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Author Topic: Proper word clock implementation  (Read 123876 times)

Max

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #180 on: March 22, 2005, 03:06:30 pm »

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Max Gutnik
Apogee Electronics

crm0922

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #181 on: March 22, 2005, 03:20:09 pm »

chap wrote on Tue, 22 March 2005 12:10


My AD8000SE's (I think you approved of them) were saved by Big Ben.  

...

chap


Everyone seems to be skirting this question, so I'll just keep asking it.

If your AD8000's were "saved" by Big Ben, can you make the statement that added jitter improves the sound of audio?  This is the only statement that makes sense regarding both the laws of physics and what you are hearing.

Chris
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PookyNMR

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #182 on: March 22, 2005, 04:54:07 pm »

I do not doubt anyone that there may be a difference by adding an external clock.  Listening preferences aside, I would just like to know exactly what that difference is.

I still have a question that I can't seem to get an answer for.

If there is a perceivable audible difference why could it not be measured and quantified?
If there is a difference in the jitter of the system, why could it not be measured?

I am confused why the lack of technical data.  While there are some who don't seem to care about technical data, there are others who do.

Peace.
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Nathan Rousu

Joe Crawford

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #183 on: March 22, 2005, 05:09:57 pm »

OK, this thread has finally gotten my dander up.  This is why I went fishin’ a few years back….    

Max – you are a true believer… and in your position you have to be.  I respect you for it.  Your company has a good line of excellent (or almost excellent, this is where it gets subjective) products.  And, if you’re like every other high tech company out there, in order to market them, and meet the next quarter’s sales projections, I would imagine your marketing department sometimes stretches the truth, maybe just a little bit, as far as factual engineering is concerned.  They probably don’t even know it when they do.  This is totally normal in the audio industry as well as most other bleeding edge technology based industries.  It has been a generation or two since sales, marketing, and upper level management in high tech companies were staffed with engineers, rather than specialist in sales, marketing, and management (HP got away with it for years until H & P both retired).  Just like today’s political parties, every one spins it a little, no one tell the consumer the factual truth anymore.  We engineer's just have a problem with spin.

But, if you eventually get curious, everyone calms down, and, I guess, we all recover from this thread, try something.  Take you oldest (and most regarded) development engineer (if you still have one other that new grads, and have managed to keep a lead for a few years, and not the engineering manager, he’s probably corrupted already) out for few drinks some night after work and just have an off-the-record talk with him.  Ask him his actual opinion of the direction the product line is taking and what he thinks about the current products.  If you really get frisky, ask him a few of the questions brought up on this thread. Even run your current marketing liturature buy him.  You might be surprised.  Of course, if you bully him, you will get just the answers you want.  Like everyone else, he probably values his job.

It’s very hard to develop a corporate culture that permits, even encourages, free speech between sales/marketing and engineering.  Their “prime directives” are totally different.  I would guess that out of the dozen or more high tech companies I worked for in the last 40 years, only one or two has had a good rapport between those groups. At least from my point of view, they were the best companies ever I worked for.

Well, so much for this soap-box…

Joe Crawford
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danlavry

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #184 on: March 22, 2005, 05:28:31 pm »

Max,

AGAIN for the record:
On Monday Dec 27 2004, an Apogee Sr. Design Engineer Lucas said on this thread:
We do CLAIM:
1. The Big Ben is an excellent low jitter solution if you need a master clock
2. If you have to clock to a very jittery source, you’ll get better results most of the time by having the Big Ben cleaning it up first.
We haven’t claimed anything else.”



My clear technical comments showing that improved performance is technically impossible have not been answered!

Now to the “low jitter cable issue”

You said:

Finally, let it be clear to the end user that you are deceiving them with another semantic argument when making reference to our cables. Of course cables don't lower jitter, but cables do create jitter, some more than others. Apogee's Wyde-Eye cable creates less jitter artifacts than other cables, hence the phrase "ultra low jitter". We did not call it the "jitter free" cable or even the "jitter reducer", so this blatant attack is a deception.

