Toslink Question ?

I have 4 toslink cables that I have been swaping from my cdp to pre/pro.Three of them sound the same.Detailed but at times overly detailed.The fourth cable makes the sound smoother with less detail but overall the sound is more pleasing although the music does not seem as fast.
My question, is the fourth cable damged and or introducing jitter.Can jitter actually distort the signal and make it smoother.
All toslink cables are not glass.Any thoughts.Thanks.
Digital cables that are damaged or of low quality can introduce jitter which does damage the quality of what you hear viz what your pre/pro gets to decode. I used toslink for many years but found that for the money, any S/PDIF 75-ohm coaxial cable that I utilized for the same tasks of moving Dolby Digital, DTS or simply PCM simply performed and sounded better. Don't get me wrong, there are great toslink cables on the market from AQ and many others. On balance, this could have little to do with Toslink versus S/PDIF as a media and go more towards the quality of the Toslink transmitter/receiver components utilized in most equipment. I always found (starting with my switch from several AQ Optilink-5 (a fantastic Toslink cable) to AQ Eagle Eye and then later to several other brands that S/PDIF just sounded better when all was said and done.
zero chance that a TOSlink fiber induces jitter. if anything you will see fiber induced dispersion (much different than jitter) and likely only over really long runs. +1 on Zephyr's comment on the electronics on the ends doing more.
Paulsax: Thanks for the correct on TOSlink fiber induced dispersion....One thing I'm confused about then is that like any other digital signal (incoming or outgoing), somewhere along this path there is a negative impact from jitter being introduced; would this then be only from the TOSLink transmitter/receiver devices and relevant attached electronics on either end of the connection? Could dispersion on the fiber contribute to this happening?
fiber dispersion is basically a smearing of the bit signal. THink of a square wave pulse with the squares getting more rounded, lengthened, and lower amplitude. Note that the leading edge does not smear forward (ie speed up) but the trailing end slows slightly. Over long distances the bits can even touch as far as the receiver is concerned. FOr our toslink cables and the distance involved there is no way this is happening. So essentially you are correct that if there was any jitter is came from the native signal, the transmitter, or the receiver. I would suspect that the native signal is more of a issue as getting into the Ghz is real easy for the transmitters and receivers now but that is a wild guess. the optoelectronics on our stuff may be supercheap so...........

anybody have a really good o-scope and want to test this?
Thanks for the explanation; it makes sense. I agree given the distance, there is no way that is happening here on the cable itself...
I have often heard from various vendors that the biggest weakness of TOSlink is the connector itself--that the end of the fiberoptic bundle in the cable connector does not make optimum contact with the transmitter and receiver in the components. Some of my Toslink cables easily fall out of their sockets.

Monster Cable states that that's why their TOSlink connectors are spring-loaded--to keep the cable end in tight contact with the transmitter and receiver. I have no direct experience as to whether the Monsters work better.

The TOSlink mini-plug format shouldn't be as vulnerable to this.
I've used Monster's best TOSLink cable years ago and did find their connectors were spring-loaded and connected to the source or destination unit very well. Of course, I also found that 1 pre/proc I utilized back then had variations in the size of the receptacle on some of the 4 TOSlink inputs. The connectors on Monster were spring-loaded and very good as stated however I did find that Audioquest OptiLink5 (possibly due to superior construction and materials on the cable itself) yielded a better fit and a better sound profile.

07-08-10: Zephyr24069
I've used Monster's best TOSLink cable years ago... I did find that Audioquest OptiLink5 (possibly due to superior construction and materials on the cable itself) yielded a better fit and a better sound profile.
How much more expensive was the AQ, and in your opinion, was the performance improvement worth it?
The Interlink Reference and M-Series were/are in the $100 price range. The Optilink-5 from AQ retails at $495 today though you can get one for less on Audiogon/other sources. The difference to my ears in 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 was very noticeable.