Audio and Video Talk > Cable talk

Coaxial or toslink

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Musicologist:
Hi. Advice please. Would you suggest Toslink or Coaxial audio cable to connect Bluesound Node to an external DAC?

chrisc:
Cable is able to manage higher frequencies
Toslink will remove any chance of electrical degradation, like hum

My choice is cable

scrarfussi:
Coax

DACMan1:
Toslink introduces more jitter. Your DAC might minimize the impact by clever retiming. Coax is better in that regard. Coax can also trivially be galvanically isolated, and that is a lot easier and cheaper to do than fix Toslink, so I guess a high-end DAC should have it?

Zilch:
Coax.

You'll have to make sure your system is properly grounded, otherwise you can get major problems.  Check the following to see.......


* Make sure only one device in the signal chain is grounded.  For example, if I have an amplifier and DAC who're both connected to earth/ground I may get a ground loop.  You can check this by using a multimeter and checking for continuity between the ground of the RCA's and the earth of the IEC socket.
 If it shares ground then simply get an IEC cable and remove the earth in the plug.  So now if you get a short in the DAC, then the current will leak through the RCA cable to the amplifier and into its earth.
* No overly long cable lengths.  This is where optical is better than coax.  Imagine conparing it to fibre and ADSL, where fibre always works better in the long runs.
Please note that is is very important to check for continuity!  Just because it has an IEC socket with an earth pin it does not automatically mean it is connected to the same ground as the RCA's.  A good example of this would be my Theta DAC, where I get zero continuity between the common ground and earth.

Coax is also not reliant on as many components working together as optical.  Where optical has an LED, the optical receiving device, and many more coaxial only sends a simple 1/0 digital signal.

With all of that said, your source is a Bluesound Node, so ultimate sound quality is probably not of the greatest importance :shh:

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