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Topic: Delta 1010 word clock?

  1. #1

    Delta 1010 word clock?

    I've heard rumors that word clock "doesn't work" on the M-Audio Delta 1010s. Can anyone confirm/deny this, or point me to some more definitive data? Is/was this a software/hardware/both problem? Generally I've found the Delta card software _says_ it has sync, but in listening to the audio there are lots of pops and crackling noises. So extended critical listening is in order to make sure things are indeed synced.

    I'm trying to sync a rather complicated system and I'm having lots of sync problems. I'm about to spend some serious money for a master word clock generator, but not if the 1010's can't properly deal with word clock anyway.

    I have observed the following with the 1010s:

    (1) If synced to external word clock, 1010s will not recognize a valid SPDIF input stream, even if word clock and SPDIF are coming from the same source (a Presonus Digimax 96k in my case). If you want to input SPDIF audio, you must clock from it also.

    (2) According to the M-Audio manual, the 1010 can send word clock up to 96K, but can only read word clock to 50K. Not a big deal for me fortunately.

    (3) Also from the M-Audio manual, the 1010's word clock input is terminated internally, and there's no way to disable termination. This means you must "daisy chain" 1010s in the word clock stream, and you can't run a "star" network using BNC tees and external terminators. I've seen opinions both ways on the best way to route word clock, but I can't even try the "star" topology unless I get a master word clock generator with multiple outputs.

    (4) The latest M-Audio delta driver as of this writing ( resets its buffer size to 64 bytes (the minimum) when I load VST instruments in some applications. My system can't handle 64-byte buffers so it stutters and locks up, requiring a reboot. The previous driver version ( did not have this problem.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Best Regards,

    - Steve

    P.S. Come to think of it, I've never seen any technical specs on word clock in general. Are there any "official" specs on rise/fall time, voltage swing, under/overshoot/noise margins, etc? My guess is no; it's just whatever nominal square wave any given manufacturer wants to call "word clock". If there were some specs, I could look at the signal on my oscilloscope and tell if the my jitter/skew was within acceptable limits.

  2. #2

    Re: Delta 1010 word clock?

    Hi Steve, I cant answer your specific questions above unfortunately, I wanted to mention though that I went from a Delta 44 to an RME 9632 and the difference is like night and day. Tighter imaging, smoother highs, and less "woolly" bass.

    The RME card itself offered a huge improvement, but I also slave that to an Apogee Mini-Me for Word clock. IMHO, the crystals in the Delta cards are crapola. I couldnt find a single spec on them anywhere, but my ears were telling me anyway.
    - SCA - Sound Studios -

  3. #3

    Re: Delta 1010 word clock?

    Scott, thanks for the info. I may reevaluate my Delta cards sooner rather than later!

    My main recorder has two Delta 1010s and two Delta Dio 2496s. Until recently, I was syncing all of them to SPDIF from my Presonus Digimax 96k. That had stable sync and sounded good, but of course the Digimax was doing most of the work.

    Currently I'm sending word clock from the Digigmax to a Firewire 1814 (on another computer) and an ART DPS II, then sending SPDIF from those to the Dios, which sync to SPDIF. The Digimax is sending SPDIF to the 1010s for sync (no audio on SPDIF).

    This configuration seems unreliable. I can't yet confirm this for certain, but it seems like the Delta cards need to see a stable sync signal (word clock and/or SPDIF) at boot time or they don't sync properly later. For example if I power up the machine with the 1814 after the machine with all the Delta cards, the Delta software claims I have sync but I hear bad crackling. If I make sure the 1814 is up and locked to word clock first, the Delta machine works ok- for awhile. After a few minutes, I start to get various clicks and grunge indicating sync drift.

    BTW the DPS II's optical SPDIF seems buggy too. Supposedly you can select SPDIF or ADAT lightpipe data format on the DPS II, but the Delta cards won't lock to the optical SPDIF data. The Delta cards lock to the DPSs coax SPDIF data just fine.

    Sigh. It's always something. Sometimes, it's everything.

    - Steve

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