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Last Time - Coax or Optical ?

 

Anonymous
Explain - like I'm two years old. I have simple surround Sound with Digital Audio.
 

Derek
When correctly connected, Coax and Optical should be exactly the same. Bandwidth isn't and issue, error correction (when connected correctly) isn't and issue. Distance, say over 50 feet might lean toward optical but who does that? Optical cables can be miles long compared to copper's hundred of feet for the same amount of signal loss. Optical cable can be fragile and cannot be taken around corners too tightly or pinched. For all intents and perposes though, it doesn't make a difference which one you use.

Now, having said that, there are a couple of situation where one MIGHT be better than the other. They both fall under "defective equipment" though.

1. The CD data, though optical, is converted to a electrical signal. To create an optical signal, this elctrical signal - essentially the coax signal, has to be convered to optical by a laser-diode. You could theorize that am optical signal could not be superior to a coax signal because it is derived from the coax signal. I would not worry about it though.

2. Optical connections do not carry grounds. In a pooly designed system an optical connection COULD produce less hum because there are fewer ground paths. The music to the decoder would not be any better but a crappy amp could add hum to an otherwise pristene music signal just before it got to the speakers. This hum would be faily obvious though.

Again, if you have good equipment, use either one.
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