• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Optical Cables "Toslink"

Joined
Mar 1, 2019
Messages
10
Likes
2
#1
Hello Everyone,
Just discovered this very interesting audio society and didn't took me very long to register myself as a member. Want to Thank Amir for his achievements and sharing his knowledge through all digital and analog medium. Hopefully we all out here get to see each other in person one day. I'm an odd one out with no electronics background, basically the dumbest of everyone here so excuse my stupid questions and humor at times. I'm here because I love to learn and I love music, and I understand quality. My topic for discussion is Toslink Cables. A multi-strands decent quality Glass optics V/S high quality Fiber Optics. I understand optical cables definitely isolate 1 noisy electronic component like a TV or laptop to another maybe a DAC, which is awesome but are they really limited on data transfer rate and frequency? Are they not meant for hi-res audio. No manufacturer even like audioquest, monster or lifatec give any kind of reference specs to be able to figure out which one is better. Please Advise! Thanks in advance!
 

SIY

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
2,146
Likes
3,386
Location
Phoenix, AZ
#2
I use optical and digital coax pretty much interchangeably, depending on the gear I'm connecting. Plain vanilla in both cases, purchased at places like Home Depot or Ace Hardware or Amazon.

The last people in the world I would take seriously would be Monster or Audioquest.
 

RayDunzl

Major Contributor
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
6,805
Likes
2,901
Location
Riverview, FL
#3
I understand optical cables definitely isolate 1 noisy electronic component like a TV or laptop to another maybe a DAC, which is awesome but are they really limited on data transfer rate and frequency?
The cable isn't the bottleneck for data rates, the inexpensive transmitter and receiver are where the limitations (clock rate) reside.

96kHz and sometimes 192kHz is the common limit for stereo signals with toslink.

I think mine, plastic, from the PC to the rack, is 25 feet. It will run 192khz, limited by the associated gear.

Try glass cable if you need to go real long or if the too long plastic cable fails at high data rates. I haven't done that. Did fiber stuff at work for a couple of years, cross continent and undersea.

Wiki: "TOSLINK cables are usually limited to 5 meters in length, with a technical maximum[1] of 10 meters, for reliable transmission without the use of a signal booster or a repeater. However, it is very common for interfaces on newer consumer electronics (satellite receivers and PCs with optical outputs) to easily run over 30 meters on even low-cost ($0.82 USD/m 2009) TOSLINK cables."

My baseline for at-home digital cable performance:

Plug it in. If it works, it works.

I can't think of a case where that has failed me at the moment.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 27, 2018
Messages
67
Likes
19
Location
California
#4
S/PDIF optical/coaxial cables will carry 2-channel (PCM) of 24-bit/96K or 24-bit/192k of digital audio.
Using compression, DDL (Dolby Digital Live) or DTS-connect, up to 6-channels can pass thru optical/coaxial, but audio is limited to 24-bit/48k
HDMI can carry up to 8-channel of 24-bit/192k and not need compression.
HDMI might carry higher then 24-bit/192k, but have not looked into it.
 

Blumlein 88

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
5,700
Likes
4,714
#5
S/PDIF optical/coaxial cables will carry 2-channel (PCM) of 24-bit/96K or 24-bit/192k of digital audio.
Using compression, DDL (Dolby Digital Live) or DTS-connect, up to 6-channels can pass thru optical/coaxial, but audio is limited to 24-bit/48k
HDMI can carry up to 8-channel of 24-bit/192k and not need compression.
HDMI might carry higher then 24-bit/192k, but have not looked into it.
ADAT Lightpipe can carry 8 channels of 48 khz/24bit uncompressed. It is a different format the SPDIF. Yet it uses the very same Toslink cable and the same transceiver chips.
 

RayDunzl

Major Contributor
Central Scrutinizer
Joined
Mar 9, 2016
Messages
6,805
Likes
2,901
Location
Riverview, FL
#6
Long haul fiber gear has advanced since I was playing with it 17 years ago:

"State-of-the-art DWDM systems support up to 192 wavelengths on a single pair of fiber, with each wavelength transporting up to 100Gbit/s capacity - 400Gbit/s and one Terabit/s on the horizon."

https://www.advaoptical.com/en/products/technology/dwdm
 

Killingbeans

Active Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
179
Likes
279
Location
Bjerringbro, Denmark.
#7
The last people in the world I would take seriously would be Monster or Audioquest.
This ^

All of these companies claim that their products give benefits that are measurable, but they present no such measurements. At best they give you some "graphs" with no scales and zero description of the measuring conditions (meaning that they were made up by the sales department). Instead they point to user reviews as "evidence". That's a big red flag. Stay clear of that BS :D

Like twsecrest says, toslink s/pdif goes up 24-bit/96K or 24-bit/192k. It might not be "hi-res" in the eyes of those who believe 32-bit/768k is the only way to truely enjoy music, but a lot of people will argue that it's plenty fine for a normal human being.
 

