Canuck Audio Mart Hifi and Audio ForumCanuck Audio Mart Hifi and Audio Forum
It is currently Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:50 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Digital connection
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:42 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:31 am
Posts: 25
Location: Cornwall, ON, CA
Hi , could anyone help a digital dingbat here ?
I have a cd player and want to connect to a DAC . The connections I can use are AES/EBU , coaxial or optic fibre.
I would like to know is there a clear winner to use here .
Thanks for your help.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:51 pm 
Offline
Premium User

Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:47 pm
Posts: 1236
Location: Oakville, ON, CA
paulnijs1 wrote:
Hi , could anyone help a digital dingbat here ?
I have a cd player and want to connect to a DAC . The connections I can use are AES/EBU , coaxial or optic fibre.
I would like to know is there a clear winner to use here .
Thanks for your help.


I'd read coaxial so that is what I am trying out, having replaced my optical cable. To my ears I can't purport to hear a difference but I've just started this experiment.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:22 pm 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:06 pm
Posts: 4903
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
Coax, using a 1.5-metre-long cable. The quality of the cable makes less difference, musically speaking, than the length, and length is happily inexpensive.

Then when you have the right length, pay what you consider reasonable considering the quality of the rest of your gear. I have 1.5m cables from $35 to $400 ; the expense was worth it.

Now, you can also try AES/EBU, much good is said of it. One point in its favour is its 110-ohm impedance spec, which is apparently easier to maintain from end to end. With this type of cable, the 1.5m length is not critical.

Optical comes a distant third, unless you use glass optical. This costs, and the results are not up to similarly-priced coax.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:33 pm 
Offline
Premium User
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:08 pm
Posts: 18450
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
Depends primarily on what cable connections your DAC has available. Relatively few DACs have an AES connection available outside of the very high end or pro oriented models. Optical has the inherent advantage of having no electrical connection between transport and DAC, eliminating the chance of a ground loop. It is also relatively more fragile than coax cables to sharp bends in cases where you have limited clearance behind the units. Coax is, by far, the most popular and most widespread method of digital connection.

AES has the theoretical performance advantage, mostly because it is usually used in higher end units and transports. Coax and Toslink have always been the 2 main competitors, so in most cases, you can consider them equivalent, though Toslink has inherently higher jitter than Coax.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:53 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2004 4:52 pm
Posts: 1004
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
An AES/EBU balanced line would be the way to go. No need to spend big dollars on the interconnect, a couple of Neutrik XLR connectors and an appropriate length of Canare, Belden or Mogami 110 ohm cable and you are all set.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:55 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:58 am
Posts: 43
Location: Anytown, ON, CA
Optical of 2 meters or more is best if using a glass interconnect . it does eliminate any electrical connection and aberrant issues associated . It will be as cost needy as a good sdif or AES/EBU but with none of the penalties . This is only my opinion based on my experiences with my home geara Mission DAC1 a benchmark DAC1 and a Sonic Frontiers SFD1 MKII and some other Fiio and Cirrus logic products and a twin wolfson Dac config in a playbook Glass was best in every setup . The fiber optic fishing line interconnects were almost as good but may have been only as good as the hard electrical interfaces . I was an installer /consultant for many years and was able to play with some very esoteric interconnects . I am currently running an apogee and satisfied . There are lessor value glass equivalents but glass is very good compared to hardwire alternatives . Peter


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:59 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2007 2:01 pm
Posts: 1042
Location: Calgary, AB, CA
paulnijs1 wrote:
Hi , could anyone help a digital dingbat here ?
I have a cd player and want to connect to a DAC . The connections I can use are AES/EBU , coaxial or optic fibre.
I would like to know is there a clear winner to use here .
Thanks for your help.


That really depends on your system. If they're on the expensive side then it's best to go with AES/EBU. The benefit of using the AES/EBU is it will reduce the signal transmission's susceptibility to jitter that may result from noise pickup and/or ground loop effects.

But as usual YMMV...


