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Best deal for a digital optical cable?


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16 replies to this topic

#1 of 17 Jemi

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Posted November 30 2004 - 02:56 AM

I recently set up a couple home systems, and I realized how fine Dolby Digital sounds. I'd like to get this experience with games on my PS2 (and the upcoming consoles, if they hopefully support optical cables *crosses fingers*), but I noticed some places sell optical cables for quite a hefty amount.

If the cable is worth the purchase and will last me long (for example, even for when the new systems come out), then I'm willing to shell out something like 30 dollars for it. That's just a guesstimate. I don't know how much optical cables should cost, I'm asking someone here. Please tell me. I'd like to get one that's worth it. Thanks.

Thinking Is Destructive

#2 of 17 Elinor

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Posted November 30 2004 - 03:27 AM

I am using two that I purchased at Radio Shack (less than $20 ea.).

I had tried one from an online vendor but the connector did not fit properly ... which led to a return and purchase of the second RS cable.

#3 of 17 David_Rivshin

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Posted November 30 2004 - 03:49 AM

PartsExpress has optical cables for a reasonable price. The cheapies are $3.25 for 6'. The better constructed Daytons are $9.50 for 6'. I wouldn't expect any difference in sound quality (let's not open that can of worms at the moment), but if you're going to be moving them around alot it then I'd be concerned about the cheapies breaking.
Of course if all you're buying is a single cable then shipping costs might kill you, but if there's other random things you also need then it works out pretty well. I don't think I could bring myself to pay $20 or $30 for an optical cable, unless it was 20 feet long...

Hope this helps,
-- Dave

#4 of 17 Bob-N

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Posted November 30 2004 - 10:15 AM

6ft AR optical cable link

I bought all of my optical and coaxial/component cables from them years ago and they are still going strong (company and cables). They also have 12ft versions on clearance also.

#5 of 17 Jemi

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Posted November 30 2004 - 11:09 AM

Bob-N and David, are there any retail stores that you know about (that are in Michigan) that have optical cables like that? Radio Shack just seems to have generic refurbished-looking cables, last time I checked. Those sites are good, but like David said, shipping wouldn't be nice.

How about this to help narrow it down; which ones are best for gaming (or is the quality the same nonetheless)? I know how some manufacturers overprice their stuff and claim it's because of superior quality when it's actually flashier packaging (like a flashy-designed end connector that performs the same as one that looks like crap).

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#6 of 17 Craig Rup

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Posted December 01 2004 - 01:35 AM

I also recommend parts express. There Dayton Line of cables are excellent and if you need speaker wire grab some sound king 12G (100'), Audioholics did a speaker faceoff and this speaker wire scored extremely high, plus there are other decent products available at parts express.

#7 of 17 Jemi

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Posted December 01 2004 - 05:05 AM

Does parts express have retail outlets in Michigan, or is it online only?
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#8 of 17 Bob-N

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Posted December 01 2004 - 05:46 AM

Parts Express is on line only from what I recall. I second the recommendation for the Sound King speaker wire. Good flexible stuff. I bought a 100' spool since it's the most economical.

RE: your original question on retail stores. Even with shipping, on line (if done thoroughly) will be cheaper. Obviously, I tend to avoid them for cables and such. Try searching/googling Associated Research for retailers. You probably won't get the best price but at least you'll be able to call around for the best price from a retailer if that's the way you want to go.

Regarding other brands, I believe all of the brands mentioned above are mostly on line brands. Monster Cables should be available at most retailers (Circuit City, Best Buy, Good Guys, etc.) but you'll be paying at least $30 for it. I don't know how good Monster Cable optical cables are so I'm no help there. I've heard Monster Cable is good and bad depending on which line you choose.

Last comment on quality. I'd look for optical cables with the metal shells vs. the all plastic shells. They look nicer and they should provide support longer than the all plastic housing ones.

Bob

#9 of 17 Eric Samonte

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Posted December 01 2004 - 08:18 AM

Another nod here for Parts Express. I got 3 Dayton optical cables from them, a 3 ', 6' and 12'. Its been 3 years now and still working fine.

#10 of 17 Jemi

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Posted December 01 2004 - 09:46 AM

I think I'll get the 6 ft Daytons from PartsExpress if I order online. It has chrome shells, so that's good according to you, Bob (thanks for the tip).

With shipping, it'll cost $15.63.

On the retail side, the 6ft. AR one from Best Buy is 24.99.

I'm going to search for more retail stores with 6ft optical cables; I just started. I'll update in a couple days or so.

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#11 of 17 Gabriela Mendez

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Posted December 03 2004 - 05:55 AM

I recently came across the optical cable for xbox from Monster Cable (10FT). A bit pricy but well made for the price. I noted a difference in sound as compared with RCA 9' regular, 12' RCA Gold Series bougnt at Radio Shack. I know the comments regarding Monster and jacked up prices, but I recently placed an order for the High Definition Component Cables from Monster for the Xbox to compare them to the Microsoft HD Component Cables. I want to see for myself if 20 bucks makes a difference between two products.

