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  1. #1

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    Default Plastic or Glass Toslink between CD player and amp?

    Here is a question for you ...

    I am going to be using a Blu-Ray DVD player (for playing CDs) hooked to an integrated amp for my new 2-channel audio system (music only for this system)

    The Blu-Ray player has only a Toslink audio output. There are no RCA audio outputs, so using audio RCA interconnect cables between the player and the amp is out of the question.

    Well, my amp does have a Toslink audio input, so connecting the two is not a problem.

    My question is what kind of Toslink cable to run between the player and the amp. Since these two units will be placed on racks right above each other, I would only need a Toslink cable of about 1.5 feet.

    Do you think there is any benefit using the more expensive glass cable vs the cheaper plastic core Toslink cable for the 2-channel audio signal? I was considering the Cables To Go brand "SonicWave" glass cable. It's has 280 strands of glass which they claim is better than the cheaper plastic core cable. The price is still pretty cheap at $24 on Ebay for a 1.5 foot piece.

    I don't know if I'm buying into these glass cables as being any better than the plastic ones (especially for such a short length that I need) ... But, the Cables To Go website does state that "High-purity optical grade glass fiber will not haze or discolor over time like plastic will" ... and that does make sense to me.

    I realize all these cables are doing is sending lots of 0 and - bits down the fiber core, but I guess if the plastic cable were to discolor or haze over time, the stream of 0 and - bits could loose "timing" or bits of info being lost, which might result in what they call "jitter".

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on this?

    Thank's,
    Ron

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    I've tried both and there wasn't a difference in my system.

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    Thank's audiocr ...

    I was not sure about the difference between plastic and glass Toslink, but I did read a review where they compared glass Toslink to high-quality "boutique" RCA audio interconnects, and could not tell any difference.

    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/toslink/toslink.html

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    For starters, I would never use a Blu-ray player for a music only rig and in particular one that doesn't have analog outs. That said, fiber optic cables are not created equal, glass is better.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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    I don't believe you'll hear or notice a difference but why not at least get a decent cable and not worry about it at all? You don't have to spend hundreds or even more than single bill for that matter....$40 www.signalcable.com

    It's a very nice DIY style cable, hand terminated using high quality cable and manufactured in the USA. It's also a boutique style cable to boot so it covers all the bases for your friends that pretend they know what hi-fi means....yet wouldn't know it from a Fisher Price radio.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post

    For starters, I would never use a Blu-ray player for a music only rig and in particular one that doesn't have analog outs. That said, fiber optic cables are not created equal, glass is better.
    Why is that?

    I would think that just because it's capable of playing Blu-Ray discs, that it would be just as capable (quality wise) for playing CD / MP3 as any regular CD or CD/DVD player that has RCA audio outputs on the rear case.

    Just asking

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    F1Nut is on a whole 'notha level of audio so this type of player is not something you'll find in his rack. Don't try and understand, it's too much to absorb in a couple posts and altogether not interesting. Beware, once you get a demo of that level, you may never look at audio the same way.

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    I agree with F1, glass is better...I heard a difference in my rig.

    This is the cable I use: http://www.amazon.com/Cables-To-Go-S.../dp/B0009JR4GK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post

    I agree with F1, glass is better...I heard a difference in my rig.

    This is the cable I use: http://www.amazon.com/Cables-To-Go-S.../dp/B0009JR4GK
    Same exact cable I am considering (except I need the shorter 0.5m length)

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    Ok....that cable was 25 bucks, you refered to it as being expensive ?

    What F1NUT ment is, a Blu-ray player for spinning cd's in a 2 channel system is about the last choice anyone would make. Not that they can't spin cd's, just that there is better SQ to be had by a dedicated cdp. Exceptions exist of coarse, Like the oppo 93-95, but your talking a significant amount of coin over your standard BDP.

    Curious anyway, is the bdp something you had on hand already ?

  11. #11

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    tony ... My choice of words was not really well articulated about the price of the glass cable. Certainly $25 is cheap for any cable. I just meant the differance between the cheap generic Toslink cable vs the more expensive glass Toslink cable.

