AudioQuest Carbon Optical Audio Cable
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19 Narrow-Aperture Lower-Dispersion Higher-Purity Finely-Polished Polymer Fibre Conductors
Full-Size Brass Ferrule Plugs Make For A Snug, Secure Fit
Low-Jitter Design For Reduced Timing Errors
Superior Performance And Value For Money
Available In Various Lengths
About the AudioQuest Carbon Optical Cable
The AudioQuest Carbon Optical Toslink digital audio cable is a high quality digital link that can be used between any number of modern audio visual components and even TVs. If your system needs a high quality optical cable then this AudioQuest Carbon Toslink features lower dispersion, higher purity fibre conductors that are more than up to the job of getting your delicate digital signals from one end to the other in one piece.
Many of the design and material elements that have proven so effective in AudioQuest’s analogue cables are every bit as meaningful for digital and computer-audio cables, including S/PDIF optical (Toslink) cables as featured here. Insulation materials, proper geometry and overall precision of the manufacturing process are no more or less important at the frontier of digital-audio cables than they are for analogue cables.
In The Beginning: The audio frontier is all abuzz these days with the sonic pleasures possible though HDMI, USB, 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 analogue 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 fibre optics (EIA-J), making them still some of the most important cables in electronic entertainment.
Thanks to HDMI, Toslink is not so often used to connect a Blu-ray player to an AV receiver, but Toslink connectors are still common on cable-tv-boxes, TV sets, soundbars and all sorts of other products. For these many reasons, AudioQuest has refined and renewed their line of serious high performance OptiLink cables. All models and all lengths are now available Toslink to Toslink (as featured here) and Toslink to 3.5mm Mini Optical.
Superior Performance - Moderate Price: AudioQuest designed the Carbon OptiLink cable for those seeking superior performance but still at a moderate price. Even though it's not their most expensive Toslink cable, it's been engineered to provide a distortion-free connection between digital audio source components — CD players, Universal/Blu-ray/DVD players — and naturally AV receivers, DACs, and even some soundbars.
AudioQuest OptiLink Carbon Series Optical Cable: AudioQuest OptiLink Carbon optical (Toslink) cables feature 19 narrow-aperture synthetic fibre conductors with precision polished fibre ends to minimise signal loss and jitter (digital timing errors). Importantly the cable is constructed using lower-dispersion higher-purity fibre conductors because the less dispersion in the fibre, the less distortion in the final analogue audio signal presented to our ears.
The plug's brass ferrule also contributes to ideal light transmission and the highest quality sound. The conductor is surrounded by a black & grey flexible nylon braid jacket. Each connector has a clear plastic protector that should be removed before use. The plug is shaped so that it will only fit one way into the component's Toslink connector.
Why Is It Important?
Digital audio was really never just ones and zeros. Indeed, the analogue interconnects that connect your outboard DAC to your stereo are as important as the AC power cables that connect the computer audio components to your home’s AC power supply. It’s the same with digital audio/video cables. Optical cables carry signals as pulses of light rather than a stream of electrons, so they are virtually impervious to magnetic or electrical interference. Unlike cables made of wire which require some type of metal connector to transfer the signal between components, in an optical cable, the very tip of the connector is the fibre itself, and it requires special polishing to reduce light refractions. Whether you're feeding stereo music to a DAC or Dolby Digital surround sound to your receiver, the optical cable is a crucial link in the signal chain and shouldn't be overlooked. Therefore, the entire computer-audio experience will be more fun and more involving if low-distortion cables are employed throughout your entire audio video system.
When the question is “how can a fibre-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 fibre-optic cable is scattered and dispersed by imperfections and impurities in the fibre. 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.
The 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 fibre. The punch line: The less dispersion in the fibre, the less distortion in the final analogue audio signal presented to our ears.
There is another serious dispersal mechanism in the Toslink system. The fibre is a relatively huge 1.0mm in diameter, and the LED light source is also relatively large, spraying light into the fibre at many different angles. Even if the fibre 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.
AudioQuest has been the largest cable supplier to the high-end specialist market for several decades and is sold in over sixty countries. Founder Bill Lowe is especially pleased that this success has been possible despite his insistence that the foundation of the company, and the foundation of AudioQuest marketing, must be the performance of the product and when he visited Audio Trends a couple of years back we were convinced of this by his genuine sincerity. In the audio world, many professionals have learned that it is not always convenient to listen to the products they sell … they might learn something they don’t want to know! Bill has always understood the challenge of basing the existence of AudioQuest on the performance of the product. However, to Bill, this is the only reasonable way to do business and the only acceptable way to combine his passion for music (and all things high performance), with his need to make a living.
Main Features & Specifications
- Product Description: AudioQuest Toslink optical digital audio cable
- Full-size Toslink connectors on each end
- brass ferrule plugs for a snug, secure fit
- Conductors: 19 Narrow-Aperture Finely Polished Synthetic Fibre Conductors
- Precision Polished Fibre Ends
- Design: Low-Jitter Design for reduced Digital Timing Errors
- Jacket: Black/Grey braid
- Available Lengths: 750mm; 1.5 Metre; 3 Metre; 5 Metre
- Manufacturer’s Australian Warranty: 5 Years - Does not cover misuse or abuse
Note: Features & Specifications Subject To Change Without Notice. E&OE