Depuis ses jours passés à l’école d’art à la fin des années 90 lorsqu’il allait au prestigieux Chicago Art Institute, William Fermer a poursuivi son rêve de construire et d’enregistrer des instruments uniques, fabriqués à la main, dont les sons n’ont jamais été entendu auparavant dans le monde. Maintenant, la « Harpe Terrestre », son instrument chef-d’œuvre à l’échelle hors-du commun et d’une beauté sonore sans précédent, a été capturée avec une fidélité étonnante dans un tout nouvel enregistrement – grâce aux technologies numériques d’horloge et de conversion conçus par Antelope Audio.
Son nouvel album enregistré avec The Earth Harp Collective, « Behind the Veil », capture le son authentique de cet instrument spectaculaire – de ses notes graves somptueuses à ses harmoniques riches et ses partiels célestes. Close attribue le succès de cet enregistrement en grande partie au nouveau convertisseur Rubicon AD / DA d’Antelope qui fût utilisé comme dispositif principal et Orion³² , son interface multi-canal, qui fût utilisée lors du playback. « Je n’ai jamais entendu la Harpe Terrestre sonner si bien sur un enregistrement », dit-il. « Cet instrument possède tant de belles harmoniques et de partiels, mais très souvent ceux-ci sont perdus pendant les enregistrements. Les équipements d’Antelope ont été géniaux et nous ont finalement aidé à réaliser une représentation fidèle du son réel de la Harpe Terrestre. »
What devices need clocking?
In a simple system featuring one audio interface with built-in mic preamps connected to a computer-based DAW, the interface clocks the DAW since the most clock-critical element of the audio chain is the A/D converter, as that’s built in to the interface. If you were to add an external digital device to the equation (reverb, multi-effects processor etc), it should be configured to work as a clock slave to the interface.
Following that logic, even in bigger and more complex studios, it’s generally best to use an A/D as the master clock. If there’s more than one of these you’ll need to decide which one to use as the master, and everything else will have to be slaved to that. It’s quite possible that there will be audible differences between various configurations, because most A/Ds will perform slightly differently when configured as clock master and slave.
Why do we need clocks?
In order for an analog signal to be digitized, it must be sampled precisely and accurately in repeating intervals. The master clock provides that timing information and allows the waveform to be reconstructed as an analog signal correctly (assuming the sample rate is more than twice the highest frequency component of the audio signal being sampled). The clock identifies when each individual sample should be recorded or re-played (word clock).
If the clock timing varies, the audio samples will possibly be replayed or recorded at the wrong time resulting in sound distortion, jitter and aliasing. Jitter is the erroneous capture of a wave form over time. Although the apparent error to the clarity of the audio this creates there are other artifacts that maybe introduced with bad clocking.
Another type of clock is the ‘bit clock’. This is used in serial data interfaces like AES, S/PDIF and ADAT, where there is basically only one ‘conduit’ over which to pass the audio data. The bit clock ensures that the receiving device does not lose track of when each data bit stops and the next begins, eliminating the potential result in corrupted data values being received.
Here is an interview with Igor Levin published by Audio Times in 2012. Igor answers questions about some critical aspects of A/D and D/A converters and master clocks design.
Irrespective of the sampling rate, what are the really important elements within successful A/D and D/A converters designs?
About 20 years ago when I built my first D/A converter I had also to build a clock for it. At that time, clocks were not something that you just go out and buy. So I built my first clock for my first D/A converter. People liked the converter, but what they really appreciated was the clock. This was when I realized the importance of the stable clocking reference for digital audio.
I still believe the accurate clock is the basis for successful conversion. In fact as the chips get better and the circuit artifacts we struggled to overcome fall away, the significance of good clocking has come to the fore as never before. Today I would say it amounts to at least 75% of the overall sound. Of course there is a list of other important factors such as proper layout, stable power supply, the analog-based volume control etc.
On the 29th and 30th of September Antelope Audio was present at the X-FI show in the Netherlands. The event was held in the picturesque country side of Veldhoven, South East Netherlands. The event was soon set upon by the thousand’s of dedicated audiophiles from the Netherlands and surrounding countries. The event was attended by a wide range of vintage, vinyl and digital audio purist’s making for a great range of interesting devices to take a look at.
The Antelope room was of a nice size, and the team managed to create a great listening space for the visitors of the show. The Zodiac Gold and its Voltikus Power Supply Unit were representing themselves alongside a music server and the PMC Fact 8 Loudspeakers.
Earlier this year, during the High End Show in Munich we were given the chance to organize a lecture about high resolution audio and the benefits it brings to listeners. In order to get several different perspectives we got together four different experts and supporters of high resolution audio, from four different fields of the audio industry.
The lecturers were Daniela Manger from Manger Audio, Morten Lindberg from 2L , Lothar Kerestedjian from HighResAudio and Igor Levin, CEO and Founder of Antelope Audio.
The title of the lecture, High Resolution – The Future of Digital Audio attracted a significant audience in front of the Technology Stage at the High End Show. Here you can watch the whole lecture divided into several short videos.
by Robert Dugan, Sound Engineer
I‘ve personally used Antelope Audio in the Live Sound domain. At first, I was skeptical of how much clocking could really change the sound, especially since I was using a digital console. But after the unpacking and setting up, it was all ready to go within five minutes and, if I would have known how I was going to react, I would have prepared a little better.
Upon hearing Deftones “Digital Bath,” it seemed like the PA had come alive after sleeping for years. The drums were lifelike and it sounded like I was listening to the Deftones right in the rehearsal room. Immediately, I thought that the clock couldn’t be doing all of this, so I unplugged the BNC from console to Trinity. The sound seemed to escape and it reminded me of listening to the song through iPod headphones – thin and one road.
by Robert Dugan, Sound Engineer
The Importance of Clocking
Like it or not, the digital age is coming in full force, making every audiophile worried about quality being lost. This is why it’s best to educate audiophiles and consumers about the importance of clocking. I’ll try and make this easy to understand and straight to the point. When an analog signal is about to be converted to a digital signal, it is represented by bits that are representations of the analog waveform. When two points that are represented are slightly off, they create jitter – which is digital distortion.
Clocking can play a very important role during this process. With all these signals digitized, it’s important that the timing and space between every ‘bit’ are exactly the same (in sync), so the audio source has no jitter. This is where Clocking comes into play by synching all the audio signals.
May 18-20, 2012 – Tokyo, JAPAN: Many hundreds of dedicated audiophiles attended the highly-respected HI-END SHOW over the weekend.
This 3-Day event showcases some of the most prestigious brands in the audio-marketplace. Antelope Audio was supported by the leading audio-magazine publisher « Ongen Shuppan ». They recently featured our Zodiac/Voltikus on both the cover and within their magazine « Net Audio ».
The Zodiac’s many merits were presented by Mr Shin Ishihara, a noted audio-consultant, during a 90-minute lecture to a very receptive audience. In addition, the well-known Osaka-based dealer « Ippinkan Inc » showcased our OCX within their own 3-days of presentations. Special thanks to Phile-web, Mr Ishihara and Ippinkan KK for your great support.