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Topic: Do I need a word clock?

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  1. #1

    Do I need a word clock?

    I have a Giga PC with sound ported through Dakota via adat cables to sequencing PC with RME digiface. Sounds fine. But would the sound from the Giga PC be much better with a word clock-synched soundcard sending the adat to the RME (which also is word-clock capable)?

    How much better do things sound with a decent word clock?

    Thanks in advance for your input,
    Arch

  2. #2

    Re: Do I need a word clock?

    Wordclock won\'t make a very obvious difference to your sound quality, but it may help you out in situations where you are running several devices in a digital chain and start to get drop outs, or clicks - or simply get a piece of gear which refuses to synchronize to the normal digital stream.

  3. #3

    Re: Do I need a word clock?

    Hi Lee,

    Could you jsut verify for me.... Lightpipe carries it\'s own word clock?

    I\'ve been using TDIFF because it carries it\'s own clock. However, those little lightpipe cables are very appealing, especially if they too carry their own clock.

    Rob

  4. #4

    Re: Do I need a word clock?

    Originally posted by Robert Kral:
    Hi Lee,

    Could you jsut verify for me.... Lightpipe carries it\'s own word clock?

    I\'ve been using TDIFF because it carries it\'s own clock. However, those little lightpipe cables are very appealing, especially if they too carry their own clock.

    Rob
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hi Rob. Love your show by the way.

    To confirm The RME hdsp card does have its own Digital I/O capability, lightpipe which measures and displays the frequency of all clock sources. Word Clock included!

    Based on validity and current sample rate the system then decides which clock source should be used - fully automated and performed in hardware!

    This is a very intelligent solution!

    So I hope thats good news for you

    Take care
    David Alamein

  5. #5

    Re: Do I need a word clock?

    Originally posted by Arch Stanton:
    I have a Giga PC with sound ported through Dakota via adat cables to sequencing PC with RME digiface. Sounds fine. But would the sound from the Giga PC be much better with a word clock-synched soundcard sending the adat to the RME (which also is word-clock capable)?

    How much better do things sound with a decent word clock?

    Thanks in advance for your input,
    Arch
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Sound better? Not a bit. The issue with needing a master word clock only comes into play when you have several digital sources trying to talk to each other. Your set-up sounds simple enough that a master word clock device is not necessary.

    Believe me, you will know if you need a master word clock.. The clicking and sync issues will be obvious.

  6. #6

    Re: Do I need a word clock?

    If I might jump in here (because this is one of my favorite subjects), there are two issues. One is clicks and pops, and getting rid of them absolutely does not require a word clock generator, just some thought to your setup.

    The clocking scheme is a far subtler issue, because it has to do with jitter. There aren\'t really any rules about the best clocking setup other than that converters usually prefer to run under their own clock. But that\'s not always true. You also have to understand that jitter only affects converters. So if you\'re monitoring through a horribly jittery D/A converter but bouncing to disk and going straight to CD, the CD will sound as good as if you were using a diamond-studded D/A and clock generator.

    This is a post I wrote a few days ago on the same subject:

    First of all, clicks and pops mean something\'s wrong with your settings. You don\'t need a clock generator just to deal with that. This is a much more subtle difference.

    As to generators, as long as everything is right with the unit electrically (and I can\'t imagine a clock generator that isn\'t), the only spec that\'s likely to be important is jitter. Right there\'s the first problem: there are different ways of measuring and reporting jitter. I forget the details, but it has to do with the frequencies they use to measure jitter.

    But it\'s still not that easy, because a receiving device that\'s not good at locking to incoming clock may sound better under its own clock, regardless of how low the jitter is in your really expensive clock generator. What\'s more, the quality of the clock you\'re using may not make an audible difference in your setup (again, it doesn\'t really in mine), I assume because the receiving devices in your rig are good - or equally bad - at rejecting jitter.

    So the only way to know which of the following is right *in your rig* is to listen and determine:

    - whether a word clock distributor is what you really want

    - whether a synchronizer makes more sense because of its features (I\'m quite happy with the MOTU Digital Timepiece)

    - whether a generator is what you need (possibly driving the synchronizer)

    - whether there\'s an audible difference between a Lucid generator and an Aardsync, and if so whether it\'s worth the difference in price in your rig.

    If you don\'t listen to the device in your studio and try out making various devices the master, you\'re liable to waste good money. But I haven\'t heard a system with multiple digital devices where it didn\'t sound better using distributed clock than locking to the embedded clock mixed in with the audio.

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