    The reason I was going to use the Blu-ray player was just the fact that it had a USB port on the front panel which would be great for plugging in an iPod or a memory stick that has recorded MP3 music files ... The dedicated CD player I had originally looked at did not have the USB port.

    You may be right, a CD player will more than likely have better audio specs than a Blu-Ray player (even though the Blu-ray player will certainly play CDs and MP3 disks)

    Ron,

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    If he's only using it as a transport does it matter if it's a BluRay or CDP?

    Unless you're using I2S or Asynch USB, I haven't found a direct correlation between price and SQ between transports...and this is after demoing $100 JVC DVD players and $5,000 CDP's at my dealer.

    In fact, some of the cheapies have less read errors.
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    The typical argument is that plastic fiber can "yellow"--I've never seen this happen; and also that the clarity of glass allows for less loss, but at typical lengths the average consumer is using, this is probably a moot point too. Having said that, I used a Sonic Wave quartz glass toslink, and really liked the build quality/connectors used on it. I think it was like $49 bucks or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo6TA View Post
    Why is that?

    I would think that just because it's capable of playing Blu-Ray discs, that it would be just as capable (quality wise) for playing CD / MP3 as any regular CD or CD/DVD player that has RCA audio outputs on the rear case.
    Others have given you the info needed; glass over plastic. However, just to make clear what you are sayig above is two different things. The two outputs are not the same thing.

    The fiber optic is carrying the digital stream from the CD to your amp. The DACs in the amp will turn the digital into analog. The player with RCA outputs is using its DACs to turn the digital into analog, and is sending analog out the RCA conectors to your amp. It is entirely possible you will have two different sounding scenarios in this case.

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    Blue Fox ... That makes good sense to me, even though I don't have much knowledge of audio.

    In my case, I am going to use an Onkyo CD player (or an Onkyo Blue-Ray player if I decide on that) with an Onkyo integrated amp.

    The CD player has a single 'Wolfson' 192 kHz / 24-Bit DAC, and the integrated amp has dual 'Wolfson' 192 kHz / 24-Bit DACs (one for each of the 2 audio channels).

    The amp can except both RCA analog inputs or Toslink or coaxial digital inputs. so I can hook up only digital from the Blu-Ray or either digital or analog cable from the CD player.

    I would think that the audio quality from the speakers would be exactly the same from either the Blu-Ray or the CD player as long as digital interconnects were used in both set-ups since the dual DACs in the amp would be doing the digital to analog audio processing with either the Blu-Ray or the CD player in use.

    Again, the only reason I might choose to use the blu-Ray player is because it has a USB port and the CD player don't.


    Is my reasoning flawed?
    ________________________________

    Now, the only reason I could see to use the CD player over the Blu-Ray was that if analog (RCA interconnects) from the CD player to the amp provided for better overall sound than using Toslink .. then using the CD player would be better option (but my guess is the dual DACs in the amp are better than the single DAC in the CD player).
    Last edited by Turbo6TA; 04-19-2012 at 12:59 PM.

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    Turbo,
    I'm gonna suggest another path for you. I see your interest is in the usb port, playing ipod,mp3's, which most around here would say mp3 audio quality is fairly dismal. Instead of a cdp or bdp, how about a Squeezebox Touch ? If you own a computer and a router, you'd never have to worry about a cdp again, or thumbing across scores of cd cases for that one song you want to hear. Better sound quality than mp3, providing you download all your cd's into a lossless format on your computer. Think about it, it will take you a few steps forward in your listening pleasure.

  17. #17

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    tony ... That may be a good idea, but for the price of these CD and Blu-ray players, it's almost easier to me just to buy one of them and hook it to my integrated amp.

    All I ever play is MP3 Cds, so I guess either one would work. But, it might be nice to load lots of MP3 songs into a memory stick and plug it into that Blu-Ray player. So easy

    I know MP3 don't have the tonal quality of regular music CDs, but even if they would sound better on a CD player vs a Blu-Ray player, I would buy the CD player instead. I guess that was my original question.


