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Review: Best Digital Coaxial Cable

A digital signal is a different beast than an analog one. A single analog cable can carry only one signal or channel of information. A digital cable is capable of carrying multiple channels of audio or video due to the fact that all that is being conveyed is a complex series of "ones" and "zeros". Analog signals gradually lose voltage over long cable runs, and a little bit of loss can be tolerated. Digital signals are all-or-nothing; at a certain point a loss of voltage will equal a completely lost signal.

You could use a standard RCA terminated interconnect as a digital coax cable, but it is not a good idea. Digital signals are subject to a phenomenon known as jitter which affects the timing of the delivery of these 1s and 0s. In cables, jitter is caused by noise and interference, so a good digital coax cable needs full shielding and high-quality connectors. Digital signals quickly suffer losses at an impedance different than the 75 ohm standard, so cables made to tight tolerances are best. These best digital coaxial cables in 2021 were selected based on shielding, connectors, and overall manufacturing quality and value.

The Best Digital Coaxial Cables in Detail

AudioQuest VDMA Digital Coaxial Cable

AudioQuest makes fine products at a variety of price ranges, and the VDM-A hits a sweet spot of price and quality. This digital coaxial audio cable features solid copper conductors that are silver-plated, and gold-plated RCA connectors. S/PDIF signals (digital audio) require high bandwidth and travel along the outside of the conductor. Thus, a silver-plated wire provides the highest conductivity and best signal transfer. The VDM-A also features hard foam insulation surrounding the conductors. This holds them in the same position throughout the entire length of the cable, and ensures there are no variations in impedance. Foil and braid shielding protect the full cable from interference, and the ends are terminated in RCA plugs with gold plating. This is a great value in an audiophile digital audio coaxial cable that will maximize the sonics of your system.

Wireworld Starlight 6 Digital Coaxial Cable

The WireWorld Starlight 6 digital audio interconnect is a great choice for music and home theater aficionados who want to ensure all the 1s and 0s get where they need to go, in perfect phase and without signal degradation. This cable uses silver-plated copper wires for maximum conductivity, surrounded by their proprietary insulation materials. And, instead of gold-plated RCA plugs, WireWorld uses silver-plated oxygen-free connectors to ensure the best connectivity and conductivity possible. The shield surrounding the conductor is also silver-plated copper. All of this equals near-perfect signal transfer and noise rejection. This is really a great cable, and worth the price.

Monster MC 600DCX-1M High Performance Digital Coaxial Cable

The Monster name is synonymous with quality cables, and the MC 600DCX falls firmly in the "very good" classification. High-purity copper strand conductors surrounded by a full-coverage shielding system mean that the S/PDIF signal will arrive at the component the way it was sent. A special dielectric insulator surrounding the conductors helps prevent changes in cable characteristics such as impedance caused by movement or crimping. The RCA connectors are 24K gold plated for conductivity and corrosion resistance. And it may seem like a small thing, but the MC 600DCX has a thick satin silver finish that can blend into the background when cables are not completely hidden.

best high quality 7ft digital coaxial cable

CablesForLess Super High Quality 7ft Digital Coaxial Cable

CablesForLess is a small company that assembles by hand their own brand of quality cables, with a focus on affordability. Their Super High Quality coaxial interconnect is a good example of this company's products. This cable is made with Belden RG59 that features a solid oxygen-free copper conductor and a dual foil/braid shield. The RCA connectors by Canare are gold-plated. These cables do not have the super tight tolerances for impedance and are not as thick or durable as other, higher priced offerings. But, if you don't have a $10,000 system, or do not have any issues with electrical interference, you'll be happy with the Super High Quality coaxial audio cable.

Belkin PureAV AV20100-06 6-Foot Digital Coaxial Audio Cable

The Belkin PureAV is an effective solution for connecting digital sources to amplifiers, receivers, and other A/V gear that utilizes digital inputs and outputs with RCA ends. The Belkin PureAV uses RG-6 cable with an oxygen-free copper conductor as its foundation. RG-6 does not have the bandwidth (signal transfer capacity) of RG-59, but is adequate for digital audio. This cable also has a dual shielding system (foil and braid) to minimize the pickup of interference. Gold-plated RCA connectors with a six-cut pattern ensure proper connections at each end. A nice extra is the fact that this cable has a lifetime warranty. You could do much worse than this offering from Belkin.

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