How and why to use S / PDIF optical audio output on your PC

Today, with few exceptions, all motherboards on the market which have an built-in sound card have S / PDIF digital output. You can be ready to see that when the tools is on and if this outlet just isn’t in use, although most have a small hinged lid, a purple gentle comes out, and that’s as a result of your tools is ready to use it each on the {hardware} degree. like software program.

What is optical audio output and what does that indicate?

Actually, the optical audio output is named S / PDIF (though some name it SPDIF immediately) due to the S / P-DIF protocol, which corresponds to the format of digital interface Sony / Philips, and its connector is TOSLINK; In essence, as an alternative of utilizing copper to transmit the sign, it’s actually transmitted over a fiber optic cable, and with this a reasonably precise analogue is that if we examine the previous ADSL copper connections with the fiber optic that now serves the Internet to essentially the most properties within the nation.

Analog digital audio

Precisely, all of the optical audio outputs of PC sound playing cards often have a small cowl that may be folded inwards after we insert the connector TOSLINK, and that is in order that mud or different filth doesn’t get into it when it isn’t in use since being an optical connection, filth or mud may hinder and even cancel the sign.

Therefore, the distinction between the previous minijack audio output and the optical audio output on the PC is basically the strategy of connection (or communication to be extra exact) and the cable that’s used. Obviously, if it didn’t matter to use one connection than one other, there can be no motive to use the optical output over the analog, proper? But as you’ll already suppose, utilizing the optical output has sure benefits.

As it’s possible you’ll already suppose, a fiber optic digital interface has a whole lot of extra bandwidth than an analog interface with copper cable, and that signifies that with a single digital cable we will transmit multichannel audio. In different phrases, with a single cable we will combine the sign to 5.1 encompass audio and codecs like Dolby True Surround or DTS, whereas doing that in digital requires a a lot larger quantity of wiring which, as well as, can have sign loss.

Toslink connector

And concerning the lack of sign is the place we discover one other of its important benefits: being a digital audio output by way of optical fiber, both it really works or it doesn’t work however there aren’t any «halftones», that’s, when it really works it really works concurrently. most of its prospects at all times, not like the analog sign that may undergo interference or degradation relying on environmental circumstances. For sensible functions, evaluating mini Jack analog audio outputs to S / PDIF optical audio output on a PC is like going from a VGA video connection to an HDMI one.

Is it higher to use digital or analog audio on the PC?

In all areas (and not solely talking of audio), digital differs from analog by continuity: in a digital system the modifications are at all times drastic, as a result of it goes from ones to zeros (binary system), which signifies that o it passes present or it doesn’t move, or it really works or it doesn’t work, or it’s white or it’s black. However, the analog sign permits modifications to happen in a progressive and gradual method, sustaining continuity always.

analog vs digital

Now we will suppose that then analog audio is best than digital as a result of we’ll discover the tone modifications higher, however the actuality could be very totally different as a result of this doesn’t rely on the kind of connection you could have, however on how the audio has been encoded. Think that on the finish of the day we’re speaking about connections on a PC and wherever it comes from, if the sender of the sign is the PC, it’s digital and subsequently the standard that we understand later will rely on its high quality.

In different phrases, the standard of the audio won’t enhance since you use an optical digital output for the reason that high quality doesn’t rely on this however on the bitrate and others of the audio observe that’s reproduced; However, what you possibly can discover utilizing this audio output is that there can be no interference or degradation of the sign, since being digital as we now have defined earlier than both it really works or it doesn’t work, there aren’t any half measures.

Therefore, and already answering the query of the proprietor: sure, it’s higher to use the S / PDIF optical audio output of your PC so long as your audio system or sound tools have this enter. Really, all are benefits, since though you’ll not acquire high quality you’ll not undergo lack of it both since there can be no interference or degradation, and additionally, you will have the comfort of having the ability to centralize all of the audio of the tools with a single cable whatever the variety of audio system you could have (clearly when you later have 5 audio system plus a subwoofer, these will every have their very own cable however the distinction is that you’ll not have to join all of them to the PC, however solely certainly one of them).


Therefore, our suggestion is that each time potential you select the digital optical audio output over the analog mini Jack, since you’ll keep away from issues and the connection can be way more snug.