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Will a word clock improve MY setup?
Old 19th September 2012
  #1
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foamboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Will a word clock improve MY setup?

Hello. I am using a Saffire pro 40,I record very little because I compose using vsti's exclusively itb.

Today I went to my local shop to see about changing or upgrading my monitor situation. The guy asked my why and I told him that my system has always sounded loose and mushy on the lowend,even when I was using my old M audio card. He suggested that my problem is with my clocking and I should consider getting an external clock. This confused me since I am not connecting multiple interfaces I don't see the advantage.

So,,,,,,should I take his advice? And if so,will something inexpensive like the ART Syncgen be better than the Saffire or should I consider a more expensive clock?

Thanks for the advice.

I am using Rokit5 G2's and AKG 702 headphones for mixing.

fb
Old 19th September 2012
  #2
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abechap024's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
No

Sent from my LG-VS700
Old 19th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
You should probably invest in an external converter, getting an external clock would be useful yes if you needed to sync several pieces of external converters or other pieces of gear.

Take a look at this. Should shed some light on your situation.

Does Your Studio Need A Digital Master Clock?
Old 19th September 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
+1. Read that article if in doubt, but no β€”*driving your Saffire from an external clock will *worsen* performance. However good the clock, the weakest link is the Saffire's ability to sync with it β€” and all gear at this sort of level has a better internal clock stability than when syncing with an external source. You have to be up at Prism Orpheus sort of quality of interface to be getting equal performance from internal and external clocks. Therefore, it only makes sense to use external master clocks when you have several devices to sync.

Better A-D converters might help, though, in which case use the A/D as the master and the Saffire as slave. Ditto, better D/A might help, in which case use the Saffire (or other A/D device) as master and D/A as slave.
Old 19th September 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by foamboy ➑️
Hello. I am using a Saffire pro 40,I record very little because I compose using vsti's exclusively itb.

Today I went to my local shop to see about changing or upgrading my monitor situation. The guy asked my why and I told him that my system has always sounded loose and mushy on the lowend,even when I was using my old M audio card. He suggested that my problem is with my clocking and I should consider getting an external clock. This confused me since I am not connecting multiple interfaces I don't see the advantage.

So,,,,,,should I take his advice? And if so,will something inexpensive like the ART Syncgen be better than the Saffire or should I consider a more expensive clock?

Thanks for the advice.

I am using Rokit5 G2's and AKG 702 headphones for mixing.

fb
Dude you should go back to that shop and punch that salesman in the face
Old 19th September 2012
  #6
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foamboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for your replies and the link to the article. Very informative!


fb
Old 19th September 2012
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
That article is VERY misleading and doesn't really tell you exactly what you need to know.

In YOUR situation, I agree with everyone. Do not get an external clock. Improve your interface and your situation will improve.

In SOME situations an external clock CAN improve the situation.

Generally, staying internal as long as possible is a good idea, but really as soon as any studio adds additional conversion, then there is an external clocking situation happening.

Good Luck!
Old 19th September 2012
  #8
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Nu-tra's Avatar
Is your room treated?
Old 19th September 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by foamboy ➑️
So,,,,,,should I take his advice? And if so,will something inexpensive like the ART Syncgen be better than the Saffire or should I consider a more expensive clock?
You don't need an external word clock.
Old 19th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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foamboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nu-tra ➑️
Is your room treated?
Yep. As much as I am able to get in this room. 4 bass traps and a fair amount of foam. But I hear this strange bass issue on 4 different sets of headphones. I have used 3 different interfaces(Profire 610,Audiophile 24/96,Saffire Pro) and the bass is the same on all of them. It's a littlle better on the Saffire,but still mushy and loose.

fb
Old 20th September 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
If you were to use a converter known for it's great internal clocking you could get the best of both worlds by allowing the converter to be the reference clock for the whole system. (Mytek comes to mind.) MYTEK DIGITAL USA
Old 20th September 2012
  #12
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nott's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
hi! i go with an external wordclock.
and i never thought that i'll do that

my setup was:
- klein&hummel o410
- motu 828mk2
- central station (as da converter)

then i got a rme fireface800 for a few days and its sounds much better than my older setup.

after this experience i changed my setup:
- klein&hummel o410
- ua apollo (directly connected to the monitors)

this sounds really nice!


last month i got the ua 2192 converter. this is a beast

and now i use the apollo as my monitor da and the 2192 is only my mainclock - and this sounds amazing!!!
the highs are more precise, the mids are superb transparent and the lows have a nice body.
i can swap on the fly between the internal and external clock - and everytime it's like christmas for me.
the difference isn't night-and-day but for me its nice to hear a little bit more of the frequency response.

but man, at first you should really invest in a 2nd pair of monitors?!?

kind regards!!!!
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
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foamboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
If you were to use a converter known for it's great internal clocking you could get the best of both worlds by allowing the converter to be the reference clock for the whole system. (Mytek comes to mind.) MYTEK DIGITAL USA
Thanks Bill. Yes, I AM considering a Mytek or a Lavry.

fb
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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foamboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by nott ➑️
hi!
but man, at first you should really invest in a 2nd pair of monitors?!?

kind regards!!!!


