Posted in: Hardware Reviews by Archive Authors on October 15th, 2003
Audiophiles maintain that digital coaxial cables will always sound better then optical cables as optical cables are not a perfect connection. Well I don’t know that I agree with this my first experience with this was hooking up one of the first outboard Dolby Digital processor, when we listened to it there was this strange static spark sound that we got every so often when using the coaxial connection, we tried different cables to no avail and then tried another unit with the same result (we even tried a different brand), used an optical cable and problem solved. Since then I have never had any issues with either optical or coaxial and even use coaxial on my DVD player at home (I had a left over cable from my MD player that I used for my DVD player). I do however generally recommend that most people use optical as I find most people have a hard time understanding that an old school RCA style cable does the same job as a fibre optic cable. Anyways enough of my rambling lets get on to the main attraction, we are going to have a look at the Bettercables.com Premium Toslink cable.
Features and Build
Once again the cable comes packaged in a simple Ziploc bag just like it should. From a purely visual stand point I have to say I was a little disappointed, this is a pretty plain jane looking piece of cable. This is not necessarily a bad thing I have just gotten used to the fact that the products I have seen from Bettercables.com in the past are a little more impressive looking then this one was, it is not a bad thing as it has nothing at all to do with the performance of the product in any way shape or form. The unit is constructed of what seems to be standard glass fibre optic cable, it has heavy duty metal ends with gold plated connectors. Fit and finish where excellent and connected to the equipment with nary a problem.
My DVD player has both a Toslink fibre optic connection as well as a coax digital audio connection. So I plugged it in and sat down to have a listen, I must be honest I could not hear any significant difference between this cable and my existing coax digital audio cable. So the question of course begs to be asked, why would I consider purchasing it, well the coax cable that I am using is almost 4 times the price of this cable and I could discern no appreciable difference between the two. Next I tried it next to similarly priced fibre optic cable and found that the Bettercables.com unit sounded markedly better, the other cable was grainy and murky sounding compared to the Bettercables unit. The Bettercables unit also brought a much more vivid image with movies, sound effect placements was much tighter and more realistic.
This cable continues in the tradition of Bettercables.com and offers amazing bang for the buck. It is like getting Starbuck’s coffee for the price of 7-eleven, again I recommend that if you have a DVD player and a 5.1 surround system give this cable a shot and you will not be disappointed.