Thread: Re-clocking of SACD players

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Post by Jonalogic April 8, 2013 (1 of 48)
We seem to have drifted into tackling this on the Chandos thread, but I suspect it might benefit from a separate discussion thread.

1) Do folk think this is a good idea?

2) Has anyone tried it?

3) If so, what were the effects?

I speak out of more than theoretical interest, as my Esoteric X-03SE player conveniently comes with an external clock input.

However, I am not minded to procure their dedicated external rubidium clock, which costs about as much as the national debt of Greece. More sensible and cost/effective options seem available, such as the Apogee Big Ben, although this appears rather studio re-synch oriented.

So, so has someone actually taken the plunge?

Post by Bayside Bomber April 8, 2013 (2 of 48)
I had Ric Schultz at EVS mod my Oppo 105 and he recommended a clock upgrade to go along with his basic mods. I can't be certain whether the clock, or the other upgrades, made the difference but the modded 105 sounds much more engaging to me and, more importantly my wife.

Post by Jonalogic April 8, 2013 (3 of 48)
Bayside Bomber said:

I had Ric Schultz at EVS mod my Oppo 105 and he recommended a clock upgrade to go along with his basic mods. I can't be certain whether the clock, or the other upgrades, made the difference but the modded 105 sounds much more engaging to me and, more importantly my wife.

Thanks for this. Yep, the reaction of the other half is always vital!

Actually, my thoughts were more along the lines of using an external add-on clock for my Esoteric.

I just bought a Oppo 105 for my A/V rig, and I have to say my first impressions (still running in) are really promising. Eventually, no doubt, I will have to compare it to my Esoteric in the all-out audio setup. The battle of transport vs DAC...

I find Oppo 3rd party mods really interesting. Oppo almost seems to welcome them, and then they incorporate the best ideas in their next model! Cute.

Post by operamuso April 8, 2013 (4 of 48)
I added a dCS Puccini U-clock to my Marantz SA7 (mainly on the recommendation of Hiredfox on here) and the difference is like night and day. It wasn't cheap (although I was lucky enough to get an ex-dem one) but it was worth every penny - except that I now spend FAR to much time listening to music.... :-)

Post by Jonalogic April 8, 2013 (5 of 48)
operamuso said:

I added a dCS Puccini U-clock to my Marantz SA7 (mainly on the recommendation of Hiredfox on here) and the difference is like night and day. It wasn't cheap (although I was lucky enough to get an ex-dem one) but it was worth every penny - except that I now spend FAR to much time listening to music.... :-)

Oh dear, my commiserations on music addiction, a sad ailment indeed.

Yes, this definitely looks worthy of a try. I will contact dCS to discuss.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Post by operamuso April 8, 2013 (6 of 48)
Jonalogic said:

Oh dear, my commiserations on music addiction, a sad ailment indeed.

Yes, this definitely looks worthy of a try. I will contact dCS to discuss.

Thanks for the suggestion.

If I can help further don't hesitate to email.

Post by Jonalogic April 8, 2013 (7 of 48)
operamuso said:

If I can help further don't hesitate to email.

Cheers, will do.

One thing I forgot to mention about music addiction syndrome, however. Experience suggests it may be incurable...

Regards

Jon

Post by tailspn April 8, 2013 (8 of 48)
It's a really bad idea. There are only three reasons to consider modding the clock in an SACD player, or using an external clock, besides bragging rights over male genitalia. The first, and the only real valid reason is to sync a transport to other gear. This is a studio scenario, used to allow data interchange between digital equipments synced to a house clock.

The second (audiofool use only), is to tie the clock frequency to some crazy stability oscillator (atomic clocks?, please!) in the belief that will improve something. In fact it does; the bank account of the outfit that made/sold it. It potentially could have a detectable pitch change effect, but not compared to ANY crystal controlled oscillator found in greater than $100 players.

The third is the canard used to convince/entice the audio community. JITTER! The fact is, it will only become worse. Much worse. The beauty of self contained SACD players, ie, containing the transport, DAC and Clock, is that they are co-located. The clock circuitry is normally within an inch, or inches of the DAC, where jitter manifests itself. Any player having the facility of external WCLK IN, surely has a crystal oscillator having less than 100ps of jitter. Typically, less than 10ps. When using Ext WCLK, kiss that low jitter spec goodbye. The only way to slave the crystal oscillator to the external word clock is through a phase lock loop, regardless of what the manufacture names it. Using that will increase the clock jitter delivered to your DAC by at least a factor of 10. And all the power supply issues inherent in your current clock circuit are still there. But it gets worse. WCLK is not the oscillator frequency, and must be multiplied up to match the recordings sample rate. That's after the phase lock loop uncertainty.

So since you asked, my opinion, unless you own a studio with lots of gear that must be synced, or need help with the bragging rights mentioned above, is to save you money. You may want to invest it in something really beneficial to your quest for music sonic perfection. MULTICHANNEL!

Post by rammiepie April 8, 2013 (9 of 48)
Which may be the reason, tailspn, that Marantz decided to eliminate the external clock output from their SA11S3 player (the SA11S2 DID have the option).

So those who do hear a difference from the use of an external clock are, indeed, delusional?

Post by tailspn April 8, 2013 (10 of 48)
rammiepie said:

So those who do hear a difference from the use of an external clock are, indeed, delusional?

While there is an expectation bias that we all have, I wouldn't say delusional. If one hears a difference, there actually may be a difference. Just not an improvement in a technical performance sense.

Hearing a difference in the case of clock sources is very subjective, but very objective when actually measured. In digital playback, nothing beats an OK to good crystal oscillator and clock circuitry, with good power supply decoupling, all located really close to the DAC chip. External clocks/sync are a necessary evil in a studio/network environment to integrate equipment. It's not used as an "improvement port", except by manufactures to sell stuff to the non technical customer.

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