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Thread: Coaxial Audio Cable query

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    Default Coaxial Audio Cable query

    Damn, I meant the title to read Coaxial AUDIO cable query.

    What is the difference between a 'normal' RCA audio lead and a 'Coaxial Digital one'

    I noticed most use a different colour insert on both the plug and the socket such as green, orange etc but just how different are they and can one be used in place of the other for an average home system.
    Normal RCS cables range from a couple of Dollars but one place I saw quoted near $10 for a 1.5 m cable which I thought was a a bit of a rip off.

    To me Coaxial means a centre wire single or stranded, insulator, shield and either another insulator and outer cover or just the cover.
    Now quality can be an issue but for a just a metre or so long, I cant see why even a bit of cheap rubbish wont work so long as its conductive.
    Last edited by gordon_s1942; 04-05-15 at 06:10 PM.
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    There may be a small difference in wire & insulation specification, besides that the colour coding, however I have used one in place of the other temporarily with no issues.

    To be honest I couldn't pick the difference in sound quality on my surround sound system between the standard RCA cable of any colour & an Audio coaxial cable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    Damn, I meant the title to read Coaxial AUDIO cable query.

    What is the difference between a 'normal' RCA audio lead and a 'Coaxial Digital one'

    Heading fixed.

    Digital-spec'd cable is generally of higher quality compared to basic audio cables. Eg: may be silver plated with greater % of shielding etc.

    This is the same principle as digital video cables which require higher quaility over longer distances to prevent/reduce digital artifacts.

    Having said that, the nature of digital is such that either it works, or it doesn't, so for short distances, a bog-standard RCA audio cable can work fine.

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    gordon_s1942 (05-05-15)

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    As usual, thank you both for your answers and I follow MTV's remarks regarding the quality of manufacture including plating of the 'contacts' can be a deciding issue particularly if you live in 'corrosive' area like near the ocean.
    In past times one pollutant was from open fires used to heat homes but today where fires are used for heat, enclosed heaters are used minimising dust and other things such as sulpher and tar not unlike those emitted by Cigarettes which are also on the down turn today.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon_s1942 View Post
    What is the difference between a 'normal' RCA audio lead and a 'Coaxial Digital one'
    SPDIF coaxial audio interconnect cables should be 75Ω as specified by IEC958. The digital bit stream can be up in the order of 6MHz which requires correct impedance cable and termination in the devices.
    Bog standard audio cables only have to carry baseband signals from 20Hz to 20kHz. Well shielded 75Ω cable will give you the best results in terms of signal integrity and prevention of EMI.
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    I fully understand cables are made for specific purposes and if you are using high end equipment and had the knowledge and equipment and need to ensure the best possible results than you obviously go for the 'Good Stuff' but for me with just a short 600 mm length between the TV and the Amp sending digital Terrestrial TV audio/Foxtel to it to be heard through crap speakers into a room with all the acoustic quality of the insides of a rusty cement mixed, then as long as it works as MTV says, anything will suffice.
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    600 mm of 75Ω cable doesn't cost very much. I'm sure you have an old antenna flylead in your junk box and two RCA plugs. Nothing "high end" about that, just the right cable for the job.
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