OPTICAL or CO-AXIAL? Which is best?

admin_exported

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Aug 10, 2019
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As most of my components offer both optical and co-axial digital connections, I have currently got both connected to allow the components to select the best available connection automatically on a priority system. However, the recent discussions on cable quality may suggest I remove the option and make just one connection with a better quality cable. So which is best? I was led to believe that the optical cable was immune to external interferance and therefore the best possible connection, but now I have read that the co-axial is better. Very recently on this very forum, I am being told to forget my digital connections and go for 6 channel analogue ! We seem to be going backwards here. So whats it to be? A £100 optical cable, a £100 digital co-axial cable or (gulp) 6 x £100 phono cables. (6 x £20 phono cables would be my wallets choice though)
 
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Anonymous

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I would go for co-axial, optical is better on long runs ( less loss )
 

Andy Clough

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Apr 27, 2004
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Coaxial (electrical) connections generally give better performance than optical ones in our experience.
 
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Anonymous

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[quote user="Andy Clough"]
Coaxial (electrical) connections generally give better performance than optical ones in our experience.
[/quote]

Why? Surely at this stage the signal is purely digital. Other than signal data-loss, which I wouldn't expect for an optical cable, what can happen to the signal? Is this more a function of the DAC on the receiving end and how it responds to the electrical signal?
Cheers...
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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[quote user="igglebert"]Why? Surely at this stage the signal is purely digital. [/quote]

Yes, but an optical digital signal goes like this: optical (read off the disc)/electrical/electrical-to-optical/optical-to-electrical/digital-to-analogue

Whereas an electrical connection goes optical (read off the disc)/electrical/digital-to-analogue.

That's two stages of conversion knocked out, not to mention losing the problems of light reflection in budget optical cables and the sender/receiver hardware.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="Andrew Everard"]
Yes, but an optical digital signal goes like this: optical (read off the disc)/electrical/electrical-to-optical/optical-to-electrical/digital-to-analogue
[/quote]
Well, if you put it like that...
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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[quote user="igglebert"][quote user="Andrew Everard"]
Yes, but an optical digital signal goes like this: optical (read off the disc)/electrical/electrical-to-optical/optical-to-electrical/digital-to-analogue

[/quote]
Well, if you put it like that...[/quote]

Lots of scope for data loss and jitter there...
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I took Andrew's advice a few months ago and swapped my optical for an Ixos coaxial cable. Wow oh wow, the difference. Unbelievable. I would not go back to optical unless really forced. Like I am with my housemate's PS3 as I don't have an HDMI decoding amp. D'Oh. But as it's her player, she's buying the cable. So at least that's helping me feel better!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
So are we saying here that I would be best to completely remove the optical connections to eliminate this option and use a quality, digital connection?

We still have not had any mention of the digital co-ax versus the 6 channel analogue option though. Any takers?
 

Thaiman

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Jul 28, 2007
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A bit late to join in but I have to diito Andrew and Will's posts even if I couldn't hear any different myself!...sorry bad joke :)
honestly Co-ax is better.
 

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