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Coaxial or Optical - which is best?

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Thaiman

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Jul 28, 2007
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It would be a lot simpler hobby if people just use their ears rather than book. Think cooking, if you follow Gordon Ramsay's cooking recipes, Do you really believe that the result will taste the same as his dish?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Craig M.:knightout: ...Optical is also more expensive.

errr, are you sure about that? optical cables can be had for a couple of quid.

Phono cables that are perfectly good enough to be used as CD digital coaxial interconnectors come free. Spdif is about 3MHz, and a freebie cable is near perfect upto 6MHz, spdif is not very demanding on the cable, and come to that subwoofer interconnectors are even less demanding. As a non-beliver in cables, why would I buy cables if the free ones meet or exceed spec. Twenty to thirty years ago I paid money for quality cables, these days I just see them as a waste of money unless you want the build quality, looks or possibly shielding. I do not repeatedly unplug and plug in and move the cables so build quality is not an issue, I do not spend time looking at them so looks are out, I do not have a problem with interference so shielding is not an issue, so no need to buy cables.

Thaiman:It would be a lot simpler hobby if people just use their ears rather than book. Think cooking, if you follow Gordon Ramsay's cooking recipes, Do you really believe that the result will taste the same as his dish

Cables are a feet of engineering they are designed to meet or exceed the specs needed to do a job. Relying on the book saves wasting money on things that are all marketing and no effect. If you believe spdif cables can colour the sound, then I get your point.

As far as the receipe is concerned I think room acoustics and speakers are the biggest causes of colouring the sound to personal taste. Everything else by comparison as long as it is upto the job and designed for faithful reproduction should make little difference in my opinion.
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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Thaiman:if you follow Gordon Ramsay's cooking recipes, Do you really believe that the result will taste the same as his dish?

No, that's St Delia's recipes...
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Gerrardasnails:Thaiman:Optical

I would disagree and offer no science, just common sense. How many different price levels of coaxial cables are there compared to opticals. How expensive is the best optical compared to the best coaxial?

Ah yes, a pair of scissors must be better suited to open a letter since it's more expensive than a cutter


Optical cables are cheap, not because the technology is inferior, but because they're very simple products and cheap to produce. Most of them aren't glass fibre mind you, just plastic. It's said it's important to keep the connections clean though, dust, grease etc.

As stated in this thread, coaxial cables are susceptible to EMI, optical is not. This is why you'll be able to find more expensive coaxial cables with added EMI shielding.

As far as choosing between optical or coaxial for SQ, it shouldn't matter unless there's lots of EMI (close proximity of mains cables and such). In that case you could go for optical.

I prefer optical for a different reason though, since they don't carry any electrical current, you avoid issues like grounding.

Fahnsen:

Gentlemen, this is digital signals, consisting
of ones and zeros, that is ons and offs. There is no way known to
science why the sound should alter with different cables, or with
electrical versus optical signals.

Can this finally be put to bed please? I prefer logic over cable myths myself, but this is incorrect science. A "digital" signal over coax or any other electrical cable is not that different from analogue signals. It's just a different waveform (a square wave). Nothing to do with ones and zeros. As with all electrical signals, information *can* get lost or altered in transmission. I think this myth comes from the fact that in computer applications a difference between the sent and received data is disastrous. In computer applications, the integrity of the data is guaranteed by employing error correction protocols. But it's not correct that a "digital" signal can't be affected.
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,039
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Damien Buckley:Wow, huge discussion generated. I've asked Cambridge Audio what they think - will report back.

Read this from Cambridge

http://www.high-end-studio.cz/cambridge-audio/data/cambridge-audio-azur-840c-tech.pdf

The discussion on jitter starts further down the page. All they say as to the sound is that the ear is sensitive to timing and poor timing, jitter blurs the audio signal, resulting in degraded sound quality. But I would have liked more detail than that. Some actual examples that we could listen to would be brilliant.
 

Craig M.

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Mar 20, 2008
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knightout:Craig M.:knightout: ...Optical is also more expensive.

errr, are you sure about that? optical cables can be had for a couple of quid.

Phono cables that are perfectly good enough to be used as CD digital coaxial interconnectors come free.

come free with what? the last two dacs i have bought didn't have one.
 

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