Thanks nott. It sure sounds like you have a NICE setup!

I love your comment about another set of monitors. REMEMBER,,,,,,THAT is EXACTLY what I had asked the guy and my local store and I have been thinking about getting another set. The problem is, I am so cheap I will probably get something like the Yamaha HS 50's!

Thanks for your time.

fb
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
If you were to use a converter known for it's great internal clocking you could get the best of both worlds by allowing the converter to be the reference clock for the whole system. (Mytek comes to mind.) MYTEK DIGITAL USA
that is employing external clocking..I would highly suggest the OP stays with one interface that has a decent internal clock, which is most these days.

Clocking a multiple unit system is not as easy as 1,2,3 and will melt your brain and take you away from making music. Worry about that later. Your bass issue is more than likely your room, your speakers, your DA or any combination of all.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhirny ➑️
that is employing external clocking
But getting a lot more value from your dollar than just buying a clock. You'll also have great converters.
Old 20th September 2012
  #17
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DAW PLUS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Clocking/conversion would be the last thing to check here.
Get that idiot salesguy to loan you a high quality interface with great converters, and play back your mix. If it still is not convincing, it is your room/monitoring/positioning.
Try setting up your speakers differently. The material they stand on, as well as how far off the wall is very important, as well as the angle and distance.
Do some searching on this topic first, get that right, then check if it changes things.
Old 20th September 2012
  #18
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
That salesman either does not have a clue or does not have any morals. Either way, he should not be in the job.

The fact is that good bass response in a small room with modest gear is a journey with many stops. But no matter what the chain, there is always a point of greatest return on the dollar. Every situation is different, but safe bet to look to the room first (including size and shape), the monitors second (including placement) and the DAC third. The fact that you hear the same problem on phones is interesting as one would expect the sound in the cans to be very different from the sound in the room, particularly in the lows. Suggests a DAC issue as a likely common element between monitors and headphones ... difficult to tell without being there. The tip to borrow good gear to rule out issues is a good one. Work methodically and above all try to not spend any money until you have a good idea as to what the problem is.

And one last thing in case you run into that salesman again ... your next investment should probably not be an expensive power conditioner!

Good luck.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAW PLUS ➑️
Get that idiot salesguy ...
Now, this to me speaks to the real problem, and it is one that I lose sight of.

SALESMEN DO NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART, NOR ARE THEY PARTICULARLY MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE THAN YOU!!!!! (And I'm trying to be polite because there are some salesmen in our midst...)

It is important that you learn about the craft if you want to pursue it, otherwise you are destined to buy a lot of crap that people get excited about for a few months before they get bored and need to talk about the next 'Gotta Have It New Thing!!!!! "

Which is a perfect moment to flog buddy Ethan Winer's new book... it is long but filled with great information. Ethan Winer - Home Page

I suggest that, before anybody spend any money trying to cram a new piece of gear into their system to fix a 'problem', that they actually take the time to discover WHAT THE PROBLEM IS! And what logical means can be taken to correct for it. Running to the GC with a burning hot credit card is seldom the correct answer.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
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foamboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
It is important that you learn about the craft if you want to pursue it, otherwise you are destined to buy a lot of crap that people get excited about for a few months before they get bored and need to talk about the next 'Gotta Have It New Thing!!!!! "


I suggest that, before anybody spend any money trying to cram a new piece of gear into their system to fix a 'problem', that they actually take the time to discover WHAT THE PROBLEM IS! And what logical means can be taken to correct for it. Running to the GC with a burning hot credit card is seldom the correct answer.
I completely agree with you Bill. Unfortunately I have been a victim of this mentality just as have many others. I misdiagnosed my inexperience and lack of real knowledge with thinking that since I have "lowend" gear that if I just bought better plugins or better headphone or better______ fill in the blank...that I would be better.

About 3 months ago,I decided that I am NOT going to buy anmore software and I am going to really LEARN what I already own. I have discovered that I can achieve respectable results with my existing setup.....BUT, I still want to have a good enough setup to keep it fun and inspiring. So now, I am trying to really find the weak link as you say and I am wanting to get just a tad bit ahead of where I am at now.

Unfortunately,the only way to really know if something is right for you is to ACTUALLY own/use it and no amount of opinions on GS are going to help you know for sure. I appreciate the GS community and I have learned a LOT,however there are so many mixed opinions on similar gear that I have determined that you have to use whatever it is you are interested in and that can add up in a hurry!

