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Author Topic: Proper word clock implementation  (Read 160146 times)

PookyNMR

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #165 on: March 21, 2005, 02:34:50 PM »

Max wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 11:06



Our position on this has always been based on results and data compiled through listener experience and we question the rigidity of the dogma espoused here based on said experience. Dan had deleted a number of our responses in this regard, so we have opted not to continue this discussion in his forum. If you really do care about this issue and not the rhetoric being thrown around by a couple of folks with absolutely no experience on the product, do the listening.


I think the argument was that listening tests are far too subjective.  Plus, Dan wants this forum do be about data and facts (as per his statement at the top of the forum), not tainted by the subjectivity of listening tests, which in the end tells little more than the individuals perferences.  

What was wanted was hard data / measurements.  None were provided.  All that was provided was "listen for yourself."  Sounds to many like a cop-out, trying to hide bad numbers.
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Nathan Rousu

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #166 on: March 21, 2005, 03:27:00 PM »

PookyNMR wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 14:34

I think the argument was that listening tests are far too subjective...
which in the end tells little more than the individuals perferences.  


Listening tests are subjective, but may provide much more information than just preference.   Depending on the testing and analysis, subjective testing may render hard data about perception.

I don't know how this applies to this word clock thread, but perceptual data can be just as "hard" as data from physical measurements.

 
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Max

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #167 on: March 21, 2005, 04:16:29 PM »

PookyNMR wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 19:34

I think the argument was that listening tests are far too subjective.  Plus, Dan wants this forum do be about data and facts (as per his statement at the top of the forum), not tainted by the subjectivity of listening tests, which in the end tells little more than the individuals perferences.  

What was wanted was hard data / measurements.  None were provided.  All that was provided was "listen for yourself."  Sounds to many like a cop-out, trying to hide bad numbers.


Again, please read the thread (and Nathan, try and read it without the fervent anti-Apogee bias that pervades all of your posts, on this forum and others).

The assertion was that if an external clock can improve the sound quality of a single converter, there must be something wrong with the converter's clock design.

I quote:

If you hear differences when you change clocks "controlling" your converters, then you have a defective converter design! A well-designed converter should contain internal phase locked loops whose performance reduces any incoming jitter artifacts to inaudibility. An external clock is a bandaid for a "cure" which can only be done properly within a good converter design. In fact, any converter which does not perform equally as good or BETTER on internal clock than external is also defective.

BK


Followed by Dan's comment:

Yes indeed! Well said.


We dispute that, based on the only thing that really matters, how it sounds. The fact that many well thought of converters in the field are improved sonically and perceived to be more accurate with the addition of Big Ben in the opinions of their users over and over again is evidence enough to dispute the assertion as being factual. Measurements and numbers have nothing to do with this.

So again, the accusation is that somehow any converter that benefits sonically with Big Ben as the clock source must be poorly designed. We said that means a heck of a lot of converters are poorly designed, including converters other than Apogees that many claim to be great. In fact, much of what Bob Katz says later proves my point.

The AD 8000 is about the only Apogee converter I'm "comfortable" with in terms of its sound quality (personal opinion). I tested it on internal and external clock with a good clock, for jitter artifacts, and it appears to perform about the same either way, which is a good sign.

There is no doubt among any listener that has used the AD-8000 with Big Ben that Big Ben improves the sound quality of the AD-8000 significantly. Additionally, our current hybrid PLL design (used in the Rosetta 800 and Rosetta 200) is greatly improved over the PLL in the AD-8000, which we consider to be an average clock design by today's standards. So based on this, One has to consider the possibility that an external clock can improve the sound quality of a converter with a good internal PLL design. Finally, the Rosetta 800 and Rosetta 200 are very high quality clock sources in and of themselves, much better than the AD-8000 and as good or better than any other internal PLL on the market save for the C777, yet even they are improved sonically with Big Ben as the master.

