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Can you review a Synchro-Mesh S/PDIF re-clocker?

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Empirical Audio

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#1
I have measured many reclockers on my bench and none have come within even 10X of what the Synchro-Mesh does. I would like to see your assessment, not through a DAC either. I would provide my Standard BNC cable for the output. It would be interesting if you see differences with different inputs to it. I have found some small input sensitivity.
 

restorer-john

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#2
Firstly welcome to ASR. :)

I have measured many reclockers on my bench and none have come within even 10X of what the Synchro-Mesh does.
What exactly are you claiming the Synchro-Mesh actually does? I presume its another CS-8421 in a box, configurable for fixed output at manufacture by the TCXO frequency?

I would like to see your assessment, not through a DAC either.
You say "The Synchro-Mesh provides a method to improve the sound quality of virtually any 2-channel digital audio source without needing modifications to the source device. It inserts between the source device and the DAC, SS processor or SS Receiver."

How can you justify not testing it through a D/A converter when the only way of determining improved sound quality is to analyze the output of the attached D/A converter?

I'm sorry, when I see $510 BNC 'reference cables' as options, I have to smile.
 

Frank Dernie

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#6
I have measured many reclockers on my bench and none have come within even 10X of what the Synchro-Mesh does. I would like to see your assessment, not through a DAC either. I would provide my Standard BNC cable for the output. It would be interesting if you see differences with different inputs to it. I have found some small input sensitivity.
I would like to see its influence on the output of a small selection of DACs, from well engineered ones to poorly engineered ones to see what its influence is on the analogue output.
After all it is that which we listen to, not the digital stream of bits. If the device has no influence on the output of a well engineered DAC then it is unnecessary, whatever it does.
If it improves the accuracy of the output of a poorly engineered DAC then an owner of such a DAC may well find it a worthwhile purchase, rather than buying a better DAC.
 

Empirical Audio

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#8
Firstly welcome to ASR. :)



What exactly are you claiming the Synchro-Mesh actually does? I presume its another CS-8421 in a box, configurable for fixed output at manufacture by the TCXO frequency?
You presume wrong. It uses a 4192 re-sampler chip.



You say "The Synchro-Mesh provides a method to improve the sound quality of virtually any 2-channel digital audio source without needing modifications to the source device. It inserts between the source device and the DAC, SS processor or SS Receiver."

How can you justify not testing it through a D/A converter when the only way of determining improved sound quality is to analyze the output of the attached D/A converter?
I do test it through an D/A converter, my own. I do not care about the measurements from this test though, only the sound quality. The direct measurements are sufficient for testing the digital signal IME, in fact they can actually be used to some extent for SQ correlation as opposed to the plots of the analog output from a DAC.

I'm sorry, when I see $510 BNC 'reference cables' as options, I have to smile.
I'm sorry too that you will never discover the sound quality that I have achieved with a closed mind like that.

Steve N.
 

svart-hvitt

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#9
You presume wrong. It uses a 4192 re-sampler chip.





I do test it through an D/A converter, my own. I do not care about the measurements from this test though, only the sound quality. The direct measurements are sufficient for testing the digital signal IME, in fact they can actually be used to some extent for SQ correlation as opposed to the plots of the analog output from a DAC.



I'm sorry too that you will never discover the sound quality that I have achieved with a closed mind like that.

Steve N.
Are you Empirical Audio, the dealer/constructor?

Should this be in desperate dealers forum?

EDIT: I DID THE BACKGROUND CHECK AND YOU AND EMPIRICAL ARE THE SAME. I SUGGEST YOU SEND OVER ALL YOUR BOXES TO @amirm FOR MEASUREMENTS. WOULD BE AN INTERESTING SET OF MEASUREMENTS, INDEED!

