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  1. #1

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    Default Digital coaxial vs digital optical

    Is one better than the other? I just bought an SD-3960 DVD player and was disappointed to open it up and find no optical output to my Denon 1805.
    "I want to change my username to Gordo, but Club Polk won't let me"

  2. #2

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    then use the coax !! you will get mixed feelings about the 2 if you only have coax use it...its nor better nor worse....coax can be bended more than optical.

  3. #3

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    Default No optical???

    First of all, if your DVD player has no optical hookup, make sure it still decodes DTS. A digital coax will do it, but if you don't have the choice it's probably not a very good DVD player.
    Second, I have both optical and coax, as I wanted to see which was better. I was told the optical is better by service people at electronics stores, but then the opticals are more expensive, so you never know their agenda. So far, I've not noticed a difference, meaning the optical is not necessarily better. I just invested in a silver serpent digital coax from bettercables.com. Their information states that a high quality coax is better than even the best of opticals. I recommend taking a look at bettercables.com. The silver coax is only $80, which is what you would spend on a good optical. Shipping is free, unless you're an impatient bastard like me, and pay the extra $10 for 2nd day delivery. I'm hoping there is an audible difference. I know upgrading to Monster's silver coated component video cables produced a noticable difference in picture quality, so I'm hoping the same will be true for audio.
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  4. #4

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    coax digital is preferred by most after comparing both.

    HBomb
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  5. #5

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    If all your equipment does its job, a coax cable and an optical cable should both be able to transfer the identical 300MB of data.

    Regards,
    PolkThug

  6. #6

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    and if you have a 150$ dvd player (not saying you do) don't go out and buy a cable worth half of the player...just my 2 cents

  7. #7

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    I'm guessing you by 3960 because of everything you heard about it being a fantastic cd player. If that's the cause I hope you are hooking it up to your reciever through analog as well as digital coax and using the analog for music playback.

  8. #8

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    Default Silver Serpent

    Well, I kind of agree that if you're DVD player is on the cheap side, an expensive coax may not be best. Probably the $50 monster cable one at Circuit City or Good Guys would be fine. However, I just got the Silver Serpent today, and it is something else. Noticed an immediate difference. Detail is a bit clearer, and sound overall is richer. Used the SACD remastered Karajan recording of Beethoven's 5th, and the prologue from Fellowship of the Ring as testers. Pretty amazing. I only have 2 analogue outputs on my Denon DVD/CD player, which I hook into the TV, as sometimes I don't want to watch DVD's in HT style sound, like old movie with mono soundtracks, or late at night. I never really noticed too much of a difference using analogue vs. digital, but I have a nice receiver that processes the sound quite well. Good luck.
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    Mitsubishi 30" LCD LT-3020 (for sale**)
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  9. #9

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    Default Coax /Optical /ATT

    IMO Unless you go to the level of ATT optical connections which are on higher end audio machines, you are most likely better off using a good (not meaning expensive necessarily but good) coax cable.

    The less expensive run of the mill optical connections and cables are noted for producing too much distortion known as jitter. I've found that at lest to my ears the sound is a bit bright (typical discription of distortion) compared to a good coax hookup.

    One of the best digital coax cables you can buy isn't expensive at all. It's the DigiFlex Gold 1 from Sound & Video (HAVE,Inc.). Around $65 or so for 1.0m. You can still find the original HAVE CANARE cables used for around $25. At $50 for 1.0m new, these cables were always very highly rated by Stereophile and compared to cables costing three to four times as much and more than holding their own.
    polkaudio speakers: SDA-SRS-2.3 (modified) SDA-2B SDA-CRS+ RT3000p CS400i LF-14 Monitor 7B

