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Topic: Apogee Big Ben clock question

  1. #1

    Apogee Big Ben clock question

    I am creating music using only one computer and an RME Fireface
    to route a midi out signal from a Fatar controller keyboard into an Athlon computer. The music is all being made via Gigastudio/Sonar and sample
    libraries. My question is: can I improve the audio quality of the wav
    recordings I am making inside the computer, by connecting the Fireface
    word clock (in) as the slave to the word clock out of an Apogee Big Ben as
    the master clock, or will this actually not effect those wav recordings
    in any way at all?

  2. #2

    Post Re: Apogee Big Ben clock question

    Hi there-

    I use the Apogee Big Ben so this caught my attention. But I'm a bit confused... you said u were creating your sounds "on one computer using Giga/Sonar"... I take this that you are rewiring Giga into Sonar, and Sonar is where the audio (coming from Giga) is being recorded? If that's the case, there really isn't any analog->to->digital audiocoming into your DAW from the outside world, correct? And if that's the case, you really don't have an environment that would benefit from any external clocking - IMO - and even if you were eventually intending to record analog (thru the Fireface), the RMEs have *great* internal clocks.

    I have personally benefited from the Big Ben only because I have quite a few devices on the "outside" that need to be syncronized. Basically, anything "digital" would fall into that category (especially if it's doing AD work). In your case, the only piece of gear performing that - albeit not presently - would be your Fireface.

    The rule of thumb on clocking is that peer-to-peer clocking - say between your Fireface and a digital mixer is quite sufficiently handled from an "internal clock"; meaning, it is daisy chained between a source and target. You simply pick the device that has the better clock and let it be the master- still must be mindful of termination... RME clocks would typically win that contest in almost every circumstance.

    However, if and when you have more than a peer-to-peer scenario (> 2), that's where the dedicated MASTER CLOCK combined its "hub & spoke" topology (meaning one cable from the Master Clock to each slave) begins to show benefit. Daisy chaining a word clock thru a series of devices creates all sorts of degradation and that's the scenario where something like the BIG BEN comes into play.

    Before having such a configuration, I was perfectly fine with my RME card serving as the master. Now, I have between 4 - 5 devices needing digital sync, and hence opted for the BIG BEN. Amongst other choices, the BIG BEN is very much the "RME equivalent" in that space. Plus, Apogee is local to me so that factored in.

    All in all, I doubt you'd see any detectable improvement by introducing the BB now.

  3. #3

    Re: Apogee Big Ben clock question

    Yes, it makes a lot of sense what you are saying. I was thrown off by the
    advice of an Apogee tech person trying to sell the product, and Apogee
    promotions of the product. It is probably best to avoid word clock connections if only using an audio interface, midi keyboard and computer as hardware. According to RME, word clock technology has problems built into

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