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New WordClock or Summing Mixer Multi-Channel Preamps
Old 24th December 2010
  #1
Gear Nut
 

New WordClock or Summing Mixer

Ok, I have a little cash from the holidays, and have been wanting to get a new clock, but really I am just looking to upgrade what I currently have (Digimax FS, Digi 002, SCA preamps) I currently clock off of my Digimax. Basically I was wondering if it would be a larger improvement getting the BLA MicroClockII, or the BLA Summing mixer. Any help would be great thanks!
Old 24th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
It's hard to say really...but if it were me, i'd be upgrading the clock before moving to a summing mixer. A better clock will make things a lot tighter going in to the DAW. This straight away can make for much better sounding mixes if you like recording a lot of things at once...

A summing mixer can also be useful...but yeh, personally i'd like to get things right earlier in the chain before i hit the end of the chain.
Old 24th December 2010
  #3
Here for the gear
 

So I thought a different clock couldn't improve the sonics of a rig. I'm glad I read this.
Old 24th December 2010
  #4
Gear Head
 

I recently used the BLA MCII on a Yamaha M7CL console and it blew my mind with the improved clarity, punch, definition the sound took on using this external clock. I was shocked.

Back at home though, it made no difference when I used it with my Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 interface, which I believe is because this interface has a great clock already. I think it largely depends on what quality of clock your gear has. But the potential for huge improvement is there with the MicroClock II.
Old 24th December 2010
  #5
Gear Nut
 

So do guys feel that the MicroClock would be a step up from the presonus digimax fs clock?
Old 24th December 2010
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by HotFuzz View Post
So I thought a different clock couldn't improve the sonics of a rig. I'm glad I read this.
It's certainly not likely to improve the accuracy of signal transcription. But some folks report they like the effect, nonetheless.

Any time you slave a given converter to an external clock, the tendency will be to increase jitter over what you would get from using the converter's internal clock. (The principle is fairly simple: the shortest, most direct path from the clock to the converter will produce the least jitter.)

Of course, if you are using multiple converters, you must either pick one of those converters to be the master or perhaps use an external clock.

This article in Sound on Sound from June 2010 explores the issues and shoots down a number of hand-me-down myths (some fostered by a certain company's past adverts) about clocking and signal accuracy:

Does Your Studio Need A Digital Master Clock?
Old 24th December 2010
  #7
Lives for gear
 
djmukilteo's Avatar
Wow....here we go again eh theblue1!
I thought maybe this was debunked in 2010!
Yesssss.....let's start off the new year with another round of hearing sample clock claims!
I sure hope Ethan gets in here!
No offense to you at all thipcola I believe you believe..but I have to say...

Claims like:
"improved clarity, punch, definition the sound took on using this external clock."
Then this:
"Back at home though, it made no difference when I used it with my Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 interface, which I believe is because this interface has a great clock already."

Wow!....seriously I just really love this topic!

Merry Xmas and a Happy clock New Year!
Old 25th December 2010
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmukilteo View Post
Wow....here we go again eh theblue1!
I thought maybe this was debunked in 2010!
Yesssss.....let's start off the new year with another round of hearing sample clock claims!
I sure hope Ethan gets in here!
No offense to you at all thipcola I believe you believe..but I have to say...

Claims like:
"improved clarity, punch, definition the sound took on using this external clock."
Then this:
"Back at home though, it made no difference when I used it with my Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 interface, which I believe is because this interface has a great clock already."

Wow!....seriously I just really love this topic!

Merry Xmas and a Happy clock New Year!
heh

Nah... a link to that article is all that's really needed. It lays it out well, backs it up with some real world examples and if folks walk through it, they should see what the issues are and be able to develop a course of action that makes sense to them.

I don't care what people do, but I do think it's important for them to get access to accurate information in formulating a decision.

If all people see is advocacy of a certain course of action or, worse, assertions that are not factually accurate, they're not necessarily going to have all the information that they might want to consider before making a decision. Now, if folks know the information is there and they choose not to look at it, that's plenty OK with me, as long as they don't, themselves, spread factually incorrect information.

I'm not advocating anything except investigating the facts behind claims -- if someone is, indeed, interested in facts.



Happy holidays, all!
Old 25th December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
MonoBrow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmukilteo View Post
Wow....here we go again eh theblue1!
I thought maybe this was debunked in 2010!
Yesssss.....let's start off the new year with another round of hearing sample clock claims!
I sure hope Ethan gets in here!
No offense to you at all thipcola I believe you believe..but I have to say...

Claims like:
"improved clarity, punch, definition the sound took on using this external clock."
Then this:
"Back at home though, it made no difference when I used it with my Focusrite Liquid Saffire 56 interface, which I believe is because this interface has a great clock already."

Wow!....seriously I just really love this topic!

Merry Xmas and a Happy clock New Year!
I hope not.External wordclocks do add something to the sound of a converter.They never improve any converter in a pure technical sense but they add something that a LOT of people call desireable.
So the answer should be.For a 1 interface-converter studio.Dont waste money on ext clocks exept you want the difference in sound that will occur but it will be incredible small.Imo a wast of money for a low end solution.
Old 25th December 2010
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Fluxpod, thanks for the input, yeah I only use the converters on the Digimax fs so I guess I don't really need the clock. I wasnt sure if I would hear an improvement when tracking 8 drum tracks etc. Thanks guys!
Old 25th December 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
The clock is useful if you're using say the digimax and the 002 at the same time to record things, because it will improve the digital drift between the two things. If you're only using the digimax though, you probably won't hear this as much...this isn't so much a sonic improvement when you think of all the tracks separately, its more just more accuracy as they're going down, so things sound more punchy and stuff because its being recorded at the same time without drift...get what i mean?

