Idiot’s guide to clocks

Can anyone please explain in simple terms what is involved in adding a clock to my Bartok. I,e
What does the clock do? How is the clock connected? Can any dcs clock be used? What are the sonic results?
Many thanks.

Hi John,

Adding an external Master Clock to your Bartók allows the unit to keep much better “digital time”. For good quality audio, you need the right sample at the right time. The quality of DAC is what makes the right sample, and the quality of the Clock is what makes it at the right time.

While any dCS Clock could be used with the Bartók, bearing in mind the software and hardware improvements we have made over the years you would definitely see the biggest performance increase to the system with a current generation clock, the most popular pairing being the Rossini Clock. In the case of either a Rossini or Vivaldi Clock, you would connect two BNC cables between the clock and the Bartók, to it’s Word Clock Inputs.

The sonic benefits you would hear from adding a Master Clock to your system would be that the clarity of the sound stage (where an instrument or part of the music is left to right but also where it is placed in the mix front to back) is greatly improved, the width of the soundstage becomes much bigger and the ability for the speakers to simply disappear takes a huge jump. It really isn’t a subtle difference, and I would absolutely recommend if you have the option of trying one out for a demo, go for it.

1 Like

The Bartok already has a very good clock built in. However an external clock can provide improved accuracy and stability thus lowering jitter. When using a multi box system such as a Vivaldi stack a system clock ensures that all of the components are running synchronously.

In theory any dCS clock can be connected to the Bartok via BNC terminated 75 ohm coaxial cables. However as the dCS clocks have improved in performance over the years it may be ( though I haven’t tried) that e.g. the Rossini clock performs better than some of its historic predecessors such as the Verona etc. Further the older dCS clocks used a single connection for both 44.1 and 48 kHz based sources. The current dCS range requires dual connection. I am guessing that use of a legacy dCS clock would require manual resetting when the frequency base changes. Maybe someone from dCS has a view in this?

What do you get sonically? There are a few comments on this posted here over the past couple of weeks. Basically do not expect to hear improvements in typical audiophile terms e.g better bass, more detail etc. What happens IMO is the sound will be substantially more natural and substantially less fatiguing ( even if you do not think it fatiguing now :slightly_smiling_face:).

It took me a while to appreciate the benefits of using a system clock ( back in the Verdi\Purcell\Verona\Elgar days) and subsequently I could not imagine being without one.

BTW, with reference to one of your earlier questions, a recent review of the Network Bridge also touches on the order files play in when using an Innuos server:


Correct. Legacy clocks such as the Verona or Scarlatti only output one clock frequency at a time, so you would need to manually change the clock frequency when going between content base rates (going from playing a 44.1kHz track to a 48kHz tarck for example).

The Rossini and Vivaldi Clocks output the two different base frequencies on the separate outputs, so no need to manually switch, the Bartók will just use whichever one is needed for the content.

Many thanks to all.

In addition to what has been said, some of the greatest improvements a master clock makes are not easy to describe in HiFi terminology: it’s very much about that elusive goal that one isn’t listening to reproduced music, but the thing itself. Music sounds more immediate, more realistic. I’m experiencing even less fatigue. Be sure that when you demo a clock to leave it on in your system for as long as possible versus going back and forth sampling songs. The improvement adding a master clock may not be subtle, but you’ll sorely miss it once it’s gone.

Greetings from Switzerland, David.

1 Like

Yes indeed :+1:

1 Like

Like butter from grass fed cows. The better you clock, the more real it gets.