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Data cabling

Discussion in 'DACs' started by Powertech, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. Powertech

    Powertech Active Member

    Messages:
    484
    Location:
    South Wales, U.K.
    As I will have either option, is it better to go with phono type SP/Dif or Toslink optical between CD player and DAC?
     

     

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  2. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,030
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    Doesn't really matter--both are asychronous means of data transfer--USB is synchronous, which is better.
     
  3. Powertech

    Powertech Active Member

    Messages:
    484
    Location:
    South Wales, U.K.
    Thanks for the heads up. I think I will try both and see if there is an audible difference.
     
  4. mroboto

    mroboto Super Member

    Messages:
    1,460
    Optical is electrically isolated, so , less concerns about ground loop or other noise problems.
     
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  5. Guest125

    Guest125 Active Member

    Messages:
    353
    Both come with their own advantages and disadvantages. SPDIF is the oldest and very reliable. Use RG6 quad shield with RCA termination for the best interconnect. TOSLINK comes with jitter issues, but is convenient. I always use SPDIF first.
     
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  6. JoeESP9

    JoeESP9 ESL's & tubes since 83

    Messages:
    16,374
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    IME it depends on the accuracy of the clock and associated circuits. With asynchronous the receiving device uses it's internal clock. This may be the better option especially with laptops. The best USB DAC's all operate asynchronously.

    Gordon Rankin of Wavelength Audio wrote the first asynchronous protocols for USB. IIRC he got a patent for it.
     

     

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  7. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    Generally shouldn't matter with a good DAC, may matter on lesser DACs. Coax is considered to be better than Toslink. Quality gear should be using isolation transformers on coax to avoid noise/ground loop problems. Cables are cheap enough, try both and see if you can pick any differences.
     
  8. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,271
    The Toslink (optical) standard has higher inherent jitter. I prefer S/PDIF using a 1.5M cable to minimize reflections.
     
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  9. for_p1

    for_p1 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,485
    Location:
    North TX
    I do NOT recommend to use Toslink or S/PDIF with any DAC that does NOT re-clock input stream. In both cases excessive jitter is unavoidable. With re-clocking or asynchronous rate converter jitter is completely eliminated.
     
  10. gvl

    gvl Super Member

    Messages:
    1,012
    SPDIF interfaces have come a long way... Chips like WM8805 or AKM4113 are fairly effective in recovering stable clock from jittery inputs.
     
  11. House de Kris

    House de Kris Loud-n-Deep

    Messages:
    2,231
    Location:
    Texas
    Folks, both Coax and TOSLINK use the SPDIF protocol. So to say, "I prefer SPDIF to TOSLINK," doesn't really make sense. Saying you prefer Coax to TOSLINK makes sense. Saying you prefer copper to plastic makes sense. Saying you prefer electrical to optical makes sense.
     

     

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  12. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I avoid Toslink. Yes, coaxial via BNC.
     
  13. House de Kris

    House de Kris Loud-n-Deep

    Messages:
    2,231
    Location:
    Texas
    In my experience, jitter can never be completely eliminated. Heck, even passing a signal through a couple inches of PC trace has the potential of inducing an increase in measurable jitter. An SPDIF interface typically induces a "cyclical, correlated" jitter. Reclocking this stream will trade that flavor of jitter for "cyclical, uncorrelated" jitter. An asynchronous interface has the greatest chance of having the less benign form of jitter, "random," but it too will probably have a bit of cyclical uncorrelated jitter due to the power supply to the local clock.
     
  14. Guest125

    Guest125 Active Member

    Messages:
    353
    ESS Sabre DAC's has a very good internal jitter elimination section for SPDIF inputs, where the incoming samples are "time-aligned" and picked up at the internal clock's pace. It's one of the reasons I like the Yamaha I use.
     

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