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COAXIAL CABLE???!!!

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by MiamiLoco, May 21, 2001.

  1. MiamiLoco

    MiamiLoco
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    I have a question. I've been watching DTS movies with a OPTICAL (digital audio) cable (connected from my DVD player to my Receiver), but I checked my instruction manual and I see that you can ALSO use a COAXIAL (digital audio) cable. What is the different between these two?? Which one is better?? I would really appreciate an answer before I go buying a COAXIAL cable for nothing =(
     
  2. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    Depends which country you live in! Europe tends to prefer the coax, America the optical. I have also read that it can depends on the source component and what conversions have to take place (electrical to optical etc.).

    Is there a difference? You bet! I have my minidisk player wired to my Denon amp by both a coax and an optical cable and the optical cable is "sharper" at the top end but the mid band is not as clear as coax (I'm not saying one is better than the other). This doesn't require any straining of the ears to notice either.

    From the reviews I have read over many years optical cables also tend to show less variance (a cheap one is only slightly worse than a very expensive one) but coax can vary quite a bit.

    Of course the more computer minded will tell us that I am talking cr*p and "bits is bits". :p
     
  3. MiamiLoco

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    Both COAXIAL and OPTICAL?? So how does the player know which form to output the audio?? I'm confused now.
     
  4. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    It's a function of the amp, don't worry about it! Sometime I tell it to "listen" to the coax, other times the optical. I only did it to compare the two, no other reason.
     
  5. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    Both are output from the player at the same time.
     
  6. mart.stokes

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    kennydies, that's the process I was on about previously.

    Now, to all of you guys who believe "bits is bits"; I am quite happy for you to invade my house in Telford and listen to the difference. Remember that the same amp (D/As) is used, same minidisk deck is doing the playing. I have no personal opinion either way, I don't need one, anybody who hears the two different "feeds" will agree there is a difference. I'm not even saying optical is different to coax. I'm certainly open to the suggestion that it's not the cables making a difference but some kind of "conversion" along the route. I'm saying; "two different digital feeds can give a different sound therefore the same bits are not reaching the D/A chip from the head of the Minidisc".

    This is one of my favourites because I know BITS SHOULD BE BITS, but they aren't!!!! I suspect (and only suspect) that SPDIF (think that's the right term) does not have anywhere near the same level of error recovery and checking that computer protocols do. I know there can be a lot of checking done when the info is lifted off the disc (oversampling etc.) but once it is on its way down that cable.........
     
  7. knobitt

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    Sorry it's not a tech reply but you could pick up a BARGAIN of a Digi-coaxial cable(+ optical and others) by using this link on the DVD forums, hope it's of help to some body ;)

    DVD FORUMS/COAX..BARGAIN
     
  8. MiamiLoco

    MiamiLoco
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    Ok, so should I buy a Coaxial cable and have BOTH Coaxial and Optical connected? or should I just leave my Optical connection??
     
  9. Desmo

    Desmo
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    I'd say you'll notice so little difference in it you'd be better off sticking with what you already have.
     
  10. Fartpants

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    Yep that could explain, but such loss over a relitively small distance, still it makes sense
     
  11. Guest

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    On a further note most (UK at least) HiFi buffs (i like to include myself in his term) prefer Co-axial for 3 very obvious "other" reasons
    when all the dust has settled over "muddied tops, mid-range definition" etc etc

    Co-Axial is a more solid/robust connection
    Co-axial does not suffer (to anywhere near the same extent) from the (inevitable) ingress of dust/particles
    And Co-Axial certainly will work whether the cable is perfectly straight or tied in a "granny knot"
    (optical is possibly less suseptible to induction based interference however)

    I'm afraid i sit squarely in the Co-Axial camp (if you haven't guessed) and it sound's "better" (to me) as well.

    Regards

    SteveEX
     
  12. bishman

    bishman
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    I find this whole area of debate to be fascinating and while I cannot claim to be an expert, here is what I have picked up.

    I think with DD/DTS, these are bitstreams sent, I believe in packets with error correction, therefore bits is bits. I certainly notice no difference between optical/coaxial for movies.

