Confused about how to improve my audio system!

After listening to the chat on this forum for a few weeks, I’m confused about what to do to improve my sound.

For instance:

I currently have an optical digital cable going from my CD player to my receiver. Is that a good idea?

Or, maybe because of terrifying amounts on jitter on optical, should I get a shielded coax and do coax digital?

Or, what if the DAC in the CD player (a Sony DVP-NC655P) is better than the DAC in my receiver (an Onkyo TX-8050)? Should I be running an analog connection? How would I know which DAC is better?

Should I run all three connections, and try some listening tests – A/B/C comparisons? What if my preferences on the listening tests are CD-specific? How many CDs, and which ones, do I have to listen to, to evaluate this properly? Do I have to recruit friends and do blind tests?


How does it sound to you? Don’t fall into the audiophilia trap unless you are experiencing a problem. Ultimately, what are you trying to accomplish? Don’t fret over a cable —-Enjoy the music.


Most would advise making one change at a time and see which you prefer. On some systems, changes you are you suggesting may not be revealed.

My view would be to switch to a coax digital cable over toslink/optical. Most all i have read suggests coax is universally preferred from a quality perspective. And some toslink apparently don’t transmit at 24/96…

If you prefer the DAC in your CD player, run an analog cable from the CD player to your receiver. If you prefer your receiver’s DAC, run a digital cable from the CD player to the receiver.

Good luck.

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Most of the “advice” you hear in this community is subjective nonsense. It is filled with imagined differences and flawed testing. Do not listen to it.



If your happy with it leave it alone.


Ditch the optical.

For? Coax digital or analog? You think this CD player has a lot of jitter?

Yeah, but I might be missing out on something great!

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Ditch the digital optical

Which to replace it with? Analog or digital coax?

@WiWavelength, AJ,

That’s quite a blanket negative statement and adds little to the discussion.

There’s lots of knowledgeable users on here who can offer great advice. However, such is the nature of forums members are not always going to agree with it.

Rather the just attempting to rubbish the ‘opposition’ why not engage in this discussion and offer a constructive comment.


Nope, Carl. What I stated is factual. Enough said.



Nothing does 24/96 coming from a cd player :sunglasses:

What speakers are you driving with the Onkyo?

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A set of Henry Kloss-designed Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble II, with the satellites on stands. 20 years old, but still sound great.

Sure, I understand that (now; wouldn’t have, three weeks ago). But what do you mean by it, in the context of this discussion?

A lot of the discussions of jitter and other perceived effects that go on in this and other forums are often associated with rarified equipment and listeners. Given that your kit is in hifi separates terms a mix of mid level and somewhat aged pieces. (My own power amp is 32 years old so I am not denigrating old kit)
I would be interested if you could actually hear any jitter effects. Was this question originally sparked off because you don’t like the sound of your kit or because you think there might be unknown improvements to make?
If you like it leave it alone. If not then upgraditis affects us all now and then and “jitter” is as good an excuse as any :grin:


One of the comments was on optical cable not going beyond 24 96. The optical Vs coax has been raging for years and years. They both work and sound fine. If you have a mega system, a dead quiet room and hours of dedicated time, you might hear a difference. For most people the neighbourhood noises make more difference in one listening session to the next than tiny kit changes.



I may not be the correct person to ask. My friend, Alan Stiefel (you can look him up), and I ear tested a number of digital coax vs. digital optical. The differences we obvious and in favor of the coax. After multiple digital coax, the one I found that sounded the best to me was from Time Portal and cost $1K for a meter.

My analog cables are near or at top of the line Audioquest. I do believe a good alternatives is Kimber. There a lot of companies that make uber expensive cable that sound like crap to me.

The Rocky Mountain Audiofest in Denver (October) might be a good place to hear for yourself. If you are looking to become a audiophile, I believe you start with speakers that cost twice what you can afford, then you can hear what each wire or piece of equipment means to you.


The problem being that none of that is relevant to someone with an Onkyo receiver and Sony CD player.

To the OP, if you want to improve your system cables isn’t the way. From experience coax is a little tougher that optical and isn’t affected by tight radiuses and kinks. Isolation shouldn’t be an issue so that isn’t a reason to go with one over the other.