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The best digital interface between source to dac

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square_wave

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Question to folks who have experimented extensively between the 3 choices below in a fairly resolving system.

1. S/P-DIF based on standard RCA.
2. S/P-DIF based on BNC connectors.
3. Optical S/P-DIF interface ( plastic or glass based cable )

What did you like the best ?
What interface is generally accepted as the best for audio quality ? I know studio people prefer different solutions depending upon the application.

I am experimenting with a mutec mc3+ usb interface.

Has anyone played around with different types of toslink cables ? Lifatec etc..
 

reignofchaos

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BNC-BNC works best if both sides have properly designed circuits and true 75 ohm connectors and cable.
 

arj

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I preferred Spdif for my cd transport as it is cleaner . I actually found the balanced to work great but did not go there as the cable is pretty expensive.

For the Auralic aries I clearly prefer a glass optical ( the plastic optical is not as good and better avoided). The Glass Lifatec optical cable has seemingly less defined edges but with all the details and makes the sound a lot more organic compared to the ASI liveline digital Coax i used. For the price it is sure winner !

What i found is that the Digital to optical conversion needs to be of good quality. in may sources that is usually the compromise and hence the optical not sounding as good.

I have never tried a BNC so cannot comment
 

surfatwork

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For short spans, such as in domestic interconnects, Spdif over RCA is as good as BNC. Little reason to go for BNC in a home setting. The data is exactly the same.
Toslink is limited to 96/24, afaik, and also reported to exhibit higher jitter. It does offer help if you suffer from ground loops because of the isolation.

To be honest, I doubt that most of our setups would be able to show up the differences. And even so, any difference may be detected only with very critical listening.
 

Kannan

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Coax was the way to go. BNC not needed for short runs.
But with superior technology the jitter issue is well handled in modern DACs n transports as far as the toslink is concerned. Toslink though is totally immune to noise.
Ultimately though it is gadget specific and how well the connectivities are implemented.
 

square_wave

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Thanks everyone. I currently use a toslnk cable that came free with a dac so I guess it will be plastic fibre variety. Anyone knows where I can pick up a lifatec cable ?
 

square_wave

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@ ROC, hangin in there brother ?? Long time no meet !!

I don't have a BNC at the source end so let me try a good glassfibre type toslink first.
 

sidvee

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Question to folks who have experimented extensively between the 3 choices below in a fairly resolving system.

1. S/P-DIF based on standard RCA.
2. S/P-DIF based on BNC connectors.
3. Optical S/P-DIF interface ( plastic or glass based cable )

What did you like the best ?
What interface is generally accepted as the best for audio quality ? I know studio people prefer different solutions depending upon the application.

I am experimenting with a mutec mc3+ usb interface.

Has anyone played around with different types of toslink cables ? Lifatec etc..
I tried 1 and 2 extensively and to be honest could not tell the difference between the two.
Cheers,
Sid
 

Indranil Sen

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One other thing, the quality of the cable plays a big role in getting good sound from your system. So a better quality cable of any type is likely going to yield much better performance.
Thanks
 

bornfi

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Here is how I think when I have to think about this :).

Just forget about option 3 unless that is the only connection available.

And for 1 or 2, please try to use AES out from Mutec using an adapter from Canare. The reason why I am suggesting this is because there was a time when I had Squeezebox Classic running with my Yggdrasil DAC using coax to coax. And then I changed from coax (source side) to AES on Yggdrasil side using an adapter from Canare and since then I try to stay away from any option if AES is available.

From whatever experience I have so far, I can tell that if you move in right direction, your system should become calmer and calmer and more relaxed.
 

jls001

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BNC is genuine 75 Ohm characteristic impedance connection by virtue of maintaining constant separation between the center conductor and the shield, PROVIDED the shield is terminated by crimping around the connector barrel. If the shield/braid is bunched up and soldered or screwed onto the barrel at ONE point (like it is done for most RCA connectors) it breaks the geometry and is no longer a true 75 Ohm cable.

Why does having true 75 Ohm link from the source to destination matter? For a transmission line designed for a particular characteristic impedance, if we use some other value then it leads to undesirable "reflection" of the signaling, leading to poor VSWR. So at the receiving end only a portion of the original signal sent by the transmitter/source will be received. Secondly, timing will be garbled. So if one has a choice between BNC and RCA for electrical SPDIF, BNC should be the first choice.
 

surfatwork

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Transmission line reflection is not really a consideration at low MHz. frequencies (Spdif uses a 3MHz clock at 48khz, so even with 192khz we are only talking about 12Mhz = 25m full wavelength) and the lengths of interconnect cable we deal with in home audio!
BNC does have the advantage of a locking connection, though, but nothing else in this application.
 

adhingra

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My vote for spdif. I have a NAD m51 and have tried all inputs and prefer an audiophilleo 2 USB to spdif. Better resolution, speration and dynamics. Tighter bass is a bonus.
 
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