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Its amazing how small changes can improve a speaker system. I moved over to running the main audio line as optical/spdif with the conversion to analog adjacent to the speakers. I also moved the speakers to better positions. The audio is noticeably better.

@freemo can't say i've ever used spdif. but speaker placement is a big yes.

@icedquinn The big advantage of spidif is you reduce the length of the pre-amplified signal needs to travel and make it digital. So it wont pick as much RF noise

@freemo @icedquinn

Long runs of copper make great anntenae for picking up spurious EMI. By using an extremely high frequency for the carrier (IR or visible light) it makes it very easy to shield the "conductor" of the signal with any material that is opaque to light.

That means the only source for EMI is in the electronics within the amp/source and the speaker, which is much easier to shield or otherwise mitigate than a long cable.

@Pat

All true, but I find most speaker RFI in a computer setup is near-field not far-field. Meaning even relatively short runs, since it is adjacent to power carrying lines, pick up a **lot** of RFI. So even short runs of optical line really help. Also the fact that it is digital helps far more than it being optical, but optical is just nice anyway :)

@icedquinn

@freemo @Pat for whatever reason in production we don't use optical. we use chonkier cables.

@icedquinn @freemo

Bigger cables mean they can carry more current for the signal, and then the EMI becomes a much smaller noise floor as a percentage of the larger signal current.

@Pat @freemo probably a durability thing too. big jacks are less likely to wear out from abuse and an XLR cable isn't going to die from being rolled up like fiber can

@freemo @icedquinn

Yeah, I was going to mention digital, like using a USB mic instead of plugging an analog mic into the old phono jack in the PC.

If the comm protocol can detect errors then it will not pick up any noise in the signal itself. But the copper can still carry EMI to the other electronics other than by being carried by the signal.

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