:)
 
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Empirical Audio

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#10
I would like to see its influence on the output of a small selection of DACs, from well engineered ones to poorly engineered ones to see what its influence is on the analogue output.
Me too. I hear the difference it makes on all sources, but it will be interesting to see if the analog measurement technology is up to the task. In the past, I have read numerous reviews in Stereophile where the reviewer raves about the SQ and yet JA measurements don't reflect this. I have also read multiple reviews by JA where he tries to correlate some measurement to the sound quality of a digital cable, usually S/PDIF or USB. He can never see any difference in the measurements and yet the cables definitely sound different. I don't think the AP system is resolving enough or uses the right measurements to accomplish this. IMO, the measurement technology and input stimulus needs to be improved for analog measurements.

If it improves the accuracy of the output of a poorly engineered DAC then an owner of such a DAC may well find it a worthwhile purchase, rather than buying a better DAC.
IME, all DACs benefit from this re-clocker. It's not so much that these DACs are poorly designed. It's more that it is extremely difficult and expensive to make a DAC immune to incoming jitter. I actually prefer DACs that do not have re-clocking on the inputs. This allows them to benefit from lower and lower jitter sources as these become available. It also avoids re-sampling in many cases. Some resampling chips do affect the SQ. The only one that I have found that does not is the 4192. If I installed my re-clocker inside my DAC for instance, it would be difficult to make it as good as the external version because of power sharing, ground-plane noise and coupling, emissions coupling etc...

Steve N.
 

Frank Dernie

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#11
Me too. I hear the difference it makes on all sources, but it will be interesting to see if the analog measurement technology is up to the task. In the past, I have read numerous reviews in Stereophile where the reviewer raves about the SQ and yet JA measurements don't reflect this. I have also read multiple reviews by JA where he tries to correlate some measurement to the sound quality of a digital cable, usually S/PDIF or USB. He can never see any difference in the measurements and yet the cables definitely sound different. I don't think the AP system is resolving enough or uses the right measurements to accomplish this. IMO, the measurement technology and input stimulus needs to be improved for analog measurements.
IME differences heard with different cables is expectation bias, or placebo effect.
I tested this myself and cables I was sure were better no longer sounded different when I got my daughter to change them and I didn’t see what she was doing.
I hear differences between microphones I use, I used to hear differences between the tape recorders I used to use but since I have recorded with digital not only does the recording sound exactly like the microphone feed (it never does with tape) but it has for 30 years since I first used a StellaDAT.
Certainly high levels of jitter give poor fidelity but the only devices with very poor levels of jitter I have seen reviewed recently have been the spectacularly expensive Metronome devices where I, perhaps unfairly, suspected the reviewer heard a difference but since the product was super expensive and nicely styled assumed since it was different it must be better. This seems to happen a lot.
 

Empirical Audio

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#12
Are you Empirical Audio, the dealer/constructor?

Should this be in desperate dealers forum?

EDIT: I DID THE BACKGROUND CHECK AND YOU AND EMPIRICAL ARE THE SAME. I SUGGEST YOU SEND OVER ALL YOUR BOXES TO @amirm FOR MEASUREMENTS. WOULD BE AN INTERESTING SET OF MEASUREMENTS, INDEED!

:)
I will start with my Synchro-Mesh with wall-wart and my Standard BNC cable. Also the Dynamo to see if Amir can measure any difference using a LPS instead of SMPS.

Steve N.
 

