Glass v.s. Plastic Toslink

Is there a real difference in the sound quality between a plastic and a glass Toslink cable used on your Apple computer running into a DAC?
Yes, get the glass for sure.
Go over to AudioKarma, and read some of the discussion on glass vs. plastic Toslink, and you might come away with a different opinion, and save yourself some money.
Yes, absolutely! A great example is to think of your car window and lets pretend for a moment an angry girlfriend just tossed a brick through your windshield. Now, you have two choices: a clear trash bag affixed with duct tape OR a new glass windshield?

Ok, maybe a little over the top but the digital information is being transmitted as light, glass works better than plastic for this application.

There definitely is a difference, go with glass. They can be found on for not too much.
There ar plenty of glass toslink which are no more expensive than plastic. So why bother with plastic?
I use Medical grade glass fiber Toslink I bought from a Medical supply co..
The glass Toslink that I have seen are around $60 for a meter v.s. $10 for plastic.

I'm fine trying the $60 glass. Are there glass cables cheaper than that; who sells them?
Looked on Amazon; not finding glass Toslink. Found this on Lifatec:
I don't have the money to buy the gear I want, so I do a ton of research instead, and Lifatec has the best deal on glass toslink that I have seen.

Here's an interesting read on the topic.
I use a Silflex glass toslink cable from Lifatec on my iMac to DAC. Highly recommended. A huge step up from the $25 plastic optical cable I had before. Well worth the few dollars extra.
Try here:
This is the place i bought mine, but they have changed a lot since i did over a year ago. So I cannot say they are the same product.
Here's the 1M Sonicwave glass Toslink cable on amazon for $25. There are a number of lengths available, search for 'Sonicwave glass' and they show up. You'll need a mini-Toslink to Toslink adapter but those are very inexpensive and can be found on or by searching for mini Toslink adapter.

I use a glass cable I bought from a member on this site who used to offer them regularly. Haven't tried the Sonicwave but have seen it recommended several times.
I compared the Sys. Concept Inc. 1300 fiber plastic toslink to the Silfex glass toslink and the Sys. Concept Inc. cable was clearly better from my Apple TV music server.
Do not use an adapter for toslink whatever you decide to do!
Sfar - Isn't adding an adapter almost worse that just using a lesser cable?
Glass is far superior in my system. I did a lot of A/B comparison. Using the latest model from Wireworld. Also, the shorter the length of the cable the better.
The adapter is just a mechanical spacer, it doesn't put anything between the optical signal and the receiver.
I'm in need of a reasonably priced toslink to run audio from my Macbook to DAC. Mrderrick, you recommend Sys Concept 1300 over the Silfex. This is the only reference I have found to Sys Concept. Silfex seems to be highly popular, but can anyone else comment on the Sys? It certainly seems like a good cable. I would need to run about 2m of it.
Actually, I have no experience at all with optical. Is 2m too much? Will there be a significant degradation from, say, 1m?
At these short lengths, the amount of bend in the cable, the type of fiber used, and the quality of the end lenses will eclipse the length of the cable when considering degradation. phone companies use fiber optics to transmit digital data over vast distances, I don't think the 1m to 2m makes any difference. I have read in several different sources that when using digital coax, length of cable must be 5' minimum to avoid signal bouncing within the cable, but that is the only length-based issue I know of.
Here is exactly what you are looking for:

This cable has bested cables up to $300+
Search audiogon for more info.

