DCS bartok clocking using mutec

Hi fellows, i’m new in this forum, i’m planning to use ref10 for my dcs bartok DAC. I know that ref10 can not connected directly to bartok word clock inputs. Bartok clock inputs only accept 44.1k and 48k freq. I have 2 plans:

  • By connecting ref10 to mutec mc3+usb (2units) and setup 1st mc3+usb clock output 44.1k freq then 2nd mc3+usb clock output 48k, Then connect each mc3+usb to 2 bartok word clock input.

  • Buying SotM sCLK-Ex board that can be customized for 2 clock output (in this case 44.1k and 48k that goes to bartok clock inputs) and 1 clock input 10MHz (connected to ref10). I can buy external alloy enclosure for SotM sCLK-EX and power it using custom LPS.

First option is going to cost more than second option, So I need some opinions from u guys, in term of SQ, which one is better?? If the SQ difference is subtle, Probably i gonna choose the lower cost option. I’m new to this clocking things, hopefully can improve SQ by doing it

Thanks in advance.

Clocking is not a subject where just having a 10mHz clock automatically improves things. There are multiple considerations other than having a clock with a “big number”.Please read through the threads on this forum relating to wordclocks and 10mHz clocks .

As I have often said on these boards, the money spent on such clocking arrangements with a Bartok would be better spent being put towards buying a Rossini as the latter, even without an external clock, will provide better sound quality. That is if better sound quality is your aim. The expense you are thinking of spending on the multiple Mutecs’s etc. make this a viable and, IMO, preferable option.

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Pete is spot on. Put as much as your budget affords toward the fundamental core units. If you can afford a Bartok plus external clocking, perhaps you can afford a Rossini? If the headphone part of Bartok is important, which I understand, consider going with Rossini Clock instead.

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The Ref10 is by all accounts an excellent reference clock. When researching clocks and especially conversion of the 10Mhz reference to the audio frequencies, I discussed this topic at length with Hasegawa-san from Cybershaft.

He has measured many word clocks for use with his reference clocks and pointed out that many word clocks are not able to maintain the low phase noise you paid for in a good reference clock.

Presumably Mutec engineered their mc3 to be able to properly benefit from the Ref10, so if you’re set on going this route I’d recommend those over the SotM, which will be difficult to verify the true performance of.

FWIW, I tried clocking my new Rossini with a Mutec MC-3+ (no Ref 10) and preferred the sound without the external clock in my system.

This was with the Mutec outputting a fixed 44.1 kHz clock and using 44.1 and 88.2 kHz audio files. The Rossini settings were DSDX2 upsampling, F1 filter and Mapper 1.

Most, though not every one, of us have reported improvements in each dCS DAC with the addition of a dCS Clock. Adding an external Master Clock, or even a reference clock for the Master, only makes sense if the addition improves the accuracy of the clock you’re starting with. Adding either or both of the Mutecs may improve the accuracy of the Bartok internal clock, but you’re really flying blind until you put them in your system and listen, because you’re guessing whether the way the additional clock works will actually improve the way the dCS clock works. Or, unless dCS shares the specs of the Bartok in such a way that you can add non-dCS clocks with confidence that they are improving the internal clock and not working at cross-purposes. @James has supplied a lot of information about how the dCS master clocks work, but I am not at all sure that’s been sufficient to know how it is that these clocks improve the clock that’s already in the DAC itself. Just my $.02 worth of speculation.

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And that the makers of 10mHz clocks also provide equivalent specs to those that dCS would provide, not only in respect of the resultant figure but with the measurement techniques used and, where appropriate, tolerances.

I’m certainly interested to hear (pun) what the OP decides to do and the results. In my case I was looking at the Antelope Live instead of the Mutec offering basically because it’s about the same price, looks better (!), and I like the idea of the built in oven to control long term drift. Certainly the specs of either the Mutec or Antelope products are, from my limited knowledge, better than for the Rossini Clock and, I would assume, the Rossini Clock is superior to the Bartok built in clock.


