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Thread: Optical, digital coax or RCA....can of worms ?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jan 2018

    Location: Home, UK

    Posts: 25
    I'm Z.

    Default Optical, digital coax or RCA....can of worms ?

    Hi,
    I'm looking for some advice regarding the best option to connect my amp, dac/headphone amp & cdp.
    As you can see from my system in my signature, I now have an amp with options of analogue and digital.
    The amp was the last to be changed and for the CDP input, it seems to recommend coax.
    All 3 items have DACs, so I know I can play around, but I'm hoping so of you esteemed members have done the 'leg work' already.
    Plus I have a 0.5m Chord C-line rca lead, is this different than a C-line digital coax ?
    thanks in advance for some constructive help
    RSJ

  2. #2
    Join Date: Dec 2014

    Location: UK, East Midlands

    Posts: 915
    I'm Mike.

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    Generally coax seems to come out on top for me but always find it a case of 'suck it and see'.

    Some pairings can surprise me if I swap coax with opt or usb but also think there may be something of 'the shock of the new' (or expectation bias.... )

  3. #3
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: A Strangely Isolated Place in Suffolk with far away trains passing by...

    Posts: 14,414
    I'm David.

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    The speakers you have will exaggerate any small differences too and as I remember, weren't really geared for 'digital' sources unless they're perfectly behaved, so proceed with caution here to prevent lost fillings and/or bleeding ears Some amps with built in DACs (some Yamaha's I recall) have pretty dire sounding digital inputs and a sub 100 headphone/DAC type recommended here and there can 'sound' better fed to the analogue inputs. Only thing is for you to make some kind of plan and procedure for experiment and see if you can hear anything if you change things.

    These days, I believe the differences between SPDIF, USB and optical digital inputs may well be more due to any shit coming down the electrical connections and whether the DAC can deal with this. Connecting a PC it has been recommended to use the optical connection to offer electrical isolation. My own shit here, I can't tell any meaningful difference between SPDIF and optical and my workroom PC is fed to the DAC via a USB cable and a USB-SPDIF converter that used to be available for twenty quid - sounds amazing to me, but your mileage may vary on this..

    Good luck - try to be as methodical as possible but don't get anal about it. It's the music and NOT the sound when all's said and done
    Tear down these walls; Cut the ties that held me
    Crying out at the top of my voice; Tell me now if you can hear me

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jul 2009

    Location: Schleswig-Holstein (north sea coast), Germany

    Posts: 811
    I'm Werner.

    Default S/PDIF is available as coaxial as well as optical connection

    David,
    Quote Originally Posted by DSJR View Post
    I can't tell any meaningful difference between SPDIF and optical […]
    you have excellent ears, because actually there’s no difference between S/PDIF and optical ;-)

    S/PDIF is the parent term for the software interface, the logical protocol. The physical data transfer can be done via an electric, asymmetric 75 Ω coaxial as well as optical form. The optical connection is also known as ”Toslink“.

    Personally I think the best way to connect a computer to a DAC is via the optical connection.

    Werner
    Mac OS X iTunes → Schiit Bifrost DAC → SPL Phonitor 2 → Yamaha AX-592 → Triangle Zays XS Grand Angle | AKG K712 Pro headphones | my last.fm profile

  5. #5
    Join Date: Feb 2011

    Location: glasgow

    Posts: 2,194
    I'm tony.

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    I would go with a glass optical-fisual do reasonably priced glass cables.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Dec 2014

    Location: UK, East Midlands

    Posts: 915
    I'm Mike.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wee tee cee View Post
    fisual do reasonably priced glass cables.
    Were they actually glass?
    Tried a few of their models (including Hollywood) but have never found anything confirming the core material on the Avopro website.
    Also seem to have cut down the range quite a bit - what is available is still great VFM though, particularly as they have quite a few on offer at the moment.
    Last edited by mikmas; 23-04-2018 at 16:59.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2011

    Location: glasgow

    Posts: 2,194
    I'm tony.

    Default

    Fisual stuff is bang for buck spot on.

    Mark Grant used to sell an ALL GLASS CABLE- took on all comers in bake offs this neck of the woods-YMMV

  8. #8
    Join Date: Oct 2017

    Location: Fenland

    Posts: 107
    I'm Bob.

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    Hope no one minds me going slightly OT.

    Werner, how did you put that link to your Skype profile in your message?
    System a mixture of old and new.

    Speakers Tannoy Cheviot, Amp Quad 33/405, Source Xbox One X (For everything) via a Panasonic 65inch 4k TV and a V DAC.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jul 2009

    Location: Schleswig-Holstein (north sea coast), Germany

    Posts: 811
    I'm Werner.

    Default

    Bob,
    Quote Originally Posted by bobvfr View Post
    Werner, how did you put that link to your Skype profile in your message?
    Main menu: Settings > Edit Profile > Optional Information: Skype Name
    Mac OS X iTunes → Schiit Bifrost DAC → SPL Phonitor 2 → Yamaha AX-592 → Triangle Zays XS Grand Angle | AKG K712 Pro headphones | my last.fm profile

  10. #10
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

    Posts: 6,684
    I'm availableforweddingsAndBarmitzvas.

    Default

    Maybe not so relevant to your own direct situation, but found XLR/AES to be noticably the best sounding digital connection.
    Ovwr toslink and spdif, I’d go Spdif, but get a good screened digital cable.
    have hifi n stuff

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