AUDIO FORUMS >> Digital >> Digital Coax

Message started by effluviography on 08/02/22 at 07:33:39

Title: Digital Coax
Post by effluviography on 08/02/22 at 07:33:39

Howdy all,

Two questions for you. One, is there a digital coax cable (RCA to RCA) that you recommend for $200 (or less)? Second, do you agree that digital coax should be 1.5m or longer? Anyone use less than a meter with excellent results? Shorter would be easier to work with in my rack.

I'm trying a Supra Coax 1.5m right now and it is pretty good - smooth and enjoyable but a little thick - losing some resolution. It's still burning in, so I'll see if it improves too.

This is between a Denafrips Iris DDC and a Denafrips Ares 2 DAC. Have a cheap optical cord with better resolution, but is a bit edgy and less musical.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Cheers,


Title: Re: Digital Coax
Post by effluviography on 08/02/22 at 07:48:27

And I should mention I tried the Better Cables Coax (silver serpent) and was not a fan - did not sound good at all with this combo.

Title: Re: Digital Coax
Post by CAJames on 08/02/22 at 14:46:51

To answer the questions you asked, I've had good luck with DH Labs cables:

And way back in the day when I first saw that coax ought to be at least 4' long and optimally 8' I tried a 3' cable and an 8' cable (both cheap from Amazon) and couldn't hear any difference and I've gone with 1 meter ever since. So I'll say you are OK with 1 meter.

Now for the question you didn't ask, so this is JMO/FWIW and all that. I'm a Denafrips "true believer" myself and have seen many online discussions about adding a DDC and most people would say you are better off moving up to a better DAC, i.e. at least a Pontus rather than adding a DDC to the Ares. This is exactly because the real power of the DDC is realized with the I2S connection to the DAC. In fact I think a lot of people would argue that going USB -> DDC and then coax -> DAC is a step in the wrong direction and you might be better off without the DDC at all. I fully understand how easy it is to spend other peoples money but in your situation I would look hard to see if there is any way you can get a Pontus, I think you will be impressed at the difference.

Title: Re: Digital Coax
Post by effluviography on 08/02/22 at 22:31:33

Thanks for the info. I was leaning towards DH Labs, so that helped to finalize my decision. And thanks about the cable length info too. I contacted DH Labs and they said they have noticed no difference between short and long cables as well - both from personal experience and from their engineering expertise. So, I'm going short with the DH Labs D-750.

And regarding your other thoughts. I was considering the Pontus as a replacement too, but it's too expensive at the moment but I could swing the Iris DDC. I figured this as an incremental addition, and when I can move to the Pontus, I can add this to it with an I2s cable instead.

I will say that the Iris does make some changes to the sound that are quite noticeable, even with a cheap optical cable.  I'll write my thoughts once I get a good cable and let the dust settle for a bit.

Title: Re: Digital Coax
Post by Doug on 08/03/22 at 02:29:03

You might want to contact Alvin to see what kind of trade-in deal you can negotiate.  You very well may find yourself the owner of a new Pontus.  Who knows……maybe he has a used Pontus that could be yours in a trade.  I am squarely in the CAJames camp on this issue.

Title: Re: Digital Coax
Post by effluviography on 08/10/22 at 08:57:14

Thanks for the DH Labs advice, been using that cable now. After burn-in of DDC, both the DH Labs and Supra Coax sound good, but in different ways.

As for the DDC, wow, it makes the Ares 2 sound much better. I'm letting the DH Labs cable burn in a bit and have a few new power cables settling in too.

I'll write more once everything has had time to bake a bit and to let my own brain wrap my head around it. I'm sure the Pontus is a bigger upgrade, but for the price so far, the DDC makes the Ares a much better sounding DAC.

Cheers - Scott

Title: Re: Digital Coax
Post by CAJames on 08/11/22 at 00:14:52

Glad it working so well for you. I just saw a youtube video of a guy talking about how much the Iris improved the sound on an Ares so you aren't alone. I know the DDC was a nice boost for my Terminator 2, but of course that was with an I2S connection.

Title: Re: Digital Coax
Post by effluviography on 08/11/22 at 06:27:06

Alvin recommended the upgrade and I can see why.

My quick take right now is that the Ares 2 sounds good by itself, once you add the Iris, it makes everything about it better. After awhile I wondered if I was just imagining things, so I disconnected it, and now the Ares by itself sounds so sterile.

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