Digital Sound & Music: Concepts, Applications, & Science, Chapter 1, last updated 6/25/2013
connector. CAT5e cable is used for computer networking, but it is increasingly being used for
digital audio signals on digital mixing consoles and processing devices.
RJ45 cable connector with Ethercon housing RJ45 Ethercon panel connector
Figure 1.37 RJ45 connectors
The Toslink connector (Figure 1.38) differs from all the other connectors in this section
in that it is used to transmit optical signals. There are many different fiber optic connection
systems used in digital sound, but the Toslink series is by far the most common. Toslink was
originally developed by Toshiba as a digital interconnect for their CD players. Now it is used for
three main kinds of digital audio signals. One use is for transmitting two channels of digital
audio using the Sony/Phillips Digital Interconnect Format (S/PDIF). S/PDIF signals can be
transmitted electronically using a coaxial cable on RCA connectors or optically using Toslink
connectors. Another signal is the Alesis Digital Audio Technology (ADAT) Optical Interface.
Originally developed by Alesis for their 8-track digital tape recorders as a way of transferring
signals between two machines, ADAT is now widely used for transmitting up to eight channels
of digital audio between various types of audio equipment. You also see the Toslink connector
used in consumer audio home theatre systems to transmit digital audio in the Dolby Digital or
DTS formats for surround sound systems. The standard Toslink connector is square-shaped with
the round optical cable in the middle. There is also a miniature Toslink connector that is the same
size as a 3.5 mm or
" phone plug. This allows the connection system to take up less space on
the equipment but also allows for some audio systems – mainly built-in sound cards on
computers – to create a hybrid 3.5 mm jack that can accept both analog electrical connectors and
digital optical miniature Toslink connectors.