Lina clock with Bartok Apex

My local dealer just kindly allowed me to try a Lina clock with my Bartok Apex. I did not hear any difference.

The rest of my system is a Luxman 595ase integrated amp, Vandersteen’s Quatro Wood CT speakers and Audioquest cables. It may not be the most revealing possible, but I don’t feel like a slouch either. I was led to believe I would hear a difference.

I switched the clocks within mosaic. Did I miss something?

1 Like
  • Connect the Clock’s Word Clock Output 1 to the DAC’s Word Clock Input 1 and the Clock’s
    Word Clock Output 2 to the DAC’s Word Clock Input 2.

  • Set the DAC’s Unit Settings > Sync Mode menu page to Word Clock 1-2 Auto and allow
    the system to re-lock. The “W1” or “W2” icon will be displayed.

1 Like

I have written many times in the past on this. The reason you are nor hearing a difference relates to the difference that you are expecting.

Adding an external wordclock will not change the sound in the sense of the normal audiophile lexicon of terms but significantly alters the music rather than the sound of the music. It becomes less artificial and, for want of better terms, flows more naturally.

Of course on the other hand Bartok already has an excellent clock and it may be that Lina does not offer a significant improvement. I would listen for as long as you can but don’t seek effects such as extended bass etc. Listen for as long as your loan allows. Then remove it and listen to the same music again. Is it not as enjoyable as it was? Then make up your mind.

I’ll add that rapidly switching Lina in or out is less likely to reveal anything.


To add to Pete’s comment: I have experience with the non-APEX Bartok together with a Rossini Clock, and then with Rossini APEX DAC + Rossini Clock, and in both cases to me adding the Clock was essential, and a night and day difference.

Not everyone however is sensitive to the effect of adding a Clock. So, if the Clock was connected and selected in the above right way, then you will either experience what @PAR describes, or you or your system are not so sensitive to the effect.

Contrary to @PAR , if I switch the Clock rapidly in and out, directly I hear the sound field expand or contract. YMMV.

Ill just add that may be because you , like me, are now accustomed to what it does. I would now never be without one having owned Verona, Paganini and Vivaldi clocks. However when I was loaned that Verona, initially I could not hear any change and it took a long time subsequently before I bought one. Nothing wrong with the device , the error lay with me :wink:.

1 Like

I heard it instantaneously when I hooked up the Clock to my Bartok for the first time . Later on happened what you describe, as we are accustomed to it now. As I have written before, it sometimes happens that the Clock unintentionally is off when I start listening. Immediately I hear that something is ‘wrong’, until I find out the Clock is off.

1 Like

Thank you for these responses.

I wonder if the Lina clock is really different than the Bartok’s internal clock while the Rossini clock may in fact be a different device…

I agree with both @PAR and @Ermos. The effect is quite subtle when you are completely unaccustomed to it, but rapidly becomes quite addictive.

I ran my (non-Apex) Bartók with a Vivaldi clock for a few weeks and gradually became aware of a very clear difference. IMO Pete’s suggestion of removing it after a week or two of acclimatisation is a good one, the subtractive difference is much clearer than the additive one!

I don’t know how big a big a SQ difference there is between the Lina and Vivaldi clocks, there’s certainly a major difference in functionality (number of word clock outputs, reference clock input) and packaging. I would expect the same sort of improvements from a Lina, just to a lesser degree.


What’s the technical difference between the Bartok and Lina clock? They both are just crystal oscillators, no? Are they the same ppm?

The Lina Clock offers Dual crystal, Oven-controlled oscillators - one for 44.1kHz and one for 48kHz. OXCO

There is no Bartok Clock.

The Rossini and Vivaldi Clock offer Dual crystal oscillators with microcontroller-enhanced temperature correction, with Multi-stage regulation which ensures sensitive clock and PLL circuitry is unaffected by digital interference. VCXO

1 Like

Except in the Bartok which think may be what he refers to.

All dCS DACs have their internal clock. The respective external, Master Clocks, do their wonder by communicating to the internal clocks, like this:

A dedicated master clock also helps to ensure that clocking remains consistent throughout a system’s lifespan: “By phase-locking the clock that’s in the DAC to the Lina clock reference, the frequency over time and over the life of the product is much more stable,” explains Chris Jones, Senior Electronics Design Engineer at dCS.

The Lina Master Clock uses the same core technologies as our Rossini and Vivaldi Master Clocks, including dCS’s unique Phase-Locked Loop system, which synchronises clock frequencies.

I didn’t realize the Lina used oven oscillators. Ok, so that should be better.

Yes, I was referring to the oscillator within the Bartok. All DACs need an oscillator!

1 Like

Chris, just my 2cents on this question;

  • I’ve done considerable comparisons between the Rossini Clock and the Lina Clock (I actually own both a Bartok and Lina stack); their performance is quite close, very hard to tell them apart - I’ve tried the Lina Clock on the Bartok, and Rossini Clock on the Lina stack

  • Like Pete and Erno have suggested, hearing the effect of an external Clock with dCS DACs can be quite subtle, but at the same time, once you know what to listen out for, it can be quite easy to tell when a Clock is used (with both the Bartok and the Lina)

  • What you listen to is also important. Don’t expect to hear significant improvement with the Clock with a heavily compressed and “loudened” Pop/Rock track. Instead, listen to good recordings of small ensembles, like recordings of a live Jazz Quartet for example. Alternatively a well recorded track of an instrument that you’re well familiar with like a Piano or Guitar.


Hi Chris

I’m trying to decide between a lina or Rossini clock or neither. Did your opinion change with time? I’m not too keen on spending so much for a very subtle upgrade. Perhaps apex might be a be option.


My experience is only with the Lina clock with my Bartok Apex, but from my listening, I did not buy the clock. I didn’t hear it.

However, I did upgrade my Bartok to Apex. That is a refinement that I did hear and I am glad that I did it. If the choice is the Apex upgrade vs a clock, then it is very easy for me to tell you with complete confidence that Apex is the way to go. If after that you still are itching to do something, I would look to other parts of the system before buying a clock.

Just my opinion…



When i had my first Bartok, i demoed the rossini clock at a dealers and there was a noticeable change. However i never got the same difference in my system at home.