Monday, March 18, 2013

Optical vs. Analog Cable

Edifier Optical Cable and Analog Cable Information


A number of Edifier products are equipped with optical, as well as 3.5mm and RCA analog cable inputs. As to which is best, much depends on their intended usage. In the last few years, many ancillary products such a TVs are equipped with only optical audio out sockets. In such cases, using the supplied optical cable will provide excellent results. They have the advantage of supporting stereo audio, Dolby Digital, and DTS 5.1 multichannel audio for people with surround sound systems, all within a thin flexible cable. It must also be noted that optical cables do not support SACD, DVD-A or high-definition audio such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Edifier does recommend keeping optical cables shorter than 15 feet in length due to high light signal attenuation. Care must also be exercised in not tightly bending the cable, as damage to the center core may occur.

Analog cable with RCA and/or 3.5mm plugs and sockets still remain very popular as they are readily available, fairly inexpensive, and unlike optical cable, can be lengthened with adapters. However, in multi channel systems, the necessary cables become bulky, as only one cable carries information for each channel. Edifier recommends that very inexpensive analog cable should be avoided, as they tend to be more prone to hum and radio interference artifacts (RFI), due to poor braid/foil shielding. Over the last few years a number of high-end cable manufacturers offer audiophile, as well as studio quality analog/digital interconnect cable with 3.5mm terminations in addition to RCA plugs. Whilst Edifier does not endorse any particular product brand, subtle sonic improvements maybe obtained with their use.

Whichever cable format is chosen, rest assured the highest quality sound will be obtained from all Edifier products.

Peter Duminy, Director of Advanced R & D

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