  10. #10

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    I would say try both! You may like one over the other! I use both coax for music that is processed by the receiver & optical for movies. I dont agree with the thinking since the player costs x amount of dollars you should use a cable that is cheep or dosnt cost more than half of the player. Yes you can find great dig cables at great prices ex: monster M1000D 1 meter retails for $55, we sell the cable for just over $45. We use the M1000d cables & M1000optical cables on our demo system & they sound very good, although switch between the cables & I can tell a difference. I look at it this way I wouldnt want my cables to be the weakest link in my system, I want my components to play at its best & truly hear or see what my equipment can do. If your satisfied with so so preformance than you could even use rj6 cable terminated with rcas for your dig coax( I have seen this done by custome installers here) but not reccomended. I use better power cables, ic'c dig cables & video cables on my system & look at it this way, when I upgrade equipment I will still use the same cables in my system, spend alittle more upfront & have a set of cables that you can use for years to come!

  11. #11

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    A digital signal is not the same as an anolog signal. Either a readable signal goes from unit A to unit B, or it doesn't. A typical receiver will play nothing (silence) when it can't read the signal. So if you are hearing sound without gaps, your cable is good enough, and no cable you buy will make it better.

    If you want to prove this yourself, unplug one of your digital coax cables while playing something. Then push the jack back in to where it just makes contact and wiggle it in and out. You won't hear any scratches, pops or static. You will either hear sound or not.

    To answer the original question, use either optical or coax cable. Like polkthug said, they both do the same job. The one advantage that optical has over coax in an audio application, is that it is not subject to electromagnetic/radio-frequency interference. But like I said above, if you are hearing sound without gaps, you don't have an interference problem.
    Last edited by TheReaper; 06-05-2004 at 11:51 PM.

  12. #12

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    Default and no cable you buy will make it better.

    That depends... on the listener, the equipment, and perhaps the application.
    An example:
    Talking music only here and about my sytem in paticular... On my main two channel stereo, I can instantly switch around (A/B/C comparisons) between using an optical digital cable or an RCA coax digital cable or an AES/EBU coax digital cable. I do this with a remote. Quite a few people have been through this cable comparison testing and have come to the same conclusion that the coax type cables (and I have had and do have a number of different digital cables around) are far less fatiguing to listen to than their optical counterparts. There is a definite difference between the two.

    I guess it's subjective as to which one is "better" or worse but the difference is there.
    polkaudio speakers: SDA-SRS-2.3 (modified) SDA-2B SDA-CRS+ RT3000p CS400i LF-14 Monitor 7B

  13. #13

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    I agree with you Bob.

    How about this as a summary statement:

    The data coming through a 'digital' coax cable and an optical cable should be identical, assuming the equipment is not defective, however, differences can be heard because of how our stereo receivers process the two different inputs.

    Regards,
    PolkThug

  14. #14

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    Toby think of digital coax as 1 less process and there is the summary answer.

    I fully agree with Bob on the jitter issue and went as far as purchasing an AA DTI that I use with my DTV box which does not have coax out. The DTI takes the Optical in and eliminates the jitter then outputs the PCM on coax to my receiver.

    HBomb
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    Sounds good... Promise me you'll never teach me how to listen for jitter, or it will drive me nuts. lol.

    When is Mark havin a BBQ?! Maybe we'll schedule one for him and just show up.

    :)

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    He is closing on the new home the 11th I think. Move 2 within six months. I offered up my Yukon and back again for the 12th I believe. You in again?

    HBomb
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  17. #17

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    Default Speaking of DTIs,

    I have a spare one in a system I'm not using any more and yet I'm going without one in my HT system....
    polkaudio speakers: SDA-SRS-2.3 (modified) SDA-2B SDA-CRS+ RT3000p CS400i LF-14 Monitor 7B

  18. #18

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    I find it interesting the dti can take a dd input but I really only think the dti does good on 2 channel pcm for music. If you don't use your HT rig for much 2 channel then no point I guess. I find the dti helps out the stereo image the most then smoothes out the top end.

    HBomb
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  19. #19

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    Originally posted by HBombToo
    He is closing on the new home the 11th I think. Move 2 within six months. I offered up my Yukon and back again for the 12th I believe. You in again?

