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Spend on a Hi-End Master Clock or Hi-End Convertors?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Panos, May 8, 2008.

  1. Panos

    Panos Guest

    Hellos to everybody!

    I'm currently building a new room capable of 16 input rec and 64out playback with Nuendo 4.

    So I'm trying to figure out the most cost effective hi-end converter/master clock combo available with the best performance/price ratio.

    I'm wondering what would give me the best performance for my bucks: getting a more expencive clock and somehow "cheaper" converters, or buy the best possible converters I can with a relatively good clock?

    For my clocking needs, I'm anyways thinking to buy an Antelope Audio Isochrone OCX or OCX-V, and a mix of Apogee, Lynx, Mytek, Lavry and Cranesong Converters.

    I'm strongly considering to also buy Antelope's Atomic clock 10M, for which I've read good reviews and which is the perfect companion for OCX or OCX-V to upgrade their clocking. This unit is fairly expensive though.

    So my question is: Should I buy both Antelope OCX and Atomic clock and then get Apogee and Lynx Converters (which are more cost-effective), or should I just buy OCX (without the Atomic Clock) and get the more pricey Lavry's and Mytek's?

    Another issue is, is mixing converter brands recommended? Do you think they would all work together with no sync or quality issues, all slaved to the master clock? Or should I buy all of the same brand?

    Let me tell you the initial setup I had in mind, and I would appreciate your input on that:

    -(4x) Lynx AES16e PCIe cards running on a PC with Nuendo 4
    -(3x) Apogee DA-16x
    -(1x) Mytek 8x192
    - 8-ch Lavry Blue A/D
    - 8-ch Lavry Blue D/A
    - Cranesong HEDD 192 (2ch A/D-D/A)
    -TC Electronic System 6000

    for a total of 16ins/64outs plus 2-ch Cranesong I/O. Total of 12 digital devices.

    I was thinking of Antelope OCX or OCX-V (for a possible video upgrade of my studio), and possibly an Atomic clock if my budget permits.
    But I don't know if the OCX could send clock to 12 devices simultaneously as it only has 8 clock outs. Do you think I should daisy-chain some of the devices, or would that not be recommended? (would daisy-chaining reduce sound quality or introduce any jitter?) So would I also need an additional clock distributor, or that would be a waste of money?

    Last thing is that, If I try to "squeeze" Atomic Clock 10M on the budget, then I would probably have to eliminate the 2 Lavry Units and possibly also the Mytek, and buy an Aurora16 instead, so I can get the same number of I/O's. Would that be a better bet on quality, or not?

    I'll appreciate any of your inputs
  2. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Distinguished Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    for sure, the best a/d d/a as possible.
  3. Panos

    Panos Guest

    Any other Input?
  4. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    clock and distribution can be more complicated than that

    an answer for one or two channels of record vers 22 could be quite different
    you asked about daisy-chaining ... should one loop back to the first units ... does the equipment allow for that
    how many different units need to be clocked at the one time?
    do they all need to be tracking at once ?

    the same gear might perform differently into a Nuendo vers a PT system

    it can get very subtle and complicated
    do you have test equipment to trim this stuff in or will you attempt to do it by ear and feel

    In the broadcast TV video world much of the stuff will RE-clock and for a multi-channel recording world ( I think ) this is a bad thing

    this stuff is expensive and every one has an opinion
    not easy being at the cutting and bleeding edge

    I feel your pain

    Get this stuff demonstrated at your location and on your sessions
    be critical and don't take their word for it

    Don't take MY word for it either !!!

    listen and double check and then get an independant opinion
  5. Panos

    Panos Guest

    Any possible scenario from 16 Tracks record and 2-48 tracks playback I guess

    What do you mean trim?

    You got to be kidding... Greece is a 3rd world country... they don't even carry most of this expensive stuff here! That would be a luxury!
    Besides that, I'm on a deadline to finish the studio and start working asap, so no time for testing whatsoever. So I need something that works and that is of the best possible quality for the bucks.

    So I'd like your people's opinions based on any testing/shootout you might have done with any A/D and D/A converters, with or without the use of any external clocks

    Dunno, if I get obscure answers from people and the thing gets too complicated, I'll probably end up buying all Lynxes and rest in peace. (4 AES16e's plus 4 Aurora16's and maybe a HEDD-192 for my stereo mix printouts and probably a clock if that's really necessary. But is it? Let me get a clear answer on that and also on how to connect all this gear together
  6. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001

    you are looking at a larger system than most people here probably don't have.
    I have only had system from the one manufacturer and the clock was wrapped back to the first unit
    the Digi Super clock idea Phase Locked Looped
    I have also used an external clock but it only required one output as the loop system was on a different connector

    this is not helping you

    you pointed out that
    daisy-chain without a loop back to the start doesn't inspire me BUT gear is getting better and more stable with time and as the rate is increased
    ... not that the rate increase means quality, it is just that the circuits and the chips are better for being more modern

    the distribution device would be a typical broadcast way to go
    in the video word a distribution amp might have the ability to be timmed or trimmed
    in a digital word clock world this might make sense but very few manufacturers have this feature and the clients most likely would not have the test equipment to do anything with it

    this is still not helping

    go to the manufacturer web sites and see if you can find application and set-up notes about there equipment
    Dave Hill of Crane Song would answer emails concerning how to integrate the HEDD into a system with multiple units

    I'm sure the other would too.

    I know it seems that it should be easy but this is a large and expensive system and it seems that you not only want it to work
    to have that special sound that people talk about

    From an old school tech point of view
    I would like to see a looped system
    an 8 output clock to 8 devices with each cable being of the same type and the same length
    you have 12 devices


    contact the guys that make the gear
    and get them to explain their wares and how to best use them

    a quick google found this
    still downloading so I can't comment yet

    look at the bobkatz comments
    and try to understand some of the words he uses
    danlavry is also in there with some comments about distribution amps
    more circuits can mean more problems

    just one quote about a simple feature on many units
    it's a big subject and here is where Digital Audio didn't make life easier
  7. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Distinguished Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Silicon Valley
    As Kev is saying, what you might expect as standard digital logic as far as proper clocking of digital audio has become much more complicated in recent years. It means like many things in audio, that no one can really tell you exactly what to do or what would be best for you because you just need to do some real engineering work and go through to test the differrent options you have in your specific setup.

    Even if you found enough input from users that could agree on how to set it all up, often times what may be the best plan for digital interfacing reasons, hinders your work flow or signal flow or your ergonomic and even astetic requirements, so you may want to keep that in mind.

    And then even after you have it all setup, configured and tested, depending how you use it and/or how software will use it, adds yet another layer of variables.

    What would be best is something simple that had a great master clock and a great digital distribution unit with all the connections that you need.

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