How long can an optical cable be? ( Explained )

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When it comes to transmitting audio signals from one device to another, an optical audio connection is very necessary. Modern optical audio cables are widely used and provide a reasonable level of sound quality when properly installed. But how long should an optical audio cable be?

Typically, the length of an optical audio cable is limited to a maximum of 10 meters in length. An optical cable as long as ten meters in length may be available for you to use. If you want to ensure that your audio signal is transmitted reliably, you should not use an optical connection that is longer than necessary. 

To avoid signal transmission problems, when using optical audio connections that are too lengthy, you will need to utilize a repeater to avoid any problems.

The maximum length of an optical wire specified by the ADAT specification is five metres (around 16 feet). The length you can achieve, on the other hand, is highly dependent on the cables you use.

The signal loss rate of low-cost optical cables is quite high. Glass cables, on the other hand, can be used over much greater distances.

To send data, generally audio, from one source to another via a digital optical connection, the cable must be digital. The cost of digital optical cables is often more than the cost of other kinds of cables, such as coaxial or composite, but they are far more effective at recreating a signal throughout the transmission.

Does the optical audio cable length matter?

As a general guide, the length of an optical audio cable matter. The length of any Toslink( optical audio )cable has a direct impact to the quality of the output. Longer cables mean more read/write errors and poorer audio quality, right?

It’s not 100% true. If you buy a really cheap cable (a couple bucks or less), it probably will degrade your sound at longer lengths.

But if you spend around $10 on an optical Toslink like KabelDirekt – 10 feet – Optical Digital Audio Cable (TOSLINK Cord, Fiber Optic cable on Amazon, the quality won’t degrade until you get around or over 20 feet (although that may be too long).

Due to higher costs and lesser demand for high-quality optical audio cables, they typically sell at a higher price than other kinds of audio cables. If you buy the same kind of wire in a different format,

Any length more than 10 meters is considered to be a bad option since it reduces the dependability of the sent signal. Without a signal amplifier, most optical audio cables will not be able to reach distances more than 5 meters.

Things to consider when purchasing optical audio cables

Optical-audio cables are more complicated than just looking at their length; there are many other factors to take into account. For example, breadth, fragility, and bandwidth are all important variables to take into account.

Width. Although the width of an optical cable does not affect how well it operates, the length of the cable does have an effect. You may perhaps want to think about the following concerns as well.

There will be no difference in performance between a 3mm cable and a 7mm cable, and neither will have any negative consequences on their respective connections.

Nonetheless, when it comes to wire durability, this becomes an extremely important factor to consider. Cables that are thicker in diameter are less likely to break and may be able to withstand the elements for a longer amount of time than cables that are thinner in diameter.

Bandwidth. The bandwidth of audio optical cables has a significant impact on the performance of the cables. A high bandwidth connection means that the audio optical cable will perform better than a connection with a low bandwidth, which is why high bandwidth connections are preferable.

Fragility. When making your pick, be sure that the optical cables you select are not twisted or kinked in any way. Because of the fragility of optical cables, optical cables that have been bent may not work properly or may even fail.

Even while curves may be inevitable in certain instances, it is important to ensure that the cable is free of bends, which might interfere with the transmission of audio signals down the wire.

In comparison to HDMI cables, would optical cable provide higher-quality audio output?

There is a significant distinction in that HDMI connections are capable of transmitting higher quality audio, including formats available on Blu-ray discs such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master audio.

These high-resolution sound formats will not be able to be sent through fiber-optic connections. Quality sound will only be obtained with the use of an HDMI cable.


The length of an optical audio cable is typically limited to a maximum of 10 meters. You may be able to use an optical cable up to ten meters in length. If you want to ensure that your audio signal is reliably transmitted, avoid using an optical connection that is longer than necessary.

Overall, the standard length of an optical audio cable may be as long as 10 meters without any signal degradation. However, if you want to utilize optical audios for a distance of more than 10 meters, you may want to consider purchasing a repeater since they will begin to lose signal and you may have troubles.

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