Optical Cables

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DennisH, Dec 13, 2001.

  1. DennisH

    DennisH Auditioning

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    I went to the store to look at Optical cables and one was 19.99, one was 29.99 and the Monster Optical was 59.99. IS there really a difference? Isn't a digital signal the same in all of them since it is Fiber Optic. Help, I don't want to buy the wrong thing. (Why are cables such a huge rip off!!!?!?!?!)
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Cables are a rip off because they KNOW you need them.

    The only difference in optical cables will be the connectors and strain reliefs. Better parts, more cost. More or less protecting the cable. The $9 cable will do the same job, but may not survive as many connect/disconnects. I work at a Fiber Optic start up...

    The cost in optical cables is the bonding and alignment of the fibers, as they affect the ability of a cable to transfer light more efficiently and or correctly.

    If you can, just use coax.
     
  3. Bob-N

    Bob-N Supporting Actor

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    Based on past responses, what seems to be the common theme is build quality as the major concern. Since the optical cable tends to be a bit more fragile than it's coax counterpart, you want to make sure you get a good quality optical cable.
    AR and Dayton make some good optical cables at about 1/2 the price of Monster. Check out www.partsexpress.com for these cables. I have the Dayton ($9.50 I think) and it has nice metal ends and fairly heavy jacketed cable and it works great.
     
  4. Barrett

    Barrett Auditioning

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    John,

    I've always been of the opinion that an optical digital cable is an optical digital cable. It's very easy for your receiver to distinguish a "1" (light on) vs. a "0" (light off), even if an inexpensive cable absorbs a little more of that light signal than would a more expensive cable. Because of the very nature of optical transmission, you don't have to worry about shielding against electromatic interference, so you don't need the expensive shielding materials that can have benefit in electrical cables. The only reasonable argument I've heard for a more expensive optical cable is the sturdiness of the connection with your gear (i.e. more expensive cables will stay plugged in better); but unless you're taking your home theater for a ride on a Humvee, how worried should you be about your optical cable coming loose? I've always used the least expensive optical cable around -- the el-cheapo Recoton, available at Best Buy for around $12 for 3 feet -- and have never had any problems with bad connections. Others may disagree, and I'd be interested in hearing any new arguments, but to me, a bit is a bit, whether it's carried by a $12 cable or a $120 cable.
     
  5. DennisH

    DennisH Auditioning

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    Thanks guys, those were my thoughts exactly. Thanks for your help. Going to get my Paradigm Monitor 11 system 8 today!!!
     
  6. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I'll second (or third) the suggestion for AR optical cables. I got mine from mcmelectronics.com. Built much better than the cheap-o Remo (or whatever) I had before that. Beefier rubber/plastic around the cable itself, and very nice strain relief.

    IMO, $60 for Monster's is a waste of money.
     
  8. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Home Theater Magazine did a article a year or so ago entitled "Bits are Bits?" where they tried to compare several optical and several coaxial digital cables.
    The conclusion was that most of the coaxial cables sounded the same. (One person out of 3 thought he heard a difference with one coax).
    But nearly everyone heard a difference with one of the optical cables! The article never did explain this.
    My pet theory is that the "different" cable had been subject to tight bends/coils to shove it into a blister-pack and damaged it.
    Someone at this fourm bought both a Monster and Radio Shack optical cable, plugged them into their DVD player and shined the output onto a piece of paper. The Monster light was a lot brighter than the RS cable to the naked eye. Should this make a difference for Digital? Not to my knowledge. But the fact that there was a visible difference bothers me. It shows that either the specification for the optical connection is very broad, or that company-to-company quality control is not very good.
    I DID use optical, heard no difference when I switched to coaxial.
     
  9. Ken Seeber

    Ken Seeber Supporting Actor

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    I'm upgrading my receiver right now and sold my old one to a friend. I gave him my existing Sony optical cable to sweeten the deal.

    I'm thinking of foregoing optical and going instead with a coax from Markertek.com. It's hand made from true 75 ohm Canare coaxial cable and connectors. For only $19.99 I figure I can't go wrong, plus I woon't have to worry about how delicate the optical cable is.
     
  10. Nicholas A. Gallegos

    Nicholas A. Gallegos Stunt Coordinator

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  11. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I thought I remembered that the "shine a flashlight through the optical cable" test as showing that the Monster cable was actually dimmer than the cheap-o cable...
    (I had heard of this test maybe 2 or 3 years ago.)
    I tried this with the AR ones I just got vs both different kinds of "cheap-o's" that were replaced, and I couldn't see a difference between any of them.
    But the better build quality of the AR's certainly allows me to sleep better at night. [​IMG]
     
  12. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Just to bring up the fact that "real" fiber optic cables cost much less than these hunks of junk selling for consumer audio. (I get 20 meter patch cables for 20 bucks)

    by "real" fiber I mean real polished glass. My guess would be the reviewers had no idea how to handle fiber optic cable. It is fragile and does loose some of the signal strength with each bend and termination.

    More proof to my story? Look at the ads for optical cables -

    "Gold plated ends for superior sound" - gimme a break

    "Rounded optic fiber for fabulous dispersion" - dispersion bad

    I really need to start selling optical cables. Been working with fiber optics for 10 years and polished no less than 3000 stands of fiber, this is NOT new technology.

    Jeez, I apologize guys. This board has been really great for me. Now if only we could get the manufacturers to use lasers instead of LEDs.
     

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