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What I Need To Know About Clocking To Set Up My Devices?

If you feel like you're not familiar enough with clocking - don't worry! We've got you covered! Before we get started with how to set up multiple digital devices, check out the articles below: 

Introduction to Digital Clocking and Synchronization Part 1

Introduction to Digital Clocking and Synchronization Part 2

Why Do We Need Clocks?

Now that we're fully aware of what Clocking Technology is and in which ways it could be beneficial to our needs, let's discuss the ways in which you can clock your devices together in any scenario.

Clocking if you do not have dedicated BNC Inputs/Outputs.

Clocking if you do not have dedicated BNC Inputs/Outputs.

Most modern Audio Interfaces have at least one type of Digital Input - SPDIF/ADAT/MADI/DANTE/AES etc.

All of the aforementioned Digital Inputs can transmit both Audio and Clocking Signal at the same time. That means you wouldn't need additional BNC Connectivity to clock your devices together. 

With our interfaces you can either leave them to get clocked Internally (With some Devices, this option will appear as Oven/Internal), or through USB. When using USB Connectivity, the device automatically locks to USB unless an external clock has been selected beforehand. After the device is clocked, select it as a Master Clock for all your Peripheries.

The Second Option is getting the device clocked by an External Source. In our Devices' Control Panels you can select the Clock Source for said device on the Top of the Control Panel window. For example, check out how many options you get with an older Discrete 4 which does not have a dedicated HDX/MADI/Dante Connectivity:

When you're using your device through Thunderbolt and you want it to be a Master, select Internal/Oven. When you're using your device through USB, the "USB" option has to be selected. The internal Clock of the device will still be the Clock Source for the device, however it will be instructed by the Computer/Mac as to which Sample Rate you need to have selected.

With both aforementioned options you can still distribute clock signal to other devices by using your Digital Outputs. In this way - your device's Internal Clock would be the Master Clock for your Configuration. Keep in mind that almost all our Interfaces feature our world known 64 Bit AFC (Acoustically Focused Clocking) technology, meaning that you can use them as legitimate Clock Distributors with an unprecedented quality.

Using your Antelope Interface as a Master Clock

To configure that, simply connect to your other devices using your BNC/Digital Outputs and make sure to select the other devices to receive clock signal through their respective BNC/Digital Inputs. Clock signal is constantly being sent to all the outputs which can transmit it.

If you're clocking through BNC, we'd recommend using cables with a max length of 2 Meters at 75 Ohm. There are 110 Ohm ones out there, but we've seen them causing different clocking issues with our devices.

To clock your Antelope Interface using an External Source, just make sure to select the proper Clock Source in the same menu shown above and connect the devices together using the proper cables/optics for the Job.

W.C. is the Word Clock Signal. Use it if own an External Dedicated Clock - An OCX, or a Trinity for example.

The 10M input on some Interfaces is designed specifically for the 10MX Rubidium Atomic Clock.

Both of those options require the usage of 75 Ohm BNC connectivity.

The other ones are straight forward - with the exclusion of HDX, where you have to choose between Loop Sync (LS) and normal Clocking. Depending on your configuration - you might need to switch around both Clock HDX Clock Sources and ADAT where you have to choose between ADAT/ADATx2/ADATx4.

If you're using USB Connectivity - you might encounter a common issue - the clock source is locked to USB and is greyed out with the Lock Icon being Green. Don't worry, this is most probably an App occupying your Driver. Check your Startup Apps for any app that might be doing that - Streaming Platforms being the main suspects. Make sure to stop any startup Apps that might occupy the Audio Driver, then reboot your Computer/Mac and your Interface. On startup, choose the External Clock Source that you'd like to use (ADAT/SPDIF/WC etc.) and you should be ready to go! Try changing the Sample Rates around to see if everything is following the Clock Signal properly.

It's important to know that when you're using any external clock source, or USB and you're clocked properly - the Lock Icon near the Sample Rate field should light up. 

