Best Optical Cable

TOSLINK cables (also called optical digital cables) convey digital signals in the S/PDIF format from computers and audio sources to other pieces of consumer audio equipment. TOSLINK is an older digital standard which uses pulses of light traveling down a fiber optic cable to represent digital ones and zeroes. Due to the information being encoded via light instead of electrons on/in a wire, TOSLINK is immune to RF or EMF interference.

In theory, TOSLINK conveys digital data perfectly, and any cable will do the job. However, issues such as cable reflectivity, and fiber optic cable type (glass vs plastic) and diameter may have an effect on the timing of the signals. In other words, do the pulses reach their destination in the exact same spacing and timing as they were sent. Any discrepancies can cause a phenomenon known as jitter which can create a "smearing" of the sound. However, please do note that many of us cannot hear the differences, and doing so requires an audio system with very high resolution. But if you have an audiophile-grade system, buying a better quality TOSLINK cable will not be a huge expenditure to you. We judged our picks for best TOSLINK cable based on construction, durability, price, and overall design.

DH Labs Silversonic Toslink Cable

A superior TOSLINK interconnect from a manufacturer that makes OEM cables for other companies, the DH Labs Silverlink is a great choice for audiophiles who want quality without over-inflated prices. Solid build quality and superior data transfer make this our top choice. Read Full Review

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    Why it's best:

    The DH Labs Silversonic TOSLINK cable is a great example of the types of products that we rate as the best. It's not silly expensive, is obviously well-made, and is manufactured by a highly-regarded company. This optical digital cable uses a high-bandwidth fiber optic cable covered with a cladding designed to eliminate reflectivity that causes jitter or subtle smearing of the sound. The fiber optics are surrounded by a tough yet flexible PVC outer jacket. With this level of construction quality, you should have less worries about crimping the cable if tight bends are an issue.

    The ferrule is precision-designed to keep the transmission end perfectly aligned for best signal transfer. Also note that the ferrule is gold-plated; this makes zero difference in signal quality, but does improve corrosion resistance. The DH Labs TOSLINK Silversonic is a great choice for perfect digital reproduction, and our choice for best optical audio cable.

    DH Labs Silversonic Toslink Cable

    Lifatec Silfex Glass Optical Audio Cable

    This is a very high grade TOSLINK interconnect made by a company that specializes in fiber optics for audio, medical, and other uses. Audiophiles will be very satisfied with the audio quality associated with perfect digital data transfer. The Lifatech Silflex Glass Optical Audio Cable is worth the price. Read Full Review

    Why it's best:

    This audiophile grade TOSLINK cable from Lifatec, a fiber optic specialist, is ideal for discerning audiophiles whose equipment includes separate DACs or other high-end equipment. It uses Silflex (not plastic) fiber optic cables to transfer the light pulses, and precision-machined metal ends. The fiber optic tip is polished to a 1 micron finish. Lifatec offers several different varieties of this cable with different types of jacketing for different situations. Jitter or other subtle timing issues that can happen with cheaper cables should be non-existent with any of the offerings from Lifatec. This could easily be our top choice, but it's a little more expensive, and is missing a finishing touch or two. But you will have no audio-related worries with this superior TOSLINK optical audio cable.

    Lifatec Silfex Glass Optical Audio Cable

    Monoprice Premium 6FT Optical Toslink Cable with Metal Fancy Connector

    This TOSLINK cable from Monoprice is the usual Monoprice deal: cheap, effective, and made pretty well. You really cannot go wrong, and if nothing else buy one of these to keep as a backup. Read Full Review

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      Why it's best:

      A thick metal mesh jacket, gold-plated ferrule, and a budget price make the Monoprice optical TOSLINK cable a true bargain. Keep in mind that at this price range you are certainly getting plastic as opposed to glass fiber optics, and the optics are not engineered to reduce jitter. And, unlike some of the more expensive cables, tip and head construction is a mix of metal and plastic. This means that the chance of tip breakage or misalignment are greater than with audiophile grade cables. That being said, many people have great luck with Monoprice interconnects. If you don't have an expensive system, this will do the trick.

      Monoprice Premium 6FT Optical Toslink Cable with Metal Fancy Connector

      BetterCables 2M (6.56 ft) Premium Toslink (Optical) Cable

      The BetterCables 2M Premium TOSLINK cable is a solid choice in terms of data transfer and quality of construction. This is not a flimsy, bargain cable, and will be a fine choice for many consumers. But there are other options that might appeal more depending on your wallet and system. Read Full Review

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        Why it's best:

        This TOSLINK cable from BetterCables provides premium data transfer with solid build quality. The cable ends are gold-plated to resist corrosion, and the entire tip is metal, not plastic. This cable will work very well in situations where tight bends can create pressures that tend to unseat cheaper interconnects. The variety of fiber optic is not specified, but given Better Cables reputation, quality is not questioned. This is a good choice, but you can spend less and get similar results, or spend a little more and step up to audiophile goodness.

        BetterCables 2M (6.56 ft) Premium Toslink (Optical) Cable

        Mediabridge Toslink Optical Digital Audio Cable

        The Mediabridge TOSLINK optical digital audio cable gets the job done, without special features, and without a high price. It's not your best choice if you have a high end system, or use a separate DAC. Read Full Review

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          Why it's best:

          This TOSLINK cable from Mediabridge has the potential to be indistinguishable in audio quality/data transfer as compared to more expensive cables. You are not getting glass fiber optics, gold-plated ferrules, or other goodies. But, if you don't have golden ears or an expensive sound system, any differences may be inaudible. TOSLINK is a digital S/PDIF transmission system, so by design this cable is free from EMF or RFI-related noise. Keep in mind that another choice in the list offers better build quality for even less money.

          Mediabridge Toslink Optical Digital Audio Cable
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          2 comments
          • modea1 modea1

          Thanks for your informative review Sean. Were you able to discern an audible difference between the DH Silversonic Toslink Cable and the Lifatec Silflex Glass Optical Cable? You would naturally assume that aglass optical cable would outperform a plastic one but real world tests often have a funny way of producing unexpected results. Given that the review was done some time ago I hope you can still remember yourimpressions at the time. Any detail would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Michael

          Posted on 1/13/2014 8:22 am | Reply
          • kay.doe.566 kay.doe.566

          I was just looking for a good optical cable so good to see your article. I was recommended Sys-Concept but finaly bought ConnectionLab. I'm 100% satisfied, you should check it out. It's one of these more pricey though.

          Posted on 8/16/2013 11:32 am | Reply