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I've been reading up on cables lately and while I can see the need for high-quality cabling for analog video connections (composite, component, SVHS, etc...) I don't understand what makes a $100 optical cable better than a $10 one for digital audio. It either works or it doesnt, right? Any thoughts?
 

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I'll throw my 2 cents in...


If you can, use a digital coax connection over an optical one. I adhere to the bits is bits philosophy, and a digital coax cable (AKA a video cable) is far cheaper than an optical one.


Basically, you need a quality *video* cable to handle digital audio--the "Digital Audio" cables are little more than video-quality cables with the price raised 200-300%. As long as you've got a solid 75 ohm cable and quality connectors, you're good to go.


Please be advised that this answer--and this thread--typically elicits tons of controversy. If you can find a dealer that will let you return a cable, why not audition a basic no frills coax cable against the "best-of-the-best" and see what you like. It won't be a valid A/B demo, but you'll probably be able to make your mind up if the extra $$$ is worth it. If you can't hear the difference, why pay for it?


For what it's worth, a manufacturer (or maybe a reviewer, the mind does tend to wander...) once demo'd their equipment using a coat hanger to connect the DVD digital coax out to the pre digital coax in...and no one knew it until he/she showed them. At least that's what I thin happended...any help on this legend/story, guys?
 

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For compressed digital audio (dts or Dolby Digital) I have not noticed much difference between el-cheapo patch cords and better quality cables. For PCM, the cable does make a difference in my opinion. I'm comparing a free patch cord that comes with cheap components to a $25 or $30 video cable - nothing exotic here.


Pete
 

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There is soooooo much BS out there regarding cables. It's amazing how much marketing crap has taken over this relatively simple product.


As you stated, analog signals need the most quality. In general, many people have had good results buying stuff from these guys: www.markertek.com. They are not overpriced compared to some others I won't mention. Other than RF cable (RG6), component signals are the most delicate (most bandwidth). All that is needed is good quality connectors, cable that has good shielding, and able to maintain the impedance to about 100 MHz. Most "good" quality cables will do this. You don't need the Monster type cables to do this. People with more money than brains tend to buy this stuff.


For digital optic cable, almost anything will work. The exception would be if your trying to pipe it a few kilometers :). Go with the cheap stuff.
 

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There is soooooo much BS out there regarding cables. It's amazing how much marketing crap has taken over this relatively simple product.


As you stated, analog signals need the most quality. In general, many people have had good results buying stuff from these guys: www.markertek.com. They are not overpriced compared to some others I won't mention. Other than RF cable (RG6), component signals are the most delicate (most bandwidth). All that is needed is good quality connectors, cable that has good shielding, and able to maintain the impedance to about 100 MHz. Most "good" quality cables will do this. You don't need the Monster type cables to do this. People with more money than brains tend to buy this stuff.


For digital optic cable, almost anything will work. The exception would be if your trying to pipe it a few kilometers :). Go with the cheap stuff.
 
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