The blatant deception is selling Ultra low jitter cable. Cables have a lot of specs ranging for bandwidth to resistance to capacitance and much more. But CABLES DO NOT HAVE A JITTER SPECS.

Yes you did not call it "jitter free" or   "jitter reducer". You also did not call it a “rose garden” or a “frying pan”. But you called it an “Ultra low jitter cable”  In trying to regroup you come up with a “rational” that  “cables do create jitter”. That is also nonsense. Covering up BS with more BS.  To my knowledge Apogee is the only one that claims that cables have jitter specs.

Yes I know, you cannot argue about “Ultra Low jitter cable”. No one can. You don’t have any measurements to show, just the regular SNAKE OIL blended with personal attacks, followed by claims of hearing it better.

ULTRA LOW JITTER CABLE IS SNAKE OIL. No way around it! Oops, you forgot to answer the other question about the "Temperature Controlled Cable".

Dan Lavry
Lavry Engineering, Inc.
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crm0922

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #185 on: March 22, 2005, 08:31:59 pm »

danlavry wrote on Tue, 22 March 2005 17:28

Max,

Yes I know, you cannot argue about “Ultra Low jitter cable”. No one can. You don’t have any measurements to show, just the regular SNAKE OIL blended with personal attacks, followed by claims of hearing it better.

ULTRA LOW JITTER CABLE IS SNAKE OIL. No way around it! Oops, you forgot to answer the other question about the "Temperature Controlled Cable".

Dan Lavry
Lavry Engineering, Inc.



Dan, if I were to use a piece of zip cord to carry word clock signals, would I experience more jitter on the receiving end of my system?  I am asking this question honestly, as the thought that a cable could contribute to jitter issues seems at least reasonable.

If the zip cord is bad news, then would proper impedance and capcitance ratings improve the jitter situation?  If so, could Apogee's cable be built with exacting standards that help resolve such issues?

I sure have learned a lot from this discussion, and I don't mind the snapping back and forth.  This type of discussion will make everyone's products better, since you know there are people there to question it.

Now I'll refrain from posting to this thread 10 times a day for a little while.

Chris
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dpd

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #186 on: March 22, 2005, 09:43:14 pm »

Cables can distort the digital waveforms and close up the 'eye pattern' which will have the effect of increasing the bit errors in any subsequent detector.  Most detectors are going to clip the incoming waveform, detect the clock and make the 1/0 detection at the mid-bit point, precisely to eliminate the effect of jitter - at least the bit synchronizers I have used do this.  (not sure about AES detectors).

But, unless the cable is defective (e.g. intermittent), what mechanism exists in the cable to create jitter?  There are no active, noise-inducing, parts of a cable so about all it can do is distort the waveform.

Am I missing something here?
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jimbo-baby

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #187 on: March 23, 2005, 01:35:54 am »

it occurs to me that the "improvements" in sound reported with use of the big ben may be because of what it adds to the signal rather than what it takes away (i think someone used the term "pretty jitter" to describe this). if that's the case, and some people think it does sound better, it is then being used the same way we use a 1073...to colour the sound in a way we think sounds cool. what is the goal of a converter? most people would say transparency. if you don't care about the number crunching and you just dig whatever sounds more ear pleasing, then go with it, and be satisfied. but don't complain about someone like dan, who has every right to question apogee over it's designs, being such a respected designer himself. he's not just bagging them out, he's asking them to explain how exactly their claims are possible. if they have some amazing new technological breakthrough, then they can patent it, and explain it to all. it'd be fantastic to do a blind listening test, but the results should be measured technically as well. that way everyone can make up their own mind. but you'd better beware if you're using a DA which adds it's own "ear pleasing colour" for in the box mixing or mastering, because then you're kind of missing the point of the flat response of your expensive room, acoustic treatment and monitors.
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danlavry

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #188 on: March 23, 2005, 01:55:30 pm »

crm0922 wrote on Wed, 23 March 2005 01:31

danlavry wrote on Tue, 22 March 2005 17:28

Max,

Yes I know, you cannot argue about “Ultra Low jitter cable”. No one can. You don’t have any measurements to show, just the regular SNAKE OIL blended with personal attacks, followed by claims of hearing it better.

