Toslink vs SPDIF converter..optical wins

I was a little skeptical regarding the use of an optical TOSlink 'tween my cpu (Mac Mini) and my DAC (MSB Full Nelson). My experience with TOSlinks prior to my forays into computer audio were negative. I never cared for their sound.
I was using a SPDIF converter and a coaxial connection to my DAC, when I first upgraded to the Mini. Once I obtained the cable with the adaptor necessary for the Mini, I took the plunge, scrapped the SPDIF converter, and went direct to the DAC with the TOSlink from the Mini.
Big difference. WAY cleaner. Opened up the soundstage. To my ears (I have a tube preamp, and tube amp), now the best system I've owned in terms of sound.
Tip of the hat to others on the forum that pointed me in the right direction.
I love it when the plan comes together.
Disclaimer: the above is just one guy's opinion, regarding his stereo stuff in his listening environment. But, hey, you knew that already! :-)
FYI, MonoPrice has a VERY nice TOSlink cable available for dirt cheap. Go to and do a search using the term "fancy". I just bought one of these for $6.00 (not a typo) and I could not believe how well-built it was. It looks for all the world like a $100 cable...


The prices there *are* incredible.

A friendly warning tho about interfacing with Apple hardware: the optical port does not accept the standardized TOSlink connector shape. The Mac Mini, Airport Extreme etc use a connector that looks extended. The optical cable in the Apple Store that's called HDExtreme has an adaptor that allows the connection. The Belkin cable in the Apple store has the "normal" TOSlink connectors that *won't* work with their port. My local Apple Store didn't have the right cable either: had to order the one with the adaptor, and have it shipped. Strangely, the "Genius's" in the Apple store had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for the correct style optical cable.

Apple decided to make their recent audio out ports as a combo port that will take a standard mini jack, as well as an optical cable....if you have the right adaptor.
Rlwainwright, I'm buying the 3 footer, they look fantastic, for $3.98 what's to lose ?

I'm going to compare it (dac has switch on-the-fly ability) to my custom $600.00 gold/silver rca digital just for the hell of it.
I just splurged and ordered the 6 footer for something like $2.96, $5.62 shipped.
Rabco - it is a mini-Toslink (1/8" jack, same diameter as a mini audio output/input). I prefer, and use myself, something like the Van Den Hul Optocoupler optical cable which can be ordered with one end pre-terminated with a high quality mini-Toslink connector; rather than using an adaptor.
Xenithon-thanks for the clarification. I assumed the "mini-Toslink" design had a name, but nowhere in my journeys had any place, or one, used it.
Do you think that in an admittedly more budget oriented system, that the Optocoupler is worth the extra dollars? If I could realize the same improvement again that I did going from the SPDIF to optical, there would be no question in my mind.