Upgrade external clock or power cables?

July 27, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

6 comments on “Upgrade external clock or power cables?”

  1. I think Paul is exactly right on the futility of using an oven controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO) for audio. The oven is used to buffer the XO against changes in temperature. The oven doesn’t improve jitter. A standard non-oven oscillator is likely to have a stability of better than 10 parts per million (ppm) over the normal temperature range. Even those small changes occur relatively slowly as the circuitry warms up or cools down.

    We measure musical pitch in cents, which are 1/100 of a semitone. It’s a useful unit, because nobody, even the most gifted musician, can hear a pitch difference of 1 cent. Generally, pitch differences of 25 cents are easily recognised, and some listeners can hear 6 cents. One cent represents a pitch difference of 2^(1/1200) or 578 ppm. Any crystal oscillator has enough stability for use as a DAC clock.

  2. Hey Paul!
    I noticed this for the very first time.
    For the first time in a long while, I’m working with my Avantone and JBL system today.
    What was that noise I heard in the background of your video?
    Was that your AC blowing wend in to your microphone nonstop?

  3. I would be very cautious in upgrading to an external clock to reduce jitter, unless we knew exactly how the clock signal is handled, buffered and regenerated in each piece of equipment. Any improvement could be easily lost. There is a valid reason for using an external clock in more complex studio set-ups where we need to synchronize several different ADCs and DACs to a common reference.

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