None of this has to do with how things get measured, it has to do with sound. If that is "out of bounds" or "too subjective" for this forum, than the original assertion should have been out of bounds as well, for it referenced "hearing differences" i.e. "sound quality", not mathematics.
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Max Gutnik
Apogee Electronics

chap

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #168 on: March 21, 2005, 04:18:34 PM »

I have great respect for engineers.  They are a unique, fanatical
breed and make the gear that many of us use for a living.
That said, put me in a room with any engineer and 40 tracks of music. and I will emerge with music. I can't speak for the engineer.
 My point is that listening does count.  If it does not, you have failed your mission.
I get paid to listen to music (and make it) 5-7 days a week.
I wouldn't pretend to have a deep understanding of every piece of gear but I'm happy to use it every day.  I can't build a guitar but I get paid to play them.  I would never buy one without listening to it first.  I am one of the people who has reported positive results to Apogee (unsolicited and certainly not paid for).
I have used all of the converters mentioned here and like the X series because they work and sound right to my ear.
My TC6000 sounds better clocked to Big Ben and it already sounded good.  To be dismissive of the importance of listening is like a paint maker being dismissive towards painters.

It would seem as if this thread has turned into a schoolyard
'dozens' session.  Just keep making us good gear.
peace
chap
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danlavry

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #169 on: March 21, 2005, 08:03:07 PM »

Max wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 18:06

crm0922 wrote on Sun, 20 March 2005 20:15

jimbo-baby wrote on Sun, 20 March 2005 07:28



i would love to see a proper reply from the apogee guy, but i've got the feeling i won't. i'd like to thank dan for being good enough to share his knowledge on this forum, and can only wish that his level of integrity would rub off on other audio designers/companies.

jimbo


Agreed.  It seems that apogee spent a lot of time complaining about Dan's rhetoric and little time defending their claims here and those in their advertisements.

I would like to see this defended if Apogee is ever to be considered a serious pro audio innovator.

Chris



If you read through the entire thread from the beginning, you will understand...

Max




Max,

I am sure many of the visitors to this forum view the "Daily Show" hosted by John Stewart. One of the recent guests was Harry Frankfurt, a Princeton professor and the author of the book “On Bullshit”.

I bought the book and read it. It contrasts bullshit with lying. ..." for the bullshitter, he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as facts may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says."... The liar knows that what he is saying in not true.

You said: “Dan had deleted a number of our responses in this regard, so we have opted not to continue this discussion in his forum”.

I deleted some of your repetitive salesman, non-technical responses but none of Lucas's. In fact, while you said “we have opted not to continue this discussion in his forum” Lucas did respond and I have the statement from his last response below.

On Monday Dec 27 2004, an Apogee Sr. Design Engineer Lucas said on this thread:

“Bob and Dan,

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.”


The Apogee guys did not answer any of the 3 questions below (and other questions). Instead they made the above 2 claims.

My unanswered questions are:

I. QUESTION: WHICH SOLUTION PROVIDES LESS JITTER AT THE AD LOCATION?
A. A REASONABLE FIXED CRYSTAL
B. BIG BEN DRIVING A CLOCK INTO A CHASSIS EQUIPPED WITH A PLL VIA A 10 FOOT CABLE?

II. QUESTION: CAN ONE EVER CANCEL OR REDUCE A RANDOM NOISE AT ONE END OF A CABLE WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT KIND OF JITTER ACTIVITY IS OCCURRING AT THE OTHER END?
(Or stated another say: Can one cancel, remove or reduce the receiver and PLL noise, some of it unknown, some totally random, by driving it with a clean low jitter clock? Driving it with any clock?)

III. QUESTION: CAN ONE MODULATE A LOW JITTER CLOCK WITHOUT ADDING JITTER?
A low jitter clock requires the utmost in Word Clock cycle to cycle REPEATABILITY . (Alternatively, for AES signal it requires the frame pattern to be repeatable). That requirement disables and negates any possible signal modulation. With no modulation one can not send any additional information to change the behavior of the “box” ahead (such as an AD).