Okay,that's all for now, I am going back to practice!

fb

heh
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
Tui
Gear Guru
 
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by foamboy ➑️
The problem is, I am so cheap I will probably get something like the Yamaha HS 50's!
You could do worse. I use HS50s for routine monitoring and when composing. I like them.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by CeretoneAudio ➑️
Dude you should go back to that shop and punch that salesman in the face
That salesman had a LOT of company.

This was a very common misconception among many recordists who didn't fully understand the complexities of getting clock signal from one device into another for slaving, which almost always increases jitter in the slaved device to some extent (vis a vis self-clocking), unless the slaved unit has top-flight clock and jitter correction circuitry. The article explains it quite well, of course, and backs it up with real world jitter tests.

The misconception was purposefully fed by a series of full-page ads in the recording mags from a certain well-known converter/clock manufacturer who basically let celebrity endorsers (I've been told they weren't "paid" endorsers) make a number of elaborate and rather absurd claims about how Clock X improved the sound of their various converters -- claims that basically flew in the face of science and real world, testable reality.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #23
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foamboy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tui ➑️
You could do worse. I use HS50s for routine monitoring and when composing. I like them.
Tui,you are correct. It just seems,in my mind that going from Rokits to Hs50's is more of a lateral move instead of an upward move.....but I may still end up with a set,because I am starting to understand the deficiencies of the Rokits......at least for me.

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Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
But getting a lot more value from your dollar than just buying a clock. You'll also have great converters.
Bill's got a good point.

IF you have multiple converters you want to run in tandem, of course, you must slave them to a single clock. That can be a standalone, or, as is often the case, one of the converters themselves.

So if you're going with the latter, it only makes sense to pick the converter with the best clocking as a master. AND, since the master is the only one that won't have to use clock recovery, it will presumably have the best internal jitter figures.

Now, there are some complex rigs where the logistics might be served by having a dedicated, central clock, rather than making one of the converters the master clock, but, in general, as long as the converter (or clock) chosen as master has a good output, the timing precision/lack-of-jitter for the downstream slaves will depend on a) proper interconnection and termination of clock signal and b) how good the clock recovery/jitter correction circuitry is in the slaves.


Since the amount of jitter in the slave is dependent on the slave's own clock recovery circuitry, the notion that a slaved converter with a 'poor' clock might be improved by slaving to a 'superior' clock seems quite unlikely.

Also worth noting, the very best converters have clock recovery circuits that can actually improve ('clean up') incoming jitter induced over cable runs, and so on. But to get to that level, you have to spend a LOT of money. We are not talking a few thousands of dollars.
Old 20th September 2012
  #25
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
There definitely external clocks that can affect the sonics of a system in a positive way. Let's not get out of hand here.

Atomic clock/10m comes to mind, but for the purposes of the OP, who we are assuming does't have $10K to spend, stick to a good interface and don't use external clocking.
Old 20th September 2012
  #26
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Reality is not 'out of hand.'

If one understands how clock recovery/jitter correction circuits in slaved converters work, it should be fairly clear why a slaving to the best clock in the world will not be at all likely to do anything good for the internal timing of the slaved converter.

Slaving a converter doesn't take its clock circuitry out of the loop -- it makes it do a more difficult job.

Those who are having difficulty understanding why that is should certainly read the S-o-S article, read the explanations of how clocking works, and read the real-world test results.


[I'd offer a very general analogy to slaving a tape deck to another deck here, since the broad issues of chasing and attempting to stay locked to sync signal are roughly similar -- and will also tend to produce more small speed variations (parallel, in a sense, to jitter in a converter) in the slaved machine than it would have if simply driving itself from its own VSO. Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that experience slaving tape machines is a fading skill set.]
Old 20th September 2012
  #27
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norbury brook's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
unless your room is very well treated and you have good monitors then your DA/AD is low down on your list of priorities.

After 5 years in my old place I'm only just beginning to hear a slight difference between DA converters in my new very well treated purpose built new studio.


MC
Old 20th September 2012
  #28
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
I'm sorry but the SOS article should under no circumstances be used as a source of fact in this topic.

Cheers.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #29
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theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhirny ➑️
I'm sorry but the SOS article should under no circumstances be used as a source of fact in this topic.

Cheers.
Yeah. One wouldn't want to confuse himself with the facts backed up with real world objective measurement.


But let's play along.

Why, greenhirny, do you think the S-o-S article is not to be trusted?
Old 20th September 2012
  #30
nms
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2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I have definitely found it possible to slave one unit to the clock of another without degradation. I've done null tests and RMAA tests (in both single and 2 DAW setups) and the biggest difference I found was the clock drift improvement. I do use a good quality short wordclock cable though to be safe. I've read BS relating to clocking and sample rates in SOS that I have not been able to reproduce in testing ever.

Don't take these guys' word for it and don't rely on theories. You can test this stuff out yourself.
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