Which connection is better for Digital sound?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt Nevala, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. Matt Nevala

    Matt Nevala Stunt Coordinator

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    As of now i am using my PS2 as my dvd player. i want to get this one samsung progressive scan DVD player soon, and i want to know what is a better way to connect it for digital 5.1 sound. the fiber optic or the coaxial digital cable? As of now im using the optical from my PS2 and there is only one optical input on my reciever. Id like to get digital input from both these sources, but if i use the coaxial for the new dvd player will i lose any sound quality? or should i use optical on the samsung and just forget about digital ouput on my PS2?
     
  2. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    both are just as good but more people prefer the coaxial because optical is too delicate
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  4. M_a_r_k^NE

    M_a_r_k^NE Agent

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    Go with the coaxial cable. Try a Cardas High speed digital cable.
     
  5. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Neither is actually "better" since you're dealing with 1's and 0's. Take into account price and robustness. In my situation, I went with optical because I was able to get a really nice cable for about 6 bucks from a friend. But most people prefer coax.
     
  6. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    Matt:

    Keep the PS2 hooked up with the Optical cable and use the coax with your DVD player. That way, you can get Surround Sound on your DVDs and STILL get that beautiful surround sound in GTA: Vice City or one of the other 3 or 4 games that support it. [​IMG]

    The quality SHOULD be the same between the 2 - there are positives and negatives for both, but in the end, they should sound the same to all but the most refined ears.
     
  7. Henrik T

    Henrik T Auditioning

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    AFAIK coax is definitely the better in the case of these things: the optical conversion is made of so scrap parts, that might even effect the otherwise unsensitive-to-transfer-quality digital stream (at high-end equipments with quality electrical-optical-electrical conversion, there really is no difference).
    So, I'd also use fiber for PS2, and coax for DVD.
     
  8. John Morton

    John Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    Not another cable war!!

    After not being happy with my sound for a month after I setup my new system (and at $4000 for audio alone I think I should be at least a little happy), I saw a tremendous difference between 2 different optical cables (when the receiver end was held up to a piece of paper in the dark, one looked like a flashlight with new batteries and the other was VERY weak in transmitting the light. I initially was using a cheap-o and was amazed what a $75 Monster optical did for the sound quality. Try it, you can always take it back.

    My next audio upgrade was switching to a Better Cables digital coax. I've been 100% satisfied ever since.

    I agree with the above in that you'll be happy with coax for DVD and optical for PS2.
     
  9. JamieS

    JamieS Stunt Coordinator

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    I had a very similar dilema. My Denon has 1 coax and 3 optical. My Xbox ONLY has optical so I used optical for that (sounds great on Halo) and Coax for the DVD. The coax will sound as good or better (I can't tell the difference but some can) but it is less brittle and proably cheaper so use the coax on DVD.
     
  10. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's a question to add to this: Do both the optical and coax inputs go to the same DAC within the receiver/prepro? If so, I have a feeling that as long as all the 1's and 0's get to it, there is absolutely NO difference between the cables. Whatcha think?
     
  11. JamieS

    JamieS Stunt Coordinator

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    If all the 1s and 0s don't get trough though sound is degraded.
     
  12. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    True true, but it would take a REALLY crappy cable to not transmit that data. I think there's a post somewhere about using a coat hanger being fine to transmit the data.
     
  13. Henrik T

    Henrik T Auditioning

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    IMHO it's not the matter of not transmitting at all, but with weak quality, not nicely shaped square waves but heavily distorted ones.
    It may reach a level where the receiver will sometimes get wrong bits (or right ones, but at wrong time: jitter), and that'll definitely affect the sound quality.
     
  14. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I totally agree, but I still say it'll take a REALLY crappy cable to create that much pulse distortion. Back to...Either cable is fine.
     
  15. Henrik T

    Henrik T Auditioning

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    Yes, but exactly that's the point: where a coax cable has to be really crappy to distort that much, a fiber might reach that level easier, because (at least so they say, I have no experience in that) the optical converters are usually built in such a low quality in the common DVD players and receivers, that even with the best fiber cable they tend to sound not so good.
    With a coax cable you spare these two convertions (to optical and back to electrical), so eliminate two possible threats as well.
     
  16. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    The conversion between the optical and electrical signal is such a trivial thing to do, and that's why it can be done so simply with inexpensive parts. Think about it, we're talking about bit rates that are miniscule compared to what fiber optics are capable of today. Strictly speaking cables only though, they're the same aside from the robustness of the coax.
     
  17. Phil*K

    Phil*K Stunt Coordinator

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    This is a nice discussion but most of it seems theoretical. Has anyone ever measured a difference between the two cables. Looked at the signal and witnessed distorted waves or droped bits. Its been a few years since I was in computers but if I remember correctly, its the leading edge of the signal that's most important and the votage can be lower than the typical 5 volts and still turn the gate off or on.

    I initially used a $20 AR optical cable from my DVD player and desided to try the $75 dollar Monster cable and saw no difference. I have a Monster coax that I use with my CD player and tried that on my DVD and saw no difference. My receiver has 8 optical and 3 coax connections. Most have more optical than coax. Unless its cheaper to put in optical, if it was such a problem I would think this would be the opposit.

    Theorectically, the optical has more ways to fail, but in the real world I would imagine it makes no difference. We could talk about the S-video cable I use from my ATI video card versus the $50 dollar Moster S-Video cable, but that's another can of worms.
     
  18. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd be curious to see some experiments with data loss too. But for now (since we have no data), shall we just agree either or will be perfectly fine?
     

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