The Big Ben connection to the AD is one directional. It sends a clock yet receives no signal back. Therefore, the Big Ben would have to figure out what is happening in a different box “all by itself” without any signals communicating that information. Once you overcome that impossibility, the Big Ben would have to figure out (among other things) how to send information to the AD to alter its behavior. That too is an impossibility, unless you introduce modulation which is jitter.

So you do not know what message to send, but you send it anyway by means of “not sending a message”.


My technical questions trump any claim to secret or proprietary methods for achieving the impossible. My questions exemplify solid and fundamental electronic engineering and physics principles. It was not surprising that Lucas and you completely backed away from your PREVIOUS posture, which was initially posited as Apogee’s secret technology of the 21st century against the old engineering of the last century.

You are now saying "Our position on this has always been based on results and data compiled through listener experience…”

What happened to your statement: “until we developed technology that would make a difference”. What happened to what Lucas said: “Just like you, I was convinced that internal clocking was the best thing to do. But here is what I found…. So yes we are very proud of our work and can imagine you don’t like to see someone succeed in something you thought was impossible.”

This goes beyond bullshit.

Lucas, the current Apogee designer could not show technically that his gear would do what Apogee claimed because in fact the claims were impossible.  

What happened after Lucas presented his very watered down 2 claims?
Your advertisements continue to espouse subjective listening tests.

Does this advertising practice CONTRADICTS the statement “We haven’t claimed anything else?”
After saying that you do not claim  Big Ben will improve AD performance, Apogee advertising material pushes that same point using customer's testimonials  to say it for you.
Suppose I want to sell you snake oil, but do not want  to defend it (I know I cannot). I go and find a few people that believe the powers of my snake oil, and I provide advertising channels for them to say so… Is that OK? Audio has a lot of “snake oil”, because there is such a lack of accountability.

The Dan Lavry designs (AD500, DA1000, UV22 with Jerry) that Apogee manufactured and marketed could stand on their own without bullshit.

Dan Lavry
Lavry Engineering, Inc.
"In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."


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PookyNMR

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #170 on: March 21, 2005, 10:53:29 PM »

Max wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 14:16


The assertion was that if an external clock can improve the sound quality of a single converter, there must be something wrong with the converter's clock design.

<snip>

We dispute that, based on the only thing that really matters, how it sounds. The fact that many well thought of converters in the field are improved sonically and perceived to be more accurate with the addition of Big Ben in the opinions of their users over and over again is evidence enough to dispute the assertion as being factual. Measurements and numbers have nothing to do with this.

None of this has to do with how things get measured, it has to do with sound. If that is "out of bounds" or "too subjective" for this forum, than the original assertion should have been out of bounds as well, for it referenced "hearing differences" i.e. "sound quality", not mathematics.


Please, please explain to me how a difference can be heard but not measured?  If there is a difference (an improvement), why could it not be measured?  Help me understand.

Max wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 14:16

Again, please read the thread (and Nathan, try and read it without the fervent anti-Apogee bias that pervades all of your posts, on this forum and others).


I have more or less related my experiences with your equipment.  Forgive me if my emotions of disapointment tainted my posts.  I have had a number of equipment failures (in gear that I demoed for purchase and in another facility).  And, ironically, I have also had your units not do so well in listening test with other units.

I will, however, from now on give you guys the benefit of the doubt because Fletcher gave his word on his experience of your QC.

I appologize if I've been an ass to you or your company.  Can we still be friends??

[edited]
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Nathan Rousu

crm0922

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #171 on: March 21, 2005, 11:45:28 PM »

Max wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 13:06


If you read through the entire thread from the beginning, you will understand that this all began with some remarks about Apogee by Bob Katz in reference to some of Dan's statements.

...