    My big problem now is that the government shut down Limewire, so I have not been able to download FREE MP3 songs anymore and burn them to CD.

    Such as life!

  18. #18

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    I think you'll be fine with whatever you choose given your source and views...

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo6TA View Post
    tony ... That may be a good idea, but for the price of these CD and Blu-ray players, it's almost easier to me just to buy one of them and hook it to my integrated amp.

    All I ever play is MP3 Cds, so I guess either one would work. But, it might be nice to load lots of MP3 songs into a memory stick and plug it into that Blu-Ray player. So easy

    I know MP3 don't have the tonal quality of regular music CDs, but even if they would sound better on a CD player vs a Blu-Ray player, I would buy the CD player instead. I guess that was my original question.


    My big problem now is that the government shut down Limewire, so I have not been able to download FREE MP3 songs anymore and burn them to CD.

    Such as life!
    I see what your saying, but thats a very ....um, outdated way of going about it. If sound quality matters at all to you, then I would re-think that path.

    A squeezebox touch is anywhere from 2-300 bucks, a tad more than your standard run of the mill cdp or bdp, but lets look at the options it gives you.

    Better sound off the bat.
    Plays all your downloaded cd's with album art too.
    You get radio too, from around the world, not just local channels, a benefit since you use an integrated.
    Subscribe to a music service like Rhapsody for 10 bucks a month and get 15 million songs, you may never have to buy a song/cd again.
    All of this will be at your finger tips, no cd cases to look for, no scratched cd's to deal with, no getting off the couch.
    Chicks will dig you.

    Now, if you know of a cd player that will do all that for the price of admission, then run out and grab it. I know in your original post, the question was regarding optical cables, and given what you plan on using it for, then I can't see a difference being had for what ever cable you go with. Looking for those small increases in sound quality that different cables provide is negated by your choice of source and source material. Follow ?

    Not trying to be a downer here my friend, if thats your path, then pick any cable, any cdp or bdp and rock the house. We all enjoy music in our own way. Just trying to give you options is all.

  20. #20

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    Since the Toslink question is pretty much answered.... I will respond off-topic to the above...

    The squeezebox touch is nice, but I still prefer my Xbox/XBMC combo.
    1) Cost: used Xbox/XMBC with remote easily found under $100. You do have to mod it though, but that is easy if you are at all technical.
    2) Pretty good music quality. At least my system didn't have a huge difference between it and a Sonos running FLAC and ALAC files and hooked up via Toslink.
    3) Does support some Internet radio stations, but probably not near the SB offering. Not a big deal for me.
    4) Music is at your finger tips. You can load it on a Network share or the internal hard drive.
    5) Plays almost any video or music file. You can also use it for picture slideshows and retro gaming (Xbox and emulation too).
    6) Use your TV as a front-end. One of the best user interfaces of its kind. The remote could be better though, but you can get a cheaper harmony remote to replace the standard Xbox remote.
    7) Chicks, i.e. my wife digs me.

    Can't say anything about Limewire, other than you should be buying your music. There are legal ways of obtaining non-DRM music. I still like buying CD's so I have a good backup in case my NAS ever fails (I back it up too). CD's are typically cheaper than buying a complete CD's worth of loss-less files.

    I really don't understand why people spend $1 for a crappy sounding mp3 or equivalent iTunes equivalent. I have found this stuff only damaging to my ability to listen for quality music. I would prefer just to grab the YouTube version that way my brain can painfully hear the difference between a good and bad recording. Typically if I only want 1 song from a CD because I don't like the other tracks, then I know I won't be listening to that artist for too long anyway.

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    What if the person doesn't have a TV/monitor in their 2 channel setup?

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    Thank's everyone for all the information you have given me. I really appreciate it.

    I have been living in the Philippines for the last 5 years. I was never able to find alot of the CDs that I liked there. I also know nothing about Squeezbox since I don't know anyone that uses it in the Philippines. Also, the various types of radio like Sirrus is not available in the Philippines. Local radio stations was of poor quality, so listening to the radio was out of the question over there too.