#12 of 17 Jemi

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Posted December 03 2004 - 10:21 AM

I researched some more. Please give me your opinions on the following items. If none of them are better than the Daytons from PartsExpress, tell me ASAP, because I want to get them ASAP b/c of shipping time.

Here they are (if there are any more in-store retailers you know have items like this in Southeast Michigan, please tell me):

Notice I can't post hyperlinks yet:
1. microcenter.com, SKU# 480020

2. mediaplay.com look for MON-125900 they are 14.90 (hey, not all monster products cost 23408923 dollars!

3. (this is a side note) How does this home theater system stack up? Kenwood HTBS710DV Fineline Gaming Home Theater System

4. fye.com Acoustic Research DA-081 6' Digital Optical Audio Cable SKU#90130238

5. fye.com SKU#90130147 Acoustic Research PR-182 Pro II Series Digital Optical Audio Cable

That's it: I noticed a repitition after a while, and I started seeing the same cables but at different prices.

How about this; does anyone know of any major store/online site that has or is going to have a big sale that includes optical cables? Still, please check my selections, but if a site/retailer has a sale on really good cables that are usually expensive, I'd rather go there. Thank you.

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#13 of 17 David_Rivshin

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Posted December 04 2004 - 12:54 PM

Jemi,
All those cables look reasonable, but I wouldn't think that any are better than the Daytons at partsexpress. In my mind it really just comes down to price and availability. You're unlikely to find an optical cable for a good price in a retail store. Stores have huge markups on cables of all kinds, and the fancier the packaging the higher the markup. Of course if you need it today, then paying more can be worth it. As abit of a longshot, you might want to check out a store like HomeDepot. They carry some A/V cables, and might just not realize that they can mark them up to rediculous levels.
One more online store to add to your list is www.pchcables.com. They have lower starting shipping costs than alot of places, so that might work out better for you. They primarily carry all types of computer cables, so if you need say some USB cables also, you can combine and save. In general, if you think ahead and will need some other cables then ordering them together online is probably the best option.

One more thing to think about, is whether you can use a coaxial digital connection instead of optical. For a coaxial digital connection you can use any old video cable, which are plentiful and can be found inexpensively almost anywhere.

As far as sound quality, if you're looking at something in the range of a $700 HTIB then I wouldn't worry about the sound quality of a digital cable. As a general rule of thumb the biggest impact on sound quality is speakers, followed by receiver, then source, then cables (of all kinds). Alot of people fall into the trap of buying say $40 monster cables to hook up a $80 DVD player.
This especially follows with digital cables (coax or optical ), as digital signals are by their nature significantly less sensitive to cable quality.

-- Dave

#14 of 17 Jemi

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Posted December 04 2004 - 02:32 PM

Ah, Dave, if I could have bought a coaxial digital cable instead of an optical one, I would have. The problem is, the PS2 only has a digital optical out.

The cables I found at pccables.com (you typoed the link, but I found it anyway) would cost more than the Daytons at Partsexpress.com anyway, so I think I'm just going to get those. I mean, I scoured numerous retail stores (Best Buy, Circuit City, FYE) and called many others, and asked many questions to alternatives of getting an optical cable (like getting an RCA-Toslink converter; no one seems to have that, and it would decrease sound quality anyway), and have gotten much advice from this forum.

Thanks for the info, I'm going to refer to this forum next time I want to get anything electronic (home theater) related.

Great Job.

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#15 of 17 David_Rivshin

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Posted December 05 2004 - 03:12 AM

Quote:
The cables I found at pccables.com (you typoed the link, but I found it anyway)
Oops, you're right, I typoed there, but in a different way. I meant www.pchcables.com.

Quote:
The cables I found at pccables.com (you typoed the link, but I found it anyway)
Actually partsexpress has one (part number 180-961), but it costs more than a cable, and you'd still need an optical cable to connect to it anyways. Their real use is if you run out of optical inputs on your receiver, but have a coax connection free. Or vice-versa.
As far as sound quality, A good converter shouldn't have any effect on the sound quality. Only thing you could worry about there might be jitter, but a converter should buffer and reclock the data anyways (which might actually reduce jitter).

Quote:
Thanks for the info, I'm going to refer to this forum next time I want to get anything electronic (home theater) related.
You're welcome. We're all happy to help out Posted Image Watch out for that upgraditis bug, though. I tends to spread quickly around these parts, and causes you to constantly spend more on your home theater Posted Image

-- Dave

#16 of 17 Gerry S

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Posted December 06 2004 - 03:41 AM

If I recall, I picked one up at Walmart (Phillips Brand) for about $12.

#17 of 17 Bob-N

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Posted December 06 2004 - 06:27 AM

Lots of good advice here. The Daytons should do fine. In fact, I have a couple coax Y-cables that are really nice from Dayton. I like the metal casings just due to the rigidity they give to the ends of the fiber cabling.

Also one thing to note about optical cables is to not "kink" them. They only have a limited bend radius before the internal fiber breaks. So try to keep a straight run out of your PS2 to your receiver/pre-pro.

Yep, come here first. Nice thing is that it's not the really high end, snooty cable discussions I've seen elsewhere.





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