Andybrown163

Master Clock Generators

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If you think your kit would benefit, it would be a lot less costly to try the M2Tech version. Not sure of the price, but it is £00s rather than £000s

One note of caution - there doesn't seem to be a standard for clocks. My Victor DAC has a clock output that would synchronize beautifully with the Victor transport, but my current dCS transport doesn't recognise it at all and won't lock.

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Hi Pluto. Thanks for your feedback which I have read with much interest. The following is an extract from a review of the G0Rb used with a Esoteric D03/P03 combo which has prompted my question.

"The idea of an atomic clock sitting in your equipment rack to make digital sound more like analog appears bizarre on the surface, but one listen to the G-0Rb will convince you that such a precise timing reference is a fundamental requirement of state-of-the-art digital playback." full review:- http://www.avguide.com/review/tas-180-esoteric-g-orb-rubidium-master-clock-generator?page=1

I found this most intriguing. My K-03 has a pretty decent DAC built in and my system performance is superb. Despite claims of mains cables being "snake oil" on installing an Aluminata mains cable onto my K-03 and decent support the performance took a quantum leap improvement. No doubts! Master clocks???

That copy, written by the marketing department, is no more informative or enticing (to me) than a rep saying 'you should hear our new kit, it's really really good!'

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There's a Sound on Sound article about master clocks in the studio - their tests concluded that sound quality was worse or the same when using one compared to the internal clock. They sited technical reasons for this too. It was for ADCs rather than DACs but A->D is much harder to do so will show up differences more.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun10/articles/masterclocks.htm

A sumary:

There’s a widespread notion that adding a high-quality master clock to a digital system will somehow magically improve its overall performance. While that might possibly have been the case in the very early days of semi-pro digital converters where, frankly, some of the internal digital clock designs were pretty ropey, it certainly isn’t the case today. As I’ve explained above — and will prove below — today’s converter designs generally work best on their own internal clocks, and most will deliver a slightly poorer performance when clocked externally. The very best devices will show no change in performance at all, because they have superb clock-extraction circuitry that can remove all traces of clock jitter and other external clocking artifacts, so they work just as well as when running on their internal clock.

So, although sonic differences may be perceived when using an external clock as compared to running on an internal clock, and those differences may even seem quite pleasant in some situations, this is entirely due to added intermodulation distortions and other clock-recovery related artifacts rather than any real audio benefits, as the test plots illustrate.

....

The obvious conclusion is that in simple digital audio setups a master clock is usually unnecessary, although it remains critical that multiple digital devices are clocked sensibly. In more elaborate digital audio systems, a master clock can make the task of slaving multiple units much easier and neater, and allow the system to operate more reliably. In systems where digital audio is being used in synchronism with video, an appropriate master clock is absolutely essential. But in any of these cases, the use of a master clock will not improve the audio quality achieved by the converters in any technical sense — and the most expensive clocks fare no better in this regard than the least expensive. The only relevant criteria for purchase is whether the clock provides the facilities, inputs and outputs required, and is designed sufficiently well to conform with AES11 Grade 1 standard.

One of the clocks on test was the Antelope Audio Isochrone Trinity with 10M rubidium atomic clock - a total RRP of £8k.. yet didn't improve sound quality in their opinion.

Check out the box at the end of the article too about the importance of correct digital cabling and how it can effect sound quality.

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Besides, there was a Esoteric G-Orb clock on ebay that went for £3k or so - that's a nice £5k depreciation to swallow not long after buying it...

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Has anybody heard the Mio Audio La CLOCK master clock? I have heard that the master clocks make very little difference on single box CD players.

- - - Updated - - -

Besides, there was a Esoteric G-Orb clock on ebay that went for £3k or so - that's a nice £5k depreciation to swallow not long after buying it...

I think you'll find that's £9k depreciation!!!!

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Dealer

Andy

If you wish to actually try a master clock, then one of these will let you obtain a great deal of the performance of the expensive Esoteric clock.

http://www.drawmer.com/products/dms/m-clock-lite-aes-grade-1-master-clock.php

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they serve absolutely NO purpose whatsoever in a domestic hifi situation.

they are used in studios to lock equipment to a common clock for recording.....but Hifi? utter foo nonsense.

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Skyward

thanks for the link. If I was to buy a clock it would be Esoteric, I think system synergy is important.

I am intrigued by the clock and its performance and don't buy into the the idea "it makes no difference". The same people say that cables make no difference either and the difference my cables make is astronomical. Somebody who was tone deaf couldn't fail to hear the difference. Each CD player has a clock, the better CD players, the manufacturers go to the expense of installing a more accurate clock.

Getting back into HiFi after so many years things have changed some. I am genuinely interested to hear from people who have had first hand experience of clocks in HiFi's as 18years back CD players were just becoming mainstream and were no match for my PT anniversary so i have little or no knowledge.

Despite some comments here, I would need no justification to go and buy an Esoteric G0Rb for my HiFi. I would just buy it if i wanted one. However, I want to learn about the component from people who have had some genuine practical experience.

Andy

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Waste your money if you want. And that is *exactly* what you are doing with those hifi "clocks".

Clocks have a use in recording studios....not in hifi.