    The easiest way for me to obtain music while in the Philippines was to just download the various MP3 songs I liked (mostly old country and 60s rock music) from Limewire over the internet, and then just burn them to CD and play these Cds on my audio system. To me, this music sounded good on the 2-channel system I was useing over there (which was really a pretty high quality system with a great set of Mission speakers).

    Now I come back to the US and find items like Squeezebox and find out there are other sources such as Rhapsody, etc .... Well, this is all new to me. I guess I will do a Google search and find out who sells the Squeezebox units, and find out how they are hooked up to my 2-channel audio system, because I don't have a clue.

    My idea of a good sound system is just an amp, some speakers and a CD player to provide the source material. I kinda liked the MP3 CDs, because you could cram at least 100 songs on one disk. Go out and buy a regular music CD for $10-$15 and it might have 12 songs on it ... and you only like a couple of them.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drenis View Post
    What if the person doesn't have a TV/monitor in their 2 channel setup?
    That's kinda my question too. I am keeping my 2-channel audio system in a separate area away from the TV. And I also may not have a cable TV outlet close by either.

    Another thing ... It seems to me that some of these music sources require the use of a computer to be used with your 2-channel music system. Well, many audio amplifiers and CD players used in a 2-channel audio system don't even have a USB port, so I can't see how a laptop can even be connected into most 2-channel audio systems?

    I guess I have alot of reading to do in order to find out how all this new stuff works!

    Ron,

  23. #23

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    Turbo,
    The squeezebox or even a Sonos unit too, connects to your 2 channel system, be it an AVR or integrated by either toslink, digital coax, or analog cables just like any cdp would. You don't connect to a cdp, you replace it. It then wirelessly connects to your computer's router, or you could hard wire it direct. Choice is up to the end user. It basically takes anything and everything on your computer and transfer it wirelessly to your 2 channel system. This oblivates any problem you have with local over the air radio, and opens up the amount of content available to you. Think along the lines of what the internet did to newspapers, it is also doing the same for cdp's.

    Want to listen to Jazz from a South american station, check. Raggae from Jamaica, check. The latest from Europe, check. Want to sit on the couch and thumb your whole music collection you had on cd's, check. Want to have access to almost any bands music, from anywhere for only 10 bucks a month from Rhapsody, check.

    Alot of members here use the Squeezebox Touch, some of us use Sonos, both basically doing the same thing. My wife was looking up some music the other day on our Sonos, I said to her....jokeing of coarse, that I was thinking of selling it. She almost took my head off. She simply can't imagine going back to spinning cd's again. These units will change how you listen to music, and where.

    We have plenty of threads on these units, read up, visit their own sites, take your time and decide if they are right for your needs. We are always here to help should the need arise.

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    ^^ Tony is right on.

    Paradigm shift for me. The convenience factor is huge, open up the possibilities, such as listening to morning radio program from Sydney.

    Btw, Tony, MOG is awesome (of course, IMO).
    I am sorry, I have no opinion on the matter. I am sure you do. So, don't mind me, I just want to talk audio and pie.

  25. #25

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    Tony .. Thank's for the info.

    I looked on the Amazon website. The Logitech Squeezebox Touch sells for about $265. I think this is what I am going to buy.

    However, I still want to get a CD player to use with this 2-channel audio system. The one thing good about the integrated amp I am considering is that it has both coaxial and Toslink digital inputs along with RCA analog inputs, so there would be no problem in hooking up both the CD player and the Squeezebox unit to my amp.

    I like the idea that I can also listen to radio on the Squeezbox as long as I subscribe to Rhapsody or something like that.

    Years ago, when I lived in Arizona, I had XM Radio hooked up to my home 2-channel audio system, but I never really liked the quality of the music. It really sounded not much better than over-the-air commercial radio played through a tuner with an external antenna ... And I didn't like the XM billing practices either, that's why I never had XM Radio activated on the new Corvette I purchased when I returned to the US from the Philippines.

