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Digital cables (1 Viewer)

Bud S.

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May 3, 2003
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Need a little advice on digital cables for my DVD player. It has outputs for digital coax and optical. I've read that optical cables that have really good fiber optics can be expensive. I don't mind paying the price if the benefits are realized. Is there really a big difference in the wide range of prices with the optical cables? I saw a RCA for $20 and others up to $70 /$80. I don't know if optical is better than coax digital. I would appreciate opinions on both optical and coax.

Bud S.
 

Chu Gai

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Jun 29, 2001
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Use whatever you feel you want to. You get a slightly better looking, possibly thicker, possibly more robust looking connectors by paying more and the company's accountant you bought it from will thank you. Optical from most companies can be more fragile but there's a company that sells an armor clad cable that you could step on and not break for around $20. Pretty cool.
Other than output levels being possibly different between the two it's 6 of one etc.
 

Inspector Hammer!

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Bud,

the overall opinion here in the forum seems to be that there really is extremely little to no difference between optical and digital coax. You can't lose with either one IMO.

Myself, I use digital coax for the tighter and more snug fit.
 

Philip Hamm

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Jan 23, 1999
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I use 75 ohm coax video cable that I got at the hardware store for $5 each and they work great for coax digital. I do have one really high quality cable and it looks great but I'm not convinced that there's any difference. Optical cables are more expensive.
 

Bob McElfresh

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May 22, 1999
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Digital is fairly insenstive to the cable so in theory either one works well.

Home Theater magazine did a comparison between 3 coaxial cables (cheap->expensive) and three optical cables (cheap->expensive).

All the coaxial cables sounded about the same, one of the optical cables sounded different!?!

This was never explained. My personal theory is that one of the optical cables was damaged by either tight bends in the package, or un-polished ends/mis-aligned connectors.

So the cheaper, more robust answer seems to be COAXIAL.

Note: I have/am using both in my system and notice no difference. I use optical because that is what my sat receivers provide.
 

Chu Gai

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It's not unknown, Ken, for the output levels for optical and coax to differ. As to how people interpret that difference is another story.
 

Bob McElfresh

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Did they find that the two optical cables sounded the same as the coaxial cables, or just the same as each other?
They did 3 coax and 3 optical. Two of the optical sounded nearly identical to the coaxial, but one of the opticals was so different that all the reviewers noted the change.

The digital signal is like a compressed ZIP file. Change a bit and the entire packet is thrown off. So it's confusing how the cable could change the sound.

I usually suspect grounding issues when people have heard differences between coaxial and optical (the shield in a coaxial cable connects the signal ground between the 2 devices. An optical cables forces the electronics to find another zero-volt reference).

But the test involved identical equipment simply connected up with different cables. So the article was un-satisfying.
 

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