The Triple-blind test (or: how I learned that the external clock makes a difference)

Last Friday I noticed that something was wrong with the way my setup sounded. With some tracks it was lacking depth, width, expression, and focus.

After an hour or so I noticed to my horror that I was experiencing fatigue.

It was pretty late, so I thought I’d go to bed and take some time the morning after to investigate. No need to describe how it felt uneasy, and that it took me longer than usual to fall asleep. You all know the feeling.

The morning after, I started checking all the cabling.

Power: check

Speakers: check

Interconnects: check

Clock cables: whoops!

One of the clock cables was actually not connected. It had broken loose for some as yet undiscovered reason, and was just laying there uselessly.

I reconnected the cable, turned everything on and … the magic was back.

Guess what: when I listened to some tracks the external clock worked fine. With some others, it didn’t! (it depends on the sample rate and its multiples). That’s why I was getting crazy.

Saturday night (Sunday morning) at 3.40 I was still listening to the magic.

After the triple-blind test (not even knowing that something has been changed and finding out by ears is the triple blind) I can now say:

Yes: the clock actually makes a difference. Worth the expense? You bet it.

Back to the music: Carole King singing Goin’ Back sounds so incredibly good …