I have a Stello U3 on the way and I will need a 1.5m digital coax cable. I have never had to use one before so I have no experience with them. I'll be using a basic cheap coax cable that came with my Burson DAC at first. Is there any point in upgrading to say something with silver materials and high quality RCA's? Will I be able to hear a significant sound difference? I've read elsewhere that the only things that matter with digital coax are impedance, cable length and shielding? Any truth to this?
Why do materials matter in digital coax cables?
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I use a cable made from belden 1694A terminated with canare connectors. It was < £20.
Most bundled cables are selected for being the cheapest, so a modest upgrade like the one above will probably be worth it, but spending more than a few tens of $ would be a waste.
Partly because some people spending 4 figures on a component (amp, CD player, whatever) make the fallacy of thinking they need to spend 3 or 4 figures on a cable to "get the best out of it". Partly too because when someone tries any expensive or hyped component (cable) in their system and are expecting it to sound good, it will. They'll then hype it on a forum, and gradually insane ideas like "silver sounds bright" become common knowledge.
Not the most popular opinion in the cable forum but there it is.
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+1, I've had rock solid performance with 1694A / Canare, where some cheapo cables were giving me stutters and dropout. Certainly no need to go for cables made from carbon nano-tubes and insulated with unicorn tears. Blue jeans cables is a good vendor for the combo above. No bull, customizable to any length and pretty fairly priced IMO.
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The reason why materials matter in coaxial cables, is that 1 & 0's are still travelling down an analog cable in an analog waveform.
But unlike normal interconnects, the signal is travelling at extremely high and wide bandwidth, as digital frequencies are in the mhz. So that is why shielding is required, because all the RF and EMF noise floating around can create jitter and effect the digital signal.
In a digital cable, the type of wire, insulation and shielding are all measurably different in the lab. There is no dispute about this. What is in dispute is whether these measurable differences are audible.
USB data cables use an error correction method, they keep retrying transfers until the data is bit for bit perfect on the other end. But coaxial cables and USB cables used in audio output, do not use such a method, they use push stream transfer without error correction. So the wire, insulation, geometry e.t.c WILL effect jitter and lab measurements.
The question is do you believe such small changes are audible? I have no problem with cables skeptics saying such things are not audible, but what is ridiculous is those who proclaim that digital signals are all 1 & 0's so therefore all data reaching the DAC is bit for bit perfect.