Esoteric P03 D03 owners: To clock or not to clock

Hi all again,

I started a post a year ago or so. I was upgrading from the X01 D2 to the P03 / D03. I had lots of questions and got very good feddback and help regarding these units.

Now, after almost a year of using them, Im considering upgrading by adding the G clock to them. Was wondering, how many of you owners of the combo actually use the clock and how many lives just with the two alone.

For those only with the 2 units, is it cos you tried and did not heard any improvement?

For those using it, can u elavorate improvement experienced? Also, did the addition of the clock change the play mode of choice before and after (upsample to DSD, or 176,4, or not upsampling etc)?

Check the archives for a recent thread I initiated with the title "Esoteric Separates" which has some helpful information on these components, including clocking.
yes I saw it after writing this. I gave you my feedback there. I was in a very similar position. Use to have the X03 SE, wentt to the X01 D2, and finally to the P03 D03. This last change was a great imrpovement. More so than going from X01 to the X03.

I would not keep the X03 and spend the cash on the clock. Leave the clok for the last and than evaluate. Changing for X03 to separates is going o be anything but a minor change...

I was hoping to get in this post info from users of the combo on their clock experiences and how it affected the playing mode of preference.

Not too much feedback on the specific clock question.

Anyway, i got a loaner unitmthis morning to try out from the importer and distributor. Is fully broken and conected with esoteric own cables, mexcell.

I can keep it until monday so will be doing as much listening as I can these few next days. Will report my findings.

Anyway, one thing the sales rep told me to do, that i think may be of interest to you guys is to place the clock directly above the transport, and not in a different rack space. He claims it sounds better since the transport benefits from the extra weight, and since there is no heat problems thats the way he likes to install them. Again he claims there is a good improvement in overall sound.

Reading the manual, there seems to be nothing against this placment. All it says is to place in a rigid surface and to avod heat like amps or valves.

Was wondering if you tried this and if so if u hear a difference. If not you may consider trying. I cant say if there is a dif or not, but surely would be an unexpensive "upgrade" if it works.

Eli, with the external clock, be sure to read the manual to insure that you have the clock rate set correctly for how you use the P03/D03 combo. The second point that I would make is once you have the clock set up with the P03 D03, just listen with the clock in place for a few days and then remove it by going back to using the D03 to clock the P03. In my system, this allowed me to hear the difference the easiest. Hope that helps.
Thanks Babybear. Thats what i will do. Will listen to it till monday and when day take it will plug to the DAC again. See if I can hear a diff.

I hope to be able to do some critical first listening tonight. Would be nice to hear some improvements right away though. We wil see.

Ive set them at 176,4 on both A and B. I can read the number on the A and B screen of the clock and both clock lights in DAC and transport are on, showing constant blue, so I guess it should be well connected no?

Interestly, the esoteric rep told me he likes it better at 88... Still I left it at 176,4 since is the freq I had to the DAC (i guess better for comp pourposes). Im also up to DSD on reedbock. Is thisnthe mode younuse also?

Babybear i see you have something on top of your transport already. What is it? Great job with the new room. Been reading quietly. Im also in the process of building up a new room. Would like to ask you some questions on some of your experiences in that regard if you dont mind. Like how you choosed dimensions, few on the great electrical instalation and others.

Hi Eli,
When you upsample redbook to DSD, Esoteric does recommend setting the external clock to 176.4. I also prefer the sound this way as well so this is how I have it set.

On top of my transport is something that I purchased from Bright Star Audio about 5 years ago - not sure what its called but its very dense and I would guess it weighs in the area of 8 - 10 pounds. I've always used this on top of my CDP or now my transport. To be honest, I couldn't tell you if it improves the sound or not. What I do find that does make a nice improvement under the P03 is a vibration isolation platform.

Feel free to email with any questions about the room, etc.
For RBCD playback in Dual-AES configuration (not taken to DSD), I've found 176.4 clocking and 176.4 up-sampling is the best combination with my stack. I tried 88.2 and while it is good, I tend to like 176.4 better. BTW...I also tend to run with the digital filter set to On. I also utilize 176.4 clocking for DSD playback (native DSD for SACD).

Has anyone found that RBCD->DSD is superior for up-sampling?
I tend to do RBCD with DSD up sampling, but that is without clock.

After today's first listening session with the clock my preliminary findings (some came as a surprise, although is very early to say something clear):

I can hear a big effect by plugging the clock. Unlike others experience, I do hear a big difference right away.

THe system is a lot more resolving all over. Specially details and micro info, so like certain things that are there more present than before, without loosing other info, but also overall textures. Voices per instance are more rich and with much more body. Also separation of instruments, it is easier to diferenciate instruments in orchestras or even quintets. Not a great effect or difference on the bass though. Overall, resolution has gone up big time.

Now, do I like it...? Sure, but hard to tell at this point how much. Sometimes, depending on the record I play, I tend to think it is a bit too much detailed; too much resolution, if you like... Hard to explain. But with other records, mainly classical music, I think is just and plain great.

All the above with RBCD and up sampling to DSD as I use to do without clock.

Only listened to one SACD so far and it was classical, and it was very good.

Someone mentioned that after installing the clock, he changed his preferred setting with RBCD from DSD without clock to 176,4 PCM with clock. I will try this setting tomorrow and see.

Only a session of a few hours of critical listening so far, and just with 7 different CDs I know well (2 live and 1 studio jazz-like, and 4 well regarded classical recordings, one of them SACD). but those are my first findings. Where do I think maybe there is just a bit too much detail? in the Jazz ones. Classical are great. Not sure how I feel still about the jazz sound. Need more listening, for sure. Maybe the thing need to settle a bit.

We will see.

It's a shame I only have till monday to try out things.

I was wondering; is this thing really sensible to cables: BNCs and also PCs, or less so than transport, DAC and other gear, according to your experience?

Will report farther findings and how I feel about what up sampling I like better soon.

Best and thanks for your inputs
Zephyr - I run the clock at 176.4, but in my system, I prefer upsampling to DSD but definitely to not like that with the filter on - so I have the filter off. I find that in this configuration, the overall sound is more effortless and relaxed sounding. With the digital filter on, I hear a a little bit of a hard edge at the upper frequencies.
Eeliio08 and Babybear: Thanks for the feedback! I'll give DSD another try, this time without the filter. For the clock, it likes a decent cable but you don't have to over-spend. Something of the cost/quality of a Audience PowerChord "e" or similar will do (IMHO, these are great cords and I am extremely happy with them). I've used much higher cost cords and did not hear a difference for the clock. 75-ohm cables are important and should be of good quality. You don't have to over-spend but do buy sufficiently good quality cords. For this there are many options...
Ok, I spent only 4 days with the clock, cos my dealer had to use it at a series of demos locally. Also due to holidays I could not spend us much time as I would have liked.

I finally did all the listening is DSD, for RBCDs and SACDs. Spent a few hours comparing upsampling modes and DSD was clearly the best option to my ears.

Really my fist impressions as per prior post very much remains. More detail, more "clear" sound if you like. Voices, textures.... Per instance great with classical music. But something strange. With Jazz per instance, I felt I was missing a bit of... bass ?? Maybe it was the extra detail. Maybe changing BNC cables from what I use normally had something to do. I don't now...

Thing is, that now, after 2 days without clock, I don't know what to think. I have spoken to the dealer and he will let me borrow it again for a longer period once he is done with the demos, and listen to it with more time and same cables. As of now, I'm not ready to make the change still...

Does not make any sense the less bass thing, so will try with more time and keeping all the rest equal. WIll also put the clock in a separate rack space and not in top on the CDP. Who knows...

Anyway, we will see.