    I have not tried PCM outputs such as CD or MD, so would not like to comment. Is it possible for instance that mart.stokes differences with optical/coaxial and his MD player, are down to how the minidisc player deals with the conversion to light and not differences between the cables?

    At the end of the day I think it is a case of suck it and see. Try optical, try coax and make your own ears up. After all nobody can tell you what sounds best for you.
     
  13. MarkB

    MarkB
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    Because the data is in the digital domain there should be no difference in either format. Any timing errors should be cancelled out because timing information is also transmitted. I personally cannot detect a difference although many people say that they can. There must be someone in a lab somewhere that can test this!
    Mark
     
  14. Fartpants

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    Yep I am trying to get my head around that difference.

    Now if the coax and optical outputs used different A/D converters then you could say if they used different types of converters that there could be a difference.

    I can't imagine why 2 different sets would be used, back at my time at a big computer company who make hard disks the device that turnes a serial copper based signal into optical was smaller than a match box, and the optical signal could travel for 2KM. So I would expect A/D conversion then the signal to be converted to optical.

    Then of course there could be seperate D/A converters at the amp.

    My choice of socket for the dvd is optical coz my Pace OnDigital box has coax digital sound so I use the autoswitching between channels.
     
  15. kennydies

    kennydies
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    Someone once told me that the optical cable would be better only if there was no conversion. Apparently you loose part of the quality in the conversion. E.G

    Optical is electrical in the amp, then converted to optical then converted from optical to electrical in the DVD player.

    Coaxal is electrical straight from the amp to the DVD player.

    Thoughts or was he talking rubbish?
     
  16. MarkB

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    I think you are half way there. Basically, both protocols take a pattern and reproduce that pattern at the destination. Because the sending clock is used for timing at both ends, and this data and timing are sent by both routes, the same signal will be reproduced at the output of both connections at the exact rate it was encoded. So the scientific stance is that the signal is identical, and cannot be different. Also a digital signal is either there or not – so you are either getting the exact signal or nothing, any drop in quality of the signal will still produce the correct signal until break-up occurs (which would be heard as noise or nothing).

    If you were to daisy chain 1,000,000 amplifiers, with the optical output of one amp going to the optical input of the next (and so on), the signal on the last amp should be that of the first because that's how digital works.

    However , I would definitely not dispute the fact that some people can detect a difference, so there is more to it than the arguments above.

    Mark
     
  17. Fartpants

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    Perhaps it's like that hollistic medicine stuff, the whole thing sounds unlikely, but people do notice the difference.
     
  18. mart.stokes

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    Bishman, yes I agree that the "difference" may not be the cable but occurs somewhere between being read and getting to the D/As. However my stance is the fact that this indicates that there can be some "change" to the bits somewhere along the line and a sound is still produced (not noise nor nothing!).

    Then you've got all the kit the late Bob Tomalski produced to measure digital deviation etc. etc.

    I have to admit that the major differences I have noticed are on PCM from Minidisc (not DD) and again I can offer a direct comparison. The point is this; I believe "bits is bits" but my ears dictate clearly (on my minidisc example) otherwise. This needs to be explained, there has to be a reason for something that is so obvious (and I'm as deaf as a post).

    What would be interesting is for somebody to take a copy of a music CD using a direct digital connection over a wire using digital audio equipment then, using a computer, do a direct bit for bit comparison between the original and copy "files".
     
  19. mart.stokes

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    We've forgotten Jose Vega who asked the original question!!!!

    You certainly don't need both, that's for certain. Some of us feel there is a difference, others don't. Most of us agree that coax is "better" for whatever reasons. Point is, if you are happy with your optical you may as well stick with it for a while until we have finished our discussion!
     
  20. Confucius

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    Your signature always makes me chuckle Martin; it's especially pertinent in this thread though ;)
     
  21. mart.stokes

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    Yes, I can't remember where I first heard that quote but it is very applicable to most hi-fi subjects. Some people (e.g. Russ Andrews) attempt to explain these differences with logic, never quite works though. I wish it all could be explained by logic, I would feel a lot happier!
     

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