DVD Audio Input: "Optical" vs. "Coaxial"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Shawn_T, Sep 4, 2001.

  1. Shawn_T

    Shawn_T Agent

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    Dear All,
    Thanks for clarifying the 16:9 question that I posted earlier. Now I have another question about the DVD AUDIO:
    My Sony A/V Unit (equipped with built-in Dolby Digital/DTS Decoder) has both the OPTICAL and COAXIAL (and traditional Front, Left, Right, Sub-Woofer) Inputs.
    In the past I have enjoyed my OPTICAL input connection since the clarity of the sound was amazing.
    Recently I have purchased a PlayStation 2 system and I have connected its sound via OPTICAL (yes, PlayStation 2 games DO utilize full 5.1 Dolby Digital!) as a result I am only left with COAXIAL connection for my DVD AUDIO.
    The Question:
    Does COAXIAL has lesser clarity compared to OPTICAL? I mean I have now purchased a COAXIAL MONSTER CABLE and to be honest with you I can not tell the difference between the OPTICAL and COAXIAL. (I mean they are both GOOD)
    Thanks again for helping a fellow newbie!
    [Edited last by Shawn_T on September 04, 2001 at 02:43 PM]
     
  2. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    for compressed multichannel audio, no difference, if you are talking about PCM, you are opening a whole different can of worms which I'm not going to start here.
     
  3. Mike__D

    Mike__D Supporting Actor

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    Shawn,
    I recently asked the same question and the answers I was getting was that they sound the same. On person was an engineer, and said that optical cable was more prone to errors in that you couldn't bend it as much, but it was better for longer runs (or something very similar to that).
    Mike D.
     
  4. RyanDinan

    RyanDinan Stunt Coordinator

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    Shawn,
    Most people will tell you that coax and toslink (optical) sound identicle - Because they're both passing a DIGITAL signal. However, these digital signals use an ANALOG timing, which can be affected by the type of cable.
    People who can hear a difference are audiophiles who know what to listen for. Most of us however, would not be able to tell what cable was used in an A/B comparison.
    Pros of coax: More durable
    Cons of coax: Vulnerable to outside interference
    Pros of optical: Immune to outside interference
    Cons of optical: Fragile; cannot be bent at sharp angles
    Some prefer coax, some prefer optical. I can't really tell a difference.
    -Ryan Dinan
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    [​IMG]
     
  5. Elbert Lee

    Elbert Lee Supporting Actor

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    Shawn - Traditionally, Coax is considered the "higher end" means of transporting a digital signal. It has a higher bandwidth than Optical. In fact, most of the high end CD transports only have coax because of this fact.
    However, for most consumer dvd players, especially for movies, you probably won't hear the slightest difference.
    Advantages of coax is the wider bandwidth and supposedly superior sound. Advantages of Optical is that it's not subject to interference over long runs.
    My opinion, if you are going to run a lenght under 2 meters (6.6 feet) go with coax, otherwise, Optical is just fine.
    I personally try to stay with coax unless the length is too long or if I run out of coax inputs, I'll relegate my lesser sources (DBS/SAT and CD megachanger) to optical. BTW - I personally have encountered more problems with audio drop outs using optical and none with coax.
    Elbert
    [Edited last by Elbert Lee on September 04, 2001 at 03:36 PM]
     
  6. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  7. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    One definite advantage of optical over coax is it can't introduce a ground loop problem. However that doesn't mean coax always will introduce the problem, and if you don't hear the hum, then it ain't a problem for you. Personally I'm of the "bits is bits" camp and don't believe either should matter. But that's just my opinion. But on this matter I think Saurav hit the nail on the head.
     
  8. JasonKrol

    JasonKrol Supporting Actor

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    on a side note of his post: yes PS2 is DD and DTS but only in movies, and I stress movies. (ie only in-game cut-scenes are DD, not actual gameplay.)
    I have a similar setup that you have and what I did was hook up the PS2 to my TV/SAT button, and the DVD to the DVD section..thus having 2 optical ports to use. (i know its anoying to click TV/SAT to play PS2, but I guess it depends how anal you are)
    hope this helps!
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    - Jason
    My DVD Collection | My Home Theater
    "what ya got here is two people dragging a third..."
     
  9. Shawn_T

    Shawn_T Agent

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    Thanks, but I have connected my PS2 to my ONE AND ONLY 'Component' Input, as a result the other Video Input is S-VIDEO that I have connected my DVD Player.
    Have you connected your PS2 using a S-VIDEO?
     
  10. Rob Robinson

    Rob Robinson Second Unit

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    i dont think this is advice you asked for, but I would run the DVD to the componet in and use the svideo on the ps2. Monster makes an aftermarket s cable.
    (cable snobs pipe down- bettercables.com isn't shipping a PS2 part [​IMG] )
     
  11. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    Optical cable has a higher bandwidth than coax. Optical was invented to replace coax BECAUSE it had a higher bandwidth. Although for a HT applications, it doesn't even matter, they'll both do the exact same thing. No one will tell the difference.
     
  12. Ashford Little

    Ashford Little Stunt Coordinator

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    Correct me if I'm missing something here, but the title mentions DVD Audio and if he wants to listen to DVD Audio disks then he can't use the Optical output from his DVD player anyway. Yes, he could use if for other media, but not for DVD Audio disks.
     
  13. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  14. Sean Laughter

    Sean Laughter Screenwriter

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  15. Lou Balch

    Lou Balch Auditioning

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    First off, the optical cable we're talking about is NOT the orignal SST optical cable. That was developed by AT&T for use in telephonic communications. The SST uses a pulsed laser as light source and high quality glass fiber optical tubing. In contrast, the pseudo-optical "Toslink" cable, developed by Toshiba, is a cheap-n-dirty knock-off that uses an LED and a plastic optical tubing. Contrary, to an earlier post, the bandwidth of a Toslink optical cable is nowhere near that of a quality digital coax cable. In fact, Toslink hardly covers the 6.75 Mhz bandwidth of a typical DVD. A coax, properly implemented, can have bandwidth up to several hundred megahertz. NO CONTEST.
    Secondly, Monster Cable, which makes both types of digital cables recommends using COAX, where possible.
    Thirdly, Stereophile Magazine no longer recommends ANY toslink digital cables preferring COAX instead.
    Nuff said.
     
  16. Shawn_T

    Shawn_T Agent

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    Thanks for the info.
    DARN! I just returned my Monster COAXIAL cable and bought a Monster OPTICAL instead.
    Am I screwed then?
    I chose 1M long (instead of 2 or 3M) to minimize the interference as much as possible, besides, my DVD-Player is right on top of my A/V unit so even a 1M cable is long enough.
    Should I swap the OPTICAL with the COAXIAL then?
    Many thanks in advance!!!
    ------------------
    Best Regards,
    Shawn
     
  17. Jin E

    Jin E Second Unit

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    Shawn:
    On a DVD player it really doesn't matter. DTS and DD5.1's bitstream are not time dependent, so unless you are dropping bits does not matter either way. Now uncompresed PCM digital data is time dependent, so in this case it is preferable to use Coax digital cable. Since I do not know what jitter sounds like nor can I hear a difference.... to me it's a moot point.
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    -Jin
    My Theater
     
  18. Pete Mazz

    Pete Mazz Supporting Actor

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    Hell, I don't use ANY wires (not really).
    I have the digital coax out of my receiver sent thru an X-10 wireless transmitter to a Sony receiver's coax input that feeds my deck speakers. It works great for PCM (haven't tried DD or DTS).
    Pete
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