Toslink has always been rated as the worst of the digital connection schemes.
AES/EBU is one of the best digital connections.
I use the Cardas AES/EBU Digital cable, but there are many others that are good also.
Why do you feel toslink is worst? In my opinion coax is the most aggravating, uncertain and ultra dependent upon construction choices whereas an optical wire with standard materials is very consistent and not prone to electrical interference (which the coax is very susceptible to). All I can dig up in archives is reviewers comments that toslink cable does not form tight connection and in their rearrangement practices of pulling components and plugging new wires they may inadvertently pull the toslink cable out. To those I say- execrcise greater care and arrange the wiring neatly. Im my own experience, I have always preferred the richness and bass performance of toslink connection, while the coax has resulted in anemic sound in majority of set-ups. I do concede that a well designed, insulated and tight tolerances in impedance of connectors can bring the coax connection on a par with most toslink cables and offer "real tight" gripping power (you can almost lift components from one end) which the reviewers yearn for.
Toslink was measured to have on average twice jitter of coax. It is because of additional conversions to light and back and relatively slow optoelectronics.
I have no clue how Toslink can improve your bass performance since it affects only jitter and jitter is basically noise in time domain. Lower amount of noise might create impression of anemic sound the way clean jazz guitar sounds less dynamic than distorted guitar.
Stereophile magazine presented jitter measurements in the article "Jitter Games" where they stated "Critical listeners agree that the Toslink sounds substantially inferior to coaxial"
You can also find jitter measurements showing twice more jitter for Toslink here: http://www.monarchyaudio.com/DIP4.htm
"Stereophile magazine presented jitter measurements in the article "Jitter Games" where they stated "Critical listeners agree that the Toslink sounds substantially inferior to coaxial"
Since S'phile says so- it is gospel! Its funny that the same rag eschews measurements as not being reflective of performance but when it suits their purpose, they pull the measuremens argument to support their flimsy conclusions. All probably done to allow manufacturers a rationale for marketing overpriced coax cables. Trust your ears, go with what sounds better to you. The previous argument is similar to the one where LP users love the sound due to the additional distortions in the medium, makes it warm and fuzzy..
In spite of your suggestion of Stereophile dishonesty I would rather trust their opinion then yours. Monarchy (second link) that measured jitter does not have any interest one way or another.
There are valid technical reasons why Toslink is worse. In order to have low jitter good transport is needed. Good transport have most likely transitions (coax output) in order of 10ns (average transport about 25ns) and limited bandwidth of Toslink causes smearing edges and introducing jitter especially when system noise is present. Regular Toslink has bandwidth of 6MHz reaching 9MHz for very good one. It is too low to output fast transitions.
It is all system dependent especially when Toslink breaks ground loops and I don't question that Toslink might sound better to you - just speaking in general terms.
Ive had a couple cec transports over the years .Ive run aes cables and ive run coax .Ive never used toslink before just cause of myth of them .Just remember this ,CEC has a transformer in the curcuit for aes/ebu to convert it.CEC has always recommended to use the coax out to any dac based on thats how they built the transport around ,although I used some great big name aes cables and loved it, the coax always beat it out in long run. So to answer your post heres the order. 1 coax, 2 aes ,3 glass,4 toslink , call anyone who repairs the cec and they will confer.Remember the less hardware in curcuit the better
I would suggest we should trust our "own" opinion above all else. In my experience of 22 years and having tried many good value and high-end pieces of equipment (e.g. currently Theta CB3 Xtreme DACS, Classe SSP-800, DVD-10AX, SCD-1 to name just a few) I have ended up sticking with a toslink connection. Perhaps part of the reason may be my reluctance to shell out $400+ for a COAX cable (maybe thats what it takes to get better sound) but the bottom line is that the 3 toslink inputs (in the CB3) are occupied while the coax inputs sit unused (unless forced to go that route due to 4th source component). Many of the criticisms of toslink have nothing to do with cable itself, more with how the output jack on the source component is designed. There is overemphasis on the solidity/rigidity of the connection itself, as stated earlier the intent is not to suspend a component by the cable!
