hooked up to the dvd player switching back and fourth. No difference.

Something can be learned here though, you dont have to buy a expensive, thick, shielded coaxial cable. A ultra thin, cheapest optical will be just as good.
post #12 of 64
Quote:
Just did another test, this time both optical and coaxial hooked up to the dvd player switching back and fourth. No difference.

So, now there's no difference? In your OP, there was a huge difference....
post #13 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Targus View Post

So, now there's no difference? In your OP, there was a huge difference....

You thought i was serious
post #14 of 64
No, your opening post is the funniest thing I've ever read.
post #15 of 64
Suddenly, I have no idea what this thread is about anymore.
post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuthed View Post

Trying to kill another thread I see.

Attempting to start another fight, I see.

You never have anything to add, why do you post?
post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh9269 View Post

It also depends what has a better DAC and what is the better component.. If you receiver is of better quailty than your CD player use the optical, if it the other way use a coaxial cable. Again as noted above your preference of sound comes into play.

Why do you suggest this? Coax and optical are both digital.

Either connection would use the receiver's DAC.
post #18 of 64
Digital RCA is superior IMO..Better fit.. Less prone to jitter.. & Optical can only sample rate from 48kHz to 96kHz, & will become unreliable or non functional at higher sample rates..(192kHz) Digital Coax has no problem with high sample rates like 192kHz..
post #19 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zues View Post

Just curious if anyone else can tell a difference between these two. To me optical sounds way better. I have a nice monster cable coaxial cable vs a ultra thin optical cable that came with a satelite box. No comparison the optical sounds way better. And it's the thinnest cable i've ever seen. Xm satelite also sounds amazing via satelite-optical.

Also curious for cd playback if anyone prefers digital, i run analog interconnects but am starting to doubt myself if digital is not better.

The music is still digital regardless if you just use analog interconnects.. Your CD player has a DAC..Digital to analog converter, that converts the 0'1's on the CD, to lush, warm audio.. The only true analog sources I know of is Vinyl & FM radio.. I could be wrong though..
post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zues View Post

Movies on the optical connection via satelite always sounded better than my dvd player with coaxial. Using optical on the dvd player sounds as good or better now than satelite. Another test i did while ago i compared optical vs coaxial and with different speakers, i couldnt really tell a difference, putting my ear to the speakers though you could hear more noise from the coaxial. Anyways those are my findings, however much bs you might find them to be

Sounds like a ground issue. Optical does not make any kind of electrical connection hence no possible ground issues sneaking in.
post #21 of 64
I have what is most likely a stupid question. Can optical cable be run around sharp corners? Or will the glass in it break? For example, running it tightly against the corner of adjoining walls (90 degree turn).
post #22 of 64
If you mean a hard right angle, no. There's a minimum bend radius that you should be able to obtain from the manufacturer.
post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by KBI View Post

Digital RCA is superior IMO..Better fit.. Less prone to jitter.. & Optical can only sample rate from 48kHz to 96kHz, & will become unreliable or non functional at higher sample rates..(192kHz) Digital Coax has no problem with high sample rates like 192kHz..

Wrong answer... I use SC and ST optical for DSD and 192/24 Mastering. Optical cable is not prone to RF interference. Optical cable is better... end of story.

Regards,
Bruce
post #24 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by crna59 View Post

Wrong answer... I use SC and ST optical for DSD and 192/24 Mastering. Optical cable is not prone to RF interference. Optical cable is better... end of story.

Regards,
Bruce

Depends on what kind of optical - single core plastic versus multi-core glass/fiber optic. I have a $15 multi-core glass toslink which outperforms a $20 Monster interlink plastic toslink.
post #25 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

If you mean a hard right angle, no. There's a minimum bend radius that you should be able to obtain from the manufacturer.

Thanks for the response Chu Gai. I really appreciate it.
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zues View Post

Just curious if anyone else can tell a difference between these two. To me optical sounds way better. I have a nice monster cable coaxial cable vs a ultra thin optical cable that came with a satelite box. No comparison the optical sounds way better. And it's the thinnest cable i've ever seen. Xm satelite also sounds amazing via satelite-optical.

Also curious for cd playback if anyone prefers digital, i run analog interconnects but am starting to doubt myself if digital is not better.

Optical and Coaxial both send digital bitstreams (1s and 0s) encoded in their respective signal carrier types (light and electrical signals respectively). The cable itself won't make any difference. It is possible that the optical signal is being skewed as it is turned back into an electrical signal from a light signal, that there is damage to one or the other of the two cords, or that there is some timing aberrations between the two due to the two previously mentioned potential problems (as well as excessive bending in the optical cable causing light to fall outside the angle needed for total internal reflection), but hopefully if you have a half-decent system (probably even the cheapest system does it nowadays) it will cache and reclock the bitstream in some way. If you were bending the cable too much you would know it, as you likely wouldn't hear anything (unless audio optical is spread spectrum... in which case you would likely get static and some audio - Of this I'm not certain as I specialized in Networking Computer Science not in Audio Networking, though I doubt they would use spread spectrum in something like an audio device because of the added unnecessary complexity/costs).

As far as digital vs. analog in CD output, it really depends, to me, on what you eventually have decoding the digital signal into analog... At some point a piece of equipment is doing the same thing in both cases. Having the digital signal converted to analog as close to the speaker as possible is always an advantage, as it is very difficult to skew a digital signal (it takes a lot to skew one, and there are excellent algorithms for error correction when it does occur), while skewing an analog signal is many times easier (though you can greatly reduce the risk by using balanced cables - this won't help with signal attenuation however). Ultimately though, you reduce the risk most by using digital up until the last moments before audio output.
post #27 of 64
When connecting a CD player w/ RCAs to the receiver, will it always use the CD player's DACS? Or will it sometimes use the receiver's DACs?

I'm planning to get a high quality CD player and connecting to my receiver and don't want to get a new integrated amp.
post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefiantGSR View Post

When connecting a CD player w/ RCAs to the receiver, will it always use the CD player's DACS? Or will it sometimes use the receiver's DACs?

I'm planning to get a high quality CD player and connecting to my receiver and don't want to get a new integrated amp.

It depends. Some receievers will allow you to bypass processing, some won't. Also, it depends on whether you are using the RCAs from the analog or digital outputs of the CD player as well (I'm assuming analog, since you mention plural RCAs and are talking about a CD player, not a multichannel source player...).
post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

It depends. Some receievers will allow you to bypass processing, some won't. Also, it depends on whether you are using the RCAs from the analog or digital outputs of the CD player as well (I'm assuming analog, since you mention plural RCAs and are talking about a CD player, not a multichannel source player...).


What would this feature be called on receivers? (the ability to bypass processing)

I'm currently looking at the onkyo 605 that's coming out. Thanks much for your help
post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefiantGSR View Post

What would this feature be called on receivers? (the ability to bypass processing)

I'm currently looking at the onkyo 605 that's coming out. Thanks much for your help

Usually called "Direct" or "Analog Bypass"...something to that effect. Don't know if that receiver does it or not though.

Just FYI, if you're using any EQ to smooth out frequency response in the room, it may get bypassed in a true analog direct mode.


Scott
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