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Update on Coax v Optical

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Paul Dunning, Jan 17, 2001.

  1. Paul Dunning

    Paul Dunning
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    Well guys thanks for all the advice on this one............however the only way to put this one to bed was to buy a coax cable and compare......well i purchased a profigold .75 metrre at 30 quid.....i tested this out against a piece of music i know well and would in my opinion show up and differences (massive attack-mezzanine track 1 ).........SHOCK!!!! i expected no difference ....well there was the coax blew away the optical lead.......with a far richer and more detailed sound....the bass was fuller by a long way........also with the sony 940 being light with music this helped a great deal.
    This leads me to the fact that either coax is better than optical or my optical lead was rubbish (however it was in the same price range and reccomended) also the guy who mailed a reply on the eccosse ref coax at 17 quid i also have read this is awesome and improves sound......who stocks them ??

    Thanks for all help on this issue but its coax for me..........

    Paul
     
  2. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones
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    I too went for Coax.

    I have to say that as they are both digital and just a stream of ones and zeros coming down a bit glass or copper then in theory provided that there was error correction there shouldn't be any difference whatsoever.

    However, I am not aware of whether error correction does go on, and how good it it (I am familiar with error checking on computer networking protocols and had assumed that a similar method would be adopted).

    I think that provided you use good medical grade fibre the only problem with Optical is how it connects into the equipment, and as I said if it doent do error correction then I am going to choose coax every time.

    Thanks for the update

    Dave

    (Anyone know if error correction does take place and if so what protocol it uses?)

     
  3. darrellk

    darrellk
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    I've read somewhere that in theory, optical digital connection should be superior because of its immunity to electrical (including radio frequency) interference. However, the TOSLINK standard for optical connection adopted by the industry uses poorly specified optical transmitters/receivers and so throws away the potential advantage.

    It's not (as I understand) a question of error correction, rather it is digital "jitter" - that is uncertainty in the timing of the digital data stream. The bits are all there, and in the right sequence, but if they don't arrive at the Digital to Analogue Converter at exactly the right time in relation to each other, all kinds of audible distortions can be introduced.

    By the way, jitter can be introduced within components, not just by the connection between components. By and large, the best reviewed and best regarded CD and DVD players have the lowest jitter measurements in magazines like Hifi Choice. (I think HCC magazine is measuring the same thing with their "digital deviation" figures that appear in reviews.)

    DVD players almost always have worse jitter measurements that half-decent CD players, which is probably a major reason why they are not normally highly rated for CD playback. I havn't ever seen jitter measurements for the digital stages in mainstream A/V amplifiers - but I would be willing to bet they would be frightening, especially in amps with loads of DSP options.

    Finally, a thought which is entirely my own, but seems to fit with my own and others observations - jitter seems less important when listening to 5.1 sources (DD or DTS), probably because the digital signal is highly compressed and data-reduced, so it's not a "real time" map of the original signal anyway. What does anyone think?

    Darrell.
     
  4. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Paul

    Unfortunately you have now been categorised as one of the people who 'claim' to hear a difference along with the rest of us!

    If you want to have a bit more fun, swap out your new coax for a bit of standard ropey interconnect cable and see whether you can tell a difference with that.

    Regards
    Gary
     
  5. Guest

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    ecosse reference producer 1 metre coaxial lead stockists

    sevenoaks(manchester)0161 831 7969,music matters Solihull 0121 742 0254,hi-fi confidential London 0207 233 7225

    Regards
    Martinc

     
  6. Paul Dunning

    Paul Dunning
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    Cheers Martinc..............solihul is near will try and give feedback......

    Gary would try a bit of ropoy old interconnect but i am scared of the results .....it could become the new topic
    coax v optical v roi leads (ropey old interconnects)..........sounds like a good name for a new av product roi leads.........f#*ck it i'd buy em !!!!
     
  7. GaryG

    GaryG
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    Paul

    Nice accronym!

    I wouldn't worry too much about the outcome of the test, I'd be surprised if you didn't find your coax sounded the best. But then again... bits are bits! (or are they?) [​IMG]

    Regards
    Gary
     
  8. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Find some infos regarding 'bits are bits' right here:
    http://www.taralabs.com/reviews/digital.htm

    Don't be scared that it is a review (and of course favoring the Taralab's cable), but it gives some good insight into the theory behind the effects on the sound.

    Personally I prefer coax, too. Gives IMHO a more natural ("warmer"?) sound.
    Only if you have problems with interference/ground loops I would opt for optical cables.

    ------------------
    Rgds,
    Reiner
     
  9. darrellk

    darrellk
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    Thanks for the link, Reiner. It's nice when someone agrees with you. But is it a case of "Great minds think alike" or "fools seldom differ"? :)

    Darrell.

     
  10. Arthur.S

    Arthur.S
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    I've done this same test myself, & came to the opposite conclusion. Then I go & read another thread like this & start doubting my ears! I don't often listen to much in the way of music, but when I did the comparisons
    my optical lead definitely had more detail with vocals. This also carried over to dialogue with movies. I didn't detect any more 'warmth' either using the coax.
    For the record, my optical is an Ixos 106 & my coax is a Db Reference, both priced at £29.99. Maybe the Db is a pile of ess aich 1 tee?

    ------------------
    www.baldyplex.com
     

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