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Are All Optical Digital Cables Created Equal?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I understand that the issue of cables can stir a lot of emotion from folks. My question specifically has to do with the S/PDIF optical cables. There does not seem to be variety of pricing or much hype devoted to this type of cable. Even its digital coaxial brother gets more attention. Why is that? Is the thought that fiber optic is what it is, and there are no varieties of design to contend with (or need for pricing variability)?
post #2 of 9
Just to clarify, SPDIF is coaxial cable, not optical....

Maybe I'm wrong?
post #3 of 9

Deleted.


Edited by labrat - 9/6/11 at 1:06pm
post #4 of 9
A cheap Toslink sounds great compared to $2000 Nordost Valhalla AES/EBU. There are other things that matter more.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I do not claim to be as sophisticated as other folks here but if a Toslink optical, glass, connector that can be purchased off E-Bay for $22.00 including shipping, "sounds the same" as a $2,000 Nordost Vahalla XLR connector, isn't that a point that "matters?"
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by gunting
I do not claim to be as sophisticated as other folks here but if a Toslink optical, glass, connector that can be purchased off E-Bay for $22.00 including shipping, "sounds the same" as a $2,000 Nordost Vahalla XLR connector, isn't that a point that "matters?"
They don't sound the same, the difference to me is huge but other tweaks make a bigger differece and those need to be done first. Cheap Toslink to me still sounds acceptable and sometimes I like it more than Valhalla because it is jittery and bright without having background noise, it makes it sound like real life, Toslink is great! When I tried a cheap yellow RCA video cable I heard background noise in music, it needs proper shielding. The impedance also needs to be exact for it to work properly. Toslink doesn't have these problems. It's a great match for mp3 because mp3 is too smooth so the jitter from Toslink compensates for it and makes it sound like real life.

So a $20 Toslink is sometimes better than $2000 Valhalla.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick82
They don't sound the same, the difference to me is huge but other tweaks make a bigger differece and those need to be done first. Cheap Toslink to me still sounds acceptable and sometimes I like it more than Valhalla because it is jittery and bright without having background noise, it makes it sound like real life, Toslink is great! When I tried a cheap yellow RCA video cable I heard background noise in music, it needs proper shielding. The impedance also needs to be exact for it to work properly. Toslink doesn't have these problems. It's a great match for mp3 because mp3 is too smooth so the jitter from Toslink compensates for it and makes it sound like real life.

So a $20 Toslink is sometimes better than $2000 Valhalla.
MP3 is too compressed to even come near real life sound.
Some devices are optimized for mp3, so it still sounds acceptable, when you switch to a real good system, you'll hear what you're missing!

Electronical transport doesn't have as much losses as analog cables have, therefor analog cables have to be much better to be as good or better! Sometimes, a converter has compensation for the loss in digital cables as well, like computer transports have.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourmaline
MP3 is too compressed to even come near real life sound.
Every now and again somebody does CD vs MP3 testing uisng a variety of MP3 bit rates - every time this is done in a controlled manner they find that the vast majority of listeners cannot reliably tell the difference between high bit rate Mp3 and CD. As for approaching real life sound well that is a different issue...
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by hciman77
Every now and again somebody does CD vs MP3 testing uisng a variety of MP3 bit rates - every time this is done in a controlled manner they find that the vast majority of listeners cannot reliably tell the difference between high bit rate Mp3 and CD. As for approaching real life sound well that is a different issue...
The difference between Toslink and Valhalla is still bigger than mp3 VS CD. I'm not bothered by mp3 because it still sounds good. CD sounds much better yes, but the difference is much smaller compared to cables.
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