Of course the new Mutec Ref 10 SE 120 clock has now raised the bar even higher https://www.coherent-systems.co.uk/mutec-ref-10-se-120. Its phase noise performance has been increased substantially it seems. Although I use a Mutec 3+ with my old classic dCS gear it sounds far better than the built in clocks - although they are 20 years old.

Roger, unless I misunderstood what’s been written here—and it may also be true that there are differences between older and newer dCS pieces—I don’t think an external clock like the Mutec replaces the internal dCS clock. The Mutec, or any other external clock for that matter, is only going to improve the sound if it helps the internal dCS clock become more accurate. Here and here are two of the posts I am referencing. @James’ posts in particular have been very educational for me. Things I had taken for granted, or simply misunderstood, look quite different to me now.

Additionally, as noted elsewhere here, Bartok only has a Word Clock input, not a 10mHz input such as the Mutec Ref10 would require. So it would require an intermediary Word Clock like your 3+ or a dCS clock.

Before I went that route, I’d invest as much as I could afford in the highest dCS tier I could afford. As has been said, they’ve been at this for a few decades, and they’re the only ones who actually know the complete engineering innards of their DACs and transports. There is a reason that dCS clocks improve dCS audio devices. Mutecs and Cybershafts alike have excellent specs. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they will make one’s dCS component better. Just my two cents.

btw I’ve been speaking to Mutec and they have a dual frequency consumer product coming out next year which will simultaneously output 44.1Kz and 48KHz. That way you won’t need two units MC3+.

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Steve, that’s good news for this market. Will be interesting to see what these next few years bring. To me, it feels as though we are pushing slowly through some sort of “virtual barrier.” We can keep improving specs, but not sure where the next big leap in SQ is going to come from. There’s a lot of focus on better recording quality, which is always a good thing. And we can keep increasing sampling and upsampling rates, but that seems a path of diminishing return to me. Speaker tech is, probably always, a place for new breakthroughs. Still, even with the extraordinary gains being made in processing power, it’s more difficult (for me anyway) to see what might come next for computational audio.


Yes, we are suffering again from that great audio industry disease of the 1970s “specmanship” where meaningless numbers improve and improve with no particular attention being paid to any deleterious effects of any inadvisable technique employed solely to produce the magic number on the test equipment. Forget the sound, look at the spec. sheet :frowning_face:

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Well put, Pete. I wonder if “specsmanship” comes more to the forefront when innovation plateaus for some reason. And the only way to gain market share or attention is to put something in print they shows you’re better than the other guys.

In an interesting way, dCS “acknowledge” these technology plateaus with their longer-term product cycles. “dCS: We don’t have to be the latest, to be the greatest.” :wink:

Who’d be their target market though? :thinking: Other than dCS, I don’t know of any other consumer DAC manufacturer with DACs that support dual clock input and auto-switching.

It would be a pretty niche market to go after dCS DAC owners who for whatever reason prefer not to use a dCS clock (and miss out on their synergy).

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Perhaps the price for the dCS clocks are a little too steep for Bartok/NWB owners… As the clock is more expensive then a NWB here, it makes experiencing a clocked dCS source unlikely. Also, for certain Bartok users who only needs the DAC component, would it not be better to go for a Rossini rather than a Bartok with clock combo since the price is similar?

Having said that, I recently bought a local clock built for dCS components priced at 20% of a dCS clock and the result are fairly good with definite improvements in staging and focus. Don’t think it will compare with a dCS clock but it will do until I save enough to get the real thing :slight_smile:

It is a good news if mutec really produce auto switching clock generator, But its a rumour ?? Need to wait to find it. At the moment i will experiment using 1 unit mc3+usb and mutec ref10, but need to switch freq manually. Still waiting the mutec on delivery as there is not distributor in my country. Need to find few clock cables too, As suggested by fellow member here, will try apogee wilde eye clock cable

What clock that you use?? Using OCXO??

I think that has been the general advice here. Unless you need the integrated headphone amp, the Rossini is, IMHO, a more advisable purchase than a Bartok+Rossini Clock.