How low can we go with JITTER now?

I must say at the onset, I sincerely enjoy what I have now by way of Audio Quality…. BUT I feel I can move further on… I’m pretty sure.

Sooooo….. What is the least amount of JITTER which is audibly discernable? In other words, about where do we get to before we’re beating a dead horse on the JITTER issue? …and how do we know just how darn much JITTER we’re dealing with anyhow?

Would adding a word re-clocking device between a PC sound card and my DAC such as a Black Lion or some other, be the best path for improving upon my audio quality, or should some other aspect be addressed instead?

Say a Re-clocker is added, then there’s got to be another cable, more connections, more loss… greater chance of adding that stuff about HF interference… etc.

I’m bemused and confused as to which item (s) need the foremost attention though.
Sound card?
Re-clocking device?
Getting off the grid with a DC based upgrade for my BC DAC 3 TO THE NEW vb line?

Or all of the above?

Seeing a need for the ability to handle formats upwards of 24/192 I see two items of significant controversy in that appraisal.

1 Lessening JITTER… natch’
2 Providing for greater word lengths and bit rates into my DAC from my PC as only via it’s SPDIF; BNC; AES, inputs can I convert formats above 16/48.. ie., Sound card

Any thoughts on how you’ve moved along these avenues or any experience with stepping up the sound card ladder, or using RE-CLOCKING devices would be appreciated!

I can ill afford much more hair pulling! Thanks immensely.
Until you can not hear it. That is you, not some reviewer of dealer. The 'ears' rule.
Buconero117, I respect your point of view that it is only what you hear in your system that matters to you. On the other hand, sometimes you don't know what you are missing until you try changing it. I thought that my USB from the mac mini to my PSA DLIII was really great, until I added a M2Tech Hiface USB to SPDIF device and it improved immensely. Was it the jitter reduction? I don't know. Since the optical output is very very close to this, I assume it is jitter reduction, but how do I know? I don't believe there are any studies on how much jitter is truly audible. If there are, I would love to read them. Very high jitter is audible as a somewhat disjointed blurred soundstage and rhythm. But can we hear any reduction less than 200 ps? If a device reduces jitter to below 1 ps, would we know? I have come to the conclusion that it is the analog output stages of the DAC that make a DAC truly great and beyond a point we are just chasing numbers.
Hi Blindjim - I use a reclocker, the Empirical Audio Pace Car 2 (with Audiocom's Superclock 4), in my computer based setup. The addition of the reclocker to my system resulted in greater perceived resolution, better imaging focus, less shrillness in the high frequencies, and a lower noise floor. I wrote a review of the Pace Car 2 if you would like to know more about my experiences with it.

Suffice to say, it made me a true believer in the importance of reducing jitter for getting the most from computer based audio. Whether the results of lowering jitter would be more beneficial than the other changes you mentioned, I cannot say. Good luck.


I'm high on that theme, yet the subsequent post says so very much of what has been my own experience.... sometimes one does not hear outright, that which is affecting the sound negatively until it's removed, outright.

Thanks.. I'll look into that review.

I've noticed several new to me names of re-clocking devices just these past few days, so the game may well be a foot in this area., depending on what positive accounts I can come away with, and/or the opportunity to trial - test it first.

I kind of think it all adds up, yet keep feeling that one's and zeros are just one's and zero's after all, and lining them up is more significant than how pretty they are.

Especially seeing some high priced sound card owners that ALSO follow them up with these WORD RE-CLOCK devices!

Would be nice to know as was said previously, the degree to which JITTER becomes audible and if the better arrangement is to affect it in either the digital domain or analog as was also pointed out.
Tgrisham - jitter is noise (in time domain). It creates (in frequency domain) sidebands that are not harmonically related (like THD is) and therefore audible in spite of very low levels. With multiple root frequencies (music) it appears as noise. It is strange kind of noise because it is present only when signal is present so it can be detected only as a lack of clarity. Bryoncunningham mentioned greater perceived resolution with suppression of the jitter - that exactly what is improved. My first experience with Benchmark DAC1 made me at first searching for missing instruments on recordings - sounded too clean (some call it sterile or analytical). Addition of noise or small distortion always makes sound more "lively"

I agree completely. It is exactly what I like about vinyl. There is a coherence to the sound that is more natural and real as opposed to bad digital which is artificial and "out of time". I am still searching for the computer solution to playback. It is convenient, but like in the earlier days of CDs, it is not yet as musical as I want it to be. If you believe others, it requires a beautifully designed DAC, probably asynchronous, which restores the timing of the original recording plus an analog output which is melodious and natural sounding. No small feat. It will take some time before it approaches the sound of good vinyl.

The increase of resolution and clarity amidst some other noteable items in the musical reproduction was the main reason I choose to keep the BC D3, even though it borders on the more clinical approach to revealing the music IMHO. It also was a missing ingredient for my system, and made it more so than less so.

To gain a still closer view to the music I suspect another veil can yet be removed.

The question remains though, by which more immediate & cost effective means?

Great reading on this subject can be found in a variety of articles. some were seemingly dated, yet still applicable, such as Julian Dunn's papers, "Bit's is Bits" & "The jitter Game" published by Stereophile's John Atkinson, and with Bob Harley.

One note of interest to me and this topic was the measured indication of when jitter becomes a negative influence 'audibly', to the music... the article noted ".... 100 pico seconds and above".

I found too many to list here... so just Google for them and have a ball.