The five foot limitation mentioned above is B.S. please disregard.
Agreed, I've been told by many that there is no degradation for long lengths of optical cable.. I've used a 3 and 10 ft length and can tell no difference.
I use silfatec...
Source of "B.S." above:
only applies to digital coax, not optical cable.
To me, plastic sounds the best. I have tried many times multi-strands glass, and and the plastic always comes right back in my system because it sounds more coeherent, more balanced without edgy trebles.
Keep in mind that Toslink connections were conceived with a plastic monofilament of a certain aperture.
Glass never matches perfectly the correct aperture and the light gets bounced and reflected throughout the multi-strands for more jitter.
multi-strands glass in not used in medical equipment because the light in not precisely conducted..
Another vote for Silflex glass optical cables.
Hi chrisr,
Your conclusions are opposite most everything I've read. Glass optical cables came from the medical field. The company I chose, Silfatec, does mainly medical.
I have tried a few plastic, even one more expensive from Chord, and they seemed great for the money, but these glass ones bettered all of them, at my house, with my listening panel. Not the least bit edgy, or sheeny as some of the plastic ones.
Everybody's different :)
Yes - I know... glass I have tried were the sonicwave and another one... ihave got to try the silflex then someday.
Glass is definitely better.
however, the red LED looks better, smoother, easier to look at at the end of the monster cable plastic monofilament than at the end of the 280 strands glass cable I have.
In theory, glass is better to conduct light, no doubt, but I bet that the strands within my audio cable are fractured because of bends and frictions. the length I use is 3ft. I have tried 2 glass toslink based on opinions, but plastic stays in.
The thread was started quite a while back, but I'll chime in...

I've been using the Sonicwave cable mentioned here. Easily better than any plastic toslink cable I've used - Kimber, Audioquest, and 2 others that escape my memory.

I've heard from a few sources that the connectors are critical in optical. Mine click in pretty snug. One or two of the others didn't do this so well. Another part of the connector is the length of the pin, so to speak, that goes into the component - some are too long, some are too short. There was a glass cable that a lot of people didn't like very much, and it happened to not fit tightly. I think it was a Parts Express cable? Or maybe they sold it. People on the Red Wine Audio circle at Audio Circle were complaining about it, as were a few others elsewhere.

At the end of the day, what sounds best is a personal thing. My Sonicwave cable sounds better than anything else I've tried. Then again, it's the only glass cable I've tried. And for once, it was easily the cheapest one I've tried.
The Litepipe from Silfatec comes in two styles, the flimsy plastic coating (white) or metal cased. I was told by the rep you could run over the metal version.
Just in case you were worried about crimping.
The connectors are quite snug.
Plastic? Meh...
I have read an interesting comment on the lifatec silflex website saying that the quality of Plastic Optical Fiber is so good that we are not giving up in performance using plastic over glass, especially over 3 feet!
In addition, the Toshiba opto electrical components were designed to be used with plastic fiber of a specific aperture.
By bundling many strands, you will not achieve the exact aperture of a single plastic optical fiber.
As one mentioned, a lot of it is how that cable is hooked up to the optical module.
I have to add that the DVD/CD transport I am using is a Yamaha S540, and I believe it was on the market probably around 2002. So it may not have the latest blu-ray ready opto electrical components that actually may be designed to work with glass fibers.
Not all optical Toslink cables are the same and neither do they have the same kind of filament. Common plastic fiber filament Toslink has a bandwidth of about 6 MHz and this is what has given Toslink such a bad reputation because it chokes out the harmonics of the 3.3 MHz fundamental which needs bandwidth out to 10X that of the fundamental on order to form a nice square wave.

Back in 2002 I bought an 30 MHz Bandwidth Audioquest Optilink 4 Glass Toslink cable which has the same Fused Silica Glass filament that they use in their ATT/ST Glass cables. Over the last 10 years I have compared it to many coax cables up to a price-point of $600 and I have yet to find one that has the absolute transparency that the Audioquest Optilink 4 Fused Silica Glass Toslink has in that it has a 30 MHz bandwidth which is sufficient to allow the full development of the Digital signal's harmonics which is essential for the best sounding digital music playback.

Most recently I used my old Musical Fidelity V-Link to compare my .99999 silver Illuminations D-60 coax to the Optilink 4 Fused Silica Glass Toslink and although the Illuminations D-60 sounds absolutely great on its own when compared to the Fused Silica Glass Toslink it immediately becomes apparent that a lot of low level detail is being completely glossed over by the Illuminations D-60 and a portions of the harmonic structure of the Music is not being fully fleshed out.