In systems where digital audio is being used in synchronism with video, an appropriate master clock is absolutely essential. But in any of these cases, the use of a master clock will not improve the audio quality achieved by the converters in any technical sense — and the most expensive clocks fare no better in this regard than the least expensive . The only relevant criteria for purchase is whether the clock provides the facilities, inputs and outputs required, and is designed sufficiently well to conform with AES11 Grade 1 standard.

sing external clocks of any cost pretty much guarantees an INCREASE in ADC jitter over using the ADC's internal crystal (mainly due to the required PLL when using external clocks). So, if your primary

The best way to clock a converter is with internal clock, using a good fundamental frequency crystal (third order types are more jittery), and locating the crystal properly (good ground to the AD ample hold and so on). You now have a low jitter clock inside the machine.

What happens when you get a stand alone “almost no jitter clock”? You look AT THE OUTPUT CONNECTOR of that “super clock box” and it generally can work as well as the internal crystal clock Now take a cable and hook it to the AD chassis. Now you have to go through some electronic circuit to receive the clock. At this point, you have accumulated a lot more jitter (I can list half a dozen causes).

Well, this is not the end of the road. The big one is the PLL circuit. Unlike the internal clock (fixed crystal case), you have a crystal that can be pulled up or down by some amount, we call it a VCXO (voltage controlled crystal oscillator). There is some circuitry in there that keeps comparing the incoming external clock rate to the VCXO, and makes the proper adjustment on an ongoing basis…

What is more steady? A mediocre internal crystal implementation is going to outdo even a good external clock implementation.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun10/articles/masterclocks.htm

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Waste your money if you want. And that is *exactly* what you are doing with those hifi "clocks".

Clocks have a use in recording studios....not in hifi.

I don't doubt for a minute that they are used in recording studios. I understand their purpose in this context. If you look at CD player spec sheets they have a clock in too. the better quality CD players tend to have higher grade components like DAC's, transports and clocks. There is an audible difference generally, big or small, between players. If the manufacturers could put a wind -up clock in with no difference in performance wouldn't they do that? A trusted Esoteric dealer told me clocks made some but little difference, not worth in investment. A buyer of the La Clock on here says the clocks make a worthwhile difference, not massive, but audible and worth the investment. Others on other forums have quite polarized views.

As I said earlier if I wanted one, I would buy it and then sell it again if I didn't like it! however, I was into Turntables last time around, cheap cables and kettle leads were the order of the day. Everybody spent most of their money on front ends and not on speakers etc. How times have evolved. I am interested in the new technology and how things have changed.

regards

Andy

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Not being the most technically gifted (now there is a really understated statement) I am not sure if my reading of this is correct so if it has fundamental flaws then go easy on me I am just trying to put my thoughts in order.

Clocks and timing are important for digital data they are I think like an earth in a circuit they set the base line point from which all things are worked. In theory and possibly in practice the best place for a clock generator is as close as possible to the dac chip that will use it. This is often cited as being an advantage of the one box CDP. So if you wish to improve the clock and comensurate perfomance then fitting a well designed and specified clock board a la Tricord , Audiocom etc is the best way to go.

However that is just for CDP and CD use . In the brave new world of digital music and sound we all know that many of us myself included have multiple digital inputs which to make them work will often have to be routed through a seperate Dac this can either be for percieved sound quality reasons or just ease of use . To improve the whole chain of this the ideal way to work is to have one piece of equipment that produces the clock timing and then all the other units slaved to that clock and working by its generated time. In this instance so long as the original clock works consistently then everything else will be linked to that and all equipment should work well . Problem is when most original digital equipment was designed mutliple units and inputs were not available or in some cases throught about so this area was never standardised and this leaves these companies to make up there own system so that you can not mix equipment .

My problem with these ne and expensive master clocks is that they only work with single item and do not slave all your digital equipment to that one clock source if they could and did then there would be some justification (but not at those prices ) without that I am not convinced that they would offer much if anything to the overall system .

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Waste your money if you want. And that is *exactly* what you are doing with those hifi "clocks".

Clocks have a use in recording studios....not in hifi.

I don't doubt for a minute that they are used in recording studios. I understand their purpose in this context. If you look at CD player spec sheets they have a clock in too. the better quality CD players tend to have higher grade components like DAC's, transports and clocks. There is an audible difference generally, big or small, between players. If the manufacturers could put a wind -up clock in with no difference in performance wouldn't they do that? A trusted Esoteric dealer told me clocks made some but little difference, not worth in investment. A buyer of the La Clock on here says the clocks make a worthwhile difference, not massive, but audible and worth the investment. Others on other forums have quite polarized views.

As I said earlier if I wanted one, I would buy it and then sell it again if I didn't like it! however, I was into Turntables last time around, cheap cables and kettle leads were the order of the day. Everybody spent most of their money on front ends and not on speakers etc. How times have evolved. I am interested in the new technology and how things have changed.

regards

Andy

clocks arent new technology , nor is the reason to use them(or not) anything new.

they offer no benefit.

cheap cables and kettle leads are , as always...as good sonically as anything else at any price.

the only thing one need concern themselves with is the quality of the connector (primarily because there is so much strain on them they need to be rugged). cable makes fuckall difference....just as always

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I am guessing you are not speaking from experience Simon. I know mains cables make a hugh difference but IMO the difference is in relation to the quality of equipment one has. I am not interested in a debate as I already have an answer to this one. I am interested to hear from anybody with experience of master clocks!

Could you tell us what quality equipment you have?

Cheers,

Ric

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