Different grades of Optical cables?

I recently changed my amp from a standard stereo analog amp to a stereo amp with digital inputs (as well as the usual analog line inputs).

I had been running the audio from my DVD player as analog stereo, but decided to take advantage of the digital inputs and switched to an optical cable (PCM stereo). The difference in both DVD and CD playback was quite pronounced - more than I expected - with much better channel separation and a definite jump in vocal clarity and treble 'crispness' (subjective term, I know!).

In fact, the CD playback from the DVD player (Panasonic) to my ears is almost as good as the analog playback from my Cambridge 640C; bit depressing in a way!

The cable I'm using is a well-made but inexpensive ($20) optical cable; is it worth trying other cables, such as glass-fiber ones etc, or is there less quality range in optical cables?
i might be mistaken but i don't believe your standard toslink optical cable is the same as a glass optical cable. it's quite possible that the difference you're hearing between your dvd player and your cd player is due to the dac inside your receiver/preamp. your receiver could be adding additional processing to the optical input.

if your receiver/preamp has a "pure direct" type of mode, make sure both input that your cd and dvd player are on are set to this and give it another comparison to see. as far as trying a more expensive optical cable, i can't say i would bother, but if you can get a decent return policy on a better cable, give it a whirl.
There's plastic and there's glass Toslink cables. Glass is generally considered better.
Unless you're making a very long run, glass or plastic isn't going to make much (if any) difference. Don't sweat it...

TOSLINK may use inexpensive 1 mm plastic optical fiber or it can use higher quality multi-strand plastic optical fibers or even quartz glass optical fibers depending on the desired bandwidth and application. TOSLINK cables are usually limited to 5 meters in length, with a maximum length of 10 meters, for reliable transmission unless using a signal booster.
I bought glass Toslink from this source:


Quality is very high (great connectors, 280 strands of glass) and it is inexpensive 3'=$15, 6'=$20, 12'=$30. They also sell plastic Toslink up to 50' long.
Hi, I have found a difference in sound with toslink cables. The best I have used is the wireworld glass toslink cable, I think its called supernova. Mine broke so I bought a glass toslink from fleabey which is very good and alot cheaper, it has 280 glass fibers like the wireworld cable. Van Den Hul also makes one that is highly regarded but I never tried it.YMMV
Audioquest Optilink 5 is the best Toslink on the market.
Wireworld Supernova 5 is a more cost effective and close 2nd
Anything that is not glass fiber will not deliver the level of performance that glass fiber will.

hope that helps