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:47 pm
Posts: 120
Location: Leduc, AB, CA
Of the three you mention, all things being equal, the AES/EBU is the most capable. I have personally found that a superior AES/EBU delivers performance that is truly over the top. Optical cables are especially valuable when longer lengths are required, but are usually characterized as being somewhat bright (not meaning distorted). Coaxial cables are common, but I've found that even the "better" ones don't rise very far above the rest of the crowd.

I've built the digital part of my system around a superior DAC as a high quality digital cable is always far less expensive than a comparable pair of interconnects, making it easier to justify only a single pair of expensive interconnects to hook up the DAC to the preamp. Once my Cardas Clear AES/EBU cable was broken in, I found that internet radio stations through my Bryston BDP-2 into my BDA-3 went from being only good enough for background music, with a Cardas Lightning coaxial cable, to being very enjoyable for extended intended listening. I was very surprised. Amazing sound from flac files and CD's as well. Just saying.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:19 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:06 pm
Posts: 4903
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
I would be very interested in hearing from folks who have tried the comparison between optical and S/PDIF coax, using the 1.5m coax length in all cases.

The 1.5m length deals with jitter-inducing signal reflections from end to end of the coax cable.

What happens is this : for whatever reasons, the interfaces between cable and connector, at either end, are rarely 75 ohms exactly. ( Even inside the gear, the 75-ohm spec is often not maintained. ) When out of spec, the connector interface acts as a partial mirror, generating reflections which travel down the cable and echo back. When these reflections arrive nearly in step with a signal pulse, they can confuse the DAC's clock by altering the apparent rise time of the pulse. The result is clock jitter.

The 1.5m length ensures that reflections arrive sufficiently out of step with the signal that the DAC is not confused.

My own experience with the optical-coax comparison, using the 1.5m length, a computer transport and a Stello USB-to-S/PDIF interface, is that a plastic optical cable moves the listening experience back in time, as it were, and the sound is like that from a CD player of 15 years ago. A glass optical cable makes the "CD player" sound considerably more recent.

Faults I associate with older CD players are harder tone, shortened tail-off of musical notes, imprecise instrument placement, looser timing and smaller soundstage.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:40 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:31 am
Posts: 25
Location: Cornwall, ON, CA
thank you all very much for your help. :D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:31 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:45 am
Posts: 1133
Location: Burlington, ON, CA
I tested two versions of the Audioquest cinammon in my two channel setup; the coax and toslink versions in 1.5 m lengths. The coax was quite good for the price - a great short term solution if money is tight. The toslink version was a waste of money. It made everything sound grainy and small. I didn't bother listening to it for long.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2008 8:08 am
Posts: 957
Location: burlington, ON, CA
Found this on the internet

You have to do home work on your own to figure out not only the different wires and guages but also how the out and in from your whatever to your what ever can work or will not work and all the different connectors such as optical glass vs optical plastic and the radius's required and lengths and diameters and lens and connectors and so on.
Just because its XLR means nothing if the XLR you use ends up cutting off some high frequency due to the shielding that was used or was not used.

Most use RCA for one reason-for shorter lengths less potential problems and cost no matter the wire material used be it gold, silver copper= cheaper connectors vs XLR and glass vs plastic have many more differences and there are less standards such as RCA has.
Just use the shortest for cost and best materials you can afford


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Digital connection
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:13 am 
Offline
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:06 pm
Posts: 4903
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
Not much actual information in this.

speedy1 wrote:
Found this on the internet

You have to do home work on your own to figure out not only the different wires and guages but also how the out and in from your whatever to your what ever can work or will not work and all the different connectors such as optical glass vs optical plastic and the radius's required and lengths and diameters and lens and connectors and so on.
Just because its XLR means nothing if the XLR you use ends up cutting off some high frequency due to the shielding that was used or was not used.

Most use RCA for one reason-for shorter lengths less potential problems and cost no matter the wire material used be it gold, silver copper= cheaper connectors vs XLR and glass vs plastic have many more differences and there are less standards such as RCA has.
Just use the shortest for cost and best materials you can afford


Lots of words though. @speedy1, where did you find it ?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: uppingto and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group