There is an ever growing number of re-clocking devices on the market. Almost every streamer and DAC has this feature now days- only SW1X products do not. While the rationale behind re-clocking makes perfect sense. In practice it tends to improve the sound quality of noise shaping based DAC products. However for some reason SW1X DAC designs do not follow this fashionable trend at all.
- One needs to ask the question why would one want to re-clock in the first place?
The main assumption here is that the signal generated by a master clock is of a inferior quality therefore it should be improved by manipulation i.e. re-clocking it.
- The other presumption is that manipulation/re-clocking improves the original signal. Or does it really?
The main assumption is generally correct for the computer/streamer transports in combination with all the noise shaping (digital signal processing) DSP DACs made now days.
They rely on noise shaping and digital filtering to render the recordings. By its design it is highly random and imprecise approach which constantly interferes with the time domain- the main reason for their lack of musicality and synthetic sound quality .
However, music by its very nature is an analogue signal borne from mechanical vibration, whether it is the vocal cord of a vocalist, string of a guitar or the skin of a drum.
It is a time continuum from start to end which when broken is irreparably damaged and no amount of clever manipulation of the circuit design can restore it to its original time / frequency / amplitude duration relationship.
Our DACs are based on digital filterless R2R architecture- a radically different breed so to speak. They are brute force D to A converters.
What you feed them with is what they are going to produce with precision and impunity. The quality of the master clock for our DACs becomes imperative. However, manipulation of the master clock generally has a similar effect as noise shaping- it makes the precision in the time domain worse instead of improving it. Following that, even a bad quality master clock signal is still better than a manipulated & “improved” bad signal.
Therefore, if one connected a re-clocker to our DACs, it is going to interfere with musicality of our DACs making them sound much less enjoyable.
So, why not make the clock signal better in the first place and remove all the manipulation/ noise shaping instead?