you can't send SACD/DVD-Audio over coax/optical so theres really no comparison between the iLink and optical. I think CD audio (stereo PCM) played over iLink and over optical would sound the same.
as for the differences between the multichannel analog and the iLink, if you send it over analog, the signal would have gone through a D/A conversion in the player, then it would undergo an A/D conversion in the receiver so that it can apply bass management and time alignment, then another D/A conversion in the end before being amplified.
The iLink connection only involves the single D/A conversion stage at the end.
you'll have to ask the OP if iLink is better than analog - or more importantly, which connection he prefers - regardless of the theoretical superiority of the iLink.
ILink's claim to fame is the ability to add no jitter in the system. Now, that is not to say that there is jitter in the signal, just that the ILink transmission is designed to not add anymore jitter. Compared to optical, it is a superior transmission method, whether you can subjectively hear that difference, well......?
If you have the option to use Ilink, by all means use the connection.
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