M00ndancer

Active Member
Patreon Donor
Joined
Feb 4, 2019
Messages
159
Likes
105
Location
Sweden
#8
Hello Everyone,
Just discovered this very interesting audio society and didn't took me very long to register myself as a member. Want to Thank Amir for his achievements and sharing his knowledge through all digital and analog medium. Hopefully we all out here get to see each other in person one day. I'm an odd one out with no electronics background, basically the dumbest of everyone here so excuse my stupid questions and humor at times. I'm here because I love to learn and I love music, and I understand quality. My topic for discussion is Toslink Cables. A multi-strands decent quality Glass optics V/S high quality Fiber Optics. I understand optical cables definitely isolate 1 noisy electronic component like a TV or laptop to another maybe a DAC, which is awesome but are they really limited on data transfer rate and frequency? Are they not meant for hi-res audio. No manufacturer even like audioquest, monster or lifatec give any kind of reference specs to be able to figure out which one is better. Please Advise! Thanks in advance!
Pro tip ;)
Get one that works at the length you need. Use plastic connectors to save the input/output on your gear.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2019
Messages
10
Likes
2
#9
The cable isn't the bottleneck for data rates, the inexpensive transmitter and receiver are where the limitations (clock rate) reside.

96kHz and sometimes 192kHz is the common limit for stereo signals with toslink.

I think mine, plastic, from the PC to the rack, is 25 feet. It will run 192khz, limited by the associated gear.

Try glass cable if you need to go real long or if the too long plastic cable fails at high data rates. I haven't done that. Did fiber stuff at work for a couple of years, cross continent and undersea.

Wiki: "TOSLINK cables are usually limited to 5 meters in length, with a technical maximum[1] of 10 meters, for reliable transmission without the use of a signal booster or a repeater. However, it is very common for interfaces on newer consumer electronics (satellite receivers and PCs with optical outputs) to easily run over 30 meters on even low-cost ($0.82 USD/m 2009) TOSLINK cables."

My baseline for at-home digital cable performance:

Plug it in. If it works, it works.

I can't think of a case where that has failed me at the moment.
Thanks, any recommendation on a roughly 4' length cable, Monster/Audioquest and any other manufacturer where I'm not paying for just there name. I would like to stay around $40 mark.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2019
Messages
10
Likes
2
#10
S/PDIF optical/coaxial cables will carry 2-channel (PCM) of 24-bit/96K or 24-bit/192k of digital audio.
Using compression, DDL (Dolby Digital Live) or DTS-connect, up to 6-channels can pass thru optical/coaxial, but audio is limited to 24-bit/48k
HDMI can carry up to 8-channel of 24-bit/192k and not need compression.
HDMI might carry higher then 24-bit/192k, but have not looked into it.
I'm not much familiar with DTS-connect yet. Isn't this type of connection is between a PC and multichannel receiver for home theater setup? I am planning to buy a receiver as well once I save for it. Anthem MRX520 is on my radar, who do you say?
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2019
Messages
10
Likes
2
#12
ADAT Lightpipe can carry 8 channels of 48 khz/24bit uncompressed. It is a different format the SPDIF. Yet it uses the very same Toslink cable and the same transceiver chips.
I thought you guys are suppose to help me not confuse me more. Now what is Lightpipe? Life was so easy back in the days once 2 choices.... lol....
Its fun though, I'm having a blast reading all about this. Please excuse me I'm 10-15 years behind this time, trying to catchup.
 

Hugo9000

Active Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
112
Likes
207
#15
I have a couple of Mediabridge optical cables I purchased on Amazon that have worked perfectly for me, and are well-made. Under $10 each.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
44
Likes
44
Location
Belgium
#16
I thought you guys are suppose to help me not confuse me more. Now what is Lightpipe? Life was so easy back in the days once 2 choices.... lol....
Its fun though, I'm having a blast reading all about this. Please excuse me I'm 10-15 years behind this time, trying to catchup.
ADAT is a protocol to send 8 channels of audio over SPDIF. You'll find it on (recording) audio interfaces and mixing desks. It's not used in hifi.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2019
Messages
10
Likes
2
#17

SIY

Major Contributor
Technical Expert
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
2,146
Likes
3,386
Location
Phoenix, AZ
#18
Yeah but the problem with Home Depot is hard to find stuff in there even there own employs disappear when you call for help. lol...
Then go to Ace. That's where I got the long optical cable I use in my main system. Under $10, works perfectly :cool:
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2019
Messages
10
Likes
2
#20
I have a couple of Mediabridge optical cables I purchased on Amazon that have worked perfectly for me, and are well-made. Under $10 each.
I totally get what you trying to convey but aren't people in this audio science society above all this homedepot and amazon basic stuff? Homedepot markup there prices by 85% of the cost they purchase at, to account for shipping, handling, employees salary, damage and returns. Imaging the $10 cable was originally $1.5 and even the manufacturers make atleast 60% margin on them. There has to be a reason why higher priced cable are still well rated and the companies are still in business. I assume people in this room are sharp enough to get this. Just my opinion.
 
Top Bottom