• Low-Dispersion Fiber
• Low-Jitter (Digital Timing Errors)
• Precision Polished Fiber Ends
audio frontier is all abuzz these days with the pleasure possible
though HDMI, USB, FireWire® and Ethernet connections. However, these
current generation digital technologies are only part of the story, just
as the challenge of designing, manufacturing and choosing the best
analog interconnects and speaker cables is as important as ever. The
S/P-DIF (Sony® Philips Digital InterFace), which arrived in 1983 along
with the CD, is still very much a part of our world today. S/P-DIF is
transmitted through Digital Coax and Toslink fiber optics (EIA-J),
making them still some of the most important cables in electronic
thanks to HDMI, Toslink is not so often used to connect a DVD player to
an A/V receiver, Toslink connectors are common on cable-boxes, TV sets,
subwoofers, all sorts of products. And now, the 3.5mm Mini Optical
connector, also somewhat incorrectly known as Mini-Toslink, is
everywhere … from the 3.5mm dual-purpose headphone jack on a Mac laptop,
to inputs on some of the finest portables.
these many reasons, AudioQuest has refined and renewed our line of
serious high performance OptiLink cables. All models and all lengths are
now available Toslink to Toslink and Toslink to 3.5mm Mini Optical.
the question is "how can a fiber-optic cable change the sound?” … the
answer is easier to explain than for almost any other type of cable. If
the light source were a coherent laser, firing into a vacuum, all the
light would stay straight, arriving at its destination at the same time.
Even if the LED light source in a Toslink system were coherent, the
light entering a fiber-optic cable is scattered and dispersed by
imperfections and impurities in the fiber. This can be measured as a
loss of amplitude … but amplitude is not the problem, a 50% true loss
would have no effect on sound quality.
problem is that the dispersed light does get through the cable, but
only after it has taken a longer path, like a pool ball bouncing off the
side-rails, causing it to arrive later. This delayed part of the signal
prevents the computer charged with decoding this information from being
able to decode properly, or even at all. The inability to decode shows
first at higher frequencies (not audio frequencies, this is a mono
stream of digital audio information), so reduced bandwidth is a
measurable signature of light being dispersed by a fiber. The punch
line: The less dispersion in the fiber, the less distortion in the final
analog audio signal presented to our ears.
is another serious dispersal mechanism in the Toslink system. The fiber
is a relatively huge 1.0mm in diameter, and the LED light source is
also relatively large, spraying light into the fiber at many different
angles. Even if the fiber were absolutely perfect, the signal would be
spread across time because light rays entering at different angles take
different length paths and arrives with different amounts of delay.
almost complete solution to this problem is to use hundreds of much
smaller fibers in a 1.0mm bundle. Because each fiber is limited as to
what angle of input can enter the fiber, there is far less variety, and
far less dispersion over time. This narrow-aperture effect is similar to
how a pin-hole camera can take a picture without a lens … by letting in
light at only a very limited range of angles, a picture can be taken,
whereas removing the lens from a wider aperture would make photography
impossible. Less light gets through a multi-fiber cable, but the light
that does get into the fibers comes out within in a much smaller
there is one problem, the dispersion of light across time … and two
avenues towards a better result: less dispersion in the fiber (better
polymers and ultimately quartz), and less dispersion by filtering the
input angle. How simple is that! Listen and enjoy.
AudioQuest Digital Coax cables are designed to minimize distortion across an extremely wide bandwidth. For many applications, the speed of digital communication is important. Most visibly, "speed” is about transferring large files as quickly as possible, or carrying enough data for HD video. For Digital Coax audio "speed” is critical not because of how-much how-fast, but because time relationships within a digital stream are critical to the reconstruction of the analog waveform that brings information, music and joy to our ears. Time-based damage (jitter) to this information within the data package makes the sound small and flat instead of 3D, harsh and foggy instead of smooth and clear.
SOLID 0.5% SILVER CONDUCTORS: Solid conductors eliminate strand-interaction distortion and reduce jitter. Solid silver-plated conductors are excellent for very high-frequency applications. These signals, being such a high frequency, travel almost exclusively on the surface of the conductor. As the surface is made of high-purity silver, the performance is very close to that of a solid silver cable, but priced much closer to solid copper cable. This is an incredibly cost effective way of manufacturing very high-quality digital coax cables.
HARD-CELL FOAM INSULATION: Hard-Cell Foam insulation is used exclusively in most of AudioQuest’s video and digital audio cables. Similar to Foamed-PE, it is nitrogen injected to create air pockets. ‘Hard’ foam is used because the stiffness of the material allows the conductors in the cable to maintain the same relationship with each other along the full length of the cable, thus ensuring that the characteristic impedance of the cable is consistent.
100% SHIELD COVERAGE (FOIL + TINNED BRAID): Shielding always plays an important role in any cable design, but the shield on coax interconnect plays an especially important role because it functions not only as a shield but a return path as well. Because of this, AudioQuest pays special attention to the shield’s metal quality and the fabrication techniques as both will affect the sound and the picture.
METAL-LAYER NOISE-DISSIPATION SYSTEM (NDS): 100% shield coverage is easy. Preventing captured RF Interference from modulating the equipment’s ground reference requires AQ’s Noise-Dissipation System. Noise-Dissipation System prevents a significant amount of RFI from reaching the equipment’s ground plane.
TERMINATIONS: Cold-Welded, Gold-Plated