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Would buying

A external word clock improve my recordings by simply giving me a lower Jitter rate.. Or will this be pointless if I dont have great converters..

current interface : PreSonus Fire Station... no longer supported..


Member Tue, 04/10/2007 - 16:12
Many of the opions that I've read regarding clocking all have the same answer. If you are getting a clock simply to re-clock one interface, it's typically not worth it. If you were syncing multiple interfaces and as an added benefit the clock helped your weakest interface, that would be a different story. Would a clock help, of course. I think good stable clocking would help even the worst converters. But, is it a cost efficient way to go? For example, if you were to purchase a Big Ben by Apogee for $1350.00, You may as well kick in another $400.00 and purchase a Rosetta 200 with better conversion and clock. You'd be limited to two track simultaneous, but it would be a smarter investment. Now, I know that this is a relatively hi-end example, but the same principle applies to lower grade gear also. What kind of budget are you talking about? I've heard good things about RME as far as a mid-point alternative.

Member Tue, 04/10/2007 - 16:21
Im really not concerned about budget because Ill save the pennys for what is nessasary. And I do know that I dont have the greatest converters... actually they really suck.. I am leaning towards the Rme 400 or the Lynx 8
for a new intrerface im just trying to learn more about word clock and its application to recordiing.. I drive my self batty not being able to get the final product Im looking for.. Im really close but I know a new converter with a better clock would help me temendously..

Member Wed, 04/11/2007 - 01:38

I'm not sure if I'm understanding you properly, but are referring to the RME Fireface 400 and the Lynx Aurora 8? If your are, both of these units are substantially different from each other. There is also quite a price difference. If you consider a card and all of the D-Sub connectors that you might need to buy for the Aurora, it could end up being 3 times over the list price of the RME Fireface 400. But, like you said, you'll save up for whatever it takes.

I do understand your frustration over bad converters and clocks. In fact, we might as well throw preamps in there too. I experienced the same frustration with a Digi 002 I bought for one of our small writers studios. Conversion was bad, AD worse than DA actually, unstable clock, and 4 extremely mediocre pre's. I had it opened up and surgically modified by one of the best techs in the business. New AD converters (same as Digi's HD systems), the pre's were completely re-worked, and a new clock was installed. Though the unit was substantially better, it still didn't sing to me like I wanted it to.

Fact of the matter, though I would mod the unit again in a heartbeat, it still wasn't as good as other units that were simply designed better from the ground up. For example, if you dig hard enough you'll find that many interfaces use the same conversion chips. I believe Digi, Motu, and RME use one or the other of two basic chips in the same family that are from China. Digi's HD systems use the next generation chip of that family that is only a small increment better, but yet look at the difference between a 002 system and an HD system. Point being, you can't always break things down to a component level (clock, converter, etc.) and make a judgment about why you're not hearing what you want to hear. The basic supporting design in everything from Apogee to Mytek, and from Lynx to UA, is what makes the real difference. It's the surrounding electronic topography that is where the quality of what you hear originates. That's not to say that these other components are irrelevant, it just depends upon what else is around them to give them the support they need. That's why, as I said in the earlier post, as a rule of thumb you don't by a master clock to improve the sound of one interface. You purchase a clock first and foremost to sync multiple units together.

So, stop beating yourself up over the technical aspects and find something that suites your needs and expectations. If you buy something the has better converters, it's going to have a better clock. If you buy something with a better clock, it's going to have better converters. Yes, there maybe certain brands that are known for their clocking technology, and others that are known more for their conversion stages. But, once you get to a certain price point, let's say that of a Lynx Aurora 8, you will surely find decent performance in all areas.

I do understand your desire to learn more about clocking in digital audio. There have been several good posts in the forum that break it all down. Just do a search until you find what you're looking for.