SPDIF Connector

Sony/Philips Digital Interconnect Format (SPDIF), or otherwise known as “Sony Philips Digital InterFace,” is mostly a variation of AES/EBU. The only real differences between the two would be a minor modification of the protocol and the fact that SPDIF connectors are less expensive.

SPDIF is a data link layer protocol that is used for transferring data (digital audio) from one device to another. This is done with an SPDIF connector which in physical form is either a fiber optic or electrical cord.

Common Uses for the SPDIF Connector
There are a variety of possible uses for SPDIF connectors. The most common usage of the connector is to transfer digital audio (compressed) from the original source to the receiving device. For instance, SPDIF connectors are used as a way to hook up a home theater receiver (control unit) directly to a DVD player. For this to work, the DVD player must be compatible. The DVD player will need to support either DTS surround sound or Dolby Digital. Almost all DVD players will be compatible with the SPDIF connector.

While SPDIF connectors are most commonly used to transfer compressed digital audio, there are some circumstances where it is used for transferring uncompressed digital audio as well. This is mostly done when connecting a CD player and receiver together.

SPDIF Connectors for CD-ROM Drives
When your computer’s CD-ROM drive reads an audio CD it will need to convert the data on the disc. The audio is originally loaded in digital format but it must be converted to analogue audio format. Once this is complete it will now be ready to be sent as a signal through a cable to your computer’s sound card.

Keep in mind that your CD-ROM drive can play a role in the audio quality and noise level. The main issue would be how capable your CD-ROM drive is at converting the data. The other considering factor of a low quality audio signal being received is that an electro magnetic wave occurs around the cable that is transferring the data.

The standard analogue connection is really not a good idea if it can be avoided. The above information has already covered most of the reasons why this is true. If your CD-ROM is equipped with a SPDIF output, and your sound card is equipped with a SPDIF input, then you are in luck. If this is the case then you will want to use a SPDIF connector. The result will be higher quality audio being transferred. This is mainly due to the fact that the audio is not converted in the CD-ROM drive. Instead, it is converted in the sound card.

Problems with SPDIF Connectors
While the technology behind SPDIF connectors is fairly reasonable, there are still some major issues with this particular connector. The main problem would be that the receiver is not capable of managing the rate of which the data is transferred. A clock drift could occur which would cause bits to be lost during transfer. To prevent this problem from occurring, the connector must be configured to transfer in correlation with the connected source’s clock.. With everything synchronized properly you should not have any possible data loss during transferring.

The connected device’s source clock could also have some issues in relation to the SPDIF connector. One example of a problem with the source clock could be that it operates at a low frequency. The source clock may need to correct a clock drift and return the clock to the normal processing state. The clock recover process could be delayed if there is any form of noise or distortion within the cord. The noise often occurs as a result of a poor clock. The severity of noise or distortion can be minimized by most receivers.

If your computer is compatible with a SPDIF connection then it would be highly recommend to invest in a SPDIF connector. If you have any other device that could benefit from using a SPDIF connector then you should go that route. The transfer efficiency with SPDIF connectors is extremely high and it will prevent any possible low quality signals from being transferred.

This SPDIF Connector Review is Written/Updated on Oct 30th, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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