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Which is better Co-Axial or Toslink ?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Whisper, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Whisper

    Whisper
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    Hello,
    I was just wondering which is the best way to connect my DVD player to my TV. At the moment I am using a component lead (Supra er..AV-3?) and a Toslink. However the Toslink is very loose at the back of the TV and I was thinking of using a Co-axial instead (say the ixos XHD608) - was does anybody think/recommend ?
     
  2. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    If the Toslink is loose you may be better using an electrical connection, you could always try using any old spare coaxial cable. I'm undecided if there's actually a difference between the 2 connection types when it comes to sound quality though.
     
  3. Whisper

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    Hello eviljohn2,

    Thanks for your reply. I will go for the co-axial as I don't trust the Toslink. I was actually 'guided' into buying it by the salesman who sold me the TV. He said it was a good quality 3m lead and cost over £25 in the shops. What I actually got was a 1m lead in a 3m box which never plugged in properly :censored: . Anyone would think those who worked in sales lied for a living :nono: .
     
  4. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    Co-ax cables are less easily damaged, too :smashin:
     
  5. mjn

    mjn
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    Surely you mean optical?
     
  6. Knightshade

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    Here's something that's been bothering me. Perhaps someone can answer it? There are certain rules with Fibre cable. No 90 degree bends etc.
    I know this isn't as important for the smaller internal stuff but if the cable is flexed it will be damaged, Right?
    What grade of fibre cable is used for a Audio Toslink cable? I have no idea, perhaps someone could let me know? Also what restrictions are there when bending it?
    I would think a coax cable would be less easily damaged than a Fibre cable. If a fibre cable gets nicked/cut that's it, it's useless.
    Correct me if i'm wrong. ;)
     
  7. mjn

    mjn
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    Short fibre lengths are usually multi-strand and the refractions start at around 35 degrees.
     
  8. recruit

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    I would always use Coax where possible better connection and 1 less conversion.

    John
     
  9. Knightshade

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    Thanks for the replies,
    When I was at college some of the Physics students did some work with Fibre Optic cable. Using a 20 metre length of fibre and feeding a constant stream of data through it, they bent it to near 90 degrees and tested for stray emisions. Although the cable was shielded a small percentage escaped. The percentage grew rapidly as the bend approached 90 degrees. I know this is was slightly heavier grade than you or I would buy in the shops but even so the same principle should hold true with thinner, stranded cable.
    I don't understand why fibre is supposedly the medium of choice for digital connections in the Audio industry. I don't believe it's as good as Coax. It always sounds lifeless to me.
    As far as i'm aware Coax does exactly the same job but is more flexible (Depending on the cable!) and less easily damaged. Perhaps over ridiculously long cable runs (15m+) fibre would be better due to it's speed and signal loss capacities? But if so why is coax still used for Satelite cable?
     
  10. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I have a £4 digital coax cable, a cheap toslink and a high quality coax cable (from Bluejeanscable which in substance AFAIK is identical to the highly respected Mark Grant cables).

    I was unable to tell the difference when I did a comparison upon getting the better (it is at least, better made) coax cable. It was only a brief test but given some of the claims being made in other threads about the improvement, I should have noticed something.
     
  11. pjclark1

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    they all the same apart from price
    panasonic 1.5m toslink cables are £3 for 2 on ebay and work perfectly
    1 channel of a 99p stereo phono cable works perfectly for the coax
     
  12. mjn

    mjn
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    :nono: :nono:

    Only if the resistance is correct!!
     
  13. Mylo

    Mylo
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    correct Digital cables should be 75 Ohms for best results
     
  14. Barcoing Mad

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    Optic fibre lead to less signal attenuation than coax. Suitable for runs of hundreds of metres.

    For short runs (<1m) it isn't shocking that people can't tell the difference between optical or coax of various grades. The characteristic impedance of the cable only becomes important when the length is > 1/10th wavelength of highest frequency component in the signal. The chances are that the mismatches at the connectors and terminations are much worse. The phono connectors used on some high end cables look pretty horrible connected to a spectrum analyser sweeping to microwaves..but digital audio is practically DC in comparison.
     
  15. Daneel

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    I'm pretty sure the restistance (most commonly miss-matched in the connectors rather than the cable) of my £4 connector isn't bang on 75 ohms, where as the BJC is. As previously stated, I can't hear the difference.
     
  16. Mylo

    Mylo
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    to be pedantic it's impedance that counts not resistance is it not :p
     
  17. Daneel

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    Quite right, but I didn't want to be a smart ass :)
     
  18. pjclark1

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    but as no-one has the equipment to measure cable impedance properly
    you will never know if it is right or not, and nobody has ever managed to
    convince me it makes a difference on digital signals anyway.
    (can you hear digital reflections, assuming the signal is "cored", I suspect not)
     
  19. Mylo

    Mylo
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    Hopefully someone will give TheBeekeeper alias Nic Rhodes a shout as he has done and written about more cable testing than any man I've heard of. Do a search on this forum and you should find loads of info.
     
  20. ian harland

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    if you look at the instuction manuals of most av amps, the toslink connection is only capable of handling signals up to 48kHz whereas co-ax 75 ohm will handle 96kHz and beyond. So for DD, DTS AND SACD use co-ax!
    If you bend either cable type at 90 degrees they will both be useless!
    The smallest bend radius you should consider, should be at least 4"!
     
  21. Knightshade

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    Surely that would depend on the type of Coax? Foam Dialectric will handle the bend.
     
  22. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I was going to mention the impedence/resistance then :blush: . For anyone that's interested and is up-to-speed on some maths then resistance is only the real part of impedence (as in complex numbers). If a length of coax had a resistance of more than a few ohms/metre I wouldn't want anything to do with it!

    Finding a cables impedence wouldn't be difficult with a few sums but manufacturers aren't known for releasing detailed specifications of their cables! As has been mentioned, from my own meagre knowledge of the subject it's generally the connectors that cause the variances that people hear.

    Rather than going into what angle cables can be bent at, they certainly shouldn't be kinked as it will cause inconsistencies in the dielectric and the braiding.

    In principle, optical fibre is the superior medium for very high frequency signals and also has a greater capacity. Audio signals are actually very low frequency in the scheme of things so I wouldn't worry about it, we're only considering the low kHz range!
     

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