Those who have never used or heard a 30 MHz bandwidth Fused Silica Glass Toslink will continue to assume that Toslink is vastly inferior to coax and will never be bothered with what their Music might sound like using a 30 MHz bandwidth Fused Silica Glass Toslink cable like the one John Atkinson used to allow the V-Link add so much additional fidelity to the Benchmark DAC in his Stereophile Magazine Review of the V-Link...

"I then changed to the V-Link, had it feed the Benchmark via a 1m length of AudioQuest Optilink-5 glass TosLink cable, and did not touch the Benchmark's volume control. The violins in the Sibelius were now slightly less steely, the soundstage a tad wider and deeper. More important, the sounds of individual instruments, such as the horns at the start of the first movement, and the timpani and plucked double basses at the start of the second, were slightly more of a piece with the surrounding acoustic."
I have known perfectly well about the additional conversion from electrical to IR Optical all along and I am in no way inferring that it does not induce some amount of degradation, but rather that there must be more areas of concern that are being overlooked because over the last 10 years as the 30 MHz Bandwidth Audioquest Optilink 4 Fused Silica Glass Toslink has time after time proven that it sounds much better than any other digital cable that it has been compared with whether they be digital electrical coax or lower bandwidth Toslink cables.

I have even A/B tested it with both the Dayton GOC 65 strand Filament Glass Toslink and the 12 MHz bandwidth 280 strand SonicWave Glass Toslink and in each case the low bandwidth Glass Toslink cables make a very poor showing against the 30 MHz Bandwidth Glass Toslink.

I do not want to cause any contention here its just that I've been thoroughly enjoying this 30MHz Glass Toslink cable for 10 years now and it is so radically different than the common place 6 MHz plastic fiber filament Toslinks which I heartily agree with you literally choke the life out of the music. I did not share this with you to 'one-up' digital coax, but rather to let you know that the 30 MHz Bandwidth Audioquest Optilink 4 Fused Silica Glass Toslink exists because there some folks with digital front ends that perform on a much higher level than mine does and I think that this Glass Toslink cable could lift the sound quality of their audio system to a spectacular new level.

It is rare that I see this high quality high bandwidth Fused Silica Glass Toslink in use. About the only name you might recognize who knows its advanced level of capability and uses it is John Atkison at Stereophile who used his Audioquest Optilink 5 Fused Silica Glass Toslink cable to get a $169 24/96 Musical Fidelity V-Link to improve the sound quality of a Benchmark DAC and they are supposed to be pretty much immune to jitter. I consider the Computer Audiophile site very much up to those high standards of professionalism and expert knowledge of digital audio and so I wanted to let the membership know about the capabilities of this rarely seen 30 MHz Fused Silica Glass Toslink cable which is a rare gem that few in the world of digital audio have knowledge of.
I copied these two posts above from computer audiophile site,very interesting opinion,which makes me regret that I bought sonicwave glass optical cable:) Ok I'll see and hear and then tell my opinion.
Raising a GLASS to GLASS!
Ok,so far the sonicwave quartz glass optical toslink cable sounds the best when connected between dac and cd player.I would say neutral sound,everything sounds right,high frequencies sounds better compared to analog cables
Using mini adapter connected to computers spdif out I can only play 48Hz and 44.1hz
Sound somehow gets warmer,less clarity compared to cd player.May be this the basic reason why so many wireworld supernova 6 mini toslink used cables appear on sale here on audiogon
Glass in my tests. Toslink is a joke IMO, too bad AT&T ST interfaces are gone.
I want to invest in higher quality cables for my connection. So given the choice, my music server has both toslink and coaxial outs to connect to my DAC, which is better, the coaxial or the toslink? Or does it just depend?
difficult to say,because diffrent (brands)media server has influence to the sound too.I tried 2 diffrent cd players with the same toslink glass cable and the sound is a bit diffrent ,one is bassier than the other.What makes the diffrence? I don't know.Anyway good toslink cable will let hear what recording is like.With good recordings you will enjoy the sound,with bad you curse cable. With coax you can choose what kind of flavour you want paying megabucks or several $