    Ron,

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    Max & others,I do not understand the overall dislike of MP-3 and the like.My Yamaha RX-V665 has a port for a dock which I use all the time.Once I learned how to burn CDs I just went for it.The dock a YSD-11 retails in store for $100 and o/l for & $46 which I jumped on.Since my taste in music is pretty wide rangeing you can clearly tell the difference between an older recorded and mastered album from the newer formatted HDCD.I also was gifted a 3rd gen I-POD and I really think the quality does come through and the old gag of I never heard that before or the acoustic guitars really shine is kinda true. Since I do have the option of running the pod either through the H/T system or through the pre-amp into the 2-chnl which works fine either way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by leftwinger57 View Post
    Max & others,I do not understand the overall dislike of MP-3 and the like.
    I find mp3's greatly inferior to lossless. I use ALAC on my iPod Touch and can tell mp3's (even 320kpbs recordings) vs. ALAC even on my crappy car system. If you can't tell the difference then relax, enjoy what you got, and be merry.

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    Personally I prefer 75 ohm coax and speaking strictly for Toslink, glass tends to be better. But, for this level of rig and the type of music you are playing, it won't make a bit of difference what you use. Go with something that is built well and won't fall apart, beyond that it won't matter. I have the higher end MonoPrice 6' Toslink going from my TV to dac and it's built well, looks attractive and was inexpensive. It serves its purpose for movies and TV audio.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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    Quote Originally Posted by leftwinger57 View Post
    Max & others,I do not understand the overall dislike of MP-3 and the like.
    Because the quality is not that great and compression stinks they sound bad and have no business in a serious audiophile rig.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Thank's everyone for all the info you have given me.

    I decided to go a slightly different route. Not expensive components, but they should work together in my sorta 'budget' system:

    I bought an Onkyo TX-8050 Network Stereo Reciever. Not to be confused with a AVR reciever, this TX-8050 is 2-channel only. It will alow me to listen to audio files I have on my computer's hard drive and also stream music from Rhapsody, Slacker, Sirius-XM, vTuner, LastFM, Napster or Aupeo via a wireless router ... I bought a Linksys EA2700 dual-band wireless router for this.

    I also needed an Onkyo UWF-1 Wireless LAN Adapter that simply plugs into the reciever's USB port to use with the Linksys wireless router.

    Then I bought an Onkyo C-7030 CD player so I can play CDs too. This is stickly audio only, and will not play DVDs. It does have a Wolfson? 192 kHz / 24-Bit DAC, so hopefully it will sound ok.

    I also bought a pair of Polk RTi A7 tower speakers for the fronts, and a pair of RTi A3 for the rears. The A3s will be placed on 30" stands.

    I was a little worried that the reciever's output power which is 80 w/ch @ 8 ohms might be a little low to drive all 4 speakers, so I bought a pair of Onkyo M-282 power amps (1 amp to drive the front speakers, and another amp to drive the rear speakers). These power amps are both rated at 100 w/ch @ 8 ohms each.

    So, as you can see, I will not be useing the power amp section of the TX-8050 to drive any speakers. This reciever does have pre-outs, so the reciever can be connected to the audio inputs of the power amps.

    The only reason I am wanting to use 4 speakers with a 2-channel audio only system is that I just like the sound of 4 speakers vs just a set of fronts (personal preferance from previous systems I have owned).

    I am using Signal Cables RCA interconnects between the CD player and the reciever ... between the reciever and the input of the #1 power amp ... and between the output of the #1 power amp and the input of the #2 power amp.

    Just bought 100' roll of Monoprice 14 AWG speaker wire too.

    That's about it. I am not going to hook this all up until I move into our new house in another month.








    2-Channel Audio
    Onkyo ... TX-8050 - .Network Stereo Reciever
    Onkyo ... M-282 . ._. Power Amps .(Pair)
    Onkyo ... C-7030 . _.CD Player
    Polk . . *. RTi A7 - ....Fronts
    Polk . . *. RTi A3 - ....Rears

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