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Which cable for audio?

Old 10-11-06, 04:00 PM
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Which cable for audio?

I know this is one of those topics that people in other forums argue about frequently, but I thought I might ask here just to find out which you all have better success or better sound with.

Which do you prefer with your home setup, Optical toslink or normal Coaxil cable?
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Old 10-11-06, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by KFelon
I know this is one of those topics that people in other forums argue about frequently, but I thought I might ask here just to find out which you all have better success or better sound with.

Which do you prefer with your home setup, Optical toslink or normal Coaxil cable?
They are both digital cables and both provide the same sound quality. Some folks like coax better since it's a snugger fit but really, it's just a matter of inputs.
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Old 10-11-06, 05:21 PM
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If you are to the point where you can hear a difference between them (if such a difference exists), you wouldn't need to ask the question. I choose based on need. My Tivos only have optical, so do games and many others. So I tend to use coax when I can because there are so many optical-only machines.
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Old 10-11-06, 05:29 PM
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I just bought a new reciever & it's not even hooked up yet so I'm not at any point yet.

Just close the thread.
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Old 10-12-06, 12:41 AM
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Optical cable sends data in series of light pulses, coaxial uses similar electrical pulses. People argue that coaxial cable is sonically superior to optical due to the jitter errors that optical can produce, but optical cables have no electrical connection and therefore it will not be affected by electromagnetic or radio frequency.
I use coaxial for my dvd player, IMO the highs sound a bit more cleaner with coaxial.
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Old 10-12-06, 01:03 AM
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I'm one of "those guys" who buys expensive cables, and even I don't think different digital cables will make a difference. I agree with Spiky - but what suits your connections and is affordable. Monoprice.com is a great option.

If you're using a receiver (as opposed to separates) you aren't even close to the point where you should be worrying about cables. That quirky part of this hobby comes later.
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Old 10-12-06, 10:01 AM
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Actually I went out & bought a optical cable for shits & grins before I went home & setup my reciever to my existing equipment. I used my Oppo 970HD to play a couple DVDA discs: Depeche Mode - Violator (r2) & Crystal Method - Legion of Boom (r1)

Anyways the reciever allows you to switch between optical & coaxil & for me the difference was tremendous. The optical cable seemed alot more vibrant or lively. I was able to noticably tell the DTS audio was moving from speaker to speaker & for the 1st time my center channel seemed to really be alive. Maybe I had my coaxil's wired wrong, I don't know for sure, but I do know the optical really seemed to bring out something extra to the music running through my stereo.

I shit you not listening to Clean by Depeche Mode through the optical gave me goosebumps, I heard things I've never noticed on the album before. Anyways thanks everyone for your input, but in the end I think it comes down to just trying it out for yourself.
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Old 10-12-06, 11:22 AM
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Since your receiver was decoding the DTS your cables were just transmitting encoded data streams, which due to its very nature isn't really susceptible to being audibly altered by the medium. If the data had been transmitted so differently (i.e. mangled) on your coax cable that you heard the difference you should have heard dropouts too. It's also possible the coax cable picked up some RF interference but that should have been much more obvious too.

Are you sure your player was putting out the same DTS signal on both the outputs?
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Old 10-12-06, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by X
Since your receiver was decoding the DTS your cables were just transmitting encoded data streams, which due to its very nature isn't really susceptible to being audibly altered by the medium. If the data had been transmitted so differently (i.e. mangled) on your coax cable that you heard the difference you should have heard dropouts too. It's also possible the coax cable picked up some RF interference but that should have been much more obvious too.

Are you sure your player was putting out the same DTS signal on both the outputs?
This is what I'm thinking as well. I'm also hoping that he doesn't mean RCA composite instead of digital coax.
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Old 10-12-06, 12:03 PM
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I can't be 100% certain, I just changed the settings on the Oppo to the recommended ones in the manual. The DVD player has support to decode the DTS without relying on the reciever so I'm not sure what would've made the huge difference. I connected all the different audio cable outputs from the player to the reciever, but it's possible since a few of them were old there could've been some faults in them. The center channel was relatively dull sounding with the coax.

With the optical I didn't hear any drop outs, but I definately heard a major improvement with the optical over coaxil. I'm not any audiophile & am a relative noob as far as 5.1 surround goes since my previous reciever was only capable of 2 front & 2 rear speakers. On the new reciever there's only 1 button to push to switch between Optical & Coax.

As far as music goes I'm totally happy with how it sounds & hopefully tonight I'll have some time to watch a movie & listen for drop outs. Should I be listening for a slight pause or fading in & out in the sound? If optical something so many people have issues with, then why even include it on todays hardware?