Hi Max.  I don't care about the origin of all the comments made, and yes, I did read the entire thread.  What I asked for was an answer to the two important questions Dan asked (again, on this page in fact).  I am a consumer, and I deserve those answers, even if you don't think Dan does.

Quote:


As for the ad, understand that these are unpaid endorsements in the user's own words. Obviously, his and many other engineer's experience differs from some of the opinions on this forum, hence our comments in this very thread.



I'm note sure it matters whether they are paid or unpaid endorsements.  Publishing these statements is an endorsement in and of itself of the engineer's opinions by Apogee.

Quote:


Regarding serious pro audio innovation, Apogee's record speaks for itself, and I would suggest doing a bit of research on the subject before making such statements.


I guess I asked for this (re: flamethrowing), but do you honestly think it is a good idea to insult your customers?  I am not asking for anything other than the answers to Dan's short and simple questions, only from a customer/consumer point of view.

Regarding "serious innovation", a designer of pretty highly regarded converters has questioned your clock design in Big Ben and the higher end converters in your line.  He seems to view much of the hubub about Big Ben as marketing directed towards people that are stuck on the idea that an external clock will "clean up" their audio.

Why should I believe that your company is, *today*, making products that are serious innovations?  Because you've sold more converters than your competition?  

You don't know who I am, and, as far as you are concerned, I may own a couple full racks of Apogee gear and want to know if I've wasted my money, and where.  And don't tell me to use my ears, I can't objectively compare your converter designs with *every* other converter in the world, with and without Big Ben, etc.  It is too time consuming, and not often very revealing.  We almost always have to pick from less than 5 choices with any type of gear, so some of us may want some answers on a technical level before we buy (or sell) some Apogee equipment.

Is everyone enjoying these canned worms I've let back on the loose again?  I really didn't want to start another flame war.  I think Apogee can answer Dan's question without giving away their nuclear secrets, I just hope they come around and actually do it.

Chris
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bananahill

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #172 on: March 22, 2005, 08:07:15 AM »

The big argument here seems to be numbers vs. listening.   I realize this forum is supposed to be about data, but come on, the final result has to be listening or else the numbers are meaningless.  Music is a subjective experience and we are using the converters to record music ( and/or sound effects, which also should have clarity, depth, definition, etc.)

Something stated earlier about premium gas in a bad engine...
If the car doesn't get you anywhere, the car has no value.
The numbers can be outstanding, yet the sound may not.
The numbers can be less than ideal, yet sound great.
Does anyone here deny that a Neve 1073 is a thing of beauty?
Does anyone hear claim that same 1073 is numerically transparent?

How about a double blind listening test with the above parties present?
compare converters...compare Big Ben in or out of the system.

how about a jazz quintet?  drums, bass, piano, trumpet, sax.
all acoustic, all complex instruments.

I will offer my engineering services and analog gear anywhere in Los Angeles.
I will do my best to enlist world class musicians to perform.
I will offer my Pro Tools system.  Each manufacturer will supply converters and/or clock.
I will encourage other engineers to be present and verify impartiality.

Put your money where your mouth is.

How about it?  any takers?

Results to be posted on this site.  Perhaps an article in Mix or EQ?

Since the term Bullshit has already been brought into this forum, I will continue its use.  
Let's cut the bullshit and do some listening.
Without listening, it's all wanking about the tree in the forest and Schroedinger's cat.
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Stephen Krause

crm0922

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #173 on: March 22, 2005, 09:17:20 AM »

bananahill wrote on Tue, 22 March 2005 08:07

The big argument here seems to be numbers vs. listening.   I realize this forum is supposed to be about data, but come on, the final result has to be listening or else the numbers are meaningless.  


I will channel Dan for a moment and point out that there are many other forums about listening, this one is for technical discussions.  Dan has made the case that there is no technical possibility that a converter clocked externally will experience less jitter in the incoming clock stream than one clocked internally (to a decently implemented internal clock).

