Optical audio cables are a great option for any home theater or audio system. These cables use light to transmit the audio signals from the audio source to the receiver, and because of this they are not affected by any electrical interference. This can be very useful if your electrical circuits are not properly grounded. Optical audio cables, also known as Toslink cables, are especially recommended for older homes where there are more chances of electrical leakage due to moisture build-up. Optical audio cables also have a much higher audio quality compared to standard coaxial cables, however these devices are not the cheapest on the market.
1. Select the correct format
This is the most important step. If you are looking for high definition surround sound, you have three options to choose from: coaxial digital audio cables, optical audio cables, and high definition multimedia interface (HDMI) cables. Your choice will be determined primarily by what your equipment supports.
HDMI cables support high definition video and audio and are the best option if your computer has HDMI slots. Most newer televisions support the HDMI interface, and you can easily find high-definition DVD players, game consoles, and multimedia centers that also support this format. If you are looking for crystal clear video and sound, then HDMI cables will be your first choice.
If you are setting up only a home audio system or if your equipment does not support HDMI, the best options for digital surround sound are digital coaxial cables and optical audio cables. The sound quality offered by both types of cables is almost on par with each other, although both have their own pros and cons. Note that while almost all audio systems have connections for coaxial cables, optical audio connections are not as common.
2. Buy cables that fit
Optical audio cables come with different types of connectors. Although the square-shaped connector is the most common, it also has round bottoms and other designs, specific to your brand of equipment. When purchasing an optical audio cable, it is important to purchase one that will fit the optical audio slot on your audio transmitter and receiver.
3. Remove the plastic cap
All Toslink cables have plastic caps that cover the tips of the connectors. Also the optical audio slot on your computer will probably be covered by a cover. Remember to remove the cap before attempting to connect the cables. Although it seems obvious, this is the biggest mistake made by people who are new to optical audio cables. They are not devices of the presence of these covers and they end up not being able to place the connectors in the proper slot.
4. Don’t force it
With most square-shaped optical audio connectors, the male and female parts should line up just before they fit together. If the cable won’t go in, don’t force it or you’ll end up damaging the connector or the slot you’re installing it into. Check that the male and female ends are aligned correctly and that the plastic caps have been removed; then you shouldn’t have any problem.