Optical ( Tos ) Link Cable. Worth paying for quality ?

andybond

Active Member
Hello all , and Happy new year to you all as well.

I am in a bit of a quandry ( big word of the day : check )

Is it worth paying more for a decent optical digital ( not coaxial ) Tos link cable , you know , the small square plug that goes from your DVD to Amp.

I have a freebie , and i was wondering , for the relatively low amount a new one costs is it worth upgrading ?

Many thanks in advance ..

Andy
 
B

braehead

Guest
I've bought a couple of cheap ones from eBay and been very happy with them. Ignorance is bliss and if there is any benefit from going up the price range then I currently don't miss what I've not got.
 

tinners

Novice Member
Ive one that came free with an £8 Xbox 360 VGA cable, a £30 Cambridge Audio one and a £8 one from Maplins. They all sound exactly the same to my untrained ear.

Just wish Id never bought the £30 one as I feel ripped off :) Impulse purchase with the amp from Richer Sounds.
 

andybond

Active Member
So all in all

Computer says : No ?
 

push

Novice Member
So all in all

Computer says : No ?
Here's a suggestion - have you got a local dealer that will let you home trial one? All it usually takes is the swipe of a credit card (just in case they never see you again :D) and you should be able to borrow 1 or 2 to try out.

That way, you can make up your own mind. :)

Personally, I went for mid priced as didn't want to spend too much for sound from a game system and believe that cables become less of a factor with digital signals. Don't forget, it isn't just the sound differences - quality of materials also plays a part, particularly at longer lengths.
 

deaf cat

Active Member
Push :smashin:

Borrow and see :)

Also depends on your kit of course, a while back someone tried a freebie against a £30, £90, and £200 optcal, and bought the £200 one.....

I did the same with coax
 

nry

Novice Member
I can understand why a better quality electrical cable can improve analogue sound quality, but how can a better optical cable improve sound quality? if the cable only carries 0's and 1's then unless the cable is truely pants (and doesn't let light pass through it very well) I'm stuck as to how a £200 cable can perform better than a £5 one?

In essence the same query stands for co-axial digital cable though I can at least guess that a well shielded and terminated co-axial cable should not recieve or transmit interference to/from other cables and devices?
 

Brogan

Novice Member
I'm stuck as to how a £200 cable can perform better than a £5 one?
If the cheaper cable doesn't degrade the signal at all and what enters one end comes out the same at the other then the simple answer is it can't.
 

andybond

Active Member
If the cheaper cable doesn't degrade the signal at all and what enters one end comes out the same at the other then the simple answer is it can't.
Thats the issue i have. How can a cable degrade what is effectivly a 1 , or a 0 ?
 

deaf cat

Active Member
There are plentyfull threads discussing how why and why not digi cables affect the sound, - jitter, cable length and reflection, converting to light and back, etc.

I get somewhat lost in all the techy stuff, best thing if you want to find out for yourself go borrow a £200 cable and try it against a freebie.

If you hear a difference or if you don't you have Your Own answer :smashin:

Even similar priced cables made by different manufactures I found sounded different, each to there own kit, cables and ears a!:)
 

KingKrell

Novice Member
It's just 1s and 0s in and out. It's more than just that.

Think of the speed the data travels at, the strength of the signal, the reflections and jitter caused by those same 1s and 0s coming in at a different time and different strenght. If I had a torch and held it against a wall, I don't see a perfect circle, I see a hotspot and a mass of lower level light around it. I don't see a perfect cirlce of uniform light. This is similar to how an optical cable works when the signal reaches the target. So it's up to the source to transmit the signal clearly and then the cable to keep it tight and then the destination to make good sense out of it.

Re-clocking will make a huge difference but it's not 100% IME. The re-clocking itself seems to give it's own type of sound based on the cable used. What I am saying is the cable may or or not suit your system or may or may not sound much different, depending on other factors. So you need to try some.

In the past I tried several optical cables including a Van Den Hul Opticoupler. I found the Van Den Hul quite neutral but very, very similar to a fairly cheap Pure one at a much lower price. I did find that the use of an optical splitter made the sound muddy and less focussed. The differences overall were fairly subtle. With coaxial, I found significant differences between cables, another story which has already been told :)
 

Troon

Standard Member
If you actually bother comparing, make sure you don't know and can't see which one is connected. You will naturally perceive the more expensive cable as better, especially if it's thicker, sexily-clad and coloured, even if it isn't.

Whilst KingKrell is technically correct about transient smearing as a variable in optical cable performance, I'd be astonished if he could distinguish between any pair of optical interconnects in a proper blind test. The lengths involved just aren't enough to make a difference at audio frequencies, and I'm sure any measurement of these parameters would not show any correlation to price, except for the difference between plastic and glass.
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator
DOES IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE HOW LONG AN OPTICAL CABLE IS. THANKS
Hi,

To make for easier reading, could you keep your caps lock off please.

Thanks
 

DodgeTheViper

Moderator
Ok, thanks for letting me know.
 

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