ULTRA LOW JITTER CABLE IS SNAKE OIL. No way around it! Oops, you forgot to answer the other question about the "Temperature Controlled Cable".

Dan Lavry
Lavry Engineering, Inc.



Dan, if I were to use a piece of zip cord to carry word clock signals, would I experience more jitter on the receiving end of my system?  I am asking this question honestly, as the thought that a cable could contribute to jitter issues seems at least reasonable.

If the zip cord is bad news, then would proper impedance and capcitance ratings improve the jitter situation?  If so, could Apogee's cable be built with exacting standards that help resolve such issues?

I sure have learned a lot from this discussion, and I don't mind the snapping back and forth.  This type of discussion will make everyone's products better, since you know there are people there to question it.

Now I'll refrain from posting to this thread 10 times a day for a little while.

Chris


Chris,

First, let me have some fun:

Let us give Max the opportunity to dig a bigger hole!
Say Apogee is right. Say they discovered that there is another physical law to be added to the 5 Maxwell equations. Maybe not, I will be flexible. Say there is some mechanism that makes cables manufacture jitter. That is what Max said is it not?

So in the good old tradition of cable specs, lets come up with a figure for pico second per foot (cables are specified in pF/foot , Ohms/foot, uH/foot…). Say 1psec /foot jitter sounds like a great spec to me (why not, I can pull things out of the air as well as Apogee). So take a zero jitter clock (assuming it is there) and add 100 feet of cable, and you have 100psec jitter.

So that is one more argument leading us to the conclusion that internal clocking is better, and assuming Big Ben has little jitter, 100 feet of cable will do you in. So go for internal clock.

There is still one more problem left. No one is saying what temperature controlled cable is. I thought about it long and hard, trying to figure out what the hack is temperature controlled cable. I figured if I say the wrong thing, I will be accused of deception, but let me give it a try:

There is a hidden oven built around the copper to make sure the electrons are happy. If they get a cold, they may start shaking very fast and when they enter the low jitter PCB trace they will be very jittery. I wonder if the temperature control is solar or nuclear.

That is the best I can come up with, and the sellers of that will not shed any more light on the issue. Until such time, I have the right to mock it. I think the customers have the right to demand an explanation!
   
Now, that I had my morning fun… to your question

If I carry your argument forward, then resistors make jitter, capacitors make jitter, everything does. Of course passive components do not generate jitter, least of all a cable, a solid piece of copper.

A cable bandwidth, capacitance, resistance, inductance, the skin effect, the proximity effect and the rest of the specs obey the same principles that ALL OF ELECTRONICS does – the 5 Maxwell equations, the laws of physics that govern all electricity and magnetism (which always go hand in hand).

A resistor generates noise. That noise is and the mechanism which generates it is all in line with Maxwell’s equations. There is a mechanism at play that is explainable. Say I build a comparator circuit for word clock detection. I will use resistors. To set a detection point (threshold). If I use higher value resistors, they will generate more noise, and the outcome can be more jittery.

Does that open the door to salesmen to sell low value resistors as "low jitter resistors"?

Each part, be it a resistor, IC, cable… has specific characteristics that are INDEPENDENT of its application. A 10 Ohm resistor is ALWAYS 10 Ohms resistor, be it for audio, instrumentation or just in the stock room all by itself. A 1/4 watt resistor is always a 1/4 watt resistor. I know a lot of things about that resistor and they GO WITH THE COMPONENT.  Of course if I dissipate more power than the rating allows,  I will fry it. If I only dissipate 1mW in a 250mW device I have huge margin of safety. It does not mean that I can call it high reliability device. IT IS THE WAY I USED IT that made it high reliability.

It would be appropriate to consider the specs that come with a cable. You may want it to be of certain bandwidth, capacitance, shielded, and so on. That is how you put a system together. But to say that the cable makes jitter?

You can say that a system has low jitter because of a list of factors and cable bandwidth may be one of them. Cable shielding may be another. Much of the outcome is about the interaction of different factors such as cable driver characteristics, load, environment noise, grounding. So you cannot attach attributes to a component characteristics, that varies from case to case, from setup to setup.

