Using an external word clock with Esoteric cd/sacd players

Considering the use of an external word clock with my Esoteric cd/sacd player, it has a word clock BNC input. Wanted to ask two questions;
1.) Are you relegated to using only an Esoteric word clock device? or
2.) Can you use another manufacturer like some of the pro audio word clocks, eg. Antelope OCXHD, Black Lion, Tascam, etc.?
Thanks for your input.
You're not limited to an Esoteric model.  Several Esoteric owners use cybershaft clocks, for example.
Why not just use a good DAC? Any good DAC reduces jitter (clocks not synced) to well below audibility.
I’m using a 10mhz Stanford Research Systems Perfection 10 with a K-01X. The Mutec is also well regarded. Be sure to get one with the correct impedance for your player. Some Esoterics call for 75 ohm, others 50 ohm.
I can endorse the Mutec, which handily comes with both 50 and 75 ohm outputs. It does really benefit from a good power cord, footers and of course a superb BNC!

But if you’re feeling speedy there’s always this 😁

And for @mzkmxcv a good external clock will transform even the best DAC, my Vivaldi benefitted enormously from a 10 MHz Reference clock, even though I already have the Vivaldi clock as well. And those I know with the astute would never go back ...

Yikes, for $44K I'd like to see more than two outputs on that.  I'm using five outputs on my Perf 10: K01X, two SOtM endpoints, one SOtM ethernet hub, and an Antelope frequency divider into a Tascam DSD recorder.  
So, the answer is, this depends.

Generally, you want an internal clock on the Esoteric because, being closest to the spinning disc, and DAC, an internal clock has the shortest trace route, and will have the best chance at having a great signal.

The main reason to use an external clock is when using an external DAC. Some external DAC’s even provide their own clock out.

Second main reason to use an external clock is if a device has a poor one to start with. Clocks and their circuitry over the past 10 years are VERY VERY good though.


Any difference heard by using external clocks is placebo unless it’s like a $10 DAC. Even a Topping D10 (~$75) has a Jitter Test result of better than -125dB, better than dithered 16Bit. Vivaldi has a result of better than -130dB. To put this into perspective, you likely listen with peaks at 100dB, your room’s noise floor is likely not lower than 40dB, so that’s only 60dB of dynamic range, that’s not even 10Bit, and a psec clock offset of >22,000, whereas the offset out of any source is likely not above 1,000 (again, that’s before there DAC reduces it). 

Jitter has not been an issue in over a decade.

Right, because you are using your ears, which are magnitudes worse at judging sonic differences than measurement gear. Like I said, it’s all placebo, there is no audible differences; if you did hear a difference, then that was money well spent, it worked just like how the sugar cubes in scientific studies made the test subjects feel better.
I should clarify, I genuinely meant that if you heard a difference, then it was money well spent. However, if someone doesn’t hear a difference (as there is no actual audible changing coming from your speakers), then they just wasted a bunch of money and have to try and return it for hopefully a full refund.
That’s why you try to buy it used so if it doesn’t work out, you can recoup as much as possible :) I rationalize it as "the cost of doing business" as I try to find the sound I want. As I’ve made improvements to my system, I’m confident that I can hear more deeply into the recording than I used to, but I also think some of that is just learning how to listen.

My transport is quite good but doesn’t have a word clock input, nor does my DAC. But I’ve kicked around the idea of playing with a reclocker at some point, just to answer for myself if I can hear a difference. I get that some measurements say I shouldn’t be able to, but eh, it’s a hobby for me. I want to be able to try things, evaluate over a long period for myself, and move forward. No one’s giving me a trophy for how good it sounds :)

I'd love to try the Cybershaft stufff but my gear doesn't work with it. 

But I’ve kicked around the idea of playing with a reclocker at some point, just to answer for myself if I can hear a difference. 


To my ears, there was a significant shift in capabilities of DAC's from before 2010 to after. I don't know what it was, but here's what I have heard:
Prior to 2010, HiRez was significantly better than Red Book playback.

After 2010, a number of DAC's made this difference almost, if not completely, imperceptible.  Whiel HiRez playback has been consistent, Red Book has really improved.

I wish I knew why, but I suspect better, cheaper oscillator chips hitting the market, or perhaps better receivers?

Anyway, point is, I have tried reclockers. You have to be aware they are not bit-perfect. But, they do work with:
  • Poor sources like cheap streamers (Google, Apple)
  • Old DACs

With new DAC's I can't hear a difference at all.


Thanks for that! For me it's a matter of not expecting a change, but seeing what different things do with various components. That said, your post is well-taken and I'll likely just abandon that idea unless I get incredibly bored :) I'm learning how to DIY cables anyway so I'll just focus more on that.

I started my "audio room" with files and DACs and Audio PCs back in 2013, 2014. I remember oodles of detail, very quiet backgrounds, etc... but a certain musicality just not being there. I was looking into the music, not listening to it. This current digital setup, a Jay's transport and Yggy Analog 2, using just basic RB CDs, has combined those two elements. If I so choose, I can unfold the sonic picture like a magic eye puzzle and focus on whatever I want to. Or, I can crank it up and just jam to it. Both are equally as fun and equally as rewarding. I'm honestly flabbergasted by it, but feel very fortunate to have this experience. If I were to quantify it, I'd say my current setup is 50/50 introspective/musical. The prior transport, a TASCAM (using a Jay's now) was about 25/75, so it was really fun to listen to, but not as resolving and all-showing like the Jay's is. Now that doesn't mean the Jay's is 25% less fun to listen to, it's actually more fun as well but its blend of both qualities is what I'm trying to quantify if that makes sense.

Anyway, I'm far afield here, sorry OP. But I do agree that at least in my own very recent experience, RB playback is light years better than what I remember from days gone by, and my turntable is presently collecting dust and I just simply don't worry about files/streaming down in the audio room.


Cybershaft 10 M clocks : UPOCXO-OP20A/OP21A

Looks like the bar just got raised again.