Are optical audio outputs better than RCA?

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by pmturcotte, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. pmturcotte

    pmturcotte New Member

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    May 7, 2001
    NH native...

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    Have always used the optical outputs on my 10-250 (and dvd player/xbox360). Mostly to save wiring space if for no other reason. Realized this weekend though as I was hooking up my new receiver (Onkyo 604), I have no idea if this is particularly better than using the other connection options or not?

    The receiver does have HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, however my tv does not have an hdmi input so thats a moot point for the time being.
     
  2. lynesjc

    lynesjc New Member

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    Feb 10, 2005
    Simpsonville...
    You can only get DD 5.1 via optical. Skip the RCA's.
     
  3. lostman72

    lostman72 New Member

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    Central...
    RCA's are a two channel audio stream (stereo) optical is 5.1 sound track (center, rear L+R, front L+R) and sub. You get a lot more out of optical when it comes to sound. Not all channels broadcast 5.1 sound,but it will still work.
     
  4. RunnerFL

    RunnerFL New Member

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    May 10, 2005
    Or 6.1 depending upon what is broadcast.

    My local ABC affiliate broadcasts in 6.1.
     
  5. nyjklein

    nyjklein J-E-T-S JetsJetsJets TCF Club

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    North...

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    I'm thinking the OP meant optical vs. coaxial digital audio which also happens to use an RCA plug.

    If the OP meant optical digital vs. analog (RCA), then there's no comparison.

    If the OP meant the coaxial digital audio, then there's a wildly raging debate over which is better. Although since they're both digital with inherent error correction, I think you really need some top line equipment to perceive any difference.
     
  6. phox_mulder

    phox_mulder I get paid 2watch TV

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    Salt Lake...
    If so, the point is moot since the HR10-250 doesn't have a coaxial digital output.

    My receiver has both optical and coaxial inputs, only my original DVD player has coaxial out, the rest of it has optical, I didn't even think they made anything with coaxial digital anymore.


    phox
     
  7. DeWitt

    DeWitt Member

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    Jun 30, 2004
    Saratoga...
    The HR10-250 has optical only for dolby digital. Take a quick cruise through avsforum and you will find high end audio fans prefer the coaxial digital.

    The discussions get very technical as to why, but almost every opionion I have read recommends the coaxial.

    The only optical link in my sytems now is my HD tivo.
     
  8. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

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    Ellicott...
    You'll find digital coax outputs on DVD players and high end audio/video gear. High end enthusiasts tend to lean more towards coaxial connections for digital audio than optical. I'm sure some people claim to be able to tell the difference and maybe they can with properly trained ears. Most people will be unable to discern any difference between the two.
     
  9. willardcpa

    willardcpa QUASI-OMNISCIENT

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    Eugene, OR USA
    I tried to "train" my ears, but alas, they wouldn't respond. :(
     
  10. Robert Spalding

    Robert Spalding TiVo Special Member

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    Jan 12, 2001
    Portland, OR
    My Xbox 360 uses optical
     
  11. phox_mulder

    phox_mulder I get paid 2watch TV

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    Salt Lake...
    After many years of practice, I can wiggle them independantly.

    I can entertain small children for hours.
    Ok, maybe not hours, seconds perhaps.


    phox
     
  12. jautor

    jautor Also wants a pony

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    Houston, TX
    The difference between the optical and coax digital connections was, at least in the 'earlier' days, was in the measured amount of clock jitter that was introduced to the signal. IIRC, tested Toslink (optical) transceivers tended to produce more jitter, which at high enough levels, absolutely will create audible differences... Whether or not there is measurable jitter in 21st century implementations is another question, but probably made moot by the following fact.

    The only digital signal in consumer audio products that would be affected by differences in jitter are PCM encoded signals, where the D/A converter recovers a clock signal from the digital stream. That means CD players (red book audio) and any other PCM encoded audio track. But since HDTV and almost all DVD soundtracks are AC-3, DTS, MP3, etc. bitstreams, none of this jitter stuff matters... In these cases, as long as the signal gets there without introducing new, uncorrectable errors, it truly is "digital"... Either its there, or its not.

    But I've always had a preference for coax digital, just because I always have an extra crappy RCA cable laying around that I can wave my hands over and turn into a "digital cable". :D

    Jeff
     
  13. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

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    Ellicott...
    Mine didn't need training to enable the wiggle function. :D

    Seriously, you need to train yourself to know what to listen for when you're dealing with high end audio. Musicians in particular have a keen ear for what sounds "right" since they are exposed to live music as a reference more than most people. If you regularly attend live concerts of unamplified music (i.e. string quartets, symphonies, etc.) then you have a pretty good idea of what real music should sound like. Most people don't have a reference point from which to make a proper assessment of what they're hearing and tend to choose what sounds "right" to them, even though it may not even come close to natural reproduction of voice or instruments.
     
  14. bwaldron

    bwaldron New Member

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    Mar 15, 2003
    Brandon, FL
    Same here!
     

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