    HBomb
    I'll always help for free beer. :D

  20. #20

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    Originally posted by PolkThug
    I'll always help for free beer. :D
    Your an MGD man right?

    I'm racing:D

    1/4Twin
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  21. #21

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    Originally posted by HBombToo
    I find it interesting the dti can take a dd input but I really only think the dti does good on 2 channel pcm for music. If you don't use your HT rig for much 2 channel then no point I guess. I find the dti helps out the stereo image the most then smoothes out the top end.

    HBomb
    Hbomb,

    Your posts motivated me to compare optical to coax from my CD transport.

    I was using optical because my Pre/Pro has a digital re-clock/digital re-mastering circuit similar to your DTI device. When using the re-clock option, even with optical, the stereo image was much-improved (bigger soundstage) and high frequency was cleaner.

    My Pre/Pro is easy to setup for an A/B so I installed a good 75-ohm coax cable and did notice another improvement in the sound quality. So long optical and hello pulling apart my equipment rack (again :D) to properly route the coax cable.

    With the re-clocking circuit enabled the difference between coax/optical was not as big as turning re-clock on and off.

    As to the nature of jitter, it is a fact of life that ALL digital circuits have jitter to some degree. Low cost CD/DVD transports must use crystal clocks with higher jitter specs to provide the sample frequency (Fs) for the S/PDIF Encoder. Manufacturers of more expensive transports can afford to use higher quality clocks (with less jitter) that are of course more expensive. Additional jitter can be introduced due to impedance mis-matched cables and some claim from optical fiber.

    Jitter can manifest itself as high frequency side-band noise in the DAC (digital to analog converter) when the S/PDIF receiver chip recovers the sample frequency (Fs) from the incoming digital signal and then used the recovered Fs as the clock to drive the DAC. Re-clock or re-sample devices drop the incoming Fs, buffer the audio packets, and then resample using a different clock with less jitter.
    Best Regards, Cliff

  22. #22

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    Originally posted by TheGrayGhost
    Hbomb,

    Your posts motivated me to compare optical to coax from my CD transport.

    As to the nature of jitter, it is a fact of life that ALL digital circuits have jitter to some degree.

    Jitter can manifest itself as high frequency side-band noise in the DAC (digital to analog converter) when the S/PDIF receiver chip recovers the sample frequency (Fs) from the incoming digital signal and then used the recovered Fs as the clock to drive the DAC. Re-clock or re-sample devices drop the incoming Fs, buffer the audio packets, and then resample using a different clock with less jitter.
    Thanks a bunch because I did not want this to become a pissing contest but more so an excercise of our hobby.

    As you have stated ALL digital streams experience jitter but where is the point in which time and money make sense. Again with audio it becomes very subjective.

    IMHO its the receiver chip prior to the dac that needs synced up and I find it most interesting that upsampling has a positive effect in your experience. BTW, what type of prepro do you have? I have given some consideration with regard to upsampling but other initiatives have taken precidence.

    1/4Twin
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  23. #23

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    Originally posted by HBombToo
    Your an MGD man right?

    I'm racing:D

    1/4Twin
    I drink mostly Bud Light, but am known to drink pretty much any beer, especially the cold variety.

    Regards,
    Think I'll have a Bully Wheat now, just got done mowing...

  24. #24

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    Originally posted by PolkThug
    I drink mostly Bud Light, but am known to drink pretty much any beer, especially the cold variety.

    Regards,
    Think I'll have a Bully Wheat now, just got done mowing...
    I go for the effect but if your there bud light it is.:p

    twin
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  25. #25

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    Originally posted by HBombToo
    Thanks a bunch because I did not want this to become a pissing contest but more so an excercise of our hobby.

    As you have stated ALL digital streams experience jitter but where is the point in which time and money make sense. Again with audio it becomes very subjective.

