Also I meant to ask is it true that it should be either less than a foot or more than 6 feet?
Just buy this for 50 bucks. I’ve compared it to the highly-regarded Stereovox XV2 and, frankly, it’s better. Several reviewers, including John Atkinson from Stereophile, have used it as their reference and with good reason. My advice — buy this and know you’re getting great all-around performance, then try some higher $$$ cables later but in the meanwhile know you’re not leaving much on the table. Hope this helps, and best of luck.
Blue Jeans Cable is a great place to start.
There's also a silver plated version which is what I have.
A 1 meter digital coax cable will work without any problem. If you really want to run a 1 meter, that's fine. It may sound good to you, but I have done a TON of r&d and testing with different types and lengths of S/PDIF coax. A 1 meter cable will always have compromised when compared to a 2 meter cable. If you have tried both a 1 meter and 2 meter and still cannot hear differences, then either your hearing is not sensitive enough or your system is not high resolution enough to reveal the subtle differences.
The Kimber D60 cable mentioned above is likely a very excellent option as it is a pure silver solid-core conductor. It is about the same price as the Acoustic Zen Absolute 75 ($750-800). These cables are 4 times as expensive as the DH Labs D-750, but will perform significantly better.
The Blue Jeans Beldon digital cables are good if you only have less than $30 to spend, but they are really not that great of a cable compared to the more expensive options.
Familiar (and have purchased) with BJC. Noticed something interesting here: the BJC and the Geistnote offerings appear to use the same RCAs?
@soix - the cable you linked - it looks like the strain relief is rigidly connected to the RCA; is that the case? Just curious.
@christian Yes, it is. Not sure why you’re asking, but Apogee is a pro audio company so their stuff is built to take some punishment, FWIW.
Big +1 @ghdprentice that optical adds two additional and unnecessary conversions .
@mesch good choice and think you’ll be pleased. Make sure you pay attention to the directional arrows, which on my cable are faint and hard to see. I inadvertently installed it backwards once and my system literally sounded broken until I figured out my mistake. Ugh. Please report back with your impressions if you would.
If you are looking at optical to be used for data transfer, such as computer, then yes, optical is the cleanest way to get data from one point to another. However, even optical has distance limits.
That being said, optical is not perfect. The problem is that the LED emitters just cannot light up fast enough to create a perfect square wave pulse. Lampizator did tests on this and compared it to several COAX transports. The waveform from optical ended up being this very distorted curvy waveform (almost like a sine wave). He was amazed that the receiver could translate this into pulses at all.
Under listening tests, optical can sound pretty okay with a good glass fiber cable. However, even a cheap copper based coax like the Blue Jean Beldon will have more life and engagement in the music. Everyone can have their own opinions and some may prefer optical in their own system.
A big thanks to @ghdprentice and @auxinput. Your explanations make sense. I did some reading last night but there is so much conflicting info on the net. One sight had me nearly convinced the opposite was true. Thank you as well @soix . I followed your recommendation and your link. They are on the way. I dislike having to get a six-foot length as Medusa behind the gear can get unruly. I know shorter is available but why take a chance with the concerns expressed by @auxinput.
Thanks all for the responses.
’spdif’ (sony philips digital interface) is a digital music data transfer format that can be transmitted/received either optically (toslink) or electrically (rca/bnc)
optical spdif has some bitrate limitations, yes, relative to electrical spdif
I think the key test for optical is does 100% of data pass thru or not.
Same goes with coax, except that coax potentially could pick up rf noise whereas optical cannot. That's why optical is the most used method to transfer data from one continent to another, around the world.
The reason why we have HDMI instead of optical is cost of implementation, because yes you need a set of converters.
For CD, up to 24/96, optical is my choice, because it really does decouple transport and DAC. Mono POF preferably since there's only two light waves.
2nd vote for the "Pangea Audio Premier XL Digital Cable with Cardas Copper" sold by Audio Advisor. Currently $169 for 2m.
I've tried a number of coax cables in this price range and liked this one the best. I had to spend quite a bit more to better it in my system.
Pangea Digital coax....https://www.audioadvisor.com/ssearch.asp?txtsearch=pangea audio advisor...Fantastic clarity. on sale $45
First of all, what other people hear in their system, may not be what you hear in your system. We manufacturer audio components. Our listening room has over 30 pieces of equipment along with 4 different speakers. We have repaired and upgraded more components than most people hear can even think of.
For lower priced digital cables go with the Audio Envy or the Kimber D60. Up the scale look for a used Marigo Labs, Jorma or Cerious Technologies. These seemed to work well in all of our systems.
I’ve always thought a digital coax cable made no difference. It either works or doesn’t. Im a believer in power cords, speaker cables and interconnects but never place any emphasis on the digital coax cable. I was wrong though. They can and do make a difference in my system. I have a signal cable silver resolution that sounds thin and bright compared to an audioquest that I had laying around. I’ll be getting a few others to try when I have some extra $
In order of SQ
1. I2s however this is my project for this year to implement I2s so I cannot verify this in practice, only research.
2. USB controversial choice here but with the correct DAC and DDC it is capable of outclassing AES/EBU.
3.AES/EBU Excellent and for most people it will provide the best sound.
4.BNC SPDIF Very, very close to AES/EBU.
5.RCA SPDIF Least favorable of the above.
6.Toslink usually only capable of 24/96 kHz and is the worst choice you can make. Only suitable for a soundbar if you don't have another choice. Better than HDMI eARC however, but that may be down to equipment.
I like BNC terminations and they fit more snuggly than most RCA. Some claim they measure better but I haven’t seen the empirical data. Silverstar! From Blackcat Cable, call Steven at the Cable company. Excellent bass!
If you want to reach for the stars go to the Chord Company. Their Signature lineup is very good but the Sarum T is wicked. Even better the ChordMusic. Supposed to be one of the best on the planet. On using the Signature Array but an planning to got to the Sarum T. It uses a newly trademarked dialect called Taylon. Better than PTFE Teflon. The Cable Company has prices.
Yeah, there are arrows on the cable. They’re pretty faint but SUPREMELY important. I installed mine backwards once by error, and my entire system sounded absolutely broken. Once I found the problem and re-installed the Wyde Eye in the right direction, all was well again. Point is, directionality with this cable is key. Go in the direction of the arrows from the digital source to the DAC or you’ll be greatly disappointed.
@soix you know, I.ve had this cable a couple of months now and though I was aware of directional cables I was looking at the terminal ends of the Apogee for that info and didn't see any. I just figured that mfg didn't buy into it so it didn't matter. After your post I looked this morning and found I've had it backward all along. I made the switch but haven't had a chance to listen to the difference. Thanks!!!
Q&A from the Geistnote/Apogee Amazon page.
Going from a streamer to an integrated amp, do you make the arrows point to the streamer or to the amp?
The cable is not directional, however, if you would like to follow the arrows, find the source of the signal and put the source connector on the left side of the arrow and the destination connector on the right side of the arrow.