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Coax or RCA interconnects between DAC and Amp?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Hello and thanks for everyone's time. This is my first post here on Head-Fi. So I'm new to this stuff and need some advice.  I just bought a Schiit Magni and Modi Stack. I have a Asguard 2 and Bifrost on the way! But this is where I run into confusion. I may be over thinking this a bit. So I will be using RCA cables but there are two kinds: Coax for digital and RCA for analog. 



Coax cables have a solid core conductor with a 75 ohms impedance. A regular RCA cable has high strand woven conductor which has a very low ohm impedance.  I know the rule of thumb is digital for digital and analog for analog signals.  Now I know that they are both RCA cables, but my question is does it matter which one to use as an interconnect between the DAC and Amp? I ask this because DAC stands for digital to analog converter so in my mind that would mean to use a regular RCA cable instead of a Coax cable. But the more I look into it the more confused I get. On the Schiit website it says for the specs on both DACs: Output: (RCA single ended) Output impedance: 75 ohms.  So does this mean I should be using the Coax RCA cable? Would both cables work the same? Would one cable transfer data more efficiently or would they sound exactly the same?  All input would be appreciated. Thanks. 

Edited by Bri-Fi - 6/29/14 at 10:38pm
post #2 of 2
Here's the deal - when they call a cable an "RCA" cable, it refers more to the connector. What it basically means is that the cables are terminated with that kind of plugs to go into that sort of jacks. RCA designed this connection hardware and that's why we call them that today. BTW, the 3.5mm and 6.3mm headphone plugs are called TRS.
Now, technically speaking, any RCA cable is a coaxial cable by bare definition - each plug has two pins for two coaxial conductors. The difference between RCA digital and RCA analogue is that one of them, by requirement (Sony designed the standard, IIRC) must be 75ohms. I've had cables assembled before out of 75ohm coaxial cable and when I broke my analog set used two of them as analog interconnects, and most of them consistently made some parts of the treble sharper, while one brandI tried later on for the hell of it made the treble kind of hollow...plasticky would be another term. Like a cheap mylar dome tweeter but without peaks. I have not tried using the analog RCA's as digital cables but I've read somewhere here that it actually doesn't really matter (it was on the Fiio X3 discussion when someone raised the issue about it using a mono 3.5mm TRS connector for its coax output), as they've used non-75ohm cables before with no noticeable detriment or change to the sound.
If anything, don't use the digital for analog (unless you have two identical cables lying around), since they're sold per piece, whereas you get two runs of the analog cable when you buy.
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