The flexible fibre that carries the signal in the Chord Optichord is built from a polymer that carries the light signal extremely accurately. There is an assumption that all optical cables will perform to the same standard. In fact, there are several areas that can influence performance.
The quality of the tube that acts as a wave guide is critical, as is the material that surrounds and protects it. So the PVC material that surrounds the light tube has been carefully chosen. Likewise the outer jacket, which is hard enough to prevent crush damage and prevent kinking
The metal-bodied Optichord plugs have been built to provide a positive and secure fit and they also precisely position the end of the cable, which has been domed and polished to helpmaximisebandwidth.
We also produce the Optichord with a minijack optical connection at one end of the cable, a very useful cable for MAC owners.
In theory, the optical connection has a lot going for it. In practice though in almost every situation where both optical and electrical connections are available, the electrical connection produces the better sound. Dynamics and detail are better, as is coherence and timing. So if you can, listen to both connections and make your mind up.
There is though a very good use for optical connections. There are devices that you might wish to connect to the digital inputs in your system; set top boxes would be a good example. If connected via an electrical digital connection these can affect the performance of the whole system. In this case an optical cable connection is a very good idea, as it will break the electrical link between the two components.