Amphenol glass toslinks - First impressions

I just got my Amphenol glass toslink cables. I have done a quick a/b between it and a basic $5.00 fiber toslink .
The detail is very noticable right off the bat. There seems to be greater hang time on the steel guitars, the brush on the snare is more defined and the texture of the electronocs is more distinct. The soundstage seems to be deeper also. The vocals and instruments that are far back also are not muddy, but very clear and crisp.
In my opinion they do make a definite difference over the standard fiber cables that I have been buying elsewhere.

Anyone else notice that difference when changing to glass?
Hi Matt.

Going from my desk top PC to my DAC, my Sonic Wave glass optical beats,slightly, my Belkin Pure AV USB cable and my Monster plastic optical (which was more expensive than the SW glass).

Mike - I know what you mean. I am running my first one between my transport and my dac. It is beating any digital cable I have.
I have a second glass optical that I am going to run between my Mac Mini and my dac. I have been enjoying the first glass since this morning, then the Fedex guy pulled up with a pair of Gabriel Gold Revelation MK2 interconnects, so it's hard to be analytical right now... I am just enjoying the music and the whole experience... I know you know what I'm talking about.

I was very surprised at the improvement over standard fiber that everyone is selling. I was also surprised to see how solid they are built. I got the Amphenol polished glass toslinks. They are really beautiful.

It really is amazing to get to a point in quality that you can really hear your sound changing with each new upgrade. I wish I had a million bucks just for HiFi. I love it. To me, it's like a savings account that you can enjoy building in value. You not accumulate equity, but you also get the most important reward from the beautiful sounds that you get to hear.... really priceless.

Enjoy your glass, Mike !
If glass toslink sounds better than standard toslink, and they are both digital, could a better quality usb cable sound better than a standard usb cable?

I have been a digital guy most of my life, 1's and 0's, so I cannot figure out how the same 1's and 0's sound so different coming through different cables, but they do.
Mattzack2 - it sounds different because affect light transmission and therefore jitter. Jitter is a noise in time domain and affect clarity of the sound. Digital cables are in general better with jitter than toslinks but there are also jitter rejecting DACs (like Benchmark DAC1) where quality (or type) of cables or transport doesn't make any difference.
When you say ' digital cables are in general better with jitter than toslinks ', are you referring to 75 ohm coax cables and usb cables? I was thinking that toslinks were considered digital also.

I have a Valab DAC (2009) which is based on the old Philips tda1543 and dir9001 chips. I am just beginning to study it but I really like it so far.

Another thing you say is interesting. The right (jitter rejecting) dac will make the quality of its incoming cables or source a non issue. That seems to be a bold statement.

Thanks for the reply, but if you are correct, I have a few thousand dollars worth of equipment and cables I need to sell.
Mattzack2 - You're right. I was referring to coax (either 75 or 110 ohm). I don't consider fiber optics a cable (in electrical sense). I don't know much about USB. The reason for Toslink being inferior is slow voltage-light conversion and therefore longer edge that is more exposed to ambient noise on the receiver side.

Jitter rejecting DAC (like Benchmark) makes not only cables non-issue but also transport. I use the cheapest decent DVD player I could find ($60 Sony) with great results (and have DVD and MP3 playback + great tracking). Benchmark DAC1 has jitter bandwidth of just few Hz and at frequencies of interest (kHz) has way over 100dB rejection. Benchmark tested it with 1000' of cable - no audible difference.

Not every DAC labeled as "upsampling" is really that. Often companies use it instead of "oversampling". Bel Canto DAC3, if I remember correctly, have same jitter rejecting properties. As for the transport - as long as it is "bit-transparent" (no DSP processing or digital volume control) there will be no difference. It is big selling point of upsampling DACs but some people prefer to use NOS DACs - it's subjective. I found that stand alone, jitter rejecting DAC allows me to connect TV as well as computer (Benchmark has 3 digital inputs) and serves as preamp since it has volume control and input selector (I don't do analog).
Very interesting information!

I just replaced my best transport (Teac VRDS10) with my least expensive (Oppo 981). I also replaced my 75 ohm digital cable with the cheapest generic 110 ohm cable I could find in my house. I am going to listen to some of my favorite CDs and see if I can hear a difference.

I would think that it would be a difference of night and day. I also have some extremely good digital cables coming in the next few days and a high end USB cable also.

I just remembered that I have an old Sony Jukebox packed away that might have a digital output that I could test your claim with.