Apogee has asserted many things, but the statement I think some of us are looking for, which mixes the technical realities with some people's perception of "better audio" is something like this:

"A converter clocked to an external Big Ben unit experiences more jitter than it would clocked internally (given a reasonable internal clock) but sounds better to some for unknown and unquantifiable reasons."

The next logical conclusion is, of course, that more jitter results in better sound, or at least does not result in poorer sound.

Hmmm.

Chris

PS - I do not have an anti-Apogee bias at all, but this discussion has made me think about a few things, and I'd really like to see this followed up, preferably civilly.  Smile

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crm0922

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #174 on: March 22, 2005, 09:27:20 AM »

Max wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 16:16


We dispute that, based on the only thing that really matters, how it sounds. The fact that many well thought of converters in the field are improved sonically and perceived to be more accurate with the addition of Big Ben in the opinions of their users over and over again is evidence enough to dispute the assertion as being factual. Measurements and numbers have nothing to do with this.



I am trying to be civil, but this type of thing makes me go bananas.  I refuse to accept that the laws of physics do not exist, as do many on this forum.

You must concede, Max, that externally clocked converters experience more jitter at the clock input of the attached converter chip.  To deny this suggests that somehow the external converter is able to counteract the jitter introduced by cabling, line drivers, and PLL circuits that are hard wired into the path.

If your product is able to alter the performance of a PLL operating in another chassis, please let us know this, and you needn't explain how, but this particular feat would be quite impressive.

Otherwise, reasonable people are still left to assume that your statements about "better sound" are pure sales-talk.

Thanks, Max, for continuing to respond to the posts in this thread.

Chris
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Joe Crawford

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #175 on: March 22, 2005, 09:51:27 AM »

You must look at clock jitter as noting other than “dither in the time domain”… We even shape it to get better low level resolution and bring out the finer details in the audio.  Our Studio Master Clock, through the use of “state-of-the art random noise insertion” (SOA-RNI) significantly improves high frequency presence and detail by adding just the right amount of jitter, exactly where it is needed to be most effective.

Joe Crawford (Do I get that job in marketing now?)
Stony Mountain Studio
Shanks, WV  26761
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Joe Crawford

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #176 on: March 22, 2005, 09:56:40 AM »

I forgot to add...  It's only $6,437.27 per port.

Joe Crawford
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bananahill

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #177 on: March 22, 2005, 10:31:41 AM »

OK, no listening, just theory...

The cat...
Big Ben (or any external clock) cannot work.  It does not make a system or converter sound better.

The box...
double blind listening test.

put the cat into the box and send it into space... the internet.

when does this cat die?

As long as you never listen, you can believe the cat is still alive.

However if you open the box...


If you don't want to listen, then there is no point to any of this.

I understood the point of this forum is to reach a deeper understanding of how this stuff works.  The theory is all great in the design stage. Once the product is made, you must use it.  To use it, you must listen to the conversion.  
If all you want to do is look at waveforms on a scope, then do not sell something as a musical product!  Sell it as test equipment!

The point of a deeper understanding of our technology should lead to the end target...music sounds better!

Shouldn't a technical discussion include the FUNCTION of the equipment in question?
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Stephen Krause

chap

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #178 on: March 22, 2005, 12:10:47 PM »

 I Can't believe I'm taking time out of a busy day for this but since the bullshit is flying........
Dan,

Having re-read this entire thread, I do not see the relevance of your "technical questions" to what Apogee is saying. I also do not agree that the message has in any way been watered down. Seems to me you are using a very selective process when drawing conclusions regarding what Apogee is saying. For example, just because their position is based on listener experience, does not impeach the comments about the technology in Big Ben, rather, it supports them.

