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#379284 - 06/29/12 06:59 AM RCA vs Fiber Optic cables
Clovis Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/07/03
Posts: 35
Loc: Goa, India
I can't keep silent on this old... phenomena...

My Denon DCD700AE compact disc player is connected to my ROTEL RA06SE stereo integrated amplifier via a pair of Van Den Hul's Thunderline RCA interconnects. Previously I had used Denon's PMA500AE (stereo amp).

Why I connect the CD player to say my DENON AVR3310 via a Monster fiber optic cable, I find it sounds poor than the RCA ones. This is with both the electronics on Pure Direct Mode.

Now since I have never had a chance to connect the CD player to a stereo amp via fiber optic, I've never been able to fully compare. But I did connect it to the Denon AVR via fiber optic and was displeased compared to connecting it with RCA cables. Again, Pure Direct.

Even at the electronics store, I heard that it sounds much better when you use dedicated Hi-fi equipment for music rather than expensive Home Cinema receivers and players. There were also other customer witnesses at the store too. The speakers were the same. So that case is pretty much closed.

Does any body else agree that the connection with the RCA cable sounds more pleasing than the fiber optic one? Is it that the Digital/Analogue converters on the player are much better than the AVR.

However do note that I do enjoy listening to surround music from my Acer Desktop when connected via fiber-optic to my AVR rather than the PS3 (HDMI), CD player or Denon 1740 DVD player.
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Clovis De Cruz

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#379331 - 06/29/12 03:17 PM Re: RCA vs Fiber Optic cables [Re: Clovis]
casey01 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/03/08
Posts: 764
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: Clovis
I can't keep silent on this old... phenomena...

My Denon DCD700AE compact disc player is connected to my ROTEL RA06SE stereo integrated amplifier via a pair of Van Den Hul's Thunderline RCA interconnects. Previously I had used Denon's PMA500AE (stereo amp).

Why I connect the CD player to say my DENON AVR3310 via a Monster fiber optic cable, I find it sounds poor than the RCA ones. This is with both the electronics on Pure Direct Mode.

Now since I have never had a chance to connect the CD player to a stereo amp via fiber optic, I've never been able to fully compare. But I did connect it to the Denon AVR via fiber optic and was displeased compared to connecting it with RCA cables. Again, Pure Direct.

Even at the electronics store, I heard that it sounds much better when you use dedicated Hi-fi equipment for music rather than expensive Home Cinema receivers and players. There were also other customer witnesses at the store too. The speakers were the same. So that case is pretty much closed.

Does any body else agree that the connection with the RCA cable sounds more pleasing than the fiber optic one? Is it that the Digital/Analogue converters on the player are much better than the AVR.

However do note that I do enjoy listening to surround music from my Acer Desktop when connected via fiber-optic to my AVR rather than the PS3 (HDMI), CD player or Denon 1740 DVD player.


Over the years, I have tried what you did on four different AVR's and whether it is fibre optic or coax, the digital connection was always superior(and louder) to the L/R RCA analog connection so from my point of view, I find your case to be quite unusual especially, when in your comparison you connected a Denon CD player to a Denon AVR. In essence, there really there should be little or no difference in the quality OR audibility of the D/A converters.

I would think something else is amiss here in the set-up between the two.

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#379345 - 06/29/12 10:04 PM Re: RCA vs Fiber Optic cables [Re: Clovis]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10372
Clovis, there's no technical reason for either the coaxial cable(not "RCA", that's just the plugs on the ends)or fiber optic cable to be inherently superior. Often, as casey mentioned, one output is stronger and/or input is more sensitive, so that one of the setups is louder at the same setting, giving the impression that it's better, but that's just a correctable volume difference. If the respective outputs, cables and inputs are undamaged and working as designed, the transfer is done equally well.
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#379501 - 07/03/12 10:18 AM Re: RCA vs Fiber Optic cables [Re: Clovis]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6770
Loc: PEI, Canada
By "RCA," are you talking about analog connections between your CD player and the receiver or are you talking about the digital, coax cable between the two?

