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Clocking whinge

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Clocking whinge

Postby BJG145 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:25 pm

Here's something that exasperates me. I've got several synths with digital outs (Quadrasynth, XV5050, K2000R), but I never use them because as far as I understand it, these can all only act as master, and can't slave to an external clock.

What's the use of that? Who wants to use some random synth as the clock master for their studio? Besides which, the desk I use can only slave to clock via BNC. So I just end up recording them all through the output jacks instead. Am I missing something here? Image
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Re: Clocking whinge

Postby The Elf » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:49 pm

I share your exasperation.

I'm fast approaching yet another gear acquisition rule in my studio - 'thou shalt include a wordclock input'.

This is rule #2, hot on the heels of rule #1: 'Thou shalt not arrive with an external power supply' - and just above rule #3: 'Thou shalt have no other format than full-width rack-mount'.
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Re: Clocking whinge

Postby Dave B » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:58 pm

I have a vague recollection about a Drawmer box that allows you to merge all those separately clocked signals, but I could well be mistaken. Even if I'm right, it would be expensive.

Elf - you've come to the same conclusion that I came to a while back. No BNC - no digital connectivity in my book.
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Re: Clocking whinge

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:32 pm

You need a box with digital inputs that are resampled. All the Digidesign HD interfaces can do that. It's very useful. One of Drawmer's clock boxes has to SRC inputs, and I think the Friendchip boxes can do it too:

Drawmer M Clock:
http://www.drawmer.com/products/dms/m-clock-plus-master-clock-src.php

The Friendchip MQ4 module:
http://www.friend-chip.de/modules.htm

But then you might find that analogue in sounds better than sample rate converted input.
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Re: Clocking whinge

Postby BJG145 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:32 pm

So...resample and synchronise. Hadn't come across that.

That Drawmer clock looks nice - shame it's nearly £1200. Maybe I prefer the sound of analogue after all...
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Re: Clocking whinge

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:39 pm

Re: analogue outputs -- yes, absolutely. it's the universal clock-free sample rate converter, and with modern delta-sigma converters the sound quality impact of analogue out to analogue in is negligible and convenience is very high. So if that maeks life easier, go for it without a second's thought of concern.

Re: analogue outs sounding better than modern SRC digital inputs. Not a chance. Different, possibly; subjectively prefer it, maybe; technically better. No chance.

Re: non-syncrhonisable digital outs on keyboards. yep. Pain in the arse. If they're going to fit a digital out the least they could do is fit a wordclock sync ref in as well. Muppets!

On the other hand, maybe they think anyone that buys a master workstation keyboard can only play one such instrument at a time, and so telling your interface to sync to it's digital out for the duration of the recording is not really a problem. And that argument has at least some merit...

Re: Drawmer M-CLock Plus (or the precursor MClock if you can find one on the second hand market) has two (four for the original model) hardware SRCs locked to the MClock's internal master and it works extremely well for synchronising a bunch of free-running units. Highly recommended.

The Roland M-1000 is another similarly useful device.

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Re: Clocking whinge

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:09 pm

Cool.
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Re: Clocking whinge

Postby dmills » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:28 pm

Think there would be a market for the little eurocard with a couple of SRC4192s and some glue?

This is not a difficult thing to do these days, all the hard stuff is pre packaged for you, just stick it on a board with a power supply and output driver.

In fact the hardest bit is the output clock generator and word clock chasing PLL (Particularly if you want odd rates).

£150 per channel should be quite doable if you only want spdif (AES3 needs pulse transformers to meet spec) I would have thought, in fact I am surprised that RDL or someone does not have a 'stick on' for this.

Sonifex have the RB-SC1 but I cannot but feel that it is overkill for this application.

While modern analogue digital conversion is very, very, good, I have seen some keyboards that really should know better getting it horribly wrong (you know you got a problem when the keyboard sounds fine on its own, but whistles when hooked up via a cheap ADC...), there are reasonable cases for using an ASRC to add a word clock.

Regards, Dan.
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Re: Clocking whinge

Postby Dave B » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:38 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The Roland M-1000 is another similarly useful device.

Missed that one first time round - looks _very_ handy to have!
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