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Beolab 18 (Powerlink vs Toslink)

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B18
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B18 posted on Mon, Jun 7 2021 8:43 PM

Hello everyone,

I would like to substitute my Power link cables that are presently carrying audio from the Beocore sound to B18s with Toslink cables instead. I imagine that I should get better sound quality with Toslinks.

And so, how many Toslink cables would I need?

Configuration

Becore (optical out)-> to B18A--> Optical in and B18A->Optical out to Optical in<B18B.

Would two Toslink cables suffice and is the configuration correct? What brand Toslink should I purchase?

Thanks

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Robert_A
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Good question - I´m wondering about the same thing, how to get best possible sound out of my BL18s. Currently running Moment/Wisa, but I´m interested in switcing to Core/Wired if that gives better sound quality. If if so - is Toslink or Powelink the best option.

Or does it all sound the same?

 

/Robert

B18
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B18 replied on Tue, Jun 8 2021 8:15 AM

Hi Robert,

Good to know that I am not the only one.

Hopefully, a veteran on the board will come back to us on this query.

Ettore

CB
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CB replied on Thu, Jun 10 2021 6:29 PM
B18:
Configuration

Becore (optical out)-> to B18A--> Optical in and B18A->Optical out to Optical in

Would two Toslink cables suffice and is the configuration correct? What brand Toslink should I purchase?

Hi

Yes your guess is right (2 cables), but for any cable related questions the obvious guy is Steve from Soundsheavenly (sponsor of Beoworld).

Be aware that fiber optic does not support short radius when you install them
Mikipidia
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Any decent toslink will do really, even a cheap ones are fine. With digital signal the signal is either there or it’s not. In terms of higher quality cables you may get more pliable ones that are easier to route

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Curly
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Curly replied on Fri, Jun 11 2021 8:35 PM

I could not hear a difference when swapping between Toslink and Powerlink on my BL17 and BL18 stereo pairs. I prefer Toslink because the fiber optic cables are not subject to electromagnetic interference, which I was dealing with over Powerlink. I swapped to Toslink and never had any issue with static again.

Currently: BeoLab 17, BeoLab 18, BeoSound Core, BeoPlay S8 Connection Hub, Essence Remote

Previously: BeoSound 1 non-GVA

B18
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B18 replied on Sun, Jun 13 2021 12:02 PM

Hi,

I have now equipped my Beolab 18 setup with high quality toslinks cables. From an audio quality standpoint, I have noticed an improvement over using power link. No more fuzzy background noise and crisper audio. 

 

Duels
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Duels replied on Sun, Jun 13 2021 12:22 PM
Good result.

That’s interesting.

I’m using Steve’s shielded powerlink cables with my BL18s and I have no background noise or fuzziness at all.
pig30n
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pig30n replied on Sun, Jun 13 2021 9:12 PM

Hi there,

I’ve done many tests and to my surprise the PowerLink connection sounded more natural to my ears. Over optical they sounded a bit bright and digital. Also you will loose around -3db volume output when using optical, but that’s not a big deal.

After reading Geoff Martin’s blog I realized the amps in the 18s are always running at full power. That’s a less than ideal place for a digital signal to enter.

For PowerLink, I’ve used a high quality CAT8 cable made by the Swedish company Supra Cables. They are a well respected manufacturer in the audiophile community. The wiring is the standard T568B but very important is to connect the cable’s shield on both ends (under the gold plated metal caps). This way there’s absolute no static noise.

If you do go for optical, don’t spend too much money deciding. There are 2 types: normal ones and the very expensive quartz core ones. QED (UK company) makes an affordable quartz core cable, if you can call it that at 80€/meter. The others go for 3-500€/meter.

Now some technical remarks about PowerLink vs. Optical SQ.

My guess is that the Signal to Noise ratio is better over PowerLink than Optical.

I also suspect the DAC in the BeoSound Core to be better than the DAC in the Beolab 18.

Because the signal must be Volume Regulated, mathematically you will loose some bits of information at any volume other than maximum volume over optical.

They say you won’t hear a difference at normal listening volumes, but trust me it will affect the interpolation in the final Digital->Analog conversion. I will not get into details about DACs bit-depths and recordings dynamic ranges :).

Hope this helps. I also wired my Core to Ethernet to avoid any WiFi interference.

B18
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B18 replied on Mon, Jun 14 2021 8:10 AM

Hi,

Thanks for the additional clarification. I have now hooked up with Toslink and might go back to Powerlink for the simple reason that the BL 18 amplifiers are always running at full power. Even on standby? If so, will this compromise or cause degradation to both the amp and other the system components along the way? 

This is important I imagine.

pig30n
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pig30n replied on Mon, Jun 14 2021 9:29 AM

On standby the amps shut down. They were all designed to work like this (amps running full), except Beolab 50 and 90. So I don't think there's a problem.

You can check this by stopping the music and turning the volume all the way down to 0. You will still hear a small hiss in the speakers (especially audible from the tweeters). This hiss has the same intensity no matter what volume you set. And if you put them in Standby the hiss will disappear.

For PowerLink cables look for ones that have very good shielding connected at both ends.

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