Coaxial or Optical

I am just getting my new HT system together. It includes an Onkyo 676 (old Adcom seperates for Stereo), Pioneer Elite DV-37, and NHT 2.3A's and matching center and surrounds. Should I use coaxial or optical to connect the DVD to the receiver? Does it make a difference? How much do I need to spend that will make a difference? I am using an 8 year old Sony 32" XBR. For video, I only have S video, can I connect to the receiver first and then to the TV? Does this degrade the signal. I should have it up tomorrow. Any input will be really appreciated.
If you have Toslink digital outputs/inputs don't bother with optical connections as the Toslink, in my experience is inferior sounding to the coax connection.

However, if you have AT&T optical connections you may want to experiment between optical and coax. Give The Cable Company a ring and see if they will lend you some ATT cable to try out. They have a library of cables for try-out and purchase. is their WebSite address.

Tell them I sent you.

Tim O'Connor
Janesville, WI
I will second Timo's statement about the Toslink connectors being inferior to coaxial. I can't offer any opinion on AT&T optical, as I haven't tried them. There are numerous threads on this site covering this subject, and I suggest you search using “optical” to find and read some other opinions as well.

My opinion, for what it’s worth.
Do not run your video signal through the reciever it degrades it in every way, resolution, clairity etc. You also have to buy a second cable, so it is much better to run it straight to the tv
I doubt this Pioneer has AT&T "out";and even less likly the Onkyo has that feature "in". So we are just talking toslinc Vs coax.You owe it to yourself to try to get one of each and listen. Generally coax is better./But that's not the last word. If you don't have either;just buy a coax, odds are it will be better /NOT a guarantee.
On the s input: try the player direct to the tv.See how the picture looks;then thru the receiver.Me/I prefer direct; into the tv.If you have more than one s vhs source;then you have to go thru the receiver.
I appreciate all the responses and will take your suggestions. Does it pay to spend for the more expensive connects? Thanks again.
There has been some controversy about optical vs. coax. I'll tell you up front that I am no expert. The Company Cable recommends using optical *instead* of coax for the MSB Link DAC D/A. So does Stan Warren (I believe he is the "S" in PS Audio); I spoke with him several weeks ago and he seems very knowledgeable. That at least indicates that the last word hasn't yet been said about which is superior. It is even possible that optical is best for some components while coax is better for others. I'll second Avguygeorge in recommending that you try both. What I can say is that I am currently auditioning the AIWA changer/MSB Link DAC combo using optical to connect them and it sounds quite good. Unfortunately the AIWA does not also have a coax out so I can't compare.
Oh no ... I think you're opening the "thread from hell" asking about how much to spend on interconnects, Pablo. With no intent to sound rude, I really suggest you search out the archives here and read up. At the very least, you'll get a feeling for the multitude of views on this subject, even if you never do quite get an answer. Some of it does make for interesting reading ... at least the first couple hundred times.
To answer your question about spending more for interconnects, that depends. I wish there were an easy answer but $$$ does not necessary equate to quality. To give an example. Not too long ago I auditioned 9 or 10 power cords ranging in price from $70 - $600. The $290 Custom Power Cord Model 11 bested them all when used on my power amp. On digital sources the $600 Marigo Ultra Series II was the king of those auditioned. But the $70 Stealth HAC came in third, well ahead of the $500 JPS Labs. To make things even more confusing, someone else will likely get different results on their equipment. So, the answer to your question will have to come from you. Many manufacturers have 30-day money back garrauntees. You can also borrow cables from the The Cable Company's Library. Decide what your budget is, make a list of several cables you are interested in, and start auditioning. My recommendation is that you not try to audition more than three cables in any given three or four week period.
About 6 years ago I belonged to the "bits is bits" camp, and thought that interconnects couldn't possible matter. One weekend I brought home a Wadia dac from my dealer to try. He loaned me a $200 piece of coax to use, which I politely accepted without laughing.

When I hooked up the dac, I used Toslink from my Sony X77 CD player out of convenience. I already had a Toslink cable plugged in and the back of the player was hard to reach.

I was unimpressed with the dac. Before I brought it back, I decided to try the expensive coax just to appease my dealer.

The difference was unbelievable. The soundstage opened up, low level detail appeared, and I couldn't stop listening!

Moral of the story: I avoid Toslink whenever possible.
Firstly, it is difficult to give absolute advice here because your dvd player and receiver will affect the results. Secondly, your budget is also a factor. If you only want to spend say $40, then you cou could get a Monster Lightspeed 100 toslink or Apogee Coaxial, get decent results, but the difference between the two will probably not be very significant. However, if you're willing to spend around $100 or more, something the Harmonic Technology or Madrigal or Illuminations, etc., will probably give you better results than a toslink, depending on your transport and dac.
O.K., Now for a more technical understanding of why there is not a concensous af toslink vs. coaxial connections. Although most of the time the coax connect sounds better, sometimes the toslink will be the better connect. How can this be? Because each manufacturer is using a different input reciever chipset, which is the real determining factor to which connection will sound better. (The input reciever is the chipset that "recieves" the initial digital data, and then passes this data to the D/A and other processing chipsets ). If the input reciever has a high immunity to jitter, then it usually sounds best with an optical input. Unfortunately, these type of input recievers have only been available in the last 18 months, and are most likely on a processing unit that employs 24bit sigma delta dacs. Otherwise with the other types of input reciever chipsets, the coax sounds much better. Don't even try to ask your manufacturer about his digital designer's input chipset reciever choice. He will probably mislead you, since many are totaly oblivious of the above aformentioned information. As a former sales representative of these types of chipsets myself, many processer and reciever manufacturers "swap out" and change their receiver chipsets, during the production cycle for both cost and supply considerations. They can make this change because there are many pin for pin compatible digital chipsets offered by competing digital chipset manufacturers. As usual, the best way to determine which connection is better is to do an A/B comparison between connection types.
I just did an A/B with Monster Datalink 100 and Monster Lightspeed 100 cables (both 1M) with a Toshiba DVD to a Denon AVR-5800. Other than a slight drop in overall volume, they sounded identical. Hope this helps, Gerry
Thanks again to all.