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Apogee Big Ben
Old 6th October 2011
  #1
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Apogee Big Ben

Hey all,
I'm using a Lynx Aurora 16. Is the Apogee Big Ben worth having as a clock or is the Aurora clock just as good?

Thanks!
Rob
Old 6th October 2011
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsuchpro View Post
Hey all,
I'm using a Lynx Aurora 16. Is the Apogee Big Ben worth having as a clock or is the Aurora clock just as good?

Thanks!
Rob
i have 2 aurora 16's clocked with the big ben and i can hear a difference when i flip on the apogee. its very subtle, but the center image tightens up a bit and, as such, it seems that the midrange thickens up a little. again, very subtle, but thats what i perceive listening on Adam A7X's and JBL LSR6328's. ive tested pretty extensively between the clock source being the big ben, the auroras, and the RME HDSPes that connect them. the RME was the worst of the bunch, then the aurora, then the apogee being the best. the RME clock was quite noticeable, the image was smeared quite a bit; but the difference in the aurora and the big ben was slight.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitalgod View Post
i have 2 aurora 16's clocked with the big ben and i can hear a difference when i flip on the apogee. its very subtle, but the center image tightens up a bit and, as such, it seems that the midrange thickens up a little. again, very subtle, but thats what i perceive listening on Adam A7X's and JBL LSR6328's. ive tested pretty extensively between the clock source being the big ben, the auroras, and the RME HDSPes that connect them. the RME was the worst of the bunch, then the aurora, then the apogee being the best. the RME clock was quite noticeable, the image was smeared quite a bit; but the difference in the aurora and the big ben was slight.
Thanks, I have a chance to pick one up at a great price but I don't want to make a mistake.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsuchpro View Post
Thanks, I have a chance to pick one up at a great price but I don't want to make a mistake.
i cant say that i would spend the money solely to clock a single unit unless other areas of my gear were well filled out. but if clocking multiple devices, its a must have. i would love to try an antelope against the big ben.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #5
No matter what anyone might hear, the difference is so incredibly subtle. What you are hearing is an increase in jitter. We buy great converters to reduce the amount of jitter in the chain and while someone else may prefer the sound of increased jitter, thinking that it will somehow improve your conversion or the quality thereof is incorrect.

Most listening tests that were done in a properly controlled environment had an outcome of no one accurately being able to tell which was which. This is what I mean by an incredibly subtle difference.

My best advice is not to waste your money on an external clock unless you need clocking functionality like pull up/down or have tons of digital devices that necessitate an external clock.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitalgod View Post
i cant say that i would spend the money solely to clock a single unit unless other areas of my gear were well filled out. but if clocking multiple devices, its a must have. i would love to try an antelope against the big ben.
I'm kinda going by a mercenary audio test against a Radar. Even with one unit, they said it brings the bottom out of the Auroras and gives the Radar a run for it's money
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
No matter what anyone might hear, the difference is so incredibly subtle. What you are hearing is an increase in jitter. We buy great converters to reduce the amount of jitter in the chain and while someone else may prefer the sound of increased jitter, thinking that it will somehow improve your conversion or the quality thereof is incorrect.

Most listening tests that were done in a properly controlled environment had an outcome of no one accurately being able to tell which was which. This is what I mean by an incredibly subtle difference.

My best advice is not to waste your money on an external clock unless you need clocking functionality like pull up/down or have tons of digital devices that necessitate an external clock.
but would it not stand to reason that if the clock of an external source was better than the one on the converters to a degree that even after the jitter induced by clocking externally rather than internally the timing was improved that the sound would also improve? i think the answer is obvious.

and "no matter what anyone might hear"? isnt that the point? who cares about numbers, if we looked at the numbers no one would touch a neve 1073. . . the matter IS what anyone might hear.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitalgod View Post
but would it not stand to reason that if the clock of an external source was better than the one on the converters to a degree that even after the jitter induced by clocking externally rather than internally the timing was improved that the sound would also improve? i think the answer is obvious.

and "no matter what anyone might hear"? isnt that the point? who cares about numbers, if we looked at the numbers no one would touch a neve 1073. . . the matter IS what anyone might hear.
Well, it's been bought. I'm gonna try it and if I don't like it I'll sell it.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsuchpro View Post
Well, it's been bought. I'm gonna try it and if I don't like it I'll sell it.
thats the only way to know for sure. test it in your rig and see if you hear $1000 worth of difference. difference for the better of course. let us know what you think.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #10
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Test done at Mercenary Audio



