Wyred4Sound - Do clocks age?


Reading a recent review of the wyred4Sound Remedy over at 6moons (gods, is there any site harder to read or understand?) they seemed to say that perhaps digital clocks in sources and DACs age.

I remember reading some truth to this with some of the higher end clocks aging relatively quickly compared to lesser clocks.  I'm wondering if anyone has a source or measurements for this?

Does this mean we'll need to purchase a re-clocker every 5 years to keep our DACs sounding at their best?

Best,

Erik
erik_squires
Hi Erik,

Assuming this is the review you are referring to, the relevant words appear to be on page 3, and are as follows:
Tony's opening comments on owner feedback which Wyred has collected suggest that potential applications include not just 'consumer-grade' mainstream gear but more 'high-end' stuff that's simply a few years old. Sufficient age should imply earlier less accurate types of clocks. I didn't think my Metrum Hex, AURALiC Vega or Aqua Hifi La Voce 2 converters were old enough to apply. Yet. But I'd check just in case.
I would interpret that to not be saying that clock performance deteriorates significantly over time, but rather that recent designs tend to be better performers than older designs.  Meaning that recent designs tend to be better performers than the older designs were even when the older designs were new.

Regards,
-- Al
 
It goes without saying that even recent, advanced clocks on systems moving at very high speeds will run a little slower than older design clocks on systems that are stationary relative to the moving system, thus making the advanced clocks age more slowly.  ;-)
As I might have expected, Geoff, it looks like you're well versed on Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity :-)

Regards,
-- Al
 
Which is why I always drive fast! :)

I just found out something I wish I had known before ordering.  The W4S Remedy isn''t really a reclocker, it's a sample rate converter with a good clock. That's not at all what I wanted.  I'll still give it a listen.

Erik
erik_squires OP
158 posts
07-11-2016 4:26pm
Which is why I always drive fast! :)

Finally! Someone said something that makes sense.

@almarg I'd be surprised if clocks got all that much better over 2 years though. The Auralic jitter specs, at least for the SE version, are outstanding, around 80 femto-seconds, while the published measurements for the W4S are around 87 picoseconds. Over 1,000 times worse, but still much better than Apple TV.

In fact, the Remedy in this case may add jitter. :)

I really should read specs better, and not buy products after drinking sake.

Erik 


I’d be surprised if clocks got all that much better over 2 years though.
I have no particular knowledge of that, Erik, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you were right. I was just offering my interpretation of the reviewer’s comment.

Also, when it comes to jitter specs I wonder how much consistency and meaningfulness there is among the different manufacturers with respect to how they are defined. The jitter measurements John Atkinson provides in Stereophile are often specifically stated to be averages taken across a specific bandwidth, and detailed spectral plots based on precisely specified test conditions are often provided as well. But I’d expect that when specs are provided by manufacturers there is lots of opportunity for creative "specmanship." Examples being the bandwidth of the measurement, peak-to-peak vs. peak vs. rms vs. other forms of averaging, measurement at the output of the oscillator vs. the output of the component vs. other circuit points within the component, or just the spec on the oscillator itself as determined under ideal conditions independent of the surrounding circuit and the noise it introduces, etc. etc.

Regards,
-- Al

FWIW: I had a re-clocker - which required another digital cable and another power cord. Of course, each cable affected the sound. After much experimenting, I simply went back to one clock with the best of the cables. Sounds much better.
Do the clocks degrade with time? I have wondered about this as well, but I think the electrolytic caps will give up long before the clocks do.
Do the clocks degrade with time? I have wondered about this as well ...
I have no particular knowledge regarding that question, but it wouldn't surprise me if such concerns arose as a result of flawed extrapolations from the fact that over time digital watches and clocks gain or lose time.  "Flawed" for two reasons:

1)That would occur to some degree even if nothing at all in the watch or clock changes over time, just as a consequence of its initial inaccuracy.

2)If the master oscillator in such a device were to gain or lose the equivalent of say a minute per year, due to some combination of initial inaccuracy and changes in accuracy that may occur over time, that would amount over a period of 10 years to an error of less than 0.002%.  In a digital audio device that would result in a corresponding change in pitch, which would seem unlikely to be perceivable even to those having perfect pitch.  0.002% would mean, for example, that a tone of 1000 Hz would be reproduced as 1000.02 Hz.

What might matter is significant degradation over time in the jitter performance of the device, but FWIW I am not aware of any credible evidence that would raise concern about that possibility.

Regards,
-- Al
  

So have any of you received your Remedy reclockers yet, and have you had a chance to listen? I began writing about my experience with it (it's doing some very nice things in my system) but haven't posted it yet because it has turned into a full-blown review and I'm still editing it. I hope to have it ready soon.
Mine should arrive tomorrow.  I probably should get my ARC DAC 8 out and start warming it up.

My test bed will be using a Logitech Squeezebox Touch to the ARC.  Based on Hi Fi, the ARC is quite sensiutive to jitter except in the USB portion. We'll see if I hear anything.

I really regret ordering it, right now the Mytek DAC's are on sale and I should have ordered one instead. :)  Well, I'm sure I'll have it on Audiogon soon. :)

Best,


Erik
Mine has just arrived. My DAC has been cold for weeks, so it's hard to tell. At the very least it does not suck. I'm listening to my local classical station via the Squeezebox. 

The direct connection is via coax, while the W4S is via opticals.  I looked inside, it uses one of the best Crystek oscillators.   Considering the overall price point not bad.

Erik
I answered my own question. Yes, oscillators and clocks do age. :) 

Crystrek oscillators seem very stable per year, but the ageing is not 0. Others maybe not so much.

Best,

Erik
Found the DAC remote. So far there’s a noticeable improvement of the overtones in strings and brass. I’m a little worried it’s a level change, but I don’t think so.

The string attacks are also just a touch more pronounced. At first I thought the treble was hard.  But the units are barely warm.  More later.
So my final conclusion is that the W4S Remedy does work, but that it's benefit is related to the source.  On low resolution Internet radio the benefits to depth, and low level linearity are most pronounced. On a station like Toronto Jazz with a 96kHz signal it's benefit is less.

The one area which I felt things went for the worst, but hard to tell with Internet radio, was mass strings. It seemed to me that in these cases the strings got very confused.

For the record, I'm using a Logitech Squeezebox Touch with TerraDAC linear supply, Audio Research DAC 8 and plain Toslink between the three.  I'm also using a Wireworld 75 Ohm digital cable direct from the SB to the ARC so I can compare signals nearly immediately.
As promised, my review is up, for better or worse. It’s over in the ambiguously titled "Member Reviews" section of the forum. (Does this mean reviews by members, or reviews OF members?).