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Old 02-12-2008, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Havent posted in awhile, but i have a chance to grab up some Adcom seperates inexpensively. I was looking because im finally tired of the receiver i use in the one room clipping so often. I can pickup a gsa700, gtp550, and gfa2535 for $200. Thing is tho, one of the main things i will use them for is television, and apparently the 550 doesnt have toslink/optical inputs

Ive been using optical input for a couple of years now, and am wondering: what do you all think will be the big differences between optical and rca..?

PS: no it also doesnt have coax, just regular ol, plain vanilla RCA.

Thanks for any and all input~!
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:39 PM
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I am confused. Are you asking what's the difference between optical and coax S/PDIF?

Or S/PDIF, using the receivers DA converter vs. using your player's DA converter?

"But this one goes up to 11"
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
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nope, i just never had the chance to do side by side comparison of optical input VS RCA. Im aware Optical is digital, and RCA is analog, but since ive never tested side by side, figured id ask what everyone else thought. Is there an appreciable sound difference if i have to go with RCA from say a DirecTV receiver instead of optical.


I asked same question on Audiogon forum and someone mentioned that for stereo source, there shouldnt be much of a difference, somehow still a bit doubtufll of that tho. Plus i suppose id have to go 7 channel direct without optical.
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:42 AM
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The biggest difference between SPDIF and RCA stereo analog is that SPDIF provides access to multichannel audio. Stereo analog cables provide, uhh stereo. If you only have stereo speakers or a stereo source like a CD player, you won't hear a big difference between SPDIF and analog. If you have 5.1, you need at least SPDIF to get Dolby Digital or DTS from your sources.

For new systems though, you really need HDMI because SPDIF is also limited in what it can carry.
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:08 AM
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Every digital signal needs to be converted to analog before it is amplified and sent to the speakers. If you use S/PDIF then the receiving unit will do the conversion. If you use analog then the sending unit will do the conversion. That is the difference.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:06 AM
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I am still lost about what you want to know.

I hook up my XBox 360 with optical, because that's the only way to get Dolby Digital from it.

I hook up my Tivo Series 3 and DVD player with HDMI, because of the simplicity of a single AV cable. I also avoid some analog to digital/digital to analog conversions that would have otherwise been necessary by using component video.

I hook up my Apple Airport express with optical, because analog never sounded that good. I could harly expect Apple to put a high quality opamp in their $99 router/audio streaming device. With optical, I let the receiver handle it.

Now, if you had a very expensive CD transport that runs on gnat wing bearings with an outboard $2000 Analog to Digital converter using transformers hand wound by trained monks in tibet, $100 capacitors and $100 cryogencially treated output tubes, I would not feed that into a $5 DAC chip (almost certainly cheaper) in your receiver.

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Old 02-13-2008, 08:18 AM
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Tubes? I'd use the receiver in that case.

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Old 02-13-2008, 08:20 AM
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"But this one goes up to 11"
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
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yeah i suppose that really is all it boils down to nowadays, which unit has the better DAC. I understood that optical provided for 5.1 whereas RCA, obviously, doesnt, seeing as how its mere stereo. I was just trying to see if there was a disparity in loss between optical or RCA for stereo only. Again, it seems like its not so much a disparity in the lines themselves (as if you were comparing glass VS platic optical, or balanced vs unbalanced line...any type of quality comparison) its more about which unit does better DAC, and choosing the lines to make use of the better DAC.
I suppose in a sense similar to discussion about which cable to use from HDTV source to HD TV. If the source, cable/satellite box does better upconversion then maybe go HDMI/DVI, if your TV does better upconversion then go component.

I do appreciate all the input tho. I suppose high quality RCA may be acceptable for this case, it isnt going to be my primary HT anway. But i do want to be able to crank out the tunes form my this living room hehe. And yeah it may have seemed a dumb/odd question, but better to ask than to assume.

Thanks again
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:05 AM
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I'm kind of a newbie but I'm pretty sure you can a surround signal through 2-rca since rca can transmit s/pdif digital format as well as analog.

http://audioholics.com/tweaks/co...d-player-setup
"Digital audio output is also called S/PDIF format and is essential for multi-channel surround formats like Dolby Digital and DTS and is generally considered to provide the best audio quality. Two sets of digital outs (Digital 1 and Digital 2) means this player can provide sound to two receivers at the same time and in keeping with the high end mentality of this model it provides you with either S/PDIF format digital coax or Toslink."

"Both are equal in audio quality so coax makes the obvious choice because the cable itself is much cheaper than Toslink."

Also, my roommie has an xbox360 system with just component video and rca red/white for audio going in to a surround capable receiver. I'm pretty sure you can hear surround sound like grenade bounces through the speakers.
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Old 04-20-2008, 12:57 PM
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You are correct in that RCA connectors are also used for S/PDIF.

I believe though, that the original post relates to whether you convert to analog player side and send analog to your receiver/preamp. Or do you send digital ?

If we are just talking abut stereo PCM vs stereo analog, there's no way to know which one would sound better short of doing a careful listening test.

Digital audio is the way to go for most people. People who have invested a lot of money into a CD player may want to try out analog stereo out from the player to see if it was money well spent (expensive DAC, expensive line level amp)

"But this one goes up to 11"
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:55 PM
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There is a difference I'm convinced. I listened to three tuners and got three different sounds with the best not being from the best tuner but the tuner hooked up via toslink. The Sony HD Tuner on the left is the highest rated but was hooked up via rca cables. The Cambridge Soundworks HD tuner on the right was hooked up via toslink and was heads and shoulders better sounding than the Sony. The analog tuner built into the receiver sounded the worst. Everything was kept the same to the max extent possible, volume, antenna and all the other settings. I've attached a pic but I think if you can keep things digital as much as possible, you get less loss hence the toslink quality. *
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:27 PM
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Wow, a 5 year old thread resurrection!!!biggrin.gif

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Old 07-24-2013, 06:56 AM
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Taking a PS2 console as an example, using optical would result in two conversions, one for turning the digital signal to light, and the other for turning that light BACK into an electrical signal again. But L/R RCA cables only have one DAC conversion, so I guess that would be the proper choice seeing most of the surround sound you get from the PS2 is Dolby Pro Logic II.

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