I did an A/B comparison of the Apogee BigBen to and RME word clock on a RME-Audio PC sound card and could hear no difference.
I would love to hear feedback on the BigBen and upwards in price?
I use the Verdi/Purcell combo with a Scarlatti DAC and Scarlatti clock. The DAC replaced an Elgar Plus.
The Scarlatti DAC is a major improvement. The clock refines the sound audibly, but at its cost is really best for an otherwise "complete" system. I went with clock after DAC only because the Scarlatti transport is so costly, and my Verdi has a new optical drive. Once it dies it's on to the Scarlatti transport.
Jb, in what way the new Scarlatti Dac is improved upon the Elgar plus? Did you use the Verona before the Scarlatti clock? If there was a difference the spec didn't show it. Both seem to have similar jitter(+/-1ppm).
Suchtan, I think you made a wise choice with the BB. I too have wondered if the higher priced clocks can affect a noticeable difference from the BigBen. I don't think too many people have actually compared A/B different digital clocks.
Now if $$$ is no object, then sure, go for the matching clock with your DCS gear. But when I did an A/B with the BigBen against a word clock that was added to my RME soundcard (as a separate add on board/option) that cost $140 vs the BigBen at around $1200, I could hear no difference.
Suchart, Scarlatti DAC break in took about 100 hours to become noticeable. Now, at about 400 hours, the greater sense of realism compared to the Elgar Plus is indisputable - and I found the Elgar Plus to be the best DAC I'd heard to that point. My vocabulary fails me beyond what I've written, but the Scarlatti DAC is quite an achievement. FWIW, I split cd playing time between the Verdi/Purcell (>DSD>)/Scarlatti DAC w/all units sync'd to the Scarlatti clock, and feeding the Scarlatti DAC upsampled 174kHz dual AES data via the Purcell with the Lector providing the clocking data (it's modded with a DEXA reference clock). I enjoy both cd sources very much. Again, I believe the Scarlatti clock s/b considered only in the context of an otherwise "complete" system that will not be tinkered with for a long long time. Otherwise, save the cash for the next amp/preamp/loudspeaker/source experiment.
To clarify my last post, my non-dCS transport is a Lector DigiDrive with DEXA clock mod. I mentioned it only to make the point that the Scarlatti DAC extracting clock data out of the data stream from a good transport (at about 10-15% the cost of the Scarlatti transport) with Purcell upsampling to 176kHz dual AES is very nearly the equal of the Verdi/Purcell(upsampling to DSD)/Scarlatti DAC/Scarlatti master clock combo. The Scarlatti DAC with Purcell upsampling is the common denominator. Many have praised the TEAC VRDS-based transports of which the Scarlatti is one. Significantly refining the performance of my current source gear would be quite something, but $30k for the Scarlatti transport puts that day a long way off for me.
Now I got the idea the Scarlatti Dac is the first target for improvement from the previous Dcs stack. Jb, I have just read from avguide forum and one user who also is a Dcs dealer mentioned about his surprising dicovery. He prefers to upsampling to 176,4khz using Purcell to the Scarlatti Dac more than the usual Dsd upsampling. Unfortunately, he specified that a pair of Nordost Odin balanced cables were being used. That's too expensive for me to try.
I use LessLoss RCA SPDIF digital cable from the Lector transport to the Purcell and a pair of LessLoss AES/EBU cables from Purcell to Scarlatti. I've no desire to upgrade from those cables. You may consider emailing Liudas at LessLoss. I believe him to be someone who understands digital technology very well.
Jb, I'm using 4 lessloss power cables for my amps and very satisfied with them. How much you pay for the lessloss aes-ebu?
Suchart: It was a while back, but I believe about $300.
I would be quite surprised if there was a big difference in the performance from the Verona to the scarletti clock.
I have sent in my verona clock due to a power up problem, received it back with information that it now was equal to the new version but I could not detect any noticable difference.
The verona is almost new on the marked as well and most likely there was not any reason to introduce new clock's from a technical point of view, but of course new design for the transport/dac are most likely the main reason.
By the way, has anyone been experimenting word clock cables? I discover that word clock cables have as much effect as other cables such as interconnects, power cables and firewire. Considering that you need 3 clock cables in the system, you can try so many combination of word clock cables to obtain the sound that suit your system. I have used several combinations of cheap 75 ohm cables with good result. Wondering if someone has had similar experience to share.
I'd contacted dCS technical support in the UK about 1394 DSD cabling a while back and the fellow who wrote me in reply mentioned in passing that his experience was that clock cables ("surpisingly", to him) impact performance noticeably. BTW, he recommended Siltech 1394 cable.
I use three KCI Falcon digital cables. I've listened with the Falcon as BNC-BNC "data" cable from Verdi to Purcell, and it is surpisingly close to my reference (Stealth Varidig Sextet) in that role. So I bought two more and use the three for clock connections (to Verdi, Purcell and Scarlatti DAC). Oh, and it sounds great.