Interconnects, which kind is which?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by stephanX, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. stephanX

    stephanX Stunt Coordinator

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    I am currently looking at 5.1 recievers, but i dont understand what they mean by optical and co axial inputs for audio. I have a sound card that has a 5.1 discrete output, but its a standard 1.5mm headphone jack, and i need to know how i would connect this to a typical HT reciever. It would be really helpful to me, and im sure others, if someone would describe the main types of interconnects, which surround sytems use it, and maybe even have a picture! Thanks alot and sorry for the newbie question!

    Stephan
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Stephan. Welcome to HTF!

    I'm afraid the "standard 1.5mm" headphone jack is not the typical 5.1 connector type. Computers often use non-standard jacks for things like this because of the limited space on the back of an expansion card.

    In a Home Theater system there are really 2 types of digital audio jacks:

    1) A RCA jack (for coaxial-digital)

    This is the cable for a coaxial-digital connection :
    [​IMG]


    2) A optical/toslink jack (for optical)

    This is the cable for a optical connection
    [​IMG]

    My guess is you need a 1.5mm to RCA-Female adaptor. Perhaps Radio Shack? Read your manual for the audio card to see what they suggest.


    This link to Chris White's Connector Glossary is a nice reference.
     
  3. stephanX

    stephanX Stunt Coordinator

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    wow thanks alot!(for the warm welcome AND the guide)my 14 year old brain has a hard time with these things! You wont believe this but the soundcard came stock on a dell computer. so it doesnt have a manual [​IMG]. Does it NEED to be a digital co axial cable? or would say, a monster cable subwoofer interconnect work? just curious as to weather there are differences.
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Ahhh... yes.

    There is a difference between a RCA cable made for audio and video.

    Video cables (and coaxial-digital) cables must be made with something called "75 ohm" coax. This is so the higher-frequency video signals see a uniform path from the cable to the input electronics.

    Audio Cables (much lower frequency) dont care about the impedence of the cable or the input electronics. So audio cables are often made with 50/75/110 ohm coax.

    You CAN actually hook up any old RCA cable - and it will appear to work and wont harm anything. (many audio cables are made with 75 ohm coax). But sometimes people notice the sound dropping out every few minutes. This is because the digital signals "bounce" inside of the wrong cable every so often.

    So no - a monster subwoofer cable would not be my first choice.

    What you can do is this:

    Go to Radio Shack and buy CATV coax pre-terminated with "F" connectors. And buy two "F-to-RCA-Male" adaptors. Now you can make a 25 ft coaxial-digital cable to reach from one room to the other if you need to.

    (catv coax is made with ... 75 ohm coax).

    PS: Try the Dell web site. It usually has all the manuals on-line.
     
  5. stephanX

    stephanX Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks for the help, so wait a minute, can i get DTS from my soundacard? or do you need optical co-ax for DTS?
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Both Dolby Digital and DTS need a digital connection and both work with coaxial or optical.

    But I dont know if your soundcard supports DTS decoding.
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Stephan: what is your sound card?
     
  8. stephanX

    stephanX Stunt Coordinator

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    Sound card is a creative sound blaster Live! After checking again it only supports DD not DTS. You can find it on sound blasters web page, sorry admins wont let me post URLs if anyone can help me on how to connect it to a DD reciever, i would be very happy. it does say it has digital and analog outputs though, but i didnt think you could transmit those accurately through a headphone jack.
     

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