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Jitter overhyped?

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My friend finally got a RME word clock module for his pc so he can finally use the master clock on his Emm Labs dcc2 DAC. He can transfer the digital bits both through his hi-end coax cables and his hi-end aes cables. So theoretically he should be experiencing ultra low jitter. He has admitted there's more depth and it sounds more analogue, but he thinks he got more of a jump in sound from other upgrades like using better power cables and adding black diamond racing cones. We have similar systems and we swap gear all the time so i have an idea of what he's talking about.


So it sounds like jitter is the icing on the cake, but there's other stuff to worry about first.


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I think that would depend on how much jitter you have to begin with.

Some people seem to think that hard drive base music server inherently

has less jitter than CD base player. You may see more benefit using clock

with CD transport than hard drive.


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Sorry, maybe i should provide more details.


My friend has an RME 96/8 sound card (I do as well). The word clock module (http://www.rme-audio.com/english/digi96/wcm.htm) simply allows the sound card to accept timing from an external master clock. THe module does not plug into the motherboard, it only connects to the sound card. THe master clock that's used in my friend setup is in his Emm Labs dcc2 which uses hi-end power cables and is filter by a shunyata hydra 8.


So unless the Emm Labs clock is in question, I believe he should be getting ultra low jitter. And as I understand it, Emm labs is state of the art. They make their own dac chips, and retail over 2.5x more than the Weiss dacs.


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Good point.. how much jitter was he getting before without the master clock implementation?


From this stereophile article we know that the RME card outputed into a muscial fidelity dac has between 140-170ps of jitter. http://www.stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/561/index6.html


Of course, the emm labs probably has better jitter correction than the musical fidelity.


Damn.. in any case it makes me want to get an emm labs dcc2. Chris, when are you going to get around to reviewing one? A lot of people are interested to know how the berkeley compares to it.


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I can imagine, that you are not so over enthusiastic with the sonically improvement using this Word Clock Module.


Years ago, I have had also this word clock module, but didn’t satisfy me. It has had too high jitter. This card was good in the past, but didn’t come up, with today’s need.


You can be happy to have a Meitner DAC, because he has internally a very good jitter reduction, otherwise I think, you would be happy with this clock either.


The actual Word Clock Module from RME (HDSP 9632 WCM) are much better, or use the Digi 96 WCM as a slave an try an external master clock module (antelope, apogee).


Good luck,





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NOTHING is perfect, so the pursuit of perfection is futile. Enjoy the music. I have heard my favorite songs on expensive showroom systems and I have heard my favorite songs on an iPod. You know what I remember the most? The MUSIC.


It has been proven time and time again that "most" people can NOT tell the difference between a 320 KBPS file and the CD. People have been fooled with coat hangers as speaker cabling.


Let's get back to the music. The music should be the star here, NOT the equipment. Not to mention the fact that that so much music is poorly recorded these days and especially in the past. I am a HUGE Prince fan and as I was encoding his discography to AIFF, I realized these are very bad recordings. Led Zeppelin, Billie Holiday, etc. all my favorite stuff is poorly recorded, so do you think "jitter" is the real culprit here?


A buddy of mine has gone from a truly expensive stereo system to an iPod and Audioengine A5 speakers. Guess what, my favorite songs sound good there too.


I expect to be blasted by folks, especially by Audioengr but remember, he is trying to sell a product...... HIS product.


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Hi TKYR1967 - Please take this in the spirit in which it's intended. After reading your comments a few times I get the sense that maybe you should be reading more sites like RollingStone, Billboard, Blender, Gramophone, or JazzTimes in addition to Computer Audiophile. Don't get me wrong, most people around here love music just as much as you do, but they are also trying to reproduce this music as accurately as possible. These two are not mutually exclusive. I agree with you that most people cannot tell the difference between 320 kbps and a redbook CD. However, most people are audiophiles are most people are not interested in reproducing sound as accurately as possible. It's interesting that you bring up Billie Holiday as an example of poor recordings. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Billie Holiday's Songs for Distingué Lovers (VSCD 6021). I love Billie Holiday and this album is so enjoyable in part because it sounds so great. It's so easy to get lost in the music when it sounds like your sitting in the concert hall. Here are some comments I received a while ago that introduced me to this recording.


Again, I'm not trying to say you're wrong in anyway. I just want to let you know great music and pursuing great sound are not mutually exclusive.



Comments I received:

"Chris, I'm glad you asked. In another thread I mentioned that of the 39 Classic Records, about 10 of them rank among the 20 best-sounding CDs I've ever heard. One of those just happens to be Billie Holiday's Songs for Distingué Lovers (VSCD 6021). This album along with a companion volume, Body And Soul, offer us small combo accompaniments featuring a who's who of great sidemen. Classic Records holds the distinction of actually being the only record label to scour the record vaults for the best tapes; here they were rewarded well, as theirs is the ONLY release to feature the sound in true stereo (Body and Soul was not so lucky).


