The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Whats the deal with clocks?
Old 3rd August 2011
Gear Addict
Tuberizer's Avatar

Whats the deal with clocks?

Why do I see so many different clocks on the market? Whats the deal with them? What makes a good clock and why are some products superior to others? What do more expensive units do better than cheaper units except for HOW the signal is created? Are the prices and the price differences justifiable in any way?
Old 3rd August 2011
Lives for gear
savyurrecords's Avatar

Put simply clocking is very important to digital signal processing of all types, especially (near) realtime translation of analog signals to digital and back.

Also put very simply the more stable the clock the better the sound.

And finally, you get what you pay for. Always. However there is also the law of diminishing returns to work against those with large checkbooks. So you can spend $5000 on a master clock and it might sound just a little bit better than a $1000 master clock which will sound a good bit better than a $100 clock.
Old 3rd August 2011
Exactly what ^ said.

It's basically a way Pf ensuring all your units are "talking" to each other. The better the hardware, the better the clock
Old 3rd August 2011
Originally Posted by Tuberizer View Post
Are the prices and the price differences justifiable in any way?
IMO/IME the high prices of some clocks are not justified. Remember, word clock is nothing more than a high frequency square wave traveling through a BNC cable to the Phase Lock Loop of the slaved converter. All the clock has to do is send a simple stable square wave. It's the quality of the receiving converter's PLL that determines the amount of jitter and therefore any difference in sound. All converter designers will tell you to run their converters on internal clock for less jitter. The only logical explanations I can think of for some people's preference for external clock are either a preference for more jitter ("euphonic jitter") or placebo effect/confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

List of cognitive biases - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you need to sync a few digital devices then you can clock from your best ADC and call it a day. That way at least your best ADC can run with less jitter. If you have an elaborate multi-device complex rig, then a dedicated master clock with many WC outputs can be warranted.

The notion that external clocks automatically improve the sound of converters has been debunked as being hype in blind listening tests.

Seen this? Antelope Trinity 10M vs. Internal Clock comparison

I post this in the hope of preventing others from wasting their money on a clock in the hope of finding some magic bullet the way I did years ago before I conducted my blind listening tests. Before I did the blind tests I would have sworn on my family's lives that I heard an improvement with my beautiful shiny clock. After an honest blind test I was forced to confront my own perceptual bias. Now my eternal mission is to roam the lonely halls of the web and help others to avoid my terrible fate

And that's what I have to say about that.

Old 3rd August 2011
Unless you have more than two digital pieces you need to sync I wouldn't worry about upgrading your clock. New mics, pres, outboard, room treatment, etc.. there are many, much better ways to improve your studio.

If you have two pieces to sync try syncing both ways to see if you hear a difference.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump