How to Buy Optical Digital Audio Cables

How to Buy Optical Digital Audio Cables. Optical cables use pulses of light to transmit audio. Coaxial cables use copper wire to transmit their data so there can be dropouts. With optical cables, there is no interference and the signal stays strong. You get one of the best reproductions of digital signals available on the market today. Optical cables are ideal for long distances, too, because they work great in environments with a lot of electrical interference.

Step 1

Know your audio equipment needs. Everything from DVDs to home theater receivers have connections for optical coax cables. Determine how many feet you need, especially if you're wiring a room. Optical cables are ideal if you're hooking up speakers and need 20 to 50 feet.

Step 2

Choose between coaxial and optical cables. Most audio equipment is made to allow both types of connectors. To the average ear, you won't notice much of a difference but optical cables are ideal if you're an audiophile who wants premiere sound. They offer the best definition and the truest clarity.

Step 3

Research the optical cables on the market. Expect to pay more than you would for coaxial cables. That's why you must do your homework before making a purchase.


  • Several websites sell optical cables. You can also find them used on sites like eBay. If you don't like it, or decide the cable isn't right for your audio system, you can always sell it to someone else.


  • Optical cables don't bend well. Because light can't bend, the cables don't work well if you snake them through a room or around corners.