I can cut a tree and put it on a high speed jet. Does it become a “high speed tree”?

And again, I really want an explanation regarding the meaning of temperature controlled cable. Apogee will not answer me. They are the “Wal-Mart of converters”.  There are a lot of ear people in the industry, that do not know much technical. But almost every one knows that there is a thing called jitter and “it is a bad thing”. So you sell them a flawed concept about an external box fixing a problems in another box, and that is a crock. But they push it anyway. Even after their engineer backs off the claims AND HE DID RIGHT HERE ON THIS FORUM. ANYONE THAT CAN READ CAN SEE IT FOR THEMSELVES. Then you add some BS about ultra low jitter temperature controlled … it is really bad for the industry to have people believe in BS.

You see, ear people get to decide what they want, what they hear, what they like. In a sense, everyone is “king” of their own turf. But this forum is technical, and that “equality” does not exist here. Some people are technical gurus and others are totally uninformed. One can have a lot of awards in the ear side and it does not make them technical. One of the difficult challenges for me is to learn to accept that a lot of visitors here are just “used to a different style” where they get to decide everything. A guy came here yesterday talking about his awards and many years of work as if it is the most importent thing for a cable or clock discussion. What about my many years of dealing with the ELECTRONIC aspects of the cable? I have no cable awards. In fact, it is the end of the era where “fat cat club” ruled audio by ear, ignoring technical realities, with technical awards given by name recognition (thus advertising money). Where is it all leading?
The method of advertising crock in audio has been traditionally to drum up some well known names and have them say nice things for you in exchange to something  else.  
Technical folks are a lot less willing to “just say anything”. But hearing people don’t look at numbers, and they “bend easier”. You can see the discrepancy between Lucas and Max. Lucas came back to a defensible position. Max will not. Perhaps Lucas wishes that his company would have not said that their cable is low jitter temp controlled.  

So naturally, all the snake oil in audio comes back to drumming up folks willing to say things about “how it sounds”. You make them believe you are about substance and they will back you up. Some have so much confidence that they do not even bother with a blind test. They have done so for many years, being respected, even reinforced for such behavior.

And now I am here, calling it BS. Yes Max, the equipment salesman from Sweetwater, now at Apogee, has attacked  me and I will respond to it in the next few days. I am still here, at almost 60 years of age, after designing lots of gear for my own and various companies and making a very good living, with very appreciative and happy customers.

I have 3 new products waiting for me to finish them if only I could get away from this forum for a while.

Regards
Dan Lavry
www.lavryengineering.com




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Logichead

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #189 on: March 23, 2005, 05:44:10 pm »

TOWARDS COMMON SPECIFICATIONS FOR DIGITAL AUDIO INTERFACE JITTER

In the for what it's worth department, google the title above and you will find a white paper on jitter. In section 3.8 it appears to say that jitter is induced by lower bandwidth cable. This would mean high bandwidth cable would be less likely to induce jitter. Isn't that the point of the Apogee digital cable? (BTW, they include measurements.)

So which manufacturer is selling the snake oil? Pot, kettle, black?

More importantly, when these threads become personal they lose their validity. It is with regret and with respect that I make the following request:

Dan - you need to stop using this forum to sell your products and yourself, or  resign as moderator. It is inappropriate for you to use your position to attack your competitors and former employers. You (and any other manufacturer) have too much to gain here to be unbiased.

The rest of you - use your friggin' ears to examine what the numbers tell you. There was a time when everyone knew that it was impossible to fly.

Best regards....H









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chap

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #190 on: March 23, 2005, 08:16:39 pm »

Dan,
I've stated that I respect your work and your products.
I've also experimented enough to know that I do prefer Apogee's X series.  I applaud your desire to have a technichal discussion
but when you blatently dismiss listening as an aspect of the discussion, you do a discredit to your own work.

Again, until the paint is on the canvas, it's just a can of paint.
Maybe one paint specs out better but you have dismissed the painters who would buy your paint.  You can delete this if you want
but to me, it further reveals that these anti Apogee threads are as much about your 'feelings' as they are about technichal aspects.