    IMHO its the receiver chip prior to the dac that needs synced up and I find it most interesting that upsampling has a positive effect in your experience. BTW, what type of prepro do you have? I have given some consideration with regard to upsampling but other initiatives have taken precidence.

    1/4Twin
    Hbomb,

    Good question! The ability to reduce jitter to an acceptable level in a receiver (thru re-clock) should not add more than $20 or $25 to the cost of any receiver. And for mass-produced receivers even less.

    Donít confuse re-sample with up-sampling because they are not necessarily the same things. As a means of reducing jitter a 44.1kHz S/PDIF signal can be re-sampled to 44.1kHz with a better clock before being sent to the DAC. The real answer to reducing jitter is in the S/PDIF2 specifications. If ever implemented, S/PDIF2 will provide for a feed-back line to the source S/PDIF clock to keep it in sync with the DAC clock. Currently the S/PDIF Receiver/Decode clock is in sync with the source clock through the digital stream.

    Of course all things dealing with audio reproduction can be subjective and much of that subjectivity depends on the equipment used for testing, testing methods, along with the room and a personís state of mind. There have been some double blind and even triple blind tests conducted to determine the level of jitter required to produce an audible difference. Donít remember the exact number but believe it was in the range of several hundred pico Seconds (some small number about the size of my bank account :D).

    As to the Digital Re-Mastering in my Pre/Pro, some people contend that it couldn't help the sound. As a point of information, digital re-mastering can not add detail back into a signal. However, as you are likely well aware, the Nyquist theorem requires a brick wall filter on CD playback. Typically these are set at 22 kHz. As you are also likely aware, these filters are not benign. They have phase shift that intrudes well into the audio band. By resampling the PCM signal to 192 kHz sampling frequency and 24-bit word depth, that brick wall filter is moved out to around 96 kHz and now the attendant phase shift has no effect within the audible band. You would need a high resolution system to tell that the high end on CD playback sounds better when Digital Re-Mastering is engaged. I believe my Polk LSi speakers and Pre/Pro/Amp meets that requirement.

    Some day Iíll have to find the link to a published neurological study conducted in Japan to determine if humans can hear, see, taste, smell, feel, or otherwise respond to sounds above the normally accepted upper limit of 20kHz.

    Iím reluctant to post my audio components (accept for Polk speakers in a Polk forum) to avoid a pissing contest when someone gets offensive about it (I donít suffer fools well). I donít own high dollar value components or entry-level components either. I own exactly what I can afford AND what sounds good to me. Some of my friends are in awe of my Polk LSi speakers (and their sound) while other so called friends turn up their noses and ask why I donít buy Von OhMyGods instead. Go Figure!

    Anyway Iím using the new Sherwood Newcastle P-965 Preamp/Processor and because I needed more Ďumpí I also upgraded my Adcom amp to the Newcastle A-965 7-channel amp.

    By the way, what does ď1/4TwinĒ mean?
    Best Regards, Cliff

  26. #26

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    Originally posted by TheGrayGhost

    Some day Iíll have to find the link to a published neurological study conducted in Japan to determine if humans can hear, see, taste, smell, feel, or otherwise respond to sounds above the normally accepted upper limit of 20kHz.
    I hope I can't hear any sounds about 20kHz, a 20kHz tone is unpleasant enough.

    :)

  27. #27

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    Originally posted by TheGrayGhost


    By the way, what does ď1/4TwinĒ mean?
    I WAS on beer # few but now I'm drinken wine after dinner because the case is history.;)

    Twin:D

    BTW I have no experience with s/pdif2....
    ***WAREMTAE***

  28. #28

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    Default the verdict is in

    I went with a 3' monster coax and, at least to my ears, can't tell a difference. So the SD-3960 is back and we're lovin it.
    "I want to change my username to Gordo, but Club Polk won't let me"

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    HBomb,

    Your PM mailbox is full. Can't answer your PM.
    Best Regards, Cliff

  30. #30

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    Cool oops

    Clear!

    Twin:p
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