HDMI or Optical audio preferences?


Standard Member
I was watching the Youtube video on the Onkyo site and the chap there mentioned that connecting a sky box up requires an optical lead. (it turns out that sky don't send 5.1 audio over hdmi).

But this got me thinking about whether there is a quality difference between hmdi audio and a dedicated optical/co-ax audio feed?

Has anyone tried switching the audio sources to test them?

The onkyo video was here for reference:
YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.


Distinguished Member
Quality difference from TV ?

I dont think anyone is bothered with that.

Sky only sending stereo over the HDMI is a bit of a nuisance , though some of the later boxes do send 5.1.

With other equipment such as Blu ray players , HDMI carries high bitrate lossless soundtracks that the optical interface does not have the bandwidth for , so in that respect there is a clear quality difference.
(SACD and DVD audio Multichannel , Dolby Tru HD and DTS MA audio , etc.)

Otherwise , Ive only ever heard of people testing between HDMI and optical for music content.
Last edited:


Standard Member
Wow, ok so in theory the HDMI connection can carry a higher quality audio signal than the optical. I have my 609 connected solely through HDMI and was wondering whether to hook up optical and Co-Ax as well, but I wont bother.




Well-known Member
i prefer hdmi, i notice in my setup, that with optical sound doesnt have as much presence and is more distant sounding and not as 'full'

but as you say some set top boxes, will require optical

also if you are into music, and want to use optical, contrary to popular belief, choose plastic optical over glass, as its better specced toward music, something to do with the native bundling properties of the cores.

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