If you're just using the digimax though for recording most of the time (just running it through the 002 to interface it with the computer), then maybe a clock is the least of your worries.

This is more or less what Fluxpod was getting at...

Now a situation where an external clock will start to make a big audible difference? Say you're running 24 tracks at once, i.e. an interface (lets say an m audio profire 2626) with 2 more 8 channel pre's running in through ADAT, because there will be some drift between the different converters, an external clock will improve the timing between these 3 units (won't improve conversion, merely just keep them on a strict samplerate)

Hope that clears things up a little...
Old 25th December 2010
  #12
Lives for gear
 

I would only buy a clock if someone brought one by and proved to me that it was going to make my system sound better.

But I wouldn't buy a summing mixer either.
Old 25th December 2010
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Ethan Winer's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

^^^ LOL Bill, good one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by djmukilteo View Post
I sure hope Ethan gets in here!
Not needed. Hugh Robjohns did a fine job in his article theblue1 linked to.

--Ethan
Old 25th December 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
yeh...if i had the money i'd probably just buy another mic pre haha...looking at some of the focusrite ISA series
Old 25th December 2010
  #15
Lives for gear
 
tomdarude's Avatar
you can absolutely hear a great (external) clock, if it greatly reduces jitter !!
I had long conversations with e.g. Eelco Grimm about this...and people are def. much more sensitive to the audible effects of jitter than we think!!

as already said, the effect becomes more obvious when there are more than 1 units that get clocked by an external device in a setup
Old 25th December 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
 
illacov's Avatar
 

Talking

BLA Summing Mixer sounds much more promising between your two choices.

At least for the different sonic options (multiple transformers and ability to overdrive them, structure your mix based around the different flavors)

Peace
Illumination
Old 25th December 2010
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by endofall View Post
Ok, I have a little cash from the holidays, and have been wanting to get a new clock, but really I am just looking to upgrade what I currently have (Digimax FS, Digi 002, SCA preamps) I currently clock off of my Digimax. Basically I was wondering if it would be a larger improvement getting the BLA MicroClockII, or the BLA Summing mixer. Any help would be great thanks!
Were it me spending my money, I would look long term and replace the Digimax and the 002 with a single unit or a pair of matching pieces. This eliminates the need for a clock, and likely improves everything.

If you really think that a clock is going to improve your sound, get one in to see, make a mix with and without the clock at identical levels, and see if anyone can hear the difference without prompting.

If you have a problem with clocking, do you hope that a summing mixer will hide it? I'm trying to follow the thought process here.

You will likely not find a lot of agreement about the need for external clocking among the high end crowd, let alone at the low end. I checked my rig with the manufacturers involved, and the recommendation was to let the converters act as the clock, and I've done that. But my converters all match.
Old 25th December 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 
djmukilteo's Avatar
I'm with everyone on buying better quality converter electronics rather than clocks, unless you have a lot of digital interface equipment to sync for film/video or very elaborate digital audio chains where a common distribution of clocking is a benefit, the current technology with quality converters and their internal clocks and recovery circuitry is a better bet on improving your "sound"...not separate external clocks.
This "summing" mixer idea is merely an attempt at getting more OTB. People feel the digital DAW sound is too sterile and believe more "analog" will add something better to their sound.....most of them don't even know what analog means....
To me this is just another example of consumer chasing electronics because the sound is apparently inadequate and somehow buying the "hype" with some new device will somehow improve the content...
You see this more and more with the younger crowd.....looking for magical electronics that will be the next thing that changes everything..
There was a similar thread with "holiday" money to spend....they were looking to spend $1200 on a clock!
I'm just in the wrong business....
Old 26th December 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 
cdog's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by endofall View Post
Ok, I have a little cash from the holidays, and have been wanting to get a new clock, but really I am just looking to upgrade what I currently have (Digimax FS, Digi 002, SCA preamps) I currently clock off of my Digimax. Basically I was wondering if it would be a larger improvement getting the BLA MicroClockII, or the BLA Summing mixer. Any help would be great thanks!
Take the money you would spend on this gear and spend it on mixing lessons from the best engineer you know or who is available in your city. The money would be better spent, in my opinion. A great engineer can get great sound out of almost any piece of gear that can pass a full range signal, and some of the truly gifted ones can literally turn **** into gold in just a few minutes of editing and mixing.

The biggest mistake some people make on gearslutz is to overestimate the effect of quality gear and underestimate the effect of the talent and experience of the engineer.
Old 26th December 2010
  #20
New WordClock or Summing Mixer

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomdarude
you can absolutely hear a great (external) clock, if it greatly reduces jitter !!
I had long conversations with e.g. Eelco Grimm about this...and people are def. much more sensitive to the audible effects of jitter than we think!!

as already said, the effect becomes more obvious when there are more than 1 units that get clocked by an external device in a setup
I think the point is that technically, an external clock can't improve jitter - not to say there's not a sonic difference, only that the specs won't improve. A converter will always perform best, from a technical perspective, when locked to it's own internal clock.
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