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Toslink=best sound!

  1. music_man
    I too have spent weeks a/b'ing the AES/EBU/Coaxial and Toslink. Amazingly I come to the same conclusion. The format most often said to be the worst is in fact the best. YMMV. Since I share the same sentiments except one I will just present this.

    However, I personally feel high end POF is the best. Remember the format was designed for POF. With glass you have many pieces spilling light all over the place. It is focused properly with a high end POF cable. What is important is the polishing of the terminations. Among others I could recommend the AQ Vodka, but not the Diamond. interestingly every company offers much more expensive Coaxial than Toslink but I guess this is just a well kept secret. Mostly Audiophiles Touting glass but I challenge anyone to just a/b all of these. You might be very glad you did. Truthfully they all sound very close on a well made DAC but I feel POF Toslink wins 9 times out of 10 so I just leave it in there. In the studio we always use AES/EBU which is where it originates from but it is for different reasons. It is not the top connection even though mostly only found on high end equipment.

    This may have to do with the very downfalls of USB. Toslink is not an electrical connection. It is by it's very nature galvanically isolated. Yes, it has to be converted at both ends but good DACS employ good converters so with a good DAC it is done very well. I feel like the most expensive cables are the best but I am shedding this feeling now and going for what I feel sounds best. Again, YMMV but I would suggest to at least casually try this if not intensively.

    Try This as to why POF, you can find much more on google but I urge you not to look at forums including this very one. look at an actual article of someone whom has tested them or better yet a technical White paper.

    Now for the best kept secret. Search Walmart for BlackWeb digital Audio Cable. It is the 6' one with the gold metal connectors you want. This is every bit as good as the $180 Vodka for a mere $10. You need to keep your eyes and especially ears open in this hobby. Some things there is not much reason to spend a lot if the same performance exists for a fraction of the price. I fully agree that a $10 power cable is not as good as a $1,000 one but this is a different story. It costs virtually nothing to make POF in china. You will find nearly no Toslink cables made in established countries anyways. So there is not much sense spending more for the same sound unless it just makes you feel good. Which is fine too. At the least it is humorous to see the performance coming out of something like say DAVE or such with a $10 cable. It does not seem in place but in my experience it works the best most of the time. You have nothing to lose trying it. I go with what sounds best. Period. You may have/had completely different results. Although I find that people just pass along what other people have said without doing their own intensive listening. I am just trying to help people. If you have any price DAC why not make it sound it's best? try this and if you feel it is sub-par please report back here. Not without trying it though! I am just trying to be helpful, sharing knowledge and once again YMMV. It can depend on many factors but it is working here and it has worked elsewhere. It is our little secret, okay?

    Add: This is just my opinion and subjective of course but many agree, even some cable manufacturers. Part of the problem is them sticking RCA's on it instead of BNC. So now it is not 75ohm. 75ohm, reflections due to length and quality of clock,ground loops,noise picked up elsewhere.... I see Shunyata has a $2,000+ cable with RCA's. Shame on them. Coaxial are more expensive at the top end because they cost more to make. Don't let that be your deciding factor. Not many buy a $2k digital cable anyways. However Nordost has a $33,000 optical cable but it is glass. Big problem with glass besides spreading the light spectrum as I mentioned is micro fractures. Unless you and everyone that handled it before you(manufacturer) was super careful the cable is ruined if it is glass. Tiny little bend, it is ruined. The strands are so fine, look at it wrong and some crack. Broken cable=broken sound. Anyways as I also said you have nothing to lose trying it and I am just trying to help our community. A good coaxial is at least $300 or don't waste your time. That optical from Walmart you have nothing to lose because you can even return it. I challenge anyone to decide if toslink is better than Aes3 or coax. Worth finding out right? Since in your system and to you results may vary greatly. This is just my finding. However I have used it with Esoteric P-05 and Burmester 069, into MSB select, DAVE,DIRECTSTREAM,DCS Vivaldi ETC with the same results. Could be my ears but just a preference not bad ears I assure you. It is funny though <$10 cable on $200,000 front end's. Just try it, you will thank yourself to find the right cable regardless because it actually makes a big difference not 1's and 0's. Almost everyone here agrees on that.

    Sorry for such a long post but I am trying to be of some use since I already did the legwork. That means nothing though because you might hear something much different. However many, including some manufacturers concur with my findings. I certainly hope no one is offended by this "rant" of mine because I feel I am providing useful information. BTW Mark Levinson, The Man not the brand prefers POF as well. I do not know about other Engineers like Moffat. Remember though I too am an Engineer with over 45 years experience. Oh well if you really care about sound just do your own shootout. It would be interesting how many swore Aes3 or Coax was better and finds out differently never having tried POF, or glass for that matter. You may prove yourself right too.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    nick n, Zenvota, maxh22 and 1 other person like this.
  2. tansand
    OK, I'll get some Toslinks too. Many thanks!


  3. maxh22
    How does the BlackWeb cable compare against the kabeldirekt cable I already own?

    Just checked and they are available on Prime for a mere $4 delivered, come tuesday i'll find out!
    Zenvota likes this.
  4. Zenvota
    I'm in this situation on my 2nd system, was under the impression I wasn't going to bother with cable upgrades but might try this. Thanks @music_man

    The affordable isolation is exactly why I decided to use an optical cable. The usb to spdif converter i use and the dac both have tcxos which id imagine helps with any jitter. It really sounds fantastic even with the kabeldirekt cable. I have a supra usb going from the pc to the regen.
  5. maxh22
    How does the Supra Regen combo compare to the kabeldirekt?

    My preference usually goes to whichever is more relaxed sounding with the best sound stage depth but I also look for overall transparency and focus and that is usually addressed as your source gets cleaner.
  6. Zenvota
    Previousy using pc > supra usb > uptone regen > audio gd nfb 11s usb amanero input


    Current chain: pc > supra usb > uptone regen > breeze duu8 > kabeldirekt optical > audio gd nfb11 with a topaz isolation transformer

    I haven't really compared the optical chain without the isolation transformer, but I much preferred the current setup.
    maxh22 likes this.

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