I continue to respect your work. I have used your paper on 192kz
sample rates in a college course I teach.  I agree with you and I thought it was good work.  I don't understand why you would demonize a competitor.  I could say Bill Frissell isn't a good player but that would make me look like a jerk (he's a great player).  His abilities don't diminish mine.  

Aren't there other fish to fry than guys who work hard on innovative products and deliver on them?

All respect,
chap
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chap

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #191 on: March 23, 2005, 08:20:33 pm »

ditto that logic.

If it helps Dan, I'm only a few years younger than you and would
advise that you go and make those products.  It's great to be passionate
about something (I am) but try using it it a more positive way.
This thread is not helping you.
peace,
chap
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danlavry

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #192 on: March 23, 2005, 09:36:41 pm »

Logichead wrote on Wed, 23 March 2005 22:44

TOWARDS COMMON SPECIFICATIONS FOR DIGITAL AUDIO INTERFACE JITTER

In the for what it's worth department, google the title above and you will find a white paper on jitter. In section 3.8 it appears to say that jitter is induced by lower bandwidth cable. This would mean high bandwidth cable would be less likely to induce jitter. Isn't that the point of the Apogee digital cable? (BTW, they include measurements.)

So which manufacturer is selling the snake oil? Pot, kettle, black?

More importantly, when these threads become personal they lose their validity. It is with regret and with respect that I make the following request:

Dan - you need to stop using this forum to sell your products and yourself, or  resign as moderator. It is inappropriate for you to use your position to attack your competitors and former employers. You (and any other manufacturer) have too much to gain here to be unbiased.

The rest of you - use your friggin' ears to examine what the numbers tell you. There was a time when everyone knew that it was impossible to fly.

Best regards....H





First, what julian is calling a “cable induced” jitter that is a mechanism that was well explained and discovered by Hawksford. The Hawksford paper is called "Is the AES/EBU standard Flawed" It involves an active digital audio signal that changes with the music such as AES (clock plus data). Not a signal that is repetitive such as in the case of WORD CLOCK.

Apogee is selling a word clock cable and calling it a low jitter cable. You are bringing up an application that has nothing to do with word clock, nor does it have to do with any periodic signal such as sync to AES black.

You are transferring results from a different application, where one cable characteristic (high frequency cutoff) interacts with a transformer lower bandwidth to cause a signal droop that will change a comparator trip point. All of that only happens when the signal is of a specific type.  

Your example does not apply here at all. The way a cable, a transformer and the rest of the circuit reacts to an AES signal with data does not have anything to do with word clock.

This is in fact a good way to explain why cables don’t make jitter. There is a big difference between a component characteristic and the way a component behaves in a circuit when it is interacting with other components AND given signals.

That is why the concept of cables and jitter are miles apart.

The characteristics that belong to a cable description are constant for all applications, such as capacitance per foot, resistance and so on.


In the paper you quoted the application is different. It is about transfer of a different signal and it takes interaction of ALL 3 elements to make that jitter:

A. A changing signal
B. Rise time limitation due to bandwidth
C. DC blocking high pass

A given cable that may be a problem for transfer of digital audio to a DA can be great for word clock.

Cables do not make jitter. Resistors don’t make jitter. Capacitors do not either. A combination of parts in a given application can cause jitter, and changing resistor values may alter the jitter, but that does not make a specific resistor value a low jitter resistor. The same exact resistor may be the worst value in another application.

I would not mind an cable specification of bandwidth, capacitance, inductance attenuation per length, frequency…  All of those are cable characteristics.
Jitter is not a cable characteristic.

Say that Julian were to use an AC coupling made of a blocking Cap value of  0.1uF. Say a change to 1uF yielded better results. Does it make a 1uF cap a low jitter cap?  

A sales guy may claim with a VERY LONG STRETCH that a 1uF cap is low jitter for this circuit. But the improvement would not be there when you go for a different application. That’s is why you do not call a 1uF capacitor a low jitter capacitor. No one will call a 1uF capacitor a low jitter capacitor just because it improved jitter in one specific circuit. So no one should call a cable a low jitter cable just because it helped achieve lower jitter in one circuit.

