Would I benefit by adding a master clock to my Bartok

Hello all, I’m a new guy here and enjoying a new Bartok in my system and it’s never sounded better. This new dac is so much more than I expected. My only digital source is roon through my home network. How would a master clock work in my setup? I’m trying to understand how the master clock works. Does it have to be between the source and the dac?


You dont need a masterclock but you might benfit from using a wordclock like the Rossini clock that outputs 44,1 and 48khz clock signal.


If you search here on the forum you will find information about this.

As I only have a Network bridge I cant comment on the effect a external wordclock might have on the Bartok.

Thanks I’ve read so much and now I can’t remember where I saw it but someone said the master clock only improves on asynchronous connections. So in the illustration above, does this put the master clock between the source and dac. Another question, does the clock limit the signal to only certain files like redbook?

It has nothing to do with the source the wordclock inputs only affects the dac.

The clock frequency will work with multiplies of it so it will work with any input frequency on the DAC.

Wordclock 44,1 -> 88,2 176,4 352,8
Wordclock 48 -> 96 192 384

You have to see that a masterclock and a wordclock is two different things and you can not connect a masterclock to a Bartok.

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The use of a wordclock relates to two issues.

The first is as a more accurate clock ( or, in the case of dCS , clocks) than the receiving component’s internal one(s).

The second is to synchronise the processes where various digital components are involved e.g. a 3 or 4 box Vivaldi stack.

The latter type of use requires all of the components to have wordclock inputs to receive the signal from the wordclock generator. In the case of current dCS components two wordclock inputs are required as a dCS wordclock generates two separate outputs, one for 44.1K based source material and one for 48K based source material. This enables automatic switching between frequencies as an incoming sequence of albums or tracks of different resolutions is received.

If all of your source material is via your home network then you do not need to be concerned about the synchronisation aspect unless, say you added a Rossini transport. All of your current source material is packet based and the interface with Bartok is asynchronous ( e.g. USB or preferably, UPnP using ethernet).

In your specific case you would therefore gain a benefit from a Rossini clock ( you need the two clock outputs so currently there isn’t much in the way of an alternative) in terms of accuracy even though the internal clock in Bartok is already very good in its own right. You have no requirement to synchronise various components. However the additional cost is such that the wordclock plus Bartok approaches the price of a Rossini DAC which would outperform it even sans wordclock.

If it were me ( and obviously it is not) I would consider simply adding a Rossini clock to Bartok economically debatable. However if I was certain that my longer term plan is definitely to move on to Rossini then I think buying a Rossini clock now with the objective of mating it ultimately with Rossini DAC but enjoying it meantime with Bartok makes better sense.


I think you have the terminology confused. Check the specs. Vivaldi Clock and Rossini Clock are both master clocks. They each output a 75 ohm wordclock signal usable by Bartok. Perhaps you are thinking of reference clocks? In the current lineup, only Vivaldi Master Clock has an input for a reference clock.

Okay you guys are great. I have a better understanding now. Let me add a twist and ask about adding an etheregen network switch. I don’t want to discuss the merits of the network switch overall. That switch has a connection for a clock. Would the etheregen get connected to a Rossini clock or this that for a different kind of clock?

The Rossini dac doesn’t offer the headphone amp right? I gotta have the headphone amp.

I too have the Bartok and have considered the Rossini clock, but have pushed out any decisions. I use the headphone amp on the Bartok - and love Expanse - so going the route of the Rossini DAC is not necessarily an option.

Perhaps the Bartok is best thought of as a single device path. If you really want a Rossini or something above that then you may not be a headphone listener, or you can always use an external headphone amp.

In any case, from what I’ve read a lot of Bartok listeners use the headphone output too (and love it). But there’s currently no dCS upgrade path for headphone listeners who want to stick with this scenario (except possibly adding the clock to the Bartok).

From a marketing and product positioning POV perhaps the Bartok will remain the only dCS product with a headphone amp. And I don’t know if it would make sense to make a separate dCS headphone amp to leverage Expanse in other dCS DACs.

Ideally, perhaps, there’s a Bartok clock, but that may not be viable as the Rossini clock would basically be that. Or they add a headphone amp to the Rossini.

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It’s a different kind of clock. Instead of the Rossini clock’s outputs of 44.1K or 48K and multiples thereof an external clock for the Etheregen switch is a 10mHz clock as per a reference clock. The two types are not interchangeable and a 10MHz clock cannot be used as a reference with the Rossini wordclock, only for the Vivaldi one.

There is no headphone amp with Rossini. In the dCS range that option is unique to Bartok.

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You are right I got them mixed up, dCS makes master clocks that outputs a wordclock.

I was as you write referring to a reference clock that you can connect to a Vivaldi clock.

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Ok I’m with you guys now. So, next question, if I’m able to find a used Rossini clock do I need to be concerned about how many hours are on it? Does the crystal wear out over time or use?

The crystals do not exactly wear out but the clock is conditioned and calibrated at the factory. Over time the calibration will drift and eventually the unit may need to be returned to the factory for recalibration. I cannot advise when this may be . The top of the range Vivaldi clock actually generates a warning display when it becomes necessary although this feature is not available with the Rossini clock.

I have been using dCS wordclocks ( three of them) since the early years of this century and have not yet had to return one to the factory for this purpose. NB: As the clocks take time to reach thermal stability from switch on mine have been/are left powered all of the time ( either full on or sleep mode).

So I think you can be fairly confident everything else being equal as at worst it won’t be broken, it just needs recalibration.

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I’ve been looking for a used Rossini clock for the last 4 months in the US and haven’t been able to find one. So a new one is on the horizon.

I see that. I did a quick search too. Nobody wants to sell them. That speaks volumes.

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If one at all would like to get rid of dCS gear, they usually would trade it in at a local dealer, which will sell it used to one of its other customers. It will not appear in the wild easily.

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This might be a shot in the dark here but, will the Paganini Master Clock | dCS work with the Bartok?

Got it, you guys are a wealth of information.

When I was considering buying a used Vivaldi clock I asked dCS how long they lasted before recalibration (hence return to the factory) was required. I think the answer was that they tended to start coming back after 8 years or so, but I assume that number depends a lot on how much use they get. Certainly PAR’s clocks seem to have had very long lives. I had a Paganini clock for about 9 years, and it appeared to be fine when I eventually traded it in.

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OK. Now I want to ask further… I am running a vivaldi transport with a paganini stack. I am clocking all components including my media server from the paganini clock. Am I using this optimally?