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The only way to know if there is a difference between the optical and coax connection, and whether you prefer one or the other, is to try it. It isn't just about the cable, the implementation of those options at either end might make a difference. Blue Jeans Cables in Seattle makes excellent cables of both types at very reasonable prices. A 3' coax from them is $18.50.
@galleybob - You're mentioning three options: digital optical, digital coax, RCA jacks (analog). As @sfar said, you won't know which you prefer until you hear them.
That said, I'd probably avoid the analog output of the Node2i. It seems likely your Anthem has the better DAC; and what's more, if you are using ARC, any analog input will be re-digitized by the Anthem, while the digital signal will be processed without reconversion. As a rule, I try to avoid extra AD or DA steps.
BJ toslink only worked in some devices - bad tolerance terminations.
You’ll have better luck with real glass, cheaperhttps://www.uniqueproductsonline.com/3ftgltodiauc.html
IF you decide to go that route. I like Morrow for SPDIF cable, on sale of course. Made to order no upcharge for XLRs.
DH Labs makes two very good optical cables - I have used the one in this link many times and a friend just put one from his MAC Mini to his Schiit DAC and it sounds pretty amazing
They also have a glass one which is probably better better
To get anywhere near that level of performance with a good SPDIF RCA cable would cost more than either of these two
The DH Labs SPDIF RCA cable is not as good as their optical cables
I’ve had other optical and SPDIF RCA and TOSLINK cables from companies like Chord, Van den Hul and prefer the DH Labs offerings by far
KLE Innovations also has a couple of exceptional SPDIF RCA cables for around $200 and $300
I happen to have the Node 2i and it’s analogue section is outstanding i.e. IF you treat it to great cables.
But it might be a more cost conscious solution to use the onboard DAC in the Receiver - the analogue cables can get quite expensive
Regards - Steve