As the provision exists to use an external reference with the Vivaldi clock, is there any current clock which would actually enhance the SQ of a system that used it? And would deploying such a clock for both the dCS stack in addition to an Ethernet switch, for instance the new Uptone EtherREGEN, which also supports an external reference alter your answer?
Interesting question. Looking forward to the answer(s).
Attempting to use a reference clock for Ethernet and audio is fundamentally silly. It completely ignores the actual data flow within the chain as well as the real engineering On which Ethernet is based.
It’s a solution looking for a problem.
Got it. However, assuming I simply am interested in the potential for using an external reference clock just for the Vivaldi Clock, it there anything being sold that would offer any improvement in SQ for a Vivaldi based system? Seems there are a number of folks who are claiming to use a couple of manufactured clocks to enhance their Vivaldi stacks. Companies referenced include Cybershaft and Mutec.
Yes indeed. My dealer demonstrated the Abendrot clock as a reference for a Vivaldi system clock to me.
It most definitely produced an improvement, say of a good digital interconnect compared to a slightly better one. 40,000 gbp.
Obviously the best performance would be realized by syncing each Vivaldi device to its own Vivaldi master clock and then syncing each of those clocks to each other with a properly calibrated and exceedingly precise 10MHz global master clock (something lab-grade rather than those toys that get a lot of chatter on the audiophile forums).
I’m sure that any dCS dealer would be more than happy to make this configuration a reality for you
…and yes, I’m joking… or am I?
Got it! Not joking. Guys at Music Lovers, as well as other dealers I’ve spoken with in the States, say don’t bother trying to find a clock. Typically hard to get one with consistent, quality specs that would be of any benefit to the dCS stack. Jesse Luna feels the same way. The only ones mentioned for customer use are from from Cybershaft (Japan) or Mutec (Germany). These are seemingly “made to order”. So there’s no way to try on these sort of “bespoke” clocks. I’m guessing what you refer to as “lab grade” are hard to come by and likely quite expensive.
I’ll keep seeking out other means for making any further SQ enhancements to the system, like items from Shunyata and Uptone, as they come to market. Both the former’s Ethernet cables, and letters EtherREGEN switch have done so, quite dramatically.
I have a Mutec clock, which I bought used. It makes no difference with my Vivaldi stack. I have also played with different BNC cables. Again, I have not heard any difference as long as the clock cables are high quality true 75 ohm cables.
One change I’ve made that has made a difference is with the Ethernet connection to the Upsampler. I have used a fiber converter between my rack switch and the Upsampler. I have used both a dual TrippLite fiber converter (transmitter and receiver back to back) and a Gigafoil. Both did offer some small improvements. I am currently running a fiber connection straight from a SFP port on my switch to a single TrippLite fiber receiver/converter and then a 0.5M Ethernet cable from there to the Upsampler. That has had the best results for me.
I have an Etherregen awaiting install but haven’t had time to try it yet.
Like you, my Vivaldi Upsampler is connected to a GigaFOIL on a Fiber Media converter thats connected directly to my Juniper Ethernet switch SFP port (over single-mode fibre), which completely isolates any Compute/networking noise from my dCS system. I do also have a very low-noise 5V linear PSU powering the Fibre Media Converter, while the GigaFOIL takes care of any remaining parasitic noise from the PSU.
I hope no one takes offence, but IMHO, the EtherREGEN is a complete waste of money, designed for people who don’t really know any better about how IP/Ethernet works; for example, expecting sonic improvement by having a 10MHz clock input on the EtherREGEN demonstrates absolute ignorance about how packet networking works.
I have tried quite afew BNC/BNC cables and found that many of them degraded the sound noticeably. However I do take your point about true 75 ohm cables. Many of the poor results came from digital cables specified as 75 ohm by the manufacturer but primarily intended for music data. That makes me wonder how much one can trust manufacturer specifications outside of those cables intended for the professional market?
My expectations prior to receiving the EtherREGEN switch were not high as a replacement for a Cisco 2960. But after installing it and letting it settle in I found it really made a substantial and most positive sonic difference in my system. This even after having made big gains with a pair of Shunyata Ethernet cables. Couldn’t be happier.
I have no reason to doubt what you’re hearing/saying, but look at it this way;
Before you added EtherREGEN in your system, did you have any problems playing back via Roon/RAAT or .flac streamed files? These are encoded/encapsulated streams (imagine copying zip files).
If your answer is No, you didn’t have any problems. Then, like all the other dCS customers without an EtherREGEN, you’ve had Zero data integrity problems streaming into your dCS over Ethernet to begin with.
Consequentially, any sonic benefit you do get from adding the EtherREGEN in your system must be associated with reduction in Noise across your system, not improved bit-stream transmission.
Ethernet, by design, is balanced and galvanically isolated - all Ethernet ports are in fact transformer coupled - and the only way to completely remove any remaining parasitic noise across transmission is to optically isolate via a fibre media converter.
The bottom line is, there are better/cheaper ways to improve your system than to use EtherREGEN, period.
I find your views on the etherREGEN quite interesting, but you must have had the same conclusion prior to your own purchase of the GigaFOIL (by no means a cheap purchase). You have your ways of getting rid of the parasitic noise, but yet dismiss the purpose behind the features of the etherREGEN (which does include optical transmission via its own SFP).
The above comparison between some of the audiophile network switches with optical transmission should provide some interesting reading. UpTone must be doing something right to end up ranking second to the $$$$ Telegartners.
While I agree some aspects of the EtherREGEN does makes some practical sense for those who don’t already have a home network setup commensurate with their dCS system.
The difference though with something like the GigaFOIL, is that it does exactly what it’s designed to do with no claims of more, and there are many cheaper options that do exactly the same thing; just google “network isolator” or “medical ethernet isolator”.
The EtherREGEN on the other hand makes all sorts of claims; Take that 10MHz clock input for supposedly synchronising the switch to the audio systems’s master clock, or that “Ultra low-jitter differential re-clocking flip-flops”
The system’s sound quality cannot improve from EtherREGEN’s 10MHz clock input nor the re-clocking flip-flops; it’s technically impossible as TCP/Ethernet streams are asynchronous by nature and require packet re-assembly at the end-point (the dCS’ StreamUnlimited boards), and thus have absolutely nothing to do with jitter as we know it in audio systems nor the 10MHz synchronous clock required to keep the Vivaldi components in-sync for digital-to-analog conversion. Any cheap “drug store” bought Ethernet switch will reproduce bitstreams perfectly without error - they’re all usually based on the same 2 or 3 Ethernet chipset suppliers anyway!
As for the EtherREGEN’s optical port, true, it likely provides benefit from isolating the rest of your home network, but it’s facing the “wrong” direction for obvious reasons.
With respect to that Taiko post on WBF, there’s not a single objective point in that whole entire post, coming from a supposed manufacturer? Sorry, I can’t take that post seriously.
Anyway, I better get off my soapbox on this topic. At the end of the day, people will believe what they want to believe/hear, but I expect dCS owners are discerning individuals with resources to dig much deeper before they add components into their system. On that basis, while it doesn’t cause any harm, technically, the EtherREGEN is mostly fantasy.