Master clock, vivaldi or?


After trying a new vivaldi clock on my vivaldi dac, and upsampler. I did find that things inpoved, everything just was easier to place when listening, it didn’t make anymore bass, treble, or any extra detail. But i guess things just snapped into place better, is the way to explain it?
As nice as that was, for me it’s certainly not worth the £20 k outlay, even with a nice 15% discount it’s still expensive.
So is there really any alternative solution?
Is it really vivaldi clock or don’t bother?
I can’t seem to find anything really, and obviously don’t want anything even more expensive, but fancy having the same as what the vivaldi clock did.
Or is it just save up and pay the price.
Cheers dunc

There are many after market clocks. However you have found a benchmark which is a Vivaldi wordclock coupled to a Vivaldi DAC and possibly to other Vivaldi units such as Upsampler. A good clock does not simply produce an accurate 44.1 or 48 kHz signal. Other factors are involved like stability, phase behaviour etc.

I have heard several dCS clocks back to back and the advance of the the design over years was very audible, even though the same manufacturer was involved. The Vivaldi clock has been designed specifically for this use and the chance of finding another one from a random selection of other manufacturers who may never have even seen a dCS product is impossible to judge. Certainly units in the Vivaldi range require dual clocks which most others do not offer. Further many non dCS clocks may not provide the correct matching impedance of 75 ohms. Further there is accuracy and manufacturing quality. Just look at the section of the recent video posted on this forum which shows the temperature controlled environment used to calibrate the clocks. Do many other manufacturers even possess such equipment let alone go to the effort? I don’t know but so far I have not read anything to support the idea that they do.

To match the performance of a Vivaldi wordclock and to be sure you have done it the only easy answer is to buy another Vivaldi wordclock.

I am sensitive to your point about cost but only you can make up your mind about the value it is to you. Nevertheless some years ago I wrote here that buying Vivaldi is inevitably an expensive option. One ends up wanting or needing the units in the range that you do not yet have. Nothing has changed ( well there’s Apex :smiley:).


A clock does make a difference and I’m sure the Vivaldi clock is a mighty fine one although I have not had the pleasure of hearing one yet. I do think not everyone is willing to pay that kind of money for it though, even of you do already own a Vivaldi DAC.

I would add that several manufacturers such as Mutec or Grimm (there might be more) do make clocks in a different price range but are seen as good quality in general and I do see those used with dCS as well. I can’t comment on the performance vs a Vivaldi, but it is less of a plunge to try them out. They come from a more of a pro-audio background. Trying an MC3+ for example is a far less expensive option, even if you decide to buy two for the two frequencies. Adding a Ref10 later is always possible, and that would also work with a Vivaldi should the day come.

Maybe I will get back here one day and conclude that Pete is right and you will end up buying the Vivaldi in the end, I am not yet in a position to say :slightly_smiling_face:


Seen the 2 offerings from grimm, and mutec, but i feel looking at them, i would only still want the vivaldi clock, and they would only be a short-term solution.
Getting the right results matters obviously, and i can’t see another solution other than the vivaldi clock, this does somewhat surprise me, as you would think someone would have come out with something that has all the right stuff in one box to work correctly with the dcs kit.

Imaginative idea but I would explain that the purpose of two clocks in the Vivaldi or Rossini wordclocks is to provide automatic switching in the dCS system as source sampling rates change. I am afraid tAFAIK hat that this requirement will not be met by non-dedicated multiple clocks. You will still need to change the frequency manually.

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Duncan, in for a penny, in for a pound.:laughing:

Even if you do find a clocking solution that technically fits the bill, it won’t be as synergistic with the Vivaldi stack as it’s own clock, and it certainly won’t have capabilities like Clock Dither which does make a difference for the dCS stack.


Just adding my two cents:

I have also been struggling with clocking for some time, as I am in the camp that felt the change more subtle (when I added one to the Puccini–maybe my ears just aren’t as sensitive as others…). And, I’m not crazy about the fact that the Vivaldi clock is the same clocking unit that is already in the Vivaldi DAC…

I have been wondering if the successor to the Vivaldi clock could include the synergies and dither function that @Anupc referenced, and also, higher accuracy like the SRS Perf10 or other. After all, you are spending a lot for this third box…

My current thinking is that adding $20k to the range of speakers or amp will pay bigger sonic dividends.

Of course all of this depends on your starting point.

Good luck @Dunc


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This does work, I currently have a Mutec doing 44.1 duty (actually 176.4) and a Grimm for the 48 multiples (196). I have it this way because the Grimm CC2 only has two outputs and for the 44.1 multiples I currently have the NB, Paganini transport and the DAC to feed. For 48 there is only the NB and DAC to worry about. So two Mutecs would also work without issue and I’ve seen people use it on a Bartok.
I believe the Grimm CC1 has more outputs and both multiples so that is also an option for a one unit solution.

