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Thread: S/PDIF-TOSlink

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  1. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2006
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    I seem to confuse these concepts. S/PDif stands for Sony Philips digital interface and TOSlink is TOshiba Link.

    So when a device outputs digitally you need a TOSlink cable to transfer from the SPDIF interface? You're actually saying the same thing right? At some point i thought that spdif was a cable as well.

    Besides that is there really a difference between cables? Everyone says no but of course you can find audiophiles that will spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars for high end cables.

    I on the other hand am skeptical if i should benefit from either a 15 or 25 euro cable or if i should go for the cheaper i can get.

    These are my options.

    http://www.plaisio.gr/Sound-Vision/Home-Cinema/Home-Cinema-Systems/Home-Cinema-Cables/...M-2M-50513.htm

    http://www.plaisio.gr/Peripherals/Connectivity/Cables/Audio-Video/Belkin-Optical-M-M-1...V20000QP06.htm

    And thhere's this 3.5 euro chepest no name i can get.

    http://www.you.gr/b2c_iqshop/b2c/pd.do?pg=8A073683E2D4E647931E81992112967A&pa=C5FF47CB...A51E842C5AFC2A

    Will there be any difference between these?
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  2. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2002
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    For optical cables, about the only difference is the quality of the connectors at the end. S/PDIF is the format. Coaxial and optical (TOSLINK most times) use exactly the same S/PDIF signal, just converted to light with optical. Optical has a slight advantage as it's immune to RF interference. Optical can also be ran slightly longer distances, but that gets expensive.

    S/PDIF is a digital format, so fairly immune to interference. Much better for longer runs than line level audio.

    For coaxial audio with short runs (1 - 2 meters) cable quality isn't very important. Buying expensive cables might impress your friends, but won't have much or any affect on quality unless you use really cheap cables. For longer coaxial runs, good shielding and larger size conductors are more important than cable prices. I run 15 meter coaxial audio cables with no problems.

    Real audiophiles are often off in their own little world. A cable is just a piece of wire and doesn't have to be gold plated to work. The same is true for optical cables. Buy cable with good ends and you shouldn't have any problems.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2006
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    Thank You for the information you provided me.

    From the links above, can you make out the quality of the ends from the cables?
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Northern California, USA
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    S/PDIF is a simplified version of AES serial digital audio used by the pros adapted to cheap-simple RCA 75 ohm coax or TOSLINK (the connector) plastic fiber optical.

    You won't find differences in audio quality, only connector quality issues.
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2006
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    ...., only connector quality issues.
    How does that translate in real-world sound application? If the connector quality is better but the sound quality is the same, what does that have to offer?

    So you guys are telling me, I'm better off getting the 3.5 euro no name cable instead of the 25E Belkin, right?
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  6. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by therock003
    From the links above, can you make out the quality of the ends from the cables?
    Not really. The only major problems I have had with TOSLINK connectors was with a 'universal' type that had an adapter for a different style cable end.

    And it somewhat depends on the connector on the device itself. The problem I have ran into occasionally is loose fitting TOSLINK cables that fall out fairly easily from the socket. But they still worked exactly the same as better cables. I just had to be more careful moving the devices around. If the TOSLINK cable end is very large and bulky, that may make it more likely to work loose. TOSLINK has been around a while, so all cable ends should be made correctly to the specification.

    I'd probably just go with the cheaper cable and take my chances. If it's from an established manufacturer in your area, you shouldn't have any problems. You can do a internet search for the manufacturer and see if any one has reported problems with their products.

    EDIT: I like Belkin quality, but I wouldn't pay 25 Euros for a two meter cable. (Though I believe that is a higher end Belkin cable and likely more expensive than their regular quality version.) Some of my optical cables I bought at a local convenience store, made in China, about three of them for the equivalent of a couple of Euros. They work fine.
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
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    A digital audio connect works to spec or doesn't. When it doesn't it is usually because the Toslink connecto pulled out or the fiber broke when you stepped on it or bent it to a small radius.

    Data rates are extremely small compared to video.
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  8. Member
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    Do digital Cables implement internal processors for signal processing?

    BTW I have added some links on some other posts for cables with digital optical on one end and analog 3.5 jack on the other. How is that possible? How can a single cable convert digital audio to analog without som kind of arithmetic logical unit (ALU)?

    Here's is what i'm talking about

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  9. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    There's no way to convert optical<>electical without a active powered circuit being involved. I use this device from Monoprice to convert the optical S/PDIF TOSLINK to digital coaxial audio. http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10423&cs_id=1042302&p_id=...seq=1&format=2 There is also a adapter there to convert coaxial to optical.

    But digital to analog conversion is quite a bit more complicated. That's what your surround amp does. The output to the speakers is analog, with the front, rear, center and subwoofer outputs.

    I'm not sure what your picture is, but I suspect that's a TOSLINK to some other form of optical adapter that may resemble a 3.5mm plug, or there is a lot more not shown.
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  10. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2005
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    the one on the left looks like a standard end, the other may be the creative soundblaster xfi connector.
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  11. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
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    The connector on the left is a normal optical TOSLINK. The connector on the right works with a special dual purpose mini-plug jack that works with analog or optical connect. The center core is optical.

    Apple uses these in laptops and the Mac-Mini to save having two connectors*, one for analog and one for optical. I'm sure PC laptops do the same but I haven't sampled that many recently. Most USB optical devices come with the mini-plug adapter so I assume it is widely used.


    * 75% of Mac users seem clueless that this feature exists. They don't read manuals either.
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  12. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Here is an example of a TOSLINK to optical mini-plug adapter. Simple if the jack accepts optical.
    http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-TOSLINK-to-MINI-PLUG-ADAPTER/dp/B0002J24OO

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