Thursday, December 06, 2012

Clocks and Neve Shalom

I normally don't agree with Bob Katz. He's a mastering engineer who put himself in the fray of the "loudness wars" of the 90's.
He is, apparently, also in the fray of the "external clocks are always worse" arguments. Those arguments are weird. I first got wind of them on the Black Lion Audio site. External clocking is "controversial". The whole notion that it's controversial is absurd to me.
Ah. Well as it turns out I have to agree with Bob Katz on this. Why? Because he's not talking about clocking a MOTU interface with an Apogee clock. He's talking about clocking a Lavry A/D with a Big Ben.
Yeah, that doesn't really matter. With the high-end converters the built-in clocks are pretty good so you don't need an external clock.
But with cheapo converters you'll get a HUGE increase in quality when you externally clock. Listening to the output of my MOTU UltraLite on its own clock and then with the clock from the Apogee Mini-me reveals a vast difference in audio quality. I mean it's eminently obvious, you don't need to do a blind A/B. Just flip the switch and see.
UPDATE: I'm completely wrong about this. I cannot replicate that experiment I undertook once upon a time wherein I determined that the MOTU plugged into an Apogee clock started sounding a lot better. So Bob Katz is right about clocks all sounding about the same, as far as I can tell.
If a bear snuggles a log in the woods, will you hear it?
I've grown weary of the sound of Neve preamps on drums. Don't dig the sound on snare. Not on kick. Room? I dunno. I'm thinking something else like D.W. Fern. Or maybe API all around. Yeah. API all around.
Now that's not to say I don't prefer Neves on electric guitars. Because I do. Just... drums. They're too... I dunno... pillow-y?

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