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If it’s the same clock in the vivaldi clock as the dac, what real advantage is there over me just supplying the upsampler with the same clock from the vivaldi using the one clock out to in ?
This is what i have been doing, and doing once again.

My finding on what the clock did was from just turning it off, and comparing, as it’s obviously far easier, and quick to do like this.
I am never going to buy a transport, as i can see more benefits with the clock then, but now i am back to running off the dac, it’s hard to really say

I might learn something here but in order:

@keiserrg :

Clocking is primarily concerned with multi unit digital systems. It is to ensure that all units have the same clock source and thus are running in synchronisation. When an external wordclock is added the mechanism supplying the other units remains but instead of the source for this being the different crystals in the DAC or Upsampler etc. all the boxes are now using the wordclock as reference instead. So all are now in synch. Further the wordclock is a higher grade source so that accuracy and stability are improved.

@August although I can understand using two clocks for different sampling frequencies I do not understand how automatic switching happens. I am assuming that each clock uses a separate input on DAC or NWB and Mosaic senses the changing rates and commands the inputs on DAC and NWB to change. Is this right ( as I said I may learn something)?


Please see above. Stability, and accuracy as the reference that the clock is slaved to is of a higher grade. Adding a wordclock is a bit like changing the drive in a wrist watch to an improved version. Same watch, different level of accuracy.

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It’s obviously hard to really compare the vivaldi clock to running the upsampler from the dac, as you have to change over cables and adjust the units to suit.
By this time you start to forget, unlike the quick turn off, but obviously this doesn’t take into account the upsampler running from the dac.

I can see that having a separate ppwer supply, and box to house the clock must help, but if it’s the same clocl in the vivaldi then surely just running the upsampler like i am from the dac, can’t be much different can it ?

The actual VCXO unit may be the same, but nothing else. The Vivaldi Master Clock [h]as a whole bunch of dedicated componentry, including PSU and FPGA.

In my opinion, slaved to the DAC’s clock vs. the Vivaldi Master clock only sounds “not much different” in casual short-term listening. Live with the Clock long enough, and you won’t be able to live without it :grin:


I can only add that this is exactly what I eventually first found way back in the Elgar/Purcell/Verona days. BTW this is why subjective listening to just brief switching in an a/b style test probably won’t reveal much.

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Cheers guy’s
I know i will probably end up with the clock, but will be interesting to see if i miss it now it’s gone, as i had it about a month i guess.
But i feel it’s vivaldi clock or nothing.

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I understand @PAR 's post above, and if I were to summarize, I would write: “if you have a multi-box system, an external clock does a much better job keeping everything in sync than just the DAC’s clock which can only work with the bits once they get to the DAC.”

I question only this statement:

As the VCXO units in both the Vivaldi DAC and the Vivaldi clock are the same, I’m not sure that this is the case.

More generally, there is no technical reason why the clocking mechanism in the Vivaldi Clock needs to be the same as the Vivaldi DAC. It could be higher accuracy. I note that Esoteric (in the Esoteric G-01X) has licenced the SRS technology in its master grade clock and that unit now has rubidium-quality accuracy (i.e., errors per billion: “within +/- 0.05 ppb”), which is over 3 orders of magnitude more accurate than the current Vivaldi (i.e., “typically +/- 0.1 errors per million”).

I have not had the chance to listen to either unit and therefore can’t comment on sonic results/improvements.

@PAR Yes I use one frequency on the Clock 1 input (NB and DAC) and the other on Clock 2. Both units know/sense which is which and switch accordingly. This was actually one of the big surprises when going to the Vivaldi DAC, locking is so much faster than any previous dCS DAC, or for that matter any other DAC I had.

@Anupc I am not sure if it’s actually the same VCXO used. Those come in different qualities with different phase noise specifications. As with the Scarlatti clock it looks from the pictures I’ve seen as these clocks are inside an enclosure (black) within the unit/on the mainboard. I think dCS mean that they use VCXOs throughout and no OCXO. Calibrating all clocks to the unit temperature is something dCS has been doing since the beginning, allowing them to squeeze a lot more performance/linearity out of ‘standard’ VCXO crystals. Perhaps the Vivaldi clock also gets a lot more time in the special climate chamber compared to the other units?

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From what I read on rubidium clocks, their long term stability might be very high, but that is not what we need in audio. Low phase noise is more important, as is care in design of the circuit.

There’s a LOT to read on clocking in audio. An additional one has some excellent info from the dCSers themselves:

…where in particular @James talks about a reference clock and a master clock being better served by different technical approaches. I won’t keep writing here…no need for me to fail to add value and be an additional “clocking in audio” source :crazy_face:


If this is the case, while I understand your concern, I believe a lot of the magic happens in the surrounding components which appear clever enough to adjust the clock signal.

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I’ll admit I considered other options before choosing the Rossini Master Clock and came to the same conclusion