Why does dcs prefer external clock and internal power supply

folks,
i have a rossini and a clock.
i was just curious and wondering why do dcs designs prefer an external clock and a internal power supply

  • in simple terms, it can be argued that an external linear power supply can reduce a lot of noise if you move away a giant transformer far away from those digital circuits
  • all high end products like ch precision, pass labs , simaudio , nagra etc have an external power supply strategy for their digital front ends and some for preamp and power amps too
  • coming to an internal clock while i have no idea about this but a customer definitely can save on 3 high end cables ( 2 digital and 1 power cable )
  • on a serious note what cud be the inhibiting factor to build a clock outside but a. power supply inside?
  • and dcs is anyways about multi box strategy on their lines then why not think about an external power supply where conventionally so much gains in SQ and noise reduction are made.

would love to hear some thoughts around this.

1 Like

The master clock in a full dCS system , for example the four box Vivaldi, has to used as the same timing source for all of the components or the entire purpose is lost. Therefore, as the master clock is not unique to any of the components, it is rational for it to be a separate item.

I am sure that a marginal improvement in SQ could be found using external power supplies but the added cost would be considerable in just the additional chassis alone ( you would not believe how much just the front panel of a Vivaldi component costs dCS) and that the amount of real estate in racking terms needed to house an 8 box system plus the two box amplification components from other manufacturers would, no doubt, limit the size of any potential market.

There is also an historic view. dCS was originally a studio equipment manufacturer with no products for home use. Eventually some enthusiasts started buying that studio equipment for home use. dCS realised that there was a potential home market and, for generation 1 of the home systems, they basically just put the circuitry intended for studios into nicer cases for domestic consumption. So the system architecture of the studio gear was inherited by the domestic range. This has more or less continued not least in order to ensure a degree of backwards compatibility. This enables users to upgrade piece by piece and/or mix components from the ranges rather than need the significant amount of capital to buy e.g. a full Vivaldi stack in one hit.

However a new generation of dCS products will, no doubt, appear in due course so who knows what that may bring.

@PAR thank you for beautifully articulating the historical reasons for the same. appreciate it

  • i agree with your rationale for the clock
  • but i also think external PSU offers substantial SQ improvements rather than marginal and the proof is pretty much available across top segment of high end audio manufacturers
  • also i am more than happy to pay 9k for. a power supply rather than a odin or magnum opus cable.
  • i feel for Rossini segment and price point, a built in high quality clock makes a lot more sense
  • for vivaldi owners who want nothing but the best , they should absolutely demand both an external power supply and an external clock no doubt.
  • power supply units from nagra , ch precision , simaudio they all power 2 or 3 units
  • so one power supply add on to power a full vivaldi stack should be easily feasible and its not rocket science at all and i think vivaldi owners should demand it
  • even Rossini segment future products should get an option for an external power supply.

its conventionally wise and there is not a single high end reference grade product that has not benefited from an external power supply and its a no brainer IMO

hopefully we see this in future which is both a value add and a solid foundation for great products.

1 Like

Well take naim for example, they love a power supply box, and they are more than happy for owners of the Nd555 to run 2 x 555 power supplies, even if said power supplies are now only using half whats in the box, and even then with running 2 power supplies its cant match what a rossini and clock can do.
I guess it all has a lot to do with how the power supply is made and how they go about this, naim once again like to use a big transformer and regulators, this i am guessing is a noisy way to do it these days, probably good for power amps, but a digital box, just pulling very small loads at low voltage, probably not. Plus naim only have a few box sizes, and so would rather put that into 2 boxes that they have, rather than have to make different sizes, plus then they can play the power supply upgrade gain, win, win really and a great market strategy.
Others may do the same, i dont really know, but for me i like the way DCS go about things, and the only thing that would make the rossini better, is if they had put the upgrade clock in it as standard, but then like naim i can see why not, probably.

@Dunc i agree power supply need not be big boxes with giant transformers at all.
take for example lumin x1 linear supply or sbooster or paul hynes PSU they are small little outstanding psu to feed digital equipment with low current requirements.
my point is externalizing the power supply is well known and proven strategy and always has tangible benefits.digital equipment environment are even more sensitive than analog , so all the more makes sense to externalize the power supply.
that is the reason nagra and ch precision do it and i do not think it’s a marketing ploy.
reference equipment like vivaldi should extract every ounce of performance and i think external psu can be a game changer.
they can easily add one small/medium size housing/psu that can power all 3-4 vivaldi stack units.

reg rossini clock atleast they have given an option to add a external clock which increases the performance.
in the same way there should be an option to add an external power supply as well.

To me, it’s all about the execution. If the internal PSUs are competent, I am fine with that. My MSB has an external PSU, my Vivaldis do not; both sound superb. But I’m game if an external PSU could contribute to any or all of: (1) audibly improved performance; (2) measurably improved noise reduction; (3) even more attractive main component case design; and/or (4) reduced per-component cost (stop laughing!).

I know everyone likes to think an external PSU could automatically make everything immediately better. I don’t think that mere externalization alone is inherently superior. It has to be done better to be better. And I think one would be hard-pressed to prove that externalizing the PSUs of a Vivaldi stack would inevitably make it better. The stack has been favorably compared to many digital front ends with outboard PSUs, and it has not been found wanting. And this has been true year after year. My bias is to believe that dCS would make it better, but that doesn’t mean we would hear the difference. Game-changer? How so? SQ? There is no real evidence to support such a belief. Market competitiveness? Maybe, but I don’t get the sense that dCS has been unable to sell due to lack of external PSUs. Cost? Doubtful.

Also, as suggested, it would need to be one unit for a full stack. Separate PSUs for each component in a full stack would not be welcome chez here. :wink:

1 Like