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m16si

6-channel direct cable or optical ?

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Hi, i have a Logitech Z-680 sound system, and i just don't know anything about connecting them. Since I connected them for the first time with a direct 6-channel cable (sound is very weird, and its not the sound card problem, because before i had x540 and they worked nicely)

I was thinking of buying an optical cable (Input: Optical)(Input: COAX???) <---- (those are the options in Z-680's command console)

I don't know anything about optical cable for sound systems (does 5.1 work with optical?)

And What is COAX anyway?

Im noob in these thing and i would Appreciate some help, so i can optimally listen to movies and playing games..

Thank you very much.

m16si

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The coax signal is called S/PDIF (it usually uses a RCA plug), whereas the fiber optic is called TOSLINK. One uses plain old coax cable whereas the other typically uses cheap plastic fiber optic (unlike the glass fiber used in networks) which carries the same signal anyway. Both carry the S/PDIF signal, so both work with 5.1 setups just the same. I actually use both with my onboard Realtek audio (2 amplifiers, only 2 digital outputs on my motherboard) and both work great.

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so its okay to change my 3 chich cables with TOSLINK optical cable and still get all the benefits of 5.1 ? Is sound better with optical cable (S/PDIF)?

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If you're using either the 1/8" minijacks or RCA connectors, then those signals are analog, and the sound depends on your sound card being good enough (and then there is interference, possible ground loops, hum, poor wiring, etc)

If you use TOSLINK (optical) or S/PDIF over coax (or audio over HDMI for that matter), then it's your amplifier's DACs which now do the conversion to analog (eliminating all the problems listed above), and your sound card is mostly irrelevant. It works regardless of if it's a stereo signal, 5.1 or whatever else, but some stuff will work better with more modern audio chips and sound cards. Things like passing DTS sound or various HD audio formats from Blu-Ray discs and the like as-is to your amplifier (otherwise they will be converted to a "simpler" signal first, before sending it to your amplifier -- and yes, you still keep the 5.1), but then again your amplifier has to support decoding that format too (and unless it's very recent, it most likely won't). Sound quality wise, it's better with a digital link (coax or optical), unless your amplifier costed less than your sound card or something freaky like that.

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