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Do you prefer coaxial or optical cable? (1 Viewer)

Carl Johnson

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Six of one half dozen of another. While true audiophiles have been known to be fiercely loyal to one or the other for average people using average equipment there is no difference. It is simply two different ways to transport the same signal. All else being equal I would take coax over optical simply because the cables are a bit cheaper.
 

dave_brogli

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I use 2 optical (ps2, sat) and 1 coax (dvd) and I notice no difference. But i like the optical chords better, they look cooler
 

DonRoeber

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I don't notice any difference. I use coaxial digital where I can, because I want to leave some optical digital connections availabe on my receiver for future components.
 

Sihan Goi

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Coaxial coz its way cheaper and just feels more durable. Also, if I ever have no use for the digital connection, I can still use it as an analog connector for audio or video.
 

Bill_D

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I use coax on my DVD and optical everywhere else.
I don't know why I do what I do I just do. :crazy:
 

Fernand

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I have both coax and optical. Same brand and everything (Monster). And I don't hear any difference. The difference between the two are subjective, according to experts. So in an nutshell they're saying that's the same thing. The difference it's up to you. ;)
 

Colin-H

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Coax is way cheaper for longer runs. My receiver has one coax input, to which I am planning to connect the S/PDIF output from my computer. This will probably be a 10-15' run, which will cost me about $10 to do myself with coax as opposed to upwards of $60 for optical. Also, in general, RCA connectors are much more durable than the optical connectors.
 

Dan Galyen

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OK. I'm confused. I have a Pioneer Elite CLD-59 with coaxial digital out and ac-3 rf out. I have always used a separate receiver for my LD player because of the old AC-3 RF coax in for decoding purposes. My new receiver, like most others, does not have the ac-3 rf decoder. I have kept the other receiver, but now have a Sharpvision projector (Xv-H37vua) $600 w/new bulb on eBay :) and want to use the LD for viewing on big screen.
Right now, I'm just using basic composite audio in because the CLD-59 does not have optical out. Would there be a significant advantage in using the digital coax out? Is there any decoding ability short of a separate rf demod?
 

Pete Jennings

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There is no audible reason to change from coax to optical or optical to coax (unless the coax cable is picking up hum). I prefer coax due to the sturdy connector and cable. I feel the Toslink connector design is an absolute travesty - a pox on Toshiba for developing it! If you fool around behind your equipment with any frequency you are apt to knock the Toslink connector loose from the equipment.
I use one optical cable for my Dish 6000 STB, if Dish had supplied a coax digital output on the STB I would have dumped the optical cable a long time ago! :frowning:
All my other digital interconnects are RhinoCables coax. :)
My $.02
Pete
 

JonDimasi

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In theory they will both do the same thing but the construction of the cables are actually quite different. if you use a decent coaz cable you will probably have ample shielding and more importantly have an 8 or 12 cut turnbine connector. this is much better because most springloaded optical connectors are quite flimsy unless you spend 75 dollars plus, a poor connector can cause a lose of imformatation and any info lost will degrade your sound thus in average to medium range cables you are better off going with a 75 ohm dig coax cable
 

Jim_C

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OK. I'm confused. I have a Pioneer Elite CLD-59 with coaxial digital out and ac-3 rf out. I have always used a separate receiver for my LD player because of the old AC-3 RF coax in for decoding purposes. My new receiver, like most others, does not have the ac-3 rf decoder. I have kept the other receiver, but now have a Sharpvision projector (Xv-H37vua) $600 w/new bulb on eBay and want to use the LD for viewing on big screen.

Right now, I'm just using basic composite audio in because the CLD-59 does not have optical out. Would there be a significant advantage in using the digital coax out? Is there any decoding ability short of a separate rf demod?
Dan,

I have a CLD-59 as well. I have it hooked up with the digital coax and the composite. I originally had the digital coax connecting my DVD player to the receiver but I switched the DVD player to optical.