Empirical Audio

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#13
IME differences heard with different cables is expectation bias, or placebo effect.
I tested this myself and cables I was sure were better no longer sounded different when I got my daughter to change them and I didn’t see what she was doing.
I hear differences between microphones I use, I used to hear differences between the tape recorders I used to use but since I have recorded with digital not only does the recording sound exactly like the microphone feed (it never does with tape) but it has for 30 years since I first used a StellaDAT.
Certainly high levels of jitter give poor fidelity but the only devices with very poor levels of jitter I have seen reviewed recently have been the spectacularly expensive Metronome devices where I, perhaps unfairly, suspected the reviewer heard a difference but since the product was super expensive and nicely styled assumed since it was different it must be better. This seems to happen a lot.
What you consider super-expensive and what I do may be worlds-apart I'm afraid. Most of my customers have systems starting at about $30KUSD. Most have speakers alone that cost that. Many consumers think that they can achieve great SQ with a mid-fi system, but it's extremely difficult. The levels of distortion and compression of active preamps and most SS amps are just too high and they tend to mask out the benefits of good cables of all types, including digital, power and analog. These cables all make a difference if they are well designed and use good materials. Therein lies the rub. There are a LOT of non-professionals in the cable business, even the big names. I often see the same design being used for an analog interconnect and a speaker cable from the same company. This is a dead giveaway that they don't understand the physics of the two scenarios and that they demand entirely different designs to be optimal. I don't design and sell cables anymore, but I know this for a fact: cable design is an art-form because it goes well beyond the L, R and C measurements. The best sounding cables contain conductors that have uniform molecular structure, like properly annealed pure silver or gold. These are going to be expensive by definition. Early on, I did an experiment with silver interconnects. I built two identical sets and then immersed one set in liquid nitrogen. The L, C and R measurements were identical between the two sets after one was immersed. The sound quality of the immersed cable was terrible. Totally unlistenable. This was due to the broken crystal lattice of the silver molecular structure. I did a TDT of the cables and here it is:


graphs2a.jpg


The red trace is the immersed cable. As you can see, it has a lot more bumps and spikes because the signal is reflecting off of the broken crystal lattice boundaries.

This proves that the molecular structure of the conductors is important, almost as important as the R, L and C.

Most audiophiles believe that their system is very resolving, when in fact only a very few systems on the planet are truly resolving. My system is one of those. I can easily hear the difference between ALAC, FLAC, .wav, AIFF and other formats playing the same track. I can easily hear offset errors in a given track compared to the track with no errors. This is the quality of system that is needed to design the very best audio products. The last change I made to the Synchro-Mesh reduced it's measured jitter from 22psec to 7psec. I could easily hear this difference in my system. All of my customers also heard this difference.

Steve N.
 
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#14
Most audiophiles believe that their system is very resolving, when in fact only a very few systems on the planet are truly resolving. My system is one of those. I can easily hear the difference between ALAC, FLAC, .wav, AIFF and other formats playing the same track. I can easily hear offset errors in a given track compared to the track with no errors. This is the quality of system that is needed to design the very best audio products. The last change I made to the Synchro-Mesh reduced it's measured jitter from 22psec to 7psec. I could easily hear this difference in my system. All of my customers also heard this difference.
Wow. Just wow. Did I tell you about the time I ran 100 metres in 8 seconds flat? That was a day to remember, I tell you.
 

sergeauckland

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#17
Open minds. I'm ancient and I'm still learning. Recently learned that Leonardo DaVinci stole and plagiarized many of his inventions. The real inventors most of the time are unknown.
I quote this from Alisterkoran's signature
A truly open mind has to be open to the possibility that a new and radical idea, however exciting, may prove to be complete bollocks.

S.
 

Empirical Audio

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#18
Good quote. I'll give you another from me: "measurements are only as good as they correlate to the human ear and brain, so don't discount the value of your ears and brain"

It takes both measurements and trained listening to completely characterize audio. Even Amir says he has an acute capability to detect some distortion. That must be useful.

I run into lots of skeptics on all of the forums. I'm used to it. I also realize that this is a measurement forum, so many will view measurements as the holy grail. I have been doing digital design for 38 years (I am also an EE from the computer industry) and I have learned that measurements are not a panacea particularly for audio, but they are necessary.
 

pkane

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#19
Recently learned that Leonardo DaVinci stole and plagiarized many of his inventions. The real inventors most of the time are unknown.
If it's on the internet, it must be true ;)

I'm looking forward to measurements showing a 10X improvement in jitter with Synchromesh, especially at the output of a DAC.
 
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