If the latter then as John has pointed out, both are sending streams of zeros and ones (digital) and you are using the same DAC in your receiver. Unless something is broken, then the resulting data received will be exactly identical.

If you are talking about a two pairs of analog, RCA pre-outs from your player to the receiver then indeed now the job of DAC has moved from the receiver to the player. There is more room for speculation on a difference there and lot's or arguments can ensue. Many will argue that the difference is not audible.

Also, just to reinforce what others have said. Science has shown that the human brain will always pick out "louder" as sounding 'better'. (A trick commonly used in audio shops to create favor towards a product.) To accurately compare something, one thing that has to be done for certain is that both sources have to be playing at exactly the same volume.
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#379585 - 07/05/12 01:38 PM Re: RCA vs Fiber Optic cables [Re: Clovis]
Clovis Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/07/03
Posts: 35
Loc: Goa, India
First thanks to everyone who has replied.

Just to be clear, the RCA that I'm talking about is those analogue composite cables and not the coaxial cable or RCA interconnect.

And also I'd like to point out that I've just listened between using the Van den Hul Thunderline composite stereo audio cable and a Monster fiber optic cable at home and it just seems that I find the music sounds better when I use the composite cable.

So my original was just to get feedback from others on whether they find any differences between the two types of cables.
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Clovis De Cruz

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#379589 - 07/05/12 02:12 PM Re: RCA vs Fiber Optic cables [Re: Clovis]
J. B. Online   content
connoisseur

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 1265
Loc: Quebec, Canada
the best and only valid test to compare cables is double blind testing, or ABX.
a big problem is that one has to stop listening for many minutes in order to change cables and our sound memory is very short, so short that the switching must be instantaneous.
blind testing (not double blind) is not bad, but one should not base decisions from this kind of testing.

over the years, there have been a lot of those double blind tests done for a wide range of equipment, and they show for speakers that as long as the speaker cables are of low enough resistance, there is no difference to be found between one that costs a few dollars a foot to one that costs thousands of dollars.

you could try yourself, with the help of a friend, to make a blind test where you ask your friend to switch cables without you knowing if he has changed the cables or not, and for every trial, he notes your reaction.
do this for a minimum of 10 times.
after that, report your findings to us, we'll be interested to read them.

if you're interested in doing some reading on the subject, just Google this: myths in audio

Myths in audio cost a lot to buy, and the makers make enormous profits.


Edited by J. B. (07/05/12 02:27 PM)
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#379609 - 07/05/12 10:45 PM Re: RCA vs Fiber Optic cables [Re: Clovis]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10372
Clovis, the terminology is still a bit tangled-up. "RCA" is the name of a plug on the end of many cables, not the name of a specific type of cable itself. An "analogue composite cable" is one use for a coaxial cable, not a separate and different type of cable.

I studied some of the stuff at the van den Hul site to see what the Thunderline was. After wading through some BS there, I saw that it was a two-conductor cable surrounded by a shield. If used with XLR connectors on the ends it could be a part of a balanced connection setup if the sending unit has a balanced output with two signals reversed in polarity with respect to each other and the receiving unit has a balanced input which combines the two signals(after putting them into same polarity). If RCA connectors are used, as you do, the result is essentially the same as a coaxial cable with one central conductor, except that two central conductors rather than one are carrying the identical signal. The comments in the previous reply regarding coaxial vs optic would still apply.

In googling van den Hul Thunderline I did run into one rather amusing comment on van den Hul done in poetic form here .
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Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#379615 - 07/06/12 04:53 AM Re: RCA vs Fiber Optic cables [Re: Clovis]
Clovis Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 09/07/03
Posts: 35
Loc: Goa, India
Thanks again JB and JohnK for your replies.
_________________________
Clovis De Cruz

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