Disregard sound quality for a moment and look at the build quality.
A high quality polymer signal carrier is protected by a soft PVC surround, and this is then covered with a hard outer jacket to prevent damage to the polymer signal carrier. The metal-bodied plug is engineered to provide a precise and positive connection, and the cable ends are domed and polished to maximise bandwidth.
What this means is that when compared to a standard optical cable the Optichord brings vibrancy, life and colourto the system it is fitted to, music sounds more alive and detail is better.
There are some very good places to use optical cables; an Optichord would be a very good choice for connecting a computer to a DAC. The Optichord is available in a minijack to Toslink configuration, making it a great choice for connecting a MAC to your system. This means that the computer is electrically isolated from the hi-fi and this can make a significant difference to sound quality. The Optichord is also a very good choice for connecting set top boxes to systems as well. Again, the electrical isolation can make a big difference.
Model: Toslink to Toslink
The flexible fibrethat carries the signal in the Chord Optichord is built from a polymer that carries the light signal extremely accurately. There is an assumption that all optical cables will perform to the same standard. In fact, there are several areas that can influence performance.
The quality of the tube that acts as a wave guide is critical, as is the material that surrounds and protects it. So the PVC material that surrounds the light tube has been carefully chosen. Likewise the outer jacket, which is hard enough to prevent crush damage and prevent kinking
The metal-bodied Optichord plugs have been built to provide a positive and secure fit and they also precisely position the end of the cable, which has been domed and polished to helpmaximisebandwidth. We also produce the Optichord with a minijack optical connection at one end of the cable, a very useful cable for MAC owners.
Use it with
In theory, the optical connection has a lot going for it. In practice though in almost every situation where both optical and electrical connections are available, the electrical connection produces the better sound. Dynamics and detail are better, as is coherence and timing. So if you can, listen to both connections and make your mind up. There is though a very good use for optical connections. There are devices that you might wish to connect to the digital inputs in your system; set top boxes would be a good example. If connected via an electrical digital connection these can affect the performance of the whole system. In this case an optical cable connection is a very good idea, as it will break the electrical link between the two components.