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Battle of the cables and speakers...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brad Craig, Feb 21, 2002.

  1. Brad Craig

    Brad Craig Stunt Coordinator

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    Round 1:
    Okay I keep hearing mixed reviews on what is better when concerning DIGITAL COAX vs FIBER OPTIC...
    Has there in any way, shape, or form, been a testing of the two to find out which one really is better than the other... I can get a digital coax at Radio Shack for $15 vs a fiber optic cable for $30...
    Plus I have heard that the DIGITAL COAX is better due to not worrying about the bending of the wire and whanot when compared to fiber optic, so I find it hard to believe the superior cable is cheaper...
    By the way the guy at Radio Shack said (in his opinion) the fiber optic cable sounded much more clearer...
    Any opinions???
    Round 2:
    Okay this one will be more harder for me to describe so I will do my best...
    Is a satellite speaker every bit as good as a big speaker???
    For example, can a 3 inch by 3 inch satellite speaker let say, be just as every bit as good as a 3 ft tall/10 inch wide/3-way/6" single or dual woofer big speaker???
    I mean wouldn't the bigger speaker broaden you audio waves and/or soundstage and thus fill the room w/ better acoustics???
    I mean is there a point where satellite is dominated or can satellite speakers stand their own w/ any bigger box type speakers???
    I guess I'm just amazed such a tiny speaker has a chance against the big dawgs as I like to call them...
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    Round 1: I have never seen any test that gives the results as definitely one being better than the other. I say buy them both and do your own test. This will be even better than someone else's review because it will be on your equipment...the real factors of the test. Even if an optical cable was better than a coax, you might not hear it if you don't have the right equipment. After performing your own tests then you can return the one you don't want.

    Round 2: It really depends on how well the speakers are designed. A well engineered satellite would probably outperform a poorly engineered tower. There's more to speakers than just their size. One would think that bigger is better, but it isn't always the case. But...a well engineered tower will most always outperform a well engineered satellite.
     
  3. Brad Craig

    Brad Craig Stunt Coordinator

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    Way to go Bill >>> All vague and indecisive... [​IMG]
    Okay lets say the speakers we're both quality speakers and made by the same company...
    Which would you choose and why??? Also am I right in the bigger speakers broaden your soundstage??? I mean lets say you we're trying to convince someone to go w/ bigger speakers vs satellite , what is your selling point??? AKA why are you saying this great quality big speaker is better than that great quality satellite speaker???
    And please don't say " To save space"... :p
     
  4. John Sully

    John Sully Stunt Coordinator

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    Round 1: I recently saw a Q&A on another site (can't remember which, sorry). The reviewer said that he preferred coax because it was 1) cheaper and 2) had a more reliable physical connector. Nothing about coax sounds better than optical, he said that he couldn't hear any difference.

    In my experience coax is cheaper, I've never noticed any trouble getting the optical connecters to mate properly, but then I don't tend to hook new components into my system all the time, either.

    Round 2: I've heard good and bad examples of each. In general, given equally high quality speakers towers will have greater bass extension than sats, but there are a whole bunch of tradeoffs which can be made by the designer. Neither design is inherently superior, especially in these days of high quality and affordable subwoofers.

    Round 2.5: The sats will probably out image the towers, but it depends on the design of the towers. Many towers today use fsirly small or side firing woofers which allows the front baffle to be fairly small. The small front baffle helps to reduce diffraction effects from the tweeter and thereby improves imaging.

    I guess the best answer to your question is: "it depends".
     
  5. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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  6. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Round 1: Coaxial vs Fiber
    Home Theater magazine did a comparison of several coaxial digital cables and several fiber optic cables in a article entitled "Bits are Bits??".
    There was no conclusion which type of cable sounded better, but they did discover:
    - The coaxial cables all sounded nearly identical.
    - One of the fiber optic cables sounded different from the others.
    So it seems the quality-control for fiber optic cables is not as consistant as it it for coaxial cables.
     
  8. MichaelGomez

    MichaelGomez Stunt Coordinator

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    This was just mentioned in AVI or TPV (I don't remember which). Anyway they both had trade offs.

    Optical- More expensive, don't bend, most important-they use light to transfer the signal. Sometimes this can cause a delay in the sound vrs the picture. Now I am not talking about a full time delay. What I am talking about is if you hit pause or rewind a lot, sometimes the sound won't kick in right away.

    Coax-cheaper, bendable, but like mentioned above are sometime the cause of noise vibrations to enter your system.

    I am personally using digital but when I bought them 3 years ago, everyone said they were the superior cable.

    Hope this helps.

    Mike
     
  9. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    Guys! Whoa!

    If I send a bunch of one's and zero's over a fiber optic line, then send the same one's and zero's over a digital coax line, which one will have the best sounding one's and zero's? Sounds silly now doesn't it. The answer is they should sound exactly the same. Digital is NOT like analog. As long as the little bits get there, then the cable used makes so difference to the DA converters. They cable does NOT change one's into zero's or zero's into one's. So what effect does the cable choice cause? Answer: NONE!

    Save yourself the money and buy digital coax whenever possible. Buying expensive digital cable is throwing your money away.

    As to the little speakers; as any woman will tell you - Bigger IS Better, to a point. Those little tiny speakers might have OK tweeters, but there is no way that the midrange can be properly reproduced. They end up moving the midrange frequencies to the subwoofer, which does a relatively poor job of it, and which also hurts it's bass performance. Those tiny speakers are all marketing hype.
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i also don't buy into the "optical is worse because of the connection" argument. i've got a monster optical that i bought at least 5 years ago. it works perfectly and the connections are as solid as when i bought it. admittedly, i don't throw it around, but i wouldn't say i baby it either.
    in any case, you have to test for yourself and decide if you hear a difference...i'll bet your paycheck that you will not. [​IMG]
    in regards to speaker size, i always hear that all things being equal, the bigger speaker will provide more bottom end. but that's about it. this is all about personal preference.
    you gave bill a good jab for being indecisive, but he's TOTALLY right...this whole hobby is subjective and you'll need to decide for yourself what sounds best!
     
  11. Bill_Weinreich

    Bill_Weinreich Second Unit

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    Optical vs Digital?

     
  12. scottS

    scottS Extra

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    Round 1: Bill makes a good point. The fact

    that digital signalling involves transmitting

    a representation of ones and zeros in no way

    eliminates the problem of bad data. In general,

    there is always some probability that a one

    will be recognized incorrectly as a zero and

    vice-versa (the bit error rate).

    One problem with the DVD digital is that there

    is no provision for error correcting codes

    or re-transmission of bad data. All the

    receiver can do is discard a bad packet.

    For optical connections, note that cheap

    plastic fibre is used, not the good stuff

    used in networking or telephony. Also, the

    TOSLINK connectors are cheap. Both of these

    can adversely affect the optical power available

    at the receivers.

    That being said, I don't think it is possible to

    make an objective comparison, without having

    a known audio bitstream in the DVD player,

    and sampling the output bitstream within the

    amplifier to determine the error rate for

    various coax or optical cables.

    scott s.

    .
     

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