Hello, this is Nemoto.
"Master clock generators"
A long time ago, they were used only by professionals, but have become popular as the times change... but they are still mania equipment. This time, I'd like to talk about the master clock generator in an easy-to-understand manner.
*The explanation in this article is written for beginners. Instead of using technical terms to explain accurately, I write in easy-to-understand words even if there are some misleading. Please don't blindly believe the explanation, just think it's like this. If you are familiar with it, please go on to the next column.
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First of all, what is it?
A master clock generator is a device for "creating, supplying, and synchronizing" accurate clocks. Please think of a clock (digital clock) as a sampling rate (44.1kHz, 96kHz. Hereinafter called "rate").
In digital audio, both recording and playback equipment operate at specified rates, so clock generators are built into various audio equipment. However, most built-in generators cause considerable fluctuation (digital jitter. Hereafter called "jitter").
The role of the master clock generator is to prevent deterioration of sound quality due to jitter, "create" an accurate clock, and "supply" it to various pieces of equipment ("synchronization" will be described later).
Why was the equipment used only by professionals?
In the world of pro audio, it's common to use various equipment at the same time, but the rates themselves and the way jitter occurs differ depending on the equipment being used at the same time. For example, suppose you want to record using 3 devices (A, B, and C). The rate of A is 44.1kHz, and it becomes 43.8kHz once every 3 seconds due to jitter. The rate of B is 44.1kHz, and it becomes 44kHz once per second due to jitter. The rate of C is 48kHz, and it changes to 47.8kHz once every 5 seconds due to jitter. Since the rate and the way jitter occur are different, it has a bad effect on the sound quality. The more equipment used, the bigger impact gets. Then, we use the master clock generator. For example, the rates of all A, B, and C should be 48kHz, and the jitter should change to 47.9kHz once every 30 seconds.
In principle, it won't get worse even if you increase the number of equipment used. In this way, by "synchronizing" not only the rate but also the way jitter occurs, it allows you to record with minimal deterioration in sound quality.
The reason it was used only by professionals is that it was developed to prevent sound quality deterioration due to variations in rate and jitter when using many devices at the same time.
Even now, it's not for people who don't use various devices at the same time (just because it's hard to maximize the effect, it's effective to improve the sound quality).
(Note) The rates above are just examples so you can understand jitter, but in reality it doesn't work like this.
What kind of amateurs is it for?
In a word, it's for people who aim to improve. It can be said that it's a device for people who really want to make music. Just using it makes you feel like you're really making music. It's not a device to demonstrate your career but your enthusiasm for music.
Which ones do I recommend?
If you're recording at home, it's quicker to use an audio interface with a master clock generator instead of buying one separately. If you care about the generator, it's proof that everything was carefully designed, and no doubt the result is a product with a certain level of quality or higher.
The brand is ANTELOPE AUDIO. It's a standard brand of generators and also makes multifunctional audio interfaces. It's quite expensive, but I think it's an excellent product considering the total cost performance.
→ ANTELOPE AUDIO audio interface list
If you purchase one separately and incorporate it into the current system, I recommend the MUTEC MC-3. It's wonderful that you can connect to various equipment without a clock-in.
For listening only, I would recommend RME’s ADI-2 DAC (ADI-2 PRO without an audio interface function). It's also equipped with a high-quality AD converter and equalizer, and this is all you need for digital audio. I use it in combination with final d-8000 headphones. I was impressed when I first used it.
How do you use it?
The generator is easy to use, just connect it to the equipment you want to use and specify the rate. Connecting it bypasses the rate created by the built-in generator of each piece of equipment, and it will operate at the rate created by the master clock generator.
If you increase the rate, you'll be able to record and play in more detail. In other words, the higher the rate, the better the sound quality.
On the contrary, the higher the rate, the smoother it will be. If you want to create a sound that emphasizes momentum and roughness, you should lower the rate. Then, if the music is based on the creed of garage rock, you might think you don't need the generator itself. However, it's a problem that the jitter cannot be controlled and the sound quality becomes uneven.
I'm ending this article here.
Thank you for reading till the end.