I want to externally clock my M7CL. I see a BIg Ben in a lot of people's racks and some people swear it makes the M7 sound like a completly different console. I am not so sure if I buy the hype. Can any one give me their 2 cents on this issue? When I ask the techs directly at Yamaha they won't exactly say to use an external clock but they don't say not to either. Point is do I really need a Big Ben? Or can I acheive the same results with a cheaper clock? I really can not charge extra because I have a clock in my rack. So tell me if it is worth all that money.
Thanks
Matt Fitzgerald

Tags: CLOCK, WORD

Views: 1608

Replies to This Discussion

Matt,
I use an ardvark and I did hear an improvement. I too had requested
a big Ben and budget would not allow. I think big Ben would be worth
the money however, the M7 is not for serious pro audio.
The highs and the lows are the first to go under a load with my
M7 and I get a lot of pumping with out comps activated.
I am mixing ears with a M7 dedicated to monitors so I really hear it.
External clock helps but the sound of the console is still average.
Thanks for the input. I hear what you are saying you get what you pay for. By no means am i expecting an external clock to somehow compensate for the harsh head amps. I have a question for you on gain stucture for the M7. Once i get to the second gain stage i think you hear it click when it gets to -14 the head amp gets a lot quieter. So i have been trying when i can to run stuff right at -14. If you click it back one to -13 the noise is terrible. As you get hotter the noise floor seems to rise and then you hit a 3rd gain stage. Do you run your head amps conservativly or do you pound them as hot as you can? I am trying to get the hiss out of this console.
Thanks
Matt
I am very conservative on input gain structure
I slam as much as I can from the source and
when I am inserting eq and or comps I make sure
input and output are the same on eq page metering.
Since I am mixing ears I can hang out around -12, -18
throughout the console.
There is nothing wrong with the M7's word clock.

Here is a excerpt from one of my previous posts on this:

After quite a bit of research and bouncing ideas off others I came to the conclusion that the converters are the weak link in the M7CL. I do not subscribe to the notion that external clocking alone is the magic bullet that it is touted to be. Sure, if you are connecting multiple digital pieces of gear / consoles then external clocking has it's benefits but the marketing hype of external clocking alone is a bunch of BS.

Here is a scope shot of the M7CL's internal clock...it's dead on.
.
(courtesy of my friends @ Rat Sound)


When I had to carry a M7CL on tour I came AES out of the console and used a Waves MaxxBCL to do my A/D conversion.

That made a world of difference, much more so than any word clock would.

FWIW
From Marc @ Yamaha :

We have conducted numerous tests using various word clocks and feel that using external word clock can affect sound quality, both positively and negatively. Jitter is often believed to have an influence on sound quality, but we have not been able to pinpoint exactly what it is about external word clocks that may affect sound quality.

In my many years of working at Yamaha, I have heard many opinions from trusted and experienced Sound Engineers ranging from “I won’t use a digital board without an external clock” to “I don’t hear any difference”. So like many things in audio, it’s a preference based on one’s ears/taste (and budget!).
From Andy Peters (who knows a thing or two about digital devices) ;-)

I think it's worth noting that an internal crystal oscillator clock WILL ALWAYS be better than a clock derived from external word clock using a PLL. The best PLLs do not have the jitter performance of an oscillator.

Also note that the word clock, at the sample rate, doesn't actually clock the converters. It is upconverted by the PLL to a high-frequency modulator clock (12.288 MHz or 24.576 MHz for 48 kHz sampling), and it is this modulator clock's performance that is critical. (The internal oscillators are also at this high frequency, never at the sample rate.)

Look at it this way: if a device had better performance running on the external word clock, wouldn't the manufacturer always run it in that mode?

Another thought: a high-quality external word clock makes a difference when you need to sync multiple devices and a device may have a marginal PLL. On the other hand, a high-quality device PLL can clean up a poor word clock.
I agree that the D/A converters are the weak link in the M7. I also run AES out to my XTA and the noise floor dramatically reduces. Thanks for your input guys. I know you get what you pay for and the M7 is not the best on the market. However it has become more rider friendly over the last couple years. Botttom line is, It does not really matter what I think about a console. The riders that come across my desk are what influences buying choices. Honestly now with the SC48 on the market for a couple grand more I would take that any day. I just already had the M7 before the SC48 came out. I love the layout of the VI6, problem is that they are just not showing up on riders. Plus it costs too much.
Correction, the MaxxBCL did the D/A conversion. Typo error.

I wanted to keep it digital all the way to the processors but didn't get the chance. We were doing small theaters and clubs and I didn't really want to go through the hassle of messing with their drive lines. (I'm sure the house guys appreciated it too)

If one must have a external word clock, might I suggest the Black Lion Audio MK2.
It fits right inside your doghouse.

http://www.blacklionaudio.com/Products/Black+Lion+Audio+Micro+Clock...

Just got the Black Lion MKII, and can't wait to A/B my M7... all I need is the BNC cable to connect it.  

On a side note, I just wonder how a scope snapshot can possibly tell anyone anything about the quality of a word clock signal, except that it is a reasonably decent square wave which I find rather unsurprising. Please elaborate on how you came to the conclusion that this is "dead on". cheers /M:-)
I have an M7 at my church our most noticeable improvement on the sound was when we bought the MY8AE card and ran aes all the way into the our Dolby Lake it was a huge diff night and day. The highs were cleaned up lows were more tighter and more defined very noticeable, Now 2 weeks ago I rented a Big ben just to put curiousity 2