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  1. #1

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    Default Toslink or digital coax?

    I finally took the advice of many on this forum and purchased an Emotiva ERC-1 CD player to use as a transport and a separate Keces DA-131 DAC.

    The amount of new detail that I hear in familiar recordings is amazing.

    I have been using a Toslink optical cable between the Emotiva nd the Keces because I had one on hand.

    There is also and option to use a digital coax cable.

    Any opinions on which is best for sound quality?

    Any suggestions on a brand and model for both the Toslink and digital coax (looking for bang for buck as always)?

    Also, one curious thing: when the CD is over and the Emotiva goes into idle mode (I assume for energy consumption reasons) I get a pretty loud hum thru my speakers until I turn the DAC off, or the preamp off, or power up the CD again. Is this normal?

    Thanks (and remind me to listen to you guys).
    Counterpoint SA1000 hybrid tube preamp, SUMO Andromeda amplifier, Acoustat Spectra 1100 Electrstatic hybrid speakers, HSU HRSW12-V subwoofer, NHT SA-2 Subwoofer amp, Rotel RCD-1070 CD, Thorens TD-160 TT, Mitchell Transcriptors Skeleton w/Vesigal arm TT

  2. #2

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    Tim, I (personally) find that Toslink is extremely neutral, where coax has a little more treble energy. If you decide to go Toslink, I'd recommend a glass or quartz fiber cable---not plastic.

    I really like Belden 1694A (digital coaxial from Blue Jeans) and found it every bit as good as cables in the $75-$125 range. It has a very neutral presenation, and it's inexpensive.

    Since you're using fiber, it's not the transport causing the hum. If you turn the Emotiva off and leave the DAC on, is the hum still present?

    The best way to "chase" a hum is to start connecting components one at a time. Disconnect everything but the preamp, amp, and speakers. Check the pre/amp for hum; then connect a source--power it up, check for hum; then connect the next source...and so on.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 10-23-2013 at 02:46 PM.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
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  3. #3
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    I use coax as my default, but Toslink if I want to isolate components as it does not provide an electrical connection. Toslink has to make a conversion to optical, which is one more conversion than coax, so not my preference.

  4. #4

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    I am using a Black Cat Veloc coaxial cable I purchased from Phil (Pearsall01) on the forum and LOVE IT! They only make a .5m IIRC so if thats too short for you then your outta luck, otherwise its a very good sounding cable IMHO and wont break the bank.

    No personal experience with Blue Jeans, but if Steve vouches for it, then its a very viable option.

    I haven't done a a/b between those two options myself mostly because my computers optical port is broke and its coaxial is not .....
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    I haven't done a a/b between those two options myself mostly because my computers optical port is broke and its coaxial is not .....
    Ghetto.

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    i was using a Tributaries TOSLINK and switched to a Grover Huffman digital cable. It made a difference. took out a little treble edge I had been having problems with.
    Grover can be slow, but it is a nice cable.

    http://www.groverhuffman.com/home
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  7. #7

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    Here's the glass fiber link:

    http://www.av-cables.net/digitalaudi...les-40235.html

    SonicWave

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  8. #8
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    Amphenol glass fiber optic cables are great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    I use coax as my default, but Toslink if I want to isolate components as it does not provide an electrical connection. Toslink has to make a conversion to optical, which is one more conversion than coax, so not my preference.
    Ditto to the above statement. I prefer optical most times. (have to w/DirecTV) Try both in a cheap version 1st. If you think you are hearing any noise then, a good mutli-strand glass toslink is good. Yes, there is a difference also. Way higher bandwidth with glass and negligible jitter. There is a guy on Amazon that sells the Owens Corning glass ones/ no name/ for a nice price. For coax I use the 90% COPPER braid RG6 from PE & make my own. It's made by Belden.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinaz View Post
    Here's the glass fiber link:

    http://www.av-cables.net/digitalaudi...les-40235.html

    SonicWave
    You can get the same one on Amazon for a 1/3 the price....

  11. #11

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    You will not find a more willing person then me to dig deep into cables and explore all possibilities. But in this case I have yet to hear any differences at all when comparing Coax Digital to Optical cables.
    Now mind you I always compare quality cables, so it's always a fair compare. Over the last decade or 2 I have testing cables from $29 bucks retail to upwards of $500 per cable. Even at these levels I never heard a difference good or bad. Not to mention I have also tested many of these cables on higher end gear then what I have ever owned and still no dice.

    I suggest use whatever cable tickles you of a good quality and move on. You can make way better improvements in your system with other cables that actually do make sonic differences.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polk&Beans View Post
    Ditto to the above statement. I prefer optical most times. (have to w/DirecTV) .
    I use Toslink for DirecTV as well, kills the hum in it's tracks.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
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  13. #13

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    In my experience, digital cables should be more about true 75ohm impedance topology, than esoterics/materials. This is why I have had such success with the inexpensive belden 1694A. It is a well specified cable, and it's performance is no-nonsense.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  14. #14
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    ^ When I had a ground loop issue with cable TV, Toslink got rid of the hum.

  15. #15

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    Toslink was my solution to a ground loop hum I had with cable TV ^

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polk&Beans View Post
    You can get the same one on Amazon for a 1/3 the price....
    Late to the party here, but was looking at the cable steve linked to is a 5m cable. Same one on amazon is actually MORE.

    http://www.amazon.com/C2G-Cables-Go-...ptical+Toslink

    Am guessing you just missed the difference in length when you looked on amazon.

    Thanks steve for the link, will keep this handy in case I need another one (have one very nice one from my x's dad who was a engineer for RCA, and a super cheap one from monoprice)
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

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  17. #17

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    http://www.lifatec.com/toslink2.html

    Silflex glass toslink, these were highly recommended and it what I use in my system
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinaz View Post
    In my experience, digital cables should be more about true 75ohm impedance topology, than esoterics/materials. This is why I have had such success with the inexpensive belden 1694A. It is a well specified cable, and it's performance is no-nonsense.
    This is a very true statement.
    Dan
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  19. #19

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    Ideally the 75 ohm characteristic impedance should extend to the connections at both the send and receive ends.This so jitter causing reflections within the cable are kept to a minimum. The best choice is the 75 ohm BNC.Some RCA cons are advertised as 75 ohm but any RF engineer will call BS since it cannot be made true 75 ohm with the large center pin.

  20. #20

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    Ditto. 75 ohm. I like Beldin cable myself.

    P.S. Here is the "other" toslink, Owens Corning 280 strand.

    http://www.amazon.com/Toslink-Glass-...=Glass+Toslink
    Last edited by Polk&Beans; 10-29-2013 at 01:14 AM.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinaz View Post
    I use Toslink for DirecTV as well, kills the hum in it's tracks.
    Yep, yep. The music channels still suck but, no ground loop hum. Too bad they won't/can't do 320kps MP3 or something.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveinaz View Post
    In my experience, digital cables should be more about true 75ohm impedance topology, than esoterics/materials. This is why I have had such success with the inexpensive belden 1694A. It is a well specified cable, and it's performance is no-nonsense.
    Haha! I think you and I share the same brain. Great, versatile cable. I used the quad shield version up in the attic.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polk&Beans View Post
    Yep, yep. The music channels still suck but, no ground loop hum. Too bad they won't/can't do 320kps MP3 or something.
    Agree 100% "Sonic" or whatever those channels are, suck. But I have to say, I like their audio quality better than Sirius.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
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