We took 8 tracks from a session and set them up as 3 groups on the RADAR [I know the Aurora can do 16 I/O... for this text it was doing 8]. We then printed 24 tracks of 1 kHz tone onto the RADAR and calibrated 24 returns with no panning to -5 on the VU meters for all channels. All three master two busses were also calibrated to the exact same level... all levels were checked three times to make sure no one had even .1db of an advantage in terms of level. A Crane Song Avocet was used as our source switcher with the three converter sets running to the three analog inputs on the Avocet.
On first listen, the Apogee Rosetta 800 had a clearer, larger bottom... almost like it went down an extra octave or 1/2 octave from the Lynx. The Lynx was sweeter and better defined in the upper midrange and on the very top.
Next, for ****s and grins we panned the overheads left and right on all three sets, muted the other channels and gave it a listen [remember, both the Lynx and the Apogee are doing the A/D-D/A process from an already recorded digital source so they're both equally handicapped]. The Lynx had a slightly better, slightly more open stereo image, however it was overall pretty close, and again, the Apogee had a better bottom in our opinion.
The other test we did get to this week was to hook them both up to an Apogee Big Ben and give them a go. All I can say is "H-O-L-Y S-H-I-T !!!!!" Both boxes came pretty damn close to giving the RADAR [still on internal clock] a serious run for the money.
The bottom on the Apogee became clearer and tightened up (just like you read about in Apogee's marketing) and the Aurora's bottom became more focused with better detail. The high end imaging of the Rosetta took a quantum leap forward and the Aurora's stereo imaging spread out an extra few inches.
We were remarkably impressed with the differences... they're both really good units, but with the Big Ben, they're really amazing. -- Fletcher
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitalgod View Post
thats the only way to know for sure. test it in your rig and see if you hear $1000 worth of difference. difference for the better of course. let us know what you think.
Will do, in my case $800 of difference
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
We buy great converters to reduce the amount of jitter in the chain
maybe you buy a clock for this reason but you also buy high end converters for sonic quality of the analog portions and color or lack of color features if desired.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsuchpro View Post
Hey all,
Is the Apogee Big Ben worth having as a clock or is the Aurora clock just as good?
Anyway lynx is a good A/D D/A but for what its worth I used to clock mine to my UA and it made a noticeable worthwhile difference. I never used the standalone big ben but I also used to clock an AD16x (which has the bigben technology) to my 2192 also and the UA made that unit sound smoother too.

But too be fair I don't think Bigben is worth $1000. If you need a better clock/conversion buy a 2192 or a burl or latte or Hedd or higher end stuff like Forssell for clean. Lynx is good but there are much better converters available. And the difference is not subtle. Clocking a lynx to a Bigben may be subtle because lynx analog portions are just average. The only upgrade you get is in jitter like Kittonian stated.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
maybe you buy a clock for this reason but you also buy high end converters for sonic quality of the analog portions and color or lack of color features if desired.



Anyway lynx is a good A/D D/A but for what its worth I used to clock mine to my UA and it made a noticeable worthwhile difference. I never used the standalone big ben but I also used to clock an AD16x (which has the bigben technology) to my 2192 also and the UA made that unit sound smoother too.

But too be fair I don't think Bigben is worth $1000. If you need a better clock/conversion buy a 2192 or a burl or latte or Hedd or higher end stuff like Forssell for clean. Lynx is good but there are much better converters available. And the difference is not subtle. Clocking a lynx to a Bigben may be subtle because lynx analog portions are just average. The only upgrade you get is in jitter like Kittonian stated.
I cant afford the mentioned converters. I am an active studio for local musicians but not anywhere near worth mortgaging my house for gear, lol. just doing the best I can to get things to sound better, even if it's subtle.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
No matter what anyone might hear, the difference is so incredibly subtle. What you are hearing is an increase in jitter. We buy great converters to reduce the amount of jitter in the chain and while someone else may prefer the sound of increased jitter, thinking that it will somehow improve your conversion or the quality thereof is incorrect.

Most listening tests that were done in a properly controlled environment had an outcome of no one accurately being able to tell which was which. This is what I mean by an incredibly subtle difference.

My best advice is not to waste your money on an external clock unless you need clocking functionality like pull up/down or have tons of digital devices that necessitate an external clock.
My problem is this: I still run a PT Mix system and am mixing sessions at 44.1 khz into a Trident 80 console.

My converters are Lavry Blue, but when mixing I send the master Trident outs to the Lavry at 88.2khz to a masterlink for final mixdown.

So that's why I have a Big Ben, to clock my 2 DA16X units at 44.1

Is there any CHEAPER alternative to get around this ?

I don't want to make my final mixes (from the Trident) at 44.1 as I definitely hear the difference at 88.2

Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsuchpro View Post
I cant afford the mentioned converters. I am an active studio for local musicians but not anywhere near worth mortgaging my house for gear, lol. just doing the best I can to get things to sound better, even if it's subtle.
well a big ben is $1000 a used UA2192 is only 2k and is a classic piece of gear
in 5 years it will still hold it's value because it has a signature sound. Same with Burl and Latte.

All other A/D D/A will be basically worthless.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
well a big ben is $1000 a used UA2192 is only 2k and is a classic piece of gear
in 5 years it will still hold it's value because it has a signature sound. Same with Burl and Latte.

