Coaxial vs. Optical:
Originally Posted by punk_guy182
I just don't see how optical can sound better than coaxial.
From what I read pretty much everywhere there is less jitter with Coaxial.
Also, when it comes to high quality POF, there is no need for Glass optical fiber. Also it is cheaper.
In theory, I totally agree with you: in high-end and properly designed audio, I don't see how optical can outperform coaxial. Optical involves 2 extra steps (a conversion from electrical to light and then from light to electrical) that increase the jitter. So Even if there is zero loss in the transmission line (ie cable) there will still an increase of jitter because of the 2 extra steps.
If optical (whether glass or plastic) was the superior method, ultra high end companies such Esoteric, Mark Levinson, Reimyo, DCS, ... would be advising their customers to use optical instead of coaxial. In the many many reviews I read about very expensive DACs ($10,000+) I don't remember anywhere someone suggesting that optical was the way to go. Usually BNC or AES are the top performers.
It is only on isolated cases (and usually on less expensive gear) that some people say that glass outperforms coaxial.
However, since there are always surprises in this hobby, I decided to do a trial myself. Also, who knows, the gear I am currently using might benefit from a good optical cable?Glass vs. Plastic:
I pointed out this discussion to Joseph from Sysconcept to have his opinion on glass vs. plastic optical cable and I copied below his reaction to leeperry's post:
"...all I'm saying is that glass toslink uses the same silica material
as the genuine optical fiber...that can easily carry 100 Gb/s over
7000km: Optical fiber - Wikipedia"
This gentlemen is wrong!
You can not compare 9um cable to 1000um glass cable that is compose of
many small strands of glass fiber.
Ask him to find you a manufacture what will make him, Glass Toslink
Optical Cable longer then 10meters ?
Most of them will NOT make Toslink Glass Cable longer than 7-meters.
Why? The reason is those Glass Toslink cable have Very High attenuation.
Why, because they are compose of small strands of Glass cable, and only
the "core" of the cable transmits the light. Cable is composed of Core
+Cladding+Coating; the light that enters Cladding and Coating is lost.
So the comparison "leeperry" did, quoted above is very misleading :-/
So it seems that the superiority of glass vs. plastic is not a clear cut after all ... So a good plastic cable could
outperform a poor glass cable. My intent is not to start an argument about glass vs. plastic, but it seemed necessary to show that not everybody thinks that glass is the ultimate and only way to go.Conclusion
As always, there are no absolute in this audiophile hobby and it is interesting to continuously learn about new ways. My personal opinion is that optical cables will work better in some cases (where a 100% isolation from the source is necessary) and coaxial cables would work better in the others.
Of course, is such as thing as a DAC that is 100% immune to jitter existed (I don't say it doesn't or that it won't, I just personally never come across one), we would not need to worry so much about those digital cables