I am looking at a DAC that would require me to connect my streamer via toslink.  I have read in the past that Toslink is inferior to SPDIF and USB connections.

Is that still true?

Does it depend on the the Toslink cable used?



The best modern USB, in asynchronous mode, is currently the best consumer link. TOSLINK the worst. It was not always that way so a lot of valid old biases exist.  Can you hear it?  Only your ears can tell.  In a defective system with bad grounding, fiber does break that chain. 

High end fiber cables? Total snake oil IMHO but if you think they are great, then it is your enjoyment ( and money) that counts.  Sharp bends can cause issues so watch the radius. If long runs, like over 10 feet, then glass has less loss than plastic.  The fiber is not the limit, it is the SPDIF interface spec that is limited. We use fiber for 10G Ethernet.  Spend your money on the DAC, Amp, and Speakers. They make far bigger differences. 

I still prefer SPDIF and AES/EBU to USB in general.

A good glass TOSlink cable makes a big difference in my experience.  I've used WW Supernova cables on several occasions with satisfying results.  You just have to try things to see what you like better.

75-Ohm SPDF and USB traditionally considered to be better type of connection for audio, however comparison is kind a not fair due to lack of high quality Toslink cables on the market. In situations where you have to use interconnect longer then 5ft Toslink could be optimal and superior over other. If you have to use Tosliink, the Borosilicate Glass fiber cable is way better than plastic fiber. 


Apologies - I missed that in your reply.


It looks like the Toslink and SPDIF inputs on the Madison are equivalent in terms of technical capability. I don’t see a way for you to connect the Bricasti M5 to the Madison via Toslink though. The webpage only shows USB and AES / coax SPDIF digital outs.


If you’re averse to using Toslink still, there’s the option of putting in a SPDIF switcher so you can choose between the streamer and the CD player.


Otherwise, I suppose your DAC search continues.

No worries Yage.

You are correct vis a vis the M5.  If I went with the Wattson I would also need to buy another streamer ( with a Toslink output).

thanks for diligence’