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optical for a newbie

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Gill, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. Gill

    Gill
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    Sorry if this is a daft question but I've searched the forums and only gotten more confused with all the talk of cabling.

    Am I right in thinking that if I connect my DVD and my SKY+ to my Sony STR-595 via its two optical ins, this is all the cabling I need? (apart from the subwoofer audio cord, the speakers and the scarts from DVD/SKY+ to TV)

    If so can anyone tell me why Sony recommend coaxial over optical?

    Thanks,

    Gill:confused:
     
  2. rct

    rct
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    Hi Gill and welcome to the forums :hiya:

    Yup, you'd only need 2 optical cables to connect your DVD player and Sky+ to your amplifier. The subwoofer cable would be from your amp to the sub and obviously you'll have cables to your speakers ;)

    As for co-ax vs. optical; the theory goes that co-ax is better because the signal doen't undergo two extra conversion processes...

    Compare (Very simplified):

    Optical:

    DVD>{optical pick up converts to electrical}>Electrical Transmission>{electrical to optical convertor}>Optical Transmission To Amp>{optical to electrical convertor}>Electrical transmission.

    Co-axial:

    DVD>{optical pick up converts to electrical}>Electrical Transmission to amp>Electrical transmission.

    Hope this is of some help :)
     
  3. mevetts

    mevetts
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    Is there a noticeable difference to the average viewer between the two?

    Mark.
     
  4. ancientgeek

    ancientgeek
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    I think you mean the average _listener_. It's only the audio going through the optical link. The answer is no; only extremely subtle differences.

    The optical link is digital; the audio data either gets through or it doesn't. The only variable is the timing of the arrival of the digital data. This can vary from perfect and this variation is called jitter. This jitter typically measured in picoseconds, and surprisingly, some people can hear jitter effects even though the digital sound samples are arriving ten million picoseconds or more apart.

    But nowadays, I understand, the digital to analogue converters in you amplifier that convert the digital to sound are buffered (meaning they can store up a few samples) and re-clocked, removing much of the jitter.

    Maybe typical optical has more jitter than co-ax. I doubt you will hear it.

    However, your main choice is whether the digital to analogue conversion is done by the source component, linked by audio coax, or by your amp, using a digital input. Differences here are likely to more significant. If your amp is doing further sound processing, it's going to convert back to digital anyway.
     
  5. Gill

    Gill
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    Invaluable, thanks. It means I only have to find two cables and no figuring out where they go either.

    I'm going for the optical option and I very much doubt if I'll notice any difference in sound as having never had any other kind it'll be great regardless. :smashin:

    Thanks again,

    Gill
     

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