Using a seperate Word Clock

I’ve spent a few hours reading about adding an external Word Clock to your DAC. As far as upgrades cost, if the various forum/reviews are anything to go by, then this appears relatively cost effective improvement to ones system.

I wondered if anyone has any experience of going down this option path?


What DAC are you proposing to use it with, and for what source? Is this for studio use (i.e. needing to sync a number of digital items together)? Or is this just to improve a USB feed?

I just had to look this up, I cannot help but feel if you need to do this perhaps you should have got a better dac in the first place?


In this instance a dcs dac. dcs sell a separate clock for use with their dacs and the reports are that this does improve the sound. This in no way means that the dcs dacs are rubbish without this upgrade. I think nearly everyone will agree that the dcs dacs are already the finest products of this type available.

Sorry. Perhaps Master Clock would be a better term.

Some use non DCS clocks with DCS dacs, like Antilope, mutec…

Yes… I was looking at the MC-3+ with perhaps the Ref10 (though that moves the price up a significant amount). This setup would output a 44KHz and 48KHz which could go direct to the two inputs on the bartok.

This really only comes into play when both ends use the same master clock. So ideally you need a transport and DAC that support external master clocks. Esoteric do this and their range of master clocks have 4 outputs.

I have a dCS Rossini with clock and it does help. This is without syncing loads of things together - if you need to do that then you have to have a decent clock; with the Rossini it just opens, clarifies and makes the sound a bit more precise. Whether a different clock to the dCS one makes a difference or not I don’t know as I got my clock at a good price anyway.

Yes this is the question… does a cheaper 3rd party clock do as well as the £6.5K clock from dcs? The Mutek is a tenth of the price or half the price with the ref10 master clock.

Could you not just use the ref10 on its own Steve?

I don’t think so… the ref10 is a fixed 10meg only clock. The bartok needs a 44K and a 48K clock.

OK got it👍

1 Like

yes Bartok needs both, depending on source.

If the external clock is less good than the Bartok’s internal, then it will make it worse. I think with the dCS clock you can guarantee it’s better. With anything else, you’ll have to listen to see if it helps or not…

This is what I thought…

Just checking my understanding - if the Bartok has two clock inputs and you feed one with 44K and the other with 48K then, I assume, for 88K/96K/192K the bartok will perform and internal multiple or will it only use these inputs for 44 or 48K music?

AFAIK it uses the relevant clock and multiplies it as needed.
You can also set it to use a specific clock, or choose the appropriate one.

Antelope offer different clocks. One member uses the rubbicon with his Vivaldi ( @joeling).
You have the entry level Master clock for around 1,3 k.

  • Sample Rates Generated: 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8, 384, 705.6, 768kHz
  • Master Clock Outputs: 10x Word Clock Outputs up to 768kHz, 4x AES/EBU Outputs up to 192kHz, 2x S/PDIF Outputs up to 192kHz
  • Inputs: 2x Word Clock Inputs up to 768kHz, 1x Video Input accepting wide range of SD and HD video signals, 1x Atomic Input, 2x S/PDIF Inputs up to 192kHz, 1x AES/EBU Input up to 192kHz, 1x USB Input for control
  • Humidity: 30 – 80% RH non-condensing
  • Clocking System: 4th Generation Acoustically Focused Clocking, 64-bit DDS, Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator
  • Clock Calibration: < +/-0.001 ppm
  • Clock Stability: <+/- 0.02 ppm, oven controlled at 64.5 C/148.1 F
  • Clock Aging: < 1 ppm per year
  • Atomic Clock Input: 1 x 10M Atomic Clock Input @ 75 Ohms 3Vpp on BNC
  • Sample Rates (KHz): 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192, 352.8, 384, 768 (kHz)
1 Like

wow just look at all those buttons and knobs you can play with :slight_smile:


You have a DCS now? Because your profile indicates Ndx.
As for the Antelope, curious to see all these buttons. Their more expensive 10MX has no buttons. Strange.

Sorry… updated profile now :slight_smile:

The thing that puts me off the DCXHD is the rack-mount thing. I can see where they’re coming from i.e. their intended market but for a home/domestic setup it’s a bit OTT but I really like it’s simple setup. Plus it’s features are too much for my application. All I need is 2 or 3 outputs at 44/48KHz though I still don’t know if this means the external clock is only used for 44/48K streaming and the internal clock for everything else.

I notice there’s a cheaper Antelope product with fewer features but I don’t know how it compares specs wise: stability, ppm, etc…