Depending on the prowess of your audio system, this recording has the ability to offer you the best-sounding kick drum I've ever heard on any recorded source, and that's just for starters. There's a depth and image structure to the sound stage that places our sidemen in a proper perspective that is uncanny in its ability to sound like the musicians are performing on a real stage. Billie's voice is wonderfully captured in a wide range of frequencies, and amazing dynamics. (On the negative side, the dynamics of her voice are such that if you have even a trace of harshness in your tweeters, you will experience just a gnat's eyelash worth of dryness when she reaches the apexes in each of the tunes. I was able to ameliorate this by replacing my Telefunken 12AX7s with some vintage Sylvania Triple Mica 5751s.) Even more uncanny is the tonal structure of the muted trumpet and saxophone — especially on the first tune on the album, "Day In, Day Out."


Although I rarely audition new audio equipment in my own home, I am so familiar with this recording that I use it to make determinations of the additions to their systems that friends make.


If there is a single CD that is worth paying collector prices for, it's this one. But, you're in luck. These rarely sell for more than $25 whenever they appear on Amazon. If you know how to pre-order a used item there, my strong recommendation is to do just that (or you could put it on your wish list and check the Amazon site periodically). Right now there aren't any for sale over there. Speaking of sites that have this title, avoid getting into the ebay fray on this one. The collectors in the Far East drive the prices up quite high over there. Here's the Amazon link.


http://tinyurl.com/24zn95 "


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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No worries, I take no issue with your comments, and any post that turns me on to a good recording of a vocalist that I enjoy can't be a bad one.

I agree with the fact that most people are not audiophiles but at the same time, I find that a vast majority of the people who call themselves audiophiles are not audiophiles either, myself included. Sure we have some pricey equipment and sure we love the hobby, but for LOT OF PEOPLE, that's where it ends.

As far as that 320 kbps vs redbook test, I wasn't speaking about the average joe, I was speaking about us "audiophiles" Not ALL but a lot would be fooled.


Now let me go preorder a copy of that Billie Holiday CD and pray one becomes available in the near future.




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Don't get me wrong I love tinkering and faffing around like the next man but this jitter and word clock thing leaves me cold. Lets assume for the sake of argument we all agree that the quality of the recording is of paramount importance to the sound that comes out of our speakers. Let us also accept that audiophiles have similar ears to the rest of humanity and stop referring to those ordinary people who (sigh) can't hear the difference between high bitrate mp3 and redbook recordings.


My ears are fine, my hearing is good and my music eclectic. I listen to the sound generated by a Macbook Pro through my Dac X at levels that my wife will tolerate and never cease to be amazed at the result. I haven't spun a disc in over a year and have spent more time listening to music than when I was at university.


Sure I notice sound quality differences, it gets better late at night, it's not so good if I am worried about something and it does sound better if the amps have been on all day but I suspect some of these differences are psychological.

Whilst there is no doubt in my mind that basic low bitrate recordings usually sound muffled it is also true that many redbook recordings are almost unlistenable.


I am also sufficiently scientifically educated and self aware to know that chasing jitter reduction, word reclocking , adjusting my cones and cleaning my power will only empty my wallet and massage my ego.


Hey look have you seen the size of my cones....



yours, getting a deep tight soundstage tog








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Kind of reminds me of the camera forums. When i was learning about lenses I'd read and write posts in the lens forums and come across responses to posts to stop worrying about the equipment and just take pictures...


Funny, after i did finally finalize my lens line up I don't remember trolling the camera equipment forums telling other posters not to worry about equipment... cause I was too busy taking pictures! Why don't people follow their own advice?




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I expect that some people can, sometimes, hear the difference between 360kbps and lossless, on some recordings. I believe there are listening tests out there that confirm this. I think I can hear it, but I'm not at all sure. I suspect that more than a few who are cocksure, and speak of compressed files as if they are the spawn of the devil, have to strain as hard as I to think they hear it too.



I'm sorry for my contributions to perpetuating this tedious conversation, I really am. I wish I didn't care, but I sincerely feel like there are two things very wrong here that are exemplified by this particular conversation:


1) It is perpetuating, into the digital realm where it should not have followed, the grotesque elitist hyperbole (and THAT is the benefit of the doubt) of the audiophile endeavor that, frankly, has just about killed off the hobby, and is bound to scare off newcomers who might otherwise find great guidance at CA and renewed interest in good sound.


2) A couple of people are being allowed to use these discussions as a forum for shilling their questionable products and making exaggerated, unsubstantiated claims that could very easily be confirmed or not. They choose "not" for reasons I will no longer speculate upon.


All of this is, IMO, very, very bad for this board, and I like this place. It was, for awhile, an oasis of reason from this very variety of internet audiophile drivel.


With that said, I'm done with this particular debate. I will point newbies away from these conversations, in the direction of simple, elegant, great-sounding computer-as-source solutions that won't frighten them with huge price tags and grotesque complications. I will point out that the benefits of the "solutions" being discussed in these conversations are unproven, at best. And that's as far as I'll take it. Someone pointed out in the last "jitter" thread that there were people here with agendas. I'm one of them. My agenda is described above. I'll leave it to you to decide it that agenda is more honest and well-meaning than a desire to sell products.




I confess. I\'m an audiophool.

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