Digital RCA cables ?

A

agular

Junior Audioholic
I would like to know if it I can use digital coaxial cables in place of regular RCA cables from the pre-outs of my preamp to the inputs on my amplifier. Would this kind of connection degrade the signal?
 
WaynePflughaupt

WaynePflughaupt

Audioholic Samurai
Nope - they will work just fine.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Yes you can. No they won’t.
As always, I recommend just researching and making certain you know what you are getting. I’ve seen everything from Copper-Clad Steel (bad) or Copper-Clad Aluminum (ok) used in these cables. Likewise, understanding if you need or want shielding depending on your usage can be helpful.

I like and always recommend the Monoprice High Quality Subwoofer/Digital Coax cables. I run moderately long lengths to my Subs, including past power cables and a power strip with no interference. In these, the All-Copper Conductor is 18AWG, insulated and double shielded.

That said, if you are just needing 1-3 ft interconnects, almost anything will do the job as the cables are only passing a low voltage signal.
 
M

MTVhike

Audioholic Intern
Poor quality audio cables might not work for digital (coaxial), but the reverse is not true.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Poor quality audio cables might not work for digital (coaxial), but the reverse is not true.
I have seen some of the cheapest crap work for digital- care to explain? Or, is it a case of "It misses a few bits here and there, so it's not perfect"?
 
S

Speedskater

Audioholic Chief
I have seen some of the cheapest crap work for digital- care to explain? Or, is it a case of "It misses a few bits here and there, so it's not perfect"?
S/PDIF is a very robust low frequency digital system. For cables 3 meters (10 foot) or less just about any coax cable will work. For cables longer than 10 meters (33 feet) 75 Ohm coax cables might be needed.
Many reasonable quality analog coax cables, turn out to have a 75 Ohm impedance. It's a convenient ratio of conductors and dielectrics for the cable manufacture.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
S/PDIF is a very robust low frequency digital system. For cables 3 meters (10 foot) or less just about any coax cable will work. For cables longer than 10 meters (33 feet) 75 Ohm coax cables might be needed.
Many reasonable quality analog coax cables, turn out to have a 75 Ohm impedance. It's a convenient ratio of conductors and dielectrics for the cable manufacture.
Real world- this has been connected using just about every conceivable cable type, including Cat5e with baluns, without baluns, RG59, RG6, etc. It works fine. I tried a set of cheap baluns as a test- they use two wires in a Category cable on one side and coax on the other. I even split the signal at a central point and connected one source to two systems- it worked great. I wasn't expecting much, but it sounds fine and the main system (about 75 feet away) has a Denon AVR-4311CI AVR and a Krell power amp with Thiel speakers.

Don't overthink this. Cable manufacturers will make cable to meet any spec but this really doesn't need special cabling. Data with error correction is great for this type of application because it's as forging as it is if someone isn't trying to achieve lab-grade perfection. If they ARE aiming for that, they can pick something else but the point is- fancy digital cables are BS and we all know it. Gold ends do nothing to help, especially for optical (and I have a huge problem with the sellers making statements to that effect).
 

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