The QED Profile cables are pretty much a budget range from QED, aimed just as much at the home cinema market as the full-on audiophile.

All the same, we're inclined to give it some time, if only because QED has a good track record with budget audio links.

It's an unpretentious item, thin and very flexible, with small plastic-bodied connectors that give a snug fit to equipment.

Described by QED as 'medical grade' quality, it's possible to see the care with which the internal fibres have been prepared, while the company has achieved a good standard of finish on the cable ends – which bodes well.

It was interesting to compare this lead, not only with other optical examples, but also with two electrical connections, the van den Hul The Wave and the Atlas Mavros.

Performance

Under the most interference-prone conditions (PC to a budget DAC), we felt this was more successful than the (much dearer!) electrical links, proving the value of optical connection.

It didn't quite give the detail of the Chord Company Optichord, we felt, but it came very close. In our midrange set up it slightly lost out all round, its sound showing some lack of focus and precision compared to the others.

But once again, in a high-end context, it was only marginally less revealing than the others. And, of course, a simple, low-cost link like this is absolutely all one needs for connections to anything that is recording, rather than replaying, audio, where jitter is pretty much irrelevant (within sensible limits) and data integrity is all that matters.

We tried very hard to persuade ourselves that there was any difference between this and the expensive Mavros when feeding a digital recorder, but really... there isn't!

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