Coaxial Audio Cable You Can Find in the Market that Will Work for You.
Coaxial Audio Cable – The coaxial digital audio cable is one of the most common methods used to transfer digital audio between devices. Not just that to know, there are still other things you have to know about these cables that we will unveil to you in the course of reading this article.
In some cases, it might well be the best solution for your system. Sometimes not.
I also discuss various ways of converting coaxial audio to different types of audio which may suit your system better.
What is a Coaxial Audio Cable?
A digital coax cable is a type of cable that can transmit pretty much any digital or electrical signal but are most commonly used for transmitting audio and video signals.
Digital cables aren’t digital in themselves, but they do a good job at transmitting a digital signal through pulses of electricity.
Digital coaxial cables are a bit similar to standard coaxial cables; they are constructed with a central wire covered by insulating material, a metal shield, and a plastic bag.
However, an exception there is that the digital cables are better protected from interferences, and have higher impedance, and can handle a wide range of electric frequencies.
A digital coaxial interconnector is similar to that of an RCA cable, but the digital cable carries an electrical instead of an analog signal.
The cable is thicker than the usual audio cable because of its extra shielding and is usually more expensive than the typical RCA cable.
Differences Between the Coaxial Audio Cable and RCA Audio Cable
The difference between the digital coax cable and the RCA cable is really in the shielding. The digital cable contains extra shielding to prevent interferences in the signal.
Also, RCA cables don’t have the bandwidth that the digital coax (DC) cables have. If you try to use an RCA connector, you will discover that the signal will start to fade, especially if you run the wire over long distances.
These signal interferences will often cause stuttering in the audio because the pieces of digital information aren’t being read on a continuous basis.
The only time when you may not see a difference is when you are running the cable across less than a mere three feet.
Because this is not a common occurrence, signal interferences are common when using the RCA cable. Basically, using the digital cable is a much better option.
Optical Digital Connection
An optical digital connection uses the medium of light to transmit data through a cable’s optical fibers (which can be made from plastic, glass, or silica).
An optical cable doesn’t allow noise to pass from source to DAC circuitry like a coaxial can, and so makes sense to use this socket when connecting straight into the DAC of a soundbar or AV receiver.
Traditionally, in a home cinema environment, optical connections tend to be used to transmit compressed Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound.
Optical cables with a Toslink (Toshiba Link) connector slot into a matching socket on both source and receiver. Something like the QED Performance Graphite Optical is a good entry-level option.
Although HDMI has taken over as the main socket of choice for many manufacturers, optical outputs are still common on games consoles, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and televisions.
Optical inputs are found at the amplification or DAC end, e.g. on soundbars and AV receivers.
A Must Know about HDMI Cables
Launched in 2002, the biggest benefit of HDMI is it’s a one-size-fits-all connection for video and audio.
It boasts much higher bandwidth than optical, allowing for playback of lossless audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Unlike optical and coaxial, there isn’t really a similar rival out there.
You’ll find HDMI inputs and outputs a firm fixture on TVs, Blu-ray players, AV receivers, and, increasingly, soundbars. An entry-level cable like the AudioQuest Pearl HDMI will suit a wide range of systems.
HDMI is a constantly evolving standard too, with new and improved versions offering more bandwidth and greater capacity to carry more channels of audio, such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks.
It also supports new and current video formats – including Ultra HD 4K resolution and the various HDR formats – and additional features such as high frame rate (HFR) and eARC (which can deliver up to 32 channels of audio).
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So, Which Connection Should You Make Use of?
The answer to this will depend on the kit you’re using. If it’s a straight choice between coaxial and optical, we’d go for the former.
In our experience, a coaxial connection tends to produce better audio quality than optical, allowing for a higher level of detail and greater dynamics.
But, we live in an age where convenience is king. HDMI is now the go-to connection for all things AV and it’s hard to argue against it if all the kit in your system chain sports that socket.
HDMI’s feature set, upgradability, and the fact it can handle both audio and video mean you don’t need to worry about too many wires clogging up your system.
And, best of all, you won’t sacrifice performance.
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