Is optical audio better than 3.5mm?

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Getting excellent sound from your audio system is something that everyone desires. This, however, necessitates the examination of several factors. For the optimum sound quality, one of the first things to consider is the kind of audio connections that have been used. This takes us to the often asked question. Is an audio optical cable superior to a 3.5mm cable?


In general, Optical audio cables are better than 3.5mm audio cables. While there are benefits to using both the optical audio cable and 3.5mm cable, the optical audio cable’s superiority shows in sound quality. Overall, there are some distinctions between the two. 

Certain use case scenarios make optical cables a better option than 3.5mm in some situations, while others make 3.5mm a better choice in others. This article discusses the differences between these two cables to help you decide if optical audio is superior to 3.5mm.


What is optical?


This is a cable that is used to transmit high-quality signals between devices that are compatible. This is frequently referred to as a TOSLINK. The digital audio that is sent over this connection is in either 5.1 audio or stereo sound formats.


Long-distance use of these cables may result in poor performance. Therefore, if you do not want any disturbance, the length should not be more than 10 meters.


What is 3.5mm?


This cable is suitable for connecting sound devices with 3.5mm output ports to speakers or amps through 3.5mm to RCA connectors, which may be found on many electronic gadgets. 


The transmitting of stereo analog audio formats is supported through 3.5mm wires. These speakers are particularly well suited for delivering monophonic sound. They do not, however, carry digital sound formats such as MP3s.

The differences between optical and 3.5mm audio

While there may not be extreme glaring differences between optical and 3.5mm audio cables, use case scenarios and audio quality you get from these two popular cables can sometimes be challenging to spot. So, what makes optical audio better than 3.5mm and how different are they all together?



Interference is a problem for the 3.5mm format, which is more susceptible to interference and, as a result, line loss. This occurs as a result of electric sources, such as electricity, which may cause the signal to become warped and distorted signals to appear.

Make certain that your aux cables are routed as far away from the main power source as possible in these aux wires. It’s also a good idea to utilize shielded 3.5mm wires wherever possible.

On the other hand, as compared to aux wires, optical audio is less susceptible to electrical interference. In the case of optical cables, data loss is possible, particularly if the connections are very lengthy.

You may experience shaky audio in such circumstances. When installing cables over long distances, it is important to ensure that they are properly routed and protected to prevent interference.

Transferred data

Different forms of information may be sent using optical technology. However, 3.5mm is not capable of transporting various sorts of data, such as Dolby surround sound.



With regards to pricing, aux cables are often more inexpensive and provide far more flexibility as compared to optical connections. These will also be visible on the majority of contemporary smartphones as a bonus. In exchange for their higher cost and limited adaptability, optical cables are preferred.

Which is the best option?


The kind of cable that you choose is typically determined by your requirements. In terms of sound quality, most people would agree that the optical line is the best option if you want a high-quality listening experience.

This is because it produces a sound that is crystal clear and higher in overall quality. Also of note is the excellent channel separation that is provided.

Others, on the other hand, will claim that the change in sound quality is barely noticeable. The question is, which one should you pick? As previously said, everything is dependent on your needs. For example, if you have a sound system that supports both aux and optical inputs, you may try with each of the formats to see which one you prefer.

If you would like to connect over long distances, you should pick the 3.5mm audio, and if you would like more audio formats such as Dolby to surround sound, optical audio is the best choice. 


Optical audio performs better than 3.5mm audio in some situations. This is especially true when it comes to interference and compatibility for Dolby surround sound, which optical audio provides. However, in terms of sound quality, the differences are barely noticeable.

Consequently, if you have a sound system that supports both 3.5mm and optical connections, you are in luck. Optical audio is a great choice to use if you would like to get surround sound, otherwise, use the 3.5mm cable if you would like to connect over long distances.

You should make certain that the cables you purchase are of excellent quality regardless of the connection you utilize.

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