Originally Posted by limpidglitch
In that regard I gat a little worried when I read the section in the TONEaudio review when it was mentioned that compared to coax optical will always be a little inferior. I've stumbled over similar utterances across the web, but always discarded them as standard audiophoolery snobbery in the same vein as this cable non-sense.
I wondered if you could give a professional answer to my worries: Do optical digital transfer have a real technical disadvantage compared to coaxial?
I fear to tread into the realm of politics, but here goes.
Forgetting the data signal for a moment, there is one primary concern I have when using a coaxial connection which is noise on the cable. This is a particular concern with computers because the internals are so noisy. We've measured extraneous frequencies flowing down the coaxial cable from a computer.
This is the reason I recommend using the optical connection from a computer.
There are all sorts of issues that can be included in a discussion of optical versus coaxial. But every source and receiver implementation is going to be different and some issues will be of greater concern than others depending on the implementation.
A poor coaxial receiver circuit (which can be conceivably made worse with a poorly terminated cable) may result in signal reflections and poor data transfer. A TOTX (optical transmitter) or TORX (optical receiver) with power supply issues will have problems performing the conversion.
There are all sorts of reasons why in a specific instance one connection may transfer data better than another. So the answer can be true or false or a non-issue in your setup. And the price of your gear doesn't necessarily reflect the quality of its circuit design.
That sounded like a pretty political non-answer, but it's true. What you really care about is whether or not what you have is good or not. Deciding to completely rule out X in favor of Y is not a good decision in this case.
Anyway, I have always stated that I do not suggest coaxial or optical is better one way or the other with the D100. I happen to primarily use the D100's optical input at home.