I could be wrong but I think that you need to use the digital coax out on the 59 in order to get digital soundtracks out of the LD's. I don't know about the RF question because I'm not using the AC-3 out on the 59.

FWIW, I can't tell a difference between the coax and the optical.
 

Robb Roy

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I could be wrong on all this, but here's how I understand it:

These are digital signals -- made up, ultimately, of 1s and 0s. A 0 is a 0, and a 1 is a 1. There is no such thing as a "fuzzy" or a "RF interfered" 1 or 0. You either get the signal, or you don't.

Advantage of toslink: receivers tend to have more inputs (CD, DVD, DSS, etc.).

Advantage of coax: sturdier cable and cheaper (especially over long runs, as alluded to previously in this thread).

I have heard some folks vehemently insist one is better than the other, but nothing convincing. Again, I could be wrong, in which case, let me have it.
 

John Royster

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1 or 0. You either get the signal, or you don't
unfortunately that is the biggest misconception when people deal with digital data, I'm not just talking audio here but ALL digital data - computer networks, processors, memory, audio, telecom. Just bits right? But still there are errors, clocks slip and it is very hard to get it perfect unless you have some kind of reference clock or buffers in the mix. Wanna guess what causes most errors? You guessed it, the physical connection or cable.

Those bits have to be clocked to percision so that you are reading the bit where it is supposed to be interpreted. Say you read it on the rise? Or fall? how do would the receiver know if you meant a 1 or 0? What if the transmitter is spitting out 44100 bits per second but the receivers clock was 44100.0002 bits per second? you'd get timing errors and eventually have no idea of how to interpret the incoming signal (bad example, PCM contains some clocking info in the stream but you catch my drift)

Computers don't have much of a problem with this because everything is buffered to heck and back and reclocked. audio is a different beast.

I have no preference between optical and coax but I sure can see how having the extra conversion between eletrical and optic energy can have an effect.

-edit- keep in mind that it is still an analog signal, it just happens to be pulsed between two states that can be interpreted as digital.
 

Robb Roy

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I over-simplified. A LOT goes into reading/sending digitial information (all the 1s and 0s) from wrist watches to super computers. I was under the impression that even the audio signals on DVDs included error correction/detection bits as well (like computers). Ie, if there were errors introduced by the cable it would not be reproduced -- silence.

The fact these are analog signals being interpreted as digital (makes too much sense) would seem to lend the advantage to toslink, as the optical cable would seem less likely to suffer interference from nearby equipment. To combat that effect with coax would require buying higher quality cable, thus negating the cost benefit of coax.

Of course, I'm not certain any of what I'm saying means beans, because like most of the people in this thread, I can't tell the difference between the two...
 

Dan Galyen

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Thanks, Jim. Are you still getting "discrete" Dolby Digital on your receiver from your CLD-59 with the digital coax? How long have you had it? My old receiver had the AC-3 RF and optical, but no digital coax. I believe my new receiver does have at least 1 digital coax (I wouldn't think H/K would put out a receiver without one.)

Maybe I'm misunderstanding the technology a bit. The AC-3 RF was for analog to digital transfer, correct? So since the LDs are digital in nature, the receiver should decode the signal through the digital coax?

I'm gonna be really ticked if I've been neglecting my LD's since I bought this new receiver. I'm going to get the digital coax cable and give it a try.
 

Lee Scoggins

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Six of one half dozen of another. While true audiophiles have been known to be fiercely loyal to one or the other for average people using average equipment there is no difference.
Strongly disagree. Music and movies work much better with coax. Music for sure almost always sounds better with coax.

The reason is that optical connections are fussy from a reliability standpoint and very prone to jitter, the time based distortion that John Royster discussed. Another consideration is that optical cables are less flexible for tight space installations.

Use a good contact cleaner like Caig ProGold and go coax.

Whenever we have tried optical in the studio it has been a disaster for one reason or another so we gave up a while ago.
 

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