All other A/D D/A will be basically worthless.
Agreed. I paid $800 for the big ben. I can sell it for at least that I would think in the next few weeks if I don't feel its worth it.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #17
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Also, I have an API A2D I can use between the Aurora and the BigBen for 18 channels in.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsuchpro View Post
Also, I have an API A2D I can use between the Aurora and the BigBen for 18 channels in.
I like a2d I think the converters are as good as lynx
lynx is a good unit though. I tracked drums with it for a while
it was good.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsuchpro View Post
Agreed. I paid $800 for the big ben. I can sell it for at least that I would think in the next few weeks if I don't feel its worth it.
yeah 800 is the going rate used
How long have you used it?
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
yeah 800 is the going rate used
How long have you used it?
Never, I just bought it... it's on the way
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonsuchpro View Post
Never, I just bought it... it's on the way
oh in that case give it a fair shot
spend a good couple weeks
you won't notice a whole lot of difference on drums per se maybe topend on cymbal
but stuff like electric/acoustic guitars it can smooth them out
it gives it a certain texture and openness/clarity
also vocals especially stacking backing vocals it is noticeable

you might like it alot
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
oh in that case give it a fair shot
spend a good couple weeks
you won't notice a whole lot of difference on drums per se maybe topend on cymbal
but stuff like electric/acoustic guitars it can smooth them out
it gives it a certain texture and openness/clarity
also vocals especially stacking backing vocals it is noticeable

you might like it alot
I know this isn't gonna be a "wow" piece. I just figure I'd give it a shot, almost half price seemed like a good deal. It's not like I have an issue with the Aurora clock either, I'm just going by what I've read plus when I realized it might be good to use for the Aurora and A2D when used together.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
My problem is this: I still run a PT Mix system and am mixing sessions at 44.1 khz into a Trident 80 console.

My converters are Lavry Blue, but when mixing I send the master Trident outs to the Lavry at 88.2khz to a masterlink for final mixdown.

So that's why I have a Big Ben, to clock my 2 DA16X units at 44.1

Is there any CHEAPER alternative to get around this ?

I don't want to make my final mixes (from the Trident) at 44.1 as I definitely hear the difference at 88.2

You have a Big Ben to clock two converters together that already have the same C777 block built into them? Any particular reason you can't just use a standard BNC word clock cable and slave one to the other?

Any good quality converter will have word clock i/o. Just go out from the master and in to the slave. Set them up correctly and you're done.

It is only when you have tons of digital gear that you need to keep in perfect sync that you need an external clock, especially when some of that gear won't operate at the same sample rate as others. This is when sample rate conversion comes into play.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedigitalgod View Post
but would it not stand to reason that if the clock of an external source was better than the one on the converters to a degree that even after the jitter induced by clocking externally rather than internally the timing was improved that the sound would also improve? i think the answer is obvious.

and "no matter what anyone might hear"? isnt that the point? who cares about numbers, if we looked at the numbers no one would touch a neve 1073. . . the matter IS what anyone might hear.
The answer is not obvious. No matter how "high end" and amazing that external clock might be, it still has to travel over a BNC cable while the receiving unit slaves to it right? This is why a well designed internal PLL will always be more accurate with less jitter, and why using an external clock can never "improve" conversion quality.

Again, you might like the difference in sound, as subtle as that difference might be, but it will never be better jitter-wise.

And as a side note, the internal clock on the Aurora is measurably better (on the measurement machines) than the C777 clock which is inside the Big Ben and the 16X Apogee units. Regardless of that, conversion is much more than just clocking and thus the two converters have a different sound. However, to claim that the Aurora's clock isn't as high end as the Apogee is simply not the case. The two are very close to one another with the Aurora edging it out on the bench measurements.
Old 6th October 2011
  #25
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The Apogee Ensemble clocked to the Big Ben has a VERY noticeable increase in image resolution. Maybe with the Burl or Latte you're not going to hear much, or it could be worse, but unless you're in the highest echelon of converter the Big Ben is generally speaking, a good ally to have on your converter team.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #26
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Do the other converters/clocks mentioned in this thread do VSO? Big Ben is a great VSO. Worth some $ just for that feature.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton View Post
Do the other converters/clocks mentioned in this thread do VSO? Big Ben is a great VSO. Worth some $ just for that feature.
I am unfamiliar with VSO.... what is that?
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #28
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Variable Speed Oscillator.

Back in the analog multitrack days it's what we used to speed/slow the tape machine playback. Still a useful tool.
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Sutton View Post
Variable Speed Oscillator.

Back in the analog multitrack days it's what we used to speed/slow the tape machine playback. Still a useful tool.
great for cheating on harmony vocals
Old 6th October 2011 | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
great for cheating on harmony vocals
I dont think i'd use that feature too much
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