The reciever is an Onkyo HT-R320 & the DVD player is an Oppo 970HD. The Onkyo is just the reciever & didn't come with the HTIB speakers since I only ordered the reciever. The 2 front speakers are 2 large old JVC box speakers, & the center channel is a 1 week old Pioneer SHF11c. I have not purchased any rear speakers just yet, but I will probably end up buying a pair of Insignia NS-B2111 's that were recommended in another thread.
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Old 10-12-06, 12:06 PM
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It's been awhile since I had my oppo, but I thought that you had to switch from optical to coax for DTS.
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Old 10-12-06, 12:07 PM
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Here a rear view of the reciever.
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Old 10-12-06, 12:13 PM
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Maybe you do, I'll just take it as a fubar & worry about it a little more if I start hearing any strange distortions or drop outs. The reciever & player won't be getting moved anytime soon & the optical cable is only a 3ft straight out of the packaging so I don't think I need to worry much about breakage until I do move things.

I'll post again if I have issues after watching a movie.
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Old 10-12-06, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by KFelon
As far as music goes I'm totally happy with how it sounds & hopefully tonight I'll have some time to watch a movie & listen for drop outs. Should I be listening for a slight pause or fading in & out in the sound? If optical something so many people have issues with, then why even include it on todays hardware?
Not sure what you are referencing, here. The only 2 issues ever known to be even partly accurate on comparing coax and optical are:

1) Judder/jitter (pick your favorite spelling) on optical, which is a timing difference. This could be worse than coax because the signal goes through an extra encode into the optical stream. If you can hear this with your bare ears, congratulations.
2) RF/electrical interference on the coax. Coax should defeat most of this by its very nature. And if you have decent short runs of wire that don't run parallel to major electrical cords for 5' or more, there should be no reason to have electrical/magnetic interference.

Some have also worried about optical cables coming unplugged since the connectors are pretty weak, but you can easily have the same issue on an RCA connection, esp with monster-sized cables that audiophiles prefer. I've never had a problem on either type. (now, HDMI, OTOH)

These issues don't even raise a blip on my radar anymore. If you have an actual problem, like a frayed coax that has an intermittent connection, you would lose signal completely for a moment. And that obviously would be a damaged cable, nothing inherent in the system.
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Old 10-12-06, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by KFelon
With the optical I didn't hear any drop outs, but I definately heard a major improvement with the optical over coaxil. I'm not any audiophile & am a relative noob as far as 5.1 surround goes since my previous reciever was only capable of 2 front & 2 rear speakers. On the new reciever there's only 1 button to push to switch between Optical & Coax.
I almost wonder if you were actually on analog, not coax. Or maybe there is something wrong in the player or receiver on the coax, like Josh has been discussing. But, if optical is working....sounds like you are all set.

You should only need the optical cable, no other audio cables at all.
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Old 10-12-06, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by KFelon
I can't be 100% certain, I just changed the settings on the Oppo to the recommended ones in the manual. The DVD player has support to decode the DTS without relying on the reciever so I'm not sure what would've made the huge difference.
If the player is doing the DTS decoding are you sure you're not just passing a decoded stereo signal over at least one of your outputs? Probably the coax? Or 5 channel analog?

Have you looked to see if the DTS symbol is showing on your receiver when you're playing from each output?
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Old 10-13-06, 03:33 PM
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Well I'm retarded I got this idiots guide for the Oppo player & I was trying to use an RCA cable on the digital coax. (You were correct Spiky) Anyways I went out & bought a nice Monter Digital Coax Cable to hookup & try out tonight when I get off work.

Jayson in another forum made me aware of the fact SACD can not be transfered through optical. He was correct, I tried the SACD version of Violator & it would not play anything through my speakers. I did check & the reciever would properly switch the symbols when switch from DTS to DD ect.

Thanks everyone for all the help.
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Old 10-13-06, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by KFelon
Well I'm retarded I got this idiots guide for the Oppo player & I was trying to use an RCA cable on the digital coax. (You were correct Spiky) Anyways I went out & bought a nice Monter Digital Coax Cable to hookup & try out tonight when I get off work.

Jayson in another forum made me aware of the fact SACD can not be transfered through optical. He was correct, I tried the SACD version of Violator & it would not play anything through my speakers. I did check & the reciever would properly switch the symbols when switch from DTS to DD ect.

Thanks everyone for all the help.
That wasn't Spiky dammit, it was me who said you might be using a composite (RCA) cable. Give me my recognition!!!

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Old 10-13-06, 04:45 PM
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lol thanks DVD Josh & everyone else who helped me. Hopefully your work here helping me is done.
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Old 10-13-06, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by KFelon
Well I'm retarded I got this idiots guide for the Oppo player & I was trying to use an RCA cable on the digital coax. (You were correct Spiky) Anyways I went out & bought a nice Monter Digital Coax Cable to hookup & try out tonight when I get off work.
An RCA cable, preferably the 75-ohm yellow composite video one, should work fine. You would be able to hear interference if there were any. I use them myself at times.
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Old 10-13-06, 09:56 PM
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Rewired everything, hooked up all rca's, hooked up the digi-coax, re-ran all exhisting wiring... everything's beautiful. Much thanks to everyone for being so swell in helping me out.
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