Most smaller configurations wouldn't benefit much from clocking as larger configurations would. However both can suffer equally from common clocking issues. To be sure that those issues are coming from the Clocking, and not from somewhere else, simply select another clock source to see if the behavior will change. Most of the times this would appear as clicks and pops. In worse situations a distorted signal might also come around for a second or two, or your DAW would give you an "Unsupported Sample Rate" message. Depending on your DAW the issue might be described in a different way. In most of those cases, try switching back and forth between Clock Sources to see if this would change the situation. If this does not help, it might as well be a cable issue. Try acquiring another Cable/Optic/BNC cable to see if the situation will change. Try switching ports around and try changing the sample rates to see how the Devices will behave. Try changing the Master-Slave configuration to see if the situation will get resolved by using the other device as a Master Clock. Try changing the connection if you're going through SPDIF - try ADAT for example etc.

It's worth nothing that when using SPDIF Connectivity you might encounter other devices with RCA Inputs for SPDIF Signal. Those are actually Coaxial Cables. As SPDIF can be transferred through both Fibreoptic and Coaxial connection  you might encounter Coaxial to Digital/Digital to Coaxial SPDIF Converters. I'd recommend keeping off them and checking out for other clocking options as we haven't tested our devices in those types of configurations and we cannot guarantee that different problems won't occur.

It's also good to know that we recommend getting our devices clocked in a Star Configuration (where every device is connected directly to the Clock itself), instead of Daisy Chaining them (Passing the Clock Signal to one device, then passing it out from said device to another device etc.)

Antelope Audio Master Clocks

We offer a wide variety of Master Clocks, each one having its own unique features like the OCX HD, our signature 10M, Isochrone Trinity, 10MX etc. 

What distinguishes the 10M from anything else out there is the Rubidium Atomic Oscillator, oscillating at 10 million times per second. Almost all our rack devices have a dedicated 10M Input through BNC Connection, used specifically for connecting to the 10M. 

The 10M output cannot be used for devices without a dedicated 10M In - even though the signal is transmitted through BNC connectivity. When using devices without a dedicated 10M Input we'd recommend checking out the 10M's successor - the 10MX. It features everything that the 10M would offer you, with additional W.C., SPDIF and AES Outputs allowing you to go to up to an astonishing 768 kHz Sample Rate through BNC and up to 192 kHz for the other digital formats. The 10MX also has an USB 2.0 Port in order to connect and control it from your Computer/Mac.

If you'd still like to experience the full benefits of clocking, but with at a lower price and without the Atomic Oscillator being present we'd recommend checking out the OCX HD. It features an Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator which also allows for Sample Rates going up to 768 kHz. It also features Sample Rate Pull Up/Down functions, which allow you to use devices with untraditional Sample Rates in your configuration. You can also pass Video Clock Signal through the OCX HD - a huge benefit for all video makers, broadcasters and multi-purpose studios. It also offers the AES and SPDIF Clocking options and allows for a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz through them.

For all the Mastering Engineers there’s the Isochrone Trinity. As the name suggests, the Trinity allows you to have not one, but 3 different Sample Rates going at the same time, with the max being 384 kHz. This could be incredibly beneficial when you have to switch between them, and export/work on different sample rates. You also get 6 additional Generators - 3 for HD and 3 for SD Video. As with the OCX - the Trinity also features our signature Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator, Sample Rate pull up/downs, Video Outputs for both NTSC and PAL formats, SPDIF and AES connectivity at up to 192 kHz.

Both the OCX HD and the Trinity feature a 10M Input, allowing you to connect them to the 10M/10MX and use the Atomic Clock's Sync Signal and the additional features offered by OCX HD/Trinity at the same time. 

Check out some brief video presentations of our Clocks:




10M Atomic Clock

Check out a this video on different types of connectivity

We've dug through some archives, so that you don't have to. Check out the clips below:

Antelope Audio - Clocking

Brief History of Antelope Audio's Clocking History

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