Troubleshooting Fiber Optic Audio Cables

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Fiber optic audio cables, as the name suggests, use fiber optics to transmit sound. Basically, digital sound is converted into light waves, which are then transmitted along the fiber optic cable. These are increasingly becoming the popular choice for transmitting sound in high-definition home audio systems.

Fiber optic audio cables not only provide an improvement in audio quality compared to traditional coaxial cables; they also prevent any electromagnetic interference from affecting sound quality. These cables also allow you to transmit sound over larger distances without any appreciable loss of audio cables. Fiber optic audio cables are a hassle-free method of connecting your audio system to a preamp or receiver. Here are some tips on how to troubleshoot common fiber optic audio cable issues.

Step 1 - Check for Compatible Connectors

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Fiber optic audio cables come with a variety of connectors, square shaped ones being the most popular. You need to ensure that the cable that you have bought has connectors that match the optical audio sockets in your audio equipment. If not, you will have to buy another cable with the right connectors because mismatched connectors will never fit properly.

Step 2 - Remove the Caps

Fiber optic audio cables come with caps on the connectors to protect them. These caps have to be removed before the cables are connected to your audio equipment. Even the optical audio output and input sockets on your audio equipment may have plastic or rubber caps which need to be removed before the cables are fitted. Although this may seem elementary, failure to remove the plastic caps is the main reason behind optical audio cables not working. If you do not remove the cap and try to force the cable in, you may also end up damaging both the cable and your audio system.

Step 3 - Check for a Signal

Some audio equipment may have a setting or a switch that needs to be turned on to enable optical audio output. If you do not switch it on, you will not be able to hear any sound. A good way to check whether your audio source is transmitting optical audio signals is to attach your cable to the optical audio source and turn on your equipment. Check the other end of the cable to see if a light is visible. If not, no optical audio signal is being transmitted and you need to check your equipment’s settings.

Step 4 - Check for Bends

Light travels in straight lines so fiber optic audio cables do not work very well if they are twisted or bent. Try to straighten the cable and see if the sound is restored. Also, keep in mind that optical audio cables are more delicate than coaxial cables, so if they have been bent too sharply or stepped on, they may have been damaged. Once again, plug one end of the cable into your audio source, switch on your audio equipment, and check the other end of the cable to see if light is being transmitted.

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