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Review and Measurements of Wyrd4Sound Remedy Reclocker

amirm

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#1
This is a review and measurements of Wyrd4Sound Remedy Reclocker. It was sent to me by the owner of the Musical Fidelity V-90 DAC and that is how I tested it. It is an older product (circa 2014) although technology like this doesn't change much. Its job is to take S/PDIF input and resample it with a clean clock and output that over S/PDIF. By default the resampling is fixed at 96 kHz according to the company but other sampling rates can be requested. The retail price is $399.

The unit is pretty small, powered by an external switching power supply:
Wyrd4sound Remedy Recklocker Review and Measurements.jpg

It takes either S/PDIF or Toslink and outputs S/PDIF over BNC or RCA jacks. I only tested the latter.

Let's get into the measurements and see how she does.

Measurement
Since the unit's claim to fame is reduction of jitter, let's start with a high-resolution FFT of Musical Fidelity V-90 DAC with and without Wyrd4Sound Remedy:

Wyrd4Sound Remedy Reclocker Jitter and Noise Measurement.png


Long time readers of the forum are familiar with this type of performance from testing other such tweaks. There is no reduction of the few distortion spikes as shown in red from V-90 DAC. But we now have something we didn't have: a pile of distortion spikes at mains frequency and its harmonics.

The reason is simple: almost all of these switching power supplies as used by Remedy attempt to get rid of their switching noise by dumping it back onto the mains input. This is done with a so called "Y capacitor." That makes it easier for them to get regulatory compliance for conductive emissions (which would otherwise bleed through the supply's dc leads). The problem is that a Y capacitor works both ways, taking some of the mains AC and dumping it onto its DC leads. That in turn gets into the Remedy and bleeds into the DAC since everything is unbalanced with the shield being the same wire as the negative of power supply.

Fortunately the spikes are at pretty low level and people don't hear them but objectively we have degraded the output of the DAC by inserting yet another power supply noise generator in the loop.

"Yeh, but does it make it sound better?" Let's run an intermodulation test and see if the response of the DAC has changed:

Wyrd4Sound Remedy Reclocker IMD distortion Measurement.png


Nope. Not a thing has changed. Any modification of the response of the DAC would show up some ways in tests like this. Yet we see no changes at all. Both graphs are on top of each other.

So the picture is pretty clear here. From audio performance point of view, objectively we have made things worse. Subjectively we probably haven't done any harm but nor have we improved things.

Is the device useless? No. I am not showing the results but if you feed the Remedy dirty S/PDIF signal it does indeed clean it up very well. It extracts the data out of the noisy/degraded S/PDIF and regenerates anew a fresh S/PDIF signal. For those of you in computer and communication would know this as a "repeater" although in this case, the sample rate is forced to 96 kHz rather than pass-through.

So if you have a very, very long cable that causes lack of lock on your DAC's S/PDIF input, such a device can help get you a clean signal if Remedy's S/PDIF receiver is better than your DAC's.

Conclusions
The Wyrd4Sound Remedy doesn't perform a useful function in its advertised domain: audio fidelity. Extracting good audio out of this old standard, S/PDIF, is not hard after decades of it being out. So there should not be a need for an external reclocker like this. Even if there is such a need, the unit needs a linear power supply that doesn't contribute so much more mains noise to the DAC.

The unit is also quite expensive at $399. It doesn't look expensive (more like hobbyist enclosure). And in this day and age when people tend to use USB so much more than S/PDIF, it is a solution looking for a problem. As such, I cannot recommend it even though it does what it says (reclock input to output).

-------------

As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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Timbo2

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#3
Is your x axis scale correct? Did you use 1kHz or 12kHz for your FFT?

Because where you note mains noise I’d expect that at 60Hz not 3kHz.
 

amirm

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#4
Is your x axis scale correct? Did you use 1kHz or 12kHz for your FFT?

Because where you note mains noise I’d expect that at 60Hz not 3kHz.
Scale is correct. The arrow points to the harmonics of mains. You can tell that is what they are about since you see a much larger peak at the start and many spaced closely. Here is a zoomed display up to 1 Khz:

1534018415195.png


You can see 60 Hz and its multiples
 
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#5
Can you try it also with some cheap DAC that does not have a jitter reduction/resampler? I guess it could improve the sound at least at that case...
 
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#6
@amirm I’m not sure of the message here. Is it that this reclocker works as advertised but shouldn’t be needed as the most downstream D/A converters are equally able deal with jitter in the input SPDif signal?
 

amirm

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#7
@amirm I’m not sure of the message here. Is it that this reclocker works as advertised but shouldn’t be needed as the most downstream D/A converters are equally able deal with jitter in the input SPDif signal?
Correct. You should only need it if you want a repeater for long distances.
 
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