In a nutshell- I prefer the toslink to coax in my set-up and furthermore recent experience with SSP-800 indicates that HDMI for audio is even superior (have to listen critically in 2-ch audio mode) but more on this later.
I always get the best sound in my system using AES/EBU Cables.
Interesting comments from people, I have an acquaintance in CA who swears by Toslink. Of course the noise in CA is much worse then here in Colorado over the power line and my friend feels that his system is much quieter when he uses the optical cables. I live less than 3 miles from the power plant and never found the advantage he did. Now SPDIF coax uses .5 volts while the AES/EBU uses 5 volts. I think the higher signal level makes for a improvement in signal to noise ratio. At least for me in sunny Colorado.
I'm running my upper end all analog, cd player-preamp-amp. Want to take a digital signal from my cambridge 840c, Toslink or SPDIF to a Behringer DEQ 2496 with AES/EBU or Toslink to do some bass eq then to another preamp to control volume .Everythang I've read say's Toslink stinks.Will investing in a Hosa cdl-313-SPDIF to AES/EBU converter work? sound ok?. And will cd player-processor-another preamp-amp line up be ok?Will an analog sub eq in place of the processor,analog from cd be beter?EQ's have phase shift.Digital path only one DAC. ?Toslink vs converter? ?Digital eq vs analog eq?
Made a mistake,should not have said one DAC but NO DAC.
I am using my 840c as a DAC and it has almost NO tolerance for jitter. I am using either an AirPort Express, known for its jitter or a Dishnetwork receiver to feed optical.......
In both cases, and the AE is worst, the system makes a real screech, almost like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Stereophile claims low word clock jitter (258ps)on digital output and 10x worst performance on analog out (sidebands).
I use Airport Express (smooth and clean) but my Benchmark DAC1 is jitter suppressing so I cannot really comment. Your unit might be defective or Toslink (or adapter) don't make good connection.
I have both AES/EBU and Toslink type INS/OUTS on my transport and pro. I can A/B them instantly on the fly. Without the 2496, the AES sound is more enjoyable to me than glass for absolute clarity, yet, both are very nice.
I placed the 2496 between my PDT-3 transport and Proceed AVP2 +6 pro using Van Den Hul glass cables. It still has that faint familiar Toslink softness, yet, the 2496 made significant improvements in silently correcting the peaks and valleys from 20Hz to 20K. I did this with both pure two-channel, then, re-ran it, adding a SVS Ultra-13 in 2.1.
I am impressed. In stict 2-channel, the fullness and balance is very much improved after EQing a flat line target - then, I added a small touch of parametric low-mid "L-12" bass as personal preference. The lower bass from my mains has much better balanced "legs" to support the musical body. Stage/musician nuances are more natural and balanced, too.
The 2496 reported a flat 20-20K bilateral responce with the SVS added. I've never heard the SVS blend in as cleanly and musically (The SVS is in the sealed mode for music). It has really disappeared, yet, is right in there. The volume level can go up dramatically compared to before using the RTA/EQ.
Some say don't EQ below 100 Hz or so. I feel that recommendation is for larger stage EQ work - there, the mike can't pick up accurate bass readings so far away from stage speakers. I set the mike right in front on a equal triangle between the mains, pointing it at each main when EQ'd. The 2496 had no problems correctly measuring/balancing bass responce down to 20Hz in my listening room.
I'm ordering a matching AES 110 cable to use AES/EBU cables with my transport for music. The glass cables are being transferred to EQ an OPPO video/multi-channel player.
To correct EVERY sources' in only 2-channel, I've ordered a matching pair of Mogami Gold cables (should do it!). This allows me to connect the 2496 with balanced cables between my pro's balanced L/R main outputs to the 2496, and from there, to the L/R main powered monitors. It also corrects balanced and unbalanced signal levels automatically - very nice.
Carefully reading the manual twice was the best advice I've seen to get a firm grip on the 2496. The first read nearly gave me a nightmare. I'll report it's well-written after reading it twice.