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Coaxial Vs. Optical
Old 1st July 2005
  #1
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Coaxial Vs. Optical

Coax Vs. Optical

Ok, I know these are both digital formats, so there should be very little in the way of difference in signal quality, but does anyone have any opinions on which is better or more accurate? I've heard talk about Coaxial having cable resistance which will affect the sound, but if we're talking digital information, who cares about a slight drop in level? Any thoughts, opinions?
Old 1st July 2005
  #2
probably is not relevant in a well set up studio, but optical means no electrical connection. so less chance of groundloops.
Had one with my fireface and the G4 soundcard connected both to my desk last week
silly me, tried to do skype on the studio machine.
weird app: got a tone when connecting, but the conversation itself didn't arrive to the fireface...
Old 1st July 2005
  #3
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Robert Harley says that coax is better, because the bandwidth of an optical connection is more limited. But I think Harley is full of ****, and is an arrogant stereotypical audiophile. As far as I've noticed, there's no difference, and there shouldn't be, based on what you've already said--it's digital one way or the other. As Reptil mentioned, you don't have the possibility for ground loops w/ optical. I use the ADAT connection from my PreSonus Firestation to an 002R regularly, and all is well.

sorry if anyone is good friends with bob harley. just my $1.05

--jon
Old 1st July 2005
  #4
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orange's Avatar
 

In the 'old days' the audiophile opinion was that coax was better than optical. But these are the same people that place small pieces of plastic in the corner of your room to break up some strange of electrostatic field in the room !!!!?! (something I remember in the early 90s). So basically their opinion is questionable.

It does depend on the application - if you are doing a non-realtime digital transfer, where jitter isn't an issue, then there will be no quality difference. (this includes digital transfer from CD/dat dat/pc pc/dat etc etc). It 'might' only be an issue if you are feeding a DA that is clocking itself from the digital signal.

Basically I wouldn't worry too much - i use both optical/coax and they are both fine.

si
Old 1st July 2005
  #5
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maskedman72's Avatar
 

i hear people say that coax is better but i myself cant hear the difference.
Old 10th July 2005
  #6
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DeeDrive's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonCraig
Robert Harley says that coax is better, because the bandwidth of an optical connection is more limited. But I think Harley is full of ****, and is an arrogant stereotypical audiophile. As far as I've noticed, there's no difference, and there shouldn't be, based on what you've already said--it's digital one way or the other. As Reptil mentioned, you don't have the possibility for ground loops w/ optical. I use the ADAT connection from my PreSonus Firestation to an 002R regularly, and all is well.

sorry if anyone is good friends with bob harley. just my $1.05

--jon
Limited bandwidth of optical cable? That sounds like a crock, you're only transmitting a signal at your sampling frequency, so who cares about bandwidth? This Harley guys sounds like an idiot.
Old 11th July 2005
  #7
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Waylon's Avatar
 

COAX is cheaper adn more durable, as well as field repairable..... so COAX is indeed better in my eyes, but not from an audio standpoint....
Old 11th July 2005
  #8
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Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Everybody's right!

The first generation of Toshiba Toslink hardware generated huge amounts of jitter and the first generation of AES/SPDIF decoders made it even worse.

The second generation of Toslink hardware is fine and the very latest generation of AES/SPDIF decoder chips finally work right. In fact substituting them into older gear is supposed to be a revelation because they were the reason why using word clock sounded better with early digital gear.
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