Coaxial or Optical Differences

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug Lachman, Jul 11, 2001.

  1. Doug Lachman

    Doug Lachman Auditioning

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    Please excuse the dumb newbie question . . . I am in the process of upgrading my receiver from an old JVC prologic to a new Onkyo. The old receiver does not have either a coaxial or optical input for my DVD player, only RCA inputs. The Onkyo has both. Is there a difference between the two? What is the recommended connection? Please help, I am going out at lunch today to pick up the new receiver.
     
  2. Paul S Gregory

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    I'm no expert but I think you are better off using a good coax cable.
    The main concern, I think, is if the optical connector is glass or plastic.
     
  3. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    Don't mean to be harsh here, but what does a search button do? To do a search for the very same question that gets asked for the umpteenth time!.
     
  4. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    I along with most others here feel there is no difference in sound quality between the two. The consensus seems to be go with the least expensive connector that best fits your needs.
    BTW Dave, the search function is usally disabled due to the additional stress it puts on the server.
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  5. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Yeah David, that was a tad harsh. My experience is that for the last 10 times I've clicked on the search tab, I received the message that it was unavailable at the time for 8 of my attempts.
     
  6. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    quote: I along with most others here feel there is no difference in sound quality between the two.[/quote]
    I must have missed the official poll on the subject. Do we really know if most others here feel that way?
    I personally prefer coax on PCM mterial.
    [Edited last by Mark Austin on July 11, 2001 at 08:55 AM]
     
  7. Steve_D

    Steve_D Second Unit

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    I just researched and debated this subject.
    Electronically speaking, optical is more subject to jitter according to research papers I've read. However, ALL decent DAC's have a crystalline based anti-jitter circuit that re-times the bitstream to remove jitter and it goes through this circuit whether the input is coax or optical.....though the quality of this circuit can and does vary somewhat as does the quality of the DAC's. Additonally, PCM is more subject to jitter (if it exists)than a packeted format like Dolby Digital or DTS.
    Some "blind" tests claim to be able to consistenly hear the difference and claim coax is better. Others show no difference. I don't know nor can't attest to the exact methodologies of these tests. Most objective measurements show that if differences do exist they are well below the threshold of hearing (like -85 db or more).
    Some people say yes they can hear a difference, some people say no. Some people believe in UFO's...some don't.
    I'm not sure what I believe but I ordered a coax to go with my optical and I'm going to A/B them and decide for myself.
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    http://www.sdiver.org
    [Edited last by Steve_D on July 11, 2001 at 09:10 AM]
     
  8. Louis M

    Louis M Auditioning

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    Yes there is a difference. Optical is lower bandwidth than coax and more fragile.
    As far as how they sound, optical is weaker on the bass region while coax is more balanced in sound.
    If your system is on the Lo-Fi end, then you won't hear any difference. You must have a Hi-Resolution system in order to hear the differences.
    Go to thewww.audioasylum.com for more specific details.
     
  9. James D S

    James D S Screenwriter

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    quote: As far as how they sound, optical is weaker on the bass region while coax is more balanced in sound.[/quote]
    Just the other night I heard this low-flying buzzing sound coming from overhead. I just knew it was a UFO! After going outside I realized that a neighborhood power transformer was on the fritz. Oh well.
    [Edited last by James D S on July 11, 2001 at 03:24 PM]
    [Edited last by James D S on July 11, 2001 at 03:25 PM]
     
  10. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    It's true, I'm constantly amazed at what some people will believe in. Why, just the other day, someone was trying to convince me that the Earth wasn't flat!
    While we're pressing buttons, I thought, why not [​IMG]
     
  11. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    I wrote:
    quote: I along with most others here feel there is no difference in sound quality between the two.[/quote]
    Mark Austin wrote:
    I must have missed the official poll on the subject. Do we really know if most others here feel that way?
    I personally prefer coax on PCM mterial.
    [Edited last by Mark Austin on July 11, 2001 at 08:55 AM]
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    Mark if you were to do a search....... [​IMG] you'll find most of the people who post on this topic in the past support my statement.
    BTW I also prefer coax if that make any difference to you. Also just because a difference between coax and optical can be detected in a lab does not mean it will be discernible in the real world by most people.
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  12. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    quote: Mark if you were to do a search....... you'll find most of the people who post on this topic in the past support my statement.[/quote]
    [​IMG] I haven't done a search, but I have been around here long enough to know that it's mainly the same people making the same arguments on both sides of the issue for a long time. I am also aware that most that post here have not taken the time to audition both at any extensive level. With 16,000 members I doubt we have heard anything but the most vocal, either way, at least in the threads I have seen.
    quote: BTW I also prefer coax if that make any difference to you. Also just because a difference between coax and optical can be detected in a lab does not mean it will be discernible in the real world by most people.[/quote]
    Preferences are just that, preferences. [​IMG] And I agree, with that statement about the lab, but conversely just because differences aren't detected in the lab doesn't mean they aren't discenable in the real world. I notice you throw in by "most people", and that is very true. Most people may not own the systems necessary to be able to discern those differences. But then again, MOST people don't have near the HT's that are found on this board.
    [Edited last by Mark Austin on July 11, 2001 at 10:20 PM]
     
  13. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    It would probably be fair to say that most of the HTF members systems are probably not setup to the point of having the ability to audibly discern the difference between coax and optical.
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  14. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Reginald,
    I'm not so sure of that. In my honest opinion, I would say that a fair amount of folks here have systems that could yield a discernable difference. I recently listened to some equipment at a friends house that wasn't overly elaborate. He had $800 mains, a $800 receiver, $300 dvd player, and we played around with some speaker cables and interconnects, and the differences were pretty noticable. I'm not saying that they were night and day, but they had a very discernable impact. I use a silver coax, and between that nd the copper you could hear the differences even listneing through his cable box.
     
  15. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    Even though many HTF memebrs have very high end setups I believe most of the 16,000 plus members do not. Just my opinion of course.
    BTW If someone unbeknownst to you switched your coax with a optical cable would you immediately notice the difference?
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  16. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I will add this. We first tried the interconnect changes through his 12ga. Home Depot wire and the differences were much less noticable. Until we put in what I consider a mid- grade speaker cable, which was some Audioquest Indigo+, were the effects more discernable.
     
  17. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    Mark, I'm referring to switching the coax to optical of your system, not the speaker wireof your friend.
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  18. JakeG

    JakeG Auditioning

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    Here's the thing I don't understand. I don't know how a difference can be heard, when it's just a stream of data going through the cable. It's not like it's streaming analog audio through the cable. The sound isn't even being "created" until it's inside the receiver. I'm not sure how you can hear less bass or whatever. I've never used an optical connection though, so I don't know first hand, but it SEEMS like they should be the same. Maybe someone can help me understand why they would sound different. Thanks.
    ___
    Jake
     
  19. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Reginald,
     
  20. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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