My Jadis is just warming up right now as I type, but the music coming through the dac is very clear using the less expensive cable and source. I am going to do my a/b comparisons using a Beth Orton that has proven to optimize the sound stage and clarity of my system.

My 'a' system will be my Teac VRDS10 transport output through a good digital cable into the Valab coax input.

My 'b' system will be a Oppo 981 DVD/CD player output through a CHEAP rca cable that is typical of any that come free with a low fi audio device. I know the Oppo is not low fi, but it is the only source that I have capable of outputting a CD through a coax. So, the very low fi cable should exhibit a poorer sound. Let's see.....

I have to agree with much of what Kijanki says. The 'b' system sounds excellent also. I am going to swap a few things around and see where this leads.
Mattzack2 - What I said applies to "upsampling" DACs and not to your NOS DAC. With your DAC transport and cable will make big difference!
I feel pretty foolish reporting back before final testing but the sounds coming from my cheap cable and my Oppo do sound surprisingly good. I will swap back to my optimal system 'a' and compare again tonight.

I really think that Kijanki has stumbled across something that a lot of cable and source equipment sellers might be afraid to hear.

I would like to see a new thread exploring Kijanki's findings.

Where can you buy this Amphenol Toslink?


Amphenol Cables on Demand
20 Valley Street
Endicott, NY 13760

The Cables on Demand Team
Hi Mattzack2,

Did you find Valab well matches with teac VRDS10 ?
Did you notice any jitter problems ?

I am hearing so much with this combination. I just installed a Virtual Dynamics Master digital cable between those components and I am hearing so much more than I have ever before, even with the Amphenol glass.

I am learning that it is more than just 1's and 0's entering the DAC. Even though I don't exactly understand how or why the sound is different, I am pretty sure that jitter has to be the root cause of the difference.

Kijanki came to my home and explained slew rise times to me. I am a ex-digital technician and I had always worked primarily with clocked circuits. The signal from my Teac to the Valab coming through either glass or copper is asynchronous. If I understand correctly, the rise time on the toslink is pretty slow. Also any jitter in the Teac can bleed out on the rising edge of the low to high transition and enough noise on that part of the signal could possible be enough to trigger a false "1".

Any further comments on my description is very welcome... I think I am beginning to understand this a little bit better.
Do you think Audio alchemy DTI will help in reduce Jitter in your set up ? I have heard that it can even make the connection worse. Have you ever tried ?

I just purchased TEAC VRDS10 to be used as transport for Valab. What is the best coonection you recommend ?
I prefer the coax with a good cable. I am using a Virtual Dynamics Master digital cable and it give the most musical sound.

The Virtual Dynamics seems to bring out some of the background instruments into their own space a lot more than the optical glass does. And not only does the does bring it out more, it also makes that instrument livelier and very easy for me to shift my focus to in order to enjoy that musician's emotion or personality.

I am not familiar with the Audio Alchemy device, but I can tell you that if it truly eliminates or reduces jitter, it will help. I am just learning about jitter, but it you direct your jitter reduction at the source, it will reduce the amount of jitter being amplified.

I also have a Mac Mini with a RSA Poiema USB cable that I run into the Valab. I just received it the other day, so I will be comparing that to the other inputs to see where the differences lie.

What type of amp are you using? I am using tubes. I would be interested in hearing how you are enjoying your Teac with your Valab.

I know nothing about Jitter, It sounds too technical for me.
However, I found one article in Stereophile " A transport of delight:CD transport jitter", published in 1993. You can find in the website. It compared a few Transports with various results.

I am using tubes as well, ASL Hurricane Poweramp, Hovland pre. Nordost SPM ICs between DAC and Pre, and Zen Silver Ref between Pre and Power, and Nordost Tyr apeaker cable.

For Digical coax cable, I purchased Korea made Audioplus from the dealer who sold me Valab. It costs $80. It claims to be popular and Hiend cable in Korea. This is my first digital cable. So I have nothing to compare.

The overall sound of VRDS10 + Valab is warm, sweet, liquid, tends to be a bit creamy at midrange. Good bass. I also have Rega Saturn CDP which sounds leaner, more dynamic. I wonder whether the VRDS10 and Valab combo may work better with solidstate amp. However, I will need more time to let Valib burnt in.

I can notice the sonic different right away when compare between VRDS10 and Rega as transport, again as transport, Rega sounds thiner, flat, less musical bloom when compared with VRDS10. Again need more time to the switching gears and experiment to confirm the results.

Valab may require a good transport matching, but it does not mean an expensive one. I guess.

By the way, 80% of my listening was femal vocal.