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Old 05-29-2008   #13
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Default Re: Coaxial versus Toslink/Optical

I still wouldn't necessarily suspect the toslink even if it were longer. When they convert the digital signal to light, timing is taken into account and controlled. It could just as likely be poor quality modems (converters) as well, as noted by CharlyD.

Also, a speck of dust on the end of the toslink cable or in the toslink jack can lock or partially block the light, playing havoc.

I'm not advocating one over the other, just pointing out some facts, from experience working with fiber.
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Old 05-29-2008   #14
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Default Re: Coaxial versus Toslink/Optical

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Originally Posted by kennyt View Post
I disagree, most audiophiles I know prefer coaxial to optical. Yes, coax can get RFI, but optical (Toslink) has it's own troubles to deal with, now if you hat AT&T glass, that is a different story, but no one is using it outside of the super high end market and it is even fading their. HDMI is also prone to jitter, but it is what we will have to use for the new codecs so we are stuck..

If your receiver/pre/pro has HDMI and will decode the new audio formats or accepts MC PCM then you need to use HDMI to get the best audio....
I was told be the engineers at Arcam that they put a lot more money and engineering into their coax connection than they did their toslink and for that reason it should sound better. The toslink was basically a cheapy they included to be compatible with other equipment. They highly recommend using the digital coax connection.

As for my personal experience, I have done A/B tests to determine if there was a difference between AT&T tos and coax. I could not hear a difference between the glass toslink and the coax at least when I tried it. I can't say that I spent a lot of time with these comparisons.

I have experimented with the optical AT&T glass toslink cable (got them on eBay from a DIY guy several years ago, I wish I could get some more) vs the multi fiber plastics and could hear a difference between those cables. I preferred the glass toslink over the plastic. The differences were subtle, but they were there, better noise floor, better spacing and image stabilty
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Old 05-29-2008   #15
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Default Re: Coaxial versus Toslink/Optical

I guess my main point to the thread originator was this: listen to the cables on your own system and decide which to use based on which you think sounds better. If they sound the same, I'd just go with the cheaper of the two.

In my case, I liked coax better but, as others on this thread have pointed out explicitly and implicitly, the overall result can be highly dependent on numerous variables. There is sufficient variability between component quality, cable quality, and environmental factors (dust, EMF) that one cannot state absolutely that toslink or coax is superior in all circumstances.

That's my take on it and so I end where I started. Listen to both cables on YOUR system with YOUR music and, if possible, do blind comparisons to decide which you like more.

Dave
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Old 05-29-2008   #16
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Default Re: Coaxial versus Toslink/Optical

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Originally Posted by graniterocks View Post
I was told be the engineers at Arcam that they put a lot more money and engineering into their coax connection than they did their toslink and for that reason it should sound better. The toslink was basically a cheapy they included to be compatible with other equipment. They highly recommend using the digital coax connection.
That's good to know, but sucks for those who buy it. I have frequently had to use one or the other, because that's what the other component had. So if you have Arcam, and are forced to use toslink.......
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