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Home Theater & A/V

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.

Lifatec Silfex Glass Optical Audio Cable

Lifatec Silfex Glass Optical Audio Cable

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.

Sean Dennis
I'm a freelance technical writer and editor who has been interested in music and audio for a long time. I was bitten by the audiophile bug as a child, fascinated by the turning reels on my father's Sony Reel-to-Reel Tape Deck. In college, I took courses in audio production and analog recording techniques, and participated in my college's radio station. And, I discovered the magic of tubes, acquiring a vintage Fisher KX-100 stereo tube amp that I still have today.

As a Bestcovery expert, my goal is to provide information to help you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to the enjoyment of recorded music, and to point out the features, sonics, and build quality that differentiates top notch audio gear.
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