Implications of Esoteric G-0Rb atomic clock


The latest TAS (March 2008) has an excellent piece by Robert Harley: a review of the Esoteric G-0Rb Master Clock Generator, with sidebars on the history and significance of jitter. This Esoteric unit employs an atomic clock (using rubidium) to take timing precision to a new level, at least for consumer gear. It's a good read, I recommend it.

If I am reading all of this correctly, I reach the following conclusions:

(1) Jitter is more important sonically than we might have thought

(2) Better jitter reduction at the A-D side of things will yield significant benefits, which means we can look forward to another of round remasters (of analog tapes) once atomic clock solutions make it into mastering labs

(3) All of the Superclocks, claims of vanishingly low jitter, reclocking DACs -- all of this stuff that's out there now, while probably heading in the right direction, still falls fall short of what's possible and needed if we are to get the best out of digital and fully realize its promise.

(4) We can expect to see atomic clocks in our future DACs and CDPs. Really?

Am I drawing the right conclusions?
Ag insider logo xs@2xdrubin
The P-01 transport has very low jitter but still benefits from the Rubidium clock.

I wonder whether some jitter in clock frequency is reintroduced in the clock-link cables that connect the G-ORb to the transport & DAC.

In digital, distance is very important. If a P-01 transport sounds better using an outboard clock, it speaks volumes about the low quality of the internal clock of that unit. The best scenario is when the low jitter clock is running the whole show at the very DAC chip. This way, data reclocking can be done right before conversion. If ever there is a better sound from using an external clock vs. an internal clock, it proves that the internal clock is of poor quality. Think about all the RCA and BNC connectors on the market. Think about all the digital cables. Why do they exist? Think about Eichmann, WBT, small metal contacts, 75 Ohm impedance plugs, balanced AES/EBU format, etc. etc. All of these differences are audible because Jitter is the result of a pulsating high frequency clock signal interacting with reflections as well as intermodulation with other induced ambient electromagnetic fields.

The aether is a chaotic sea of electromagnetic fluctuations going in every possible direction and at all possible frequencies. Just try to introduce a single frequency through this electromagnetic chaos without it even touching another airborne frequency -- and you will see that this is nearly impossible due to inductance and intermodulation. Therefore, shielding is of utmost importance.

Liudas
I think the manufacturer in this discussion is suffering from what Freud called "Product Envy"
$15,000 for a clock? With that kind of moola one could buy one hell of a turntable set-up and still have $ left over for software. Oh, and jitter removal is on the house...
Dazzdax, The mods I've made to my CDP that have obtained the most audible improvement are refinements to DC power into the digital section: power to master clock, but also separate discrete power circuits into DSPs and motor/servo control throughout the entire digital section. It's conceivable that some manufacturers do a better job than Esoteric to improve performance of the digital section in ways unrelated to accuracy of the master clock. But the benefits that one hears through these improvements to the digital section are still most likely related to a reduction in jitter. If not, how do I account for the audible improvements that I hear in my modded unit? I can rule out upsampling technologies as a consideration, as no changes were made in this area.

Mods to the digital section make digital sound far from awful and in most respects RBCD has surpassed vinyl in my system. My experience confirms JH's finding that short strokes related to banishing jitter really open up the true potential of digital. Problem is this may require heroic efforts like $15K clocks or 300lb. battery supplies.
Audiofeil: "I think the manufacturer in this discussion is suffering from what Freud called 'Product Envy'"

I choose to dissemintate what I hold to be knowledge at opporunities when my conscience is troubled, for I have a general disposition to side with defending any truth when I suspect disinformation being spread. This reflects a type of world view which I attempt to consciously carry. You may choose to examine further any subconscience aspects of this behavior, but please be aware that in the human science of psychology, it is by now generally known that one tends to notice upfront those aspects of others which are in truth deeply embedded in our own subconscious selves.

Liudas