I think the real bullshit here is trying to have a theoretical argument about something you have no experience with. I and all my friends, golden eared engineers with thousands of hours spent doing this for a living, with award after award hear exactly what Apogee is claiming. Do you think Apogee's "bullshit" is so powerful that the likes of Sterling Sound, myself (3 Emmy's this year, 3 Billboard charting CDs), Manny Marroquin (2 grammys this year)  and the hundreds of other high profile engineers with Big Ben have been hypnotized into believing in a placebo? This is our livelihood! we use what makes us better at our jobs and Big Ben makes the process of recording and mastering better in the ways Apogee described. I understand this does not jive with your personal bias against Apogee (yes, it's that obvious) but you are dong the audio community on this forum a disservice by not being open to the possibility that what we hear is what we hear and not some group hypnosis caused by good marketing.

As for the AD500 and DA1000...they were very good in their day, but nothing compared to even the Mini-Me today, which I understand you had nothing to do with. Those of us that buy Apogee products do so because they sound the best, not because they are marketed the best. My AD8000SE's (I think you approved of them) were saved by Big Ben.  I have used your products and have a great repect for you as a designer but you are not the only designer and you have shown a personal disrespect towoards guys like Lucas who are peers and equals. It only detracts from your message.  There is no snake oil here, just solid, forward thinking engineering. Should this thread be retitled to 'Apogee Bash"?
chap
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danlavry

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Re: Proper word clock implementation
« Reply #179 on: March 22, 2005, 12:59:49 PM »

chap wrote on Tue, 22 March 2005 17:10

 

Dan,
Having re-read this entire thread, I do not see the relevance of your "technical questions" to what Apogee is saying...

....There is no snake oil here, just solid, forward thinking engineering.

chap


Chap,

Many of your messages in various chat rooms on ProSound web show your commitment to Apogee gear. You are indeed entitled to your opinion. We would like to have some technical input from you to backup your opinion. We are about technological depth here. Your last comment, similar to Max’s seems to be an attempt to marginalize technological discussion in favor of opinion.

It is not my fault that Apogee's unhappy customers come to my site to vent out their frustrations.  I and others have been accused of having an anti Apogee sentiment. The fact is: I have done my best to be fair. After Lucas dropped his previous claims and stated indirectly that they do not claim their clock will improve an AD, I stopped talking about their clock.

I wonder how long and how far you are willing to stand your ground.

In this forum I have a thread about cables. In there are a lot of unbelievable claims about cables, ranging from “magic numbers” to “paralleling a 12AWG cable for the bass and a 14AWG for the highs”.  All have some things in common: They call themselves innovative, and they claim to yield the best sound some post comments from satisfied customers, or rave reviews from a magazine. Of course we all know that repeating how innovative and creative a product is does not make it so.

Example 1:
On the cable thread, there is a guy who claims to have invented a “quantum purifier” that grabs the electrons and makes them go at extra speed, to shake the noise out….
Should anyone even bother to try and listen to his cable? As far as I am concerned, a transaction where one guy sells a Quantum purifier cable to another should result with the buyer in the crazy house and the seller behind bars.  

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”

Guess who the marketing company X is? Apogee with their “ULTRA LOW JITTER CABLE”.

Folks, we have the double whammy solution. A clock box that was touted as “the cure for the jitters” (which is not being claimed explicitly any longer, only indirectly) and the “ultra low jitter cable”.

At this point, I am adding question # 4 and 5 to Apogee:

4. What the heck is TEMPERATURE COMPENSATED CABLE?


5. HOW DOES A “ULTRA LOW JITTER CABLE WORK”?

a. WHEN YOU DRIVE A ULRAT LOW JITTER CABLE WITH A JITTERY SIGNAL, DOES THE CABLE SUCK THE JITTER OUT?

b. IF THE CABLE IS REALLY LONG, DO YOU GET NEGATIVE JITTER?

c. Is the principle of operation based on quantum jitter suckers, or is it also a top secret of the 21st century that a guy like me does not have experience in.

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.
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