Don’t forget to add to it the fact that we are talking about a different circuit, a word clock link not an AES data link, which is the link discussed in Hawksford and Julian’s papers.

Dan Lavry
www.lavryenginering.com
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Logichead

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #193 on: March 23, 2005, 11:46:04 pm »

Example 2:
A MARKETTING COMPANY ?X? sells cable that they claim are: ULTRA LOW JITTER CABLE and TEMPERATURE COMPENSATED CABLE. I do not know what temperature compensated cable means but I KNOW that THE CONCEPT OF ?ULTRA LOW JITTER CABLE? is not true. Cables don?t have jitter . A cable is a PASSIVE device. It is just a ?piece of material?. The level of jitter is determined by the electrical signal driving the cable! There may be other factors (variable load, induced noise and more). One thing for sure: but there is no such a thing as ultra low jitter cable.

?Jitter to cable? is like a ?laptop to Moses?
?Jitter to cable? is like a ?Pistachio nut to a whale?
?Ultra Low jitter cable? is like ?super high speed tree?
?Ultra Low jitter cable? is like ?butter to a headphone jack?


Please know that in future that statements about personal opinion and marketing will be deleted unless backed up with technical input.

Dan Lavry
Lavry Engineering, Inc.
[/quote]


There does indeed appear to be "cable induced jitter" as noted in the white paper. You seem to agree, in contrast to your previous statements, seen above. To quote the paper, "this model shows how cable induced jitter (is) strongly dependant on the bandwidth of the link." The example quoted started with this statement:

"If a jitter-free interface signal is transmitted down a cable then the data pattern in the signal will modulate the signal zero-crossing timings.  This modulation is such that patterns of zeroes produce more delay to the transition timings than patterns of ones, so as the data varies the timings modulate in sympathy."

And later on reached this conclusion:

"If we consider a short chain of digital audio devices, where each device is locked to the previous one, we have several contributions to the jitter at the end of the chain.  Each device will add its own intrinsic jitter, and each interconnecting cable will make some contribution with cable-induced pattern-dependent jitter."

Notice also, in the above statements, you did not limit your statements to word clock cables only. (Yes, the thread is labeled "proper word clock implementation" but the subject has ranged far and wide since the thread's begining.)

It remains inappropriate for you - a manufacturer - to moderate a thread which villifies, either directly or indirectly, other manufacturers. Your bias is showing.

Best regards....H







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Nika Aldrich

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #194 on: March 24, 2005, 05:43:50 am »

Is this thread really about semantics?  Cables don't directly induce jitter - the jitter comes from EMI, RFI, other types of noise.  Good cables merely reject that jitter better.  In this capacity, bad cables are said to "induce" jitter because it is accepted that some degree of noise is a part of the environment, so cables that allow this noise to affect the signal are said to "induce" that jitter.  This seems like pretty basic stuff to me?

As far as the filtering of cables, I assume it has been discussed that cables act as filters and can thus cause modulation of the square wave pulses and can therefore create jitter that was otherwise not present.  Lowering the cutoff frequency of the filter can increase the modulation.  The less square the waveform the greater likelihood that the cable's inherent filtering properties exacerbate the jitter present from noise sources as well.  For these reasons as well, good quality cabling helps reduce jitter manifested through the process.

I think that the filtering properties of a cable do indeed "induce" jitter, but even if we reject this for some reason and say that cables don't "induce" jitter, but they can be said to "reject" jitter, and if you accept that that jitter from noise is an inherent part of the environment one could certainly decide to describe the use of poor cables as "inducing the manifestation of this problem."  It seems petty to try to pick apart these semantics.

As for Apogee's "low jitter cable" (or "ULTRA low jitter cable" or whatever) I think the implication is that it has high jitter rejection, has better inherent filtering properties, and thus exudes lower amounts of jitter?  

Something seems petty about debating the semantics at play here, especially when we all know what was meant, and when AES whitepapers have been written on the significance of using good quality cabling so as to provide lower jitter to digital devices.

Nika
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