Friday, September 12, 2014

Toslink Upside Down

Nobody seems to talk about this, so I shall fearlessly proceed.

Toslink connectors are supposed to go in only one way.  However, in my experience, most Toslink connectors can get plugged in upside down.  Generally you have to apply unusual force to do this, and the instructions for Toslink connectors always say that you should not "force" the connectors.  So it is clearly wrong.

But sometimes very tempting.  When Toslink connectors are forced in, upside down and all the way in, they become very rigid.  Plugged in the usual way, Toslink connections can sometimes be very loose, sufficiently loose that with some equipment the signal can be unreliable or intermittent.  Though I can't recommend that others do this, I have chosen to plug in connectors like that upside down.  Currently this means the two Toslink connections to the first M-Audio CO2 in my kitchen.  If I plug those connections in "the right way" they become intermittent if I wiggle the cables.  That is not good for stuff that can get moved around on top of the kitchen table.

But I worry and wonder if plugging Toslink connections upside down damages either the cables or the equipment being plugged in.  It could in fact be that the reason my first CO2 requires cables to be plugged in upside down is that I did so sometime in the past, wearing out a certain part of the connection socket so that ever since it has been intermittent for cables plugged in the right way because it doesn't hold tight enough anymore.  Alternatively it could be that I damaged the connectors on the cables themselves in this way.

So I can't recommend that others plug in Toslink upside down, but for now, I am doing that for certain connections.

I am very glad that my new Schiit Modi DAC (OptiModi) has a Toslink connection that is not unreliable if the connector is wiggled, when plugged in the correct way which seems slightly loose.  I suspect that is the way they should be by design.  The connection should not have to be rigid to have a reliable connection.

But that doesn't seem to be the case with my CO2, and it also was not the case for an Inday TLDA22 Toslink splitter I bought, which introduced me to the idea of plugging in Toslink upside down, for it would barely work any other way.  It's possible that once I started plugging the cables into the TLDA22 upside down, it damaged the cable connectors so that now they won't go into the CO2 well enough the correct way.

I do have some Toslink cables with metal connectors and I think those would not be so easily damaged, though it might cause damage to the equipment.

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