I have always been amazed at how the sound takes on the character of the transport.
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Jitter is basically a noise. This noise is present only when signal is present so it shows just as loss of clarity. DVD players have good tracking and not necessarily bad jitter (cheap because of mass production). They often have very bad analog outputs since they are mainly designed for video (but they play MP3).
Toslink has about twice more jitter than coax. Try coax if it doesn't make ground loops (Toslink breaks them). Optimal length is about 1.5m. If you decide to build it yourself use all components (including RCA plugs) rated 75 ohm (signal reflects on characteristic impedance boundaries) for unbalanced type. Good shielding is very important.
If you system is very resolving then you might try better transport and better digital cable or jitter rejecting DAC (like Benchmark DAC1) instead. Every CD player or DAC suppresses jitter but some (asynchronous upsampling type like Benchmark) suppress much more.
I use cheap ($69) Sony DVD player or Airport Express with cheap homemade cable and cheap Toslink to Benchmark DAC1.
Agree with Kijanki. But also, you might try a glass Toslink, which is far far far better than the plastic Toslink junk. If you have a Toslink that doesn't say it's glass, then it's certainly plastic.
Some think a glass Toslink equals, or even exceeds, coax. Plus, though you can spend a lot on glass Toslink, there is a really good one for $19 for 6 feet, at:
I mentioned this before and received several emails from those who tried it and loved it. I think I'll do another post on this subject here or on Audioasylum.
Well, I found one difference. My Sony $40 DVD player will play a CD fine, but it will not send my DTS 20-bit 5.1 channel DVD-Audio CDs out through the coax digital out. But my friend's $130 Yamaha DVD player will send them to the digital coax out just fine. And perfectly, as far as I can tell.
Which leads me to wonder if the 20-bit DTS DVD-Audio CDs just simply have "more information", and require "harder working hardware" to deliver.
Any thoughts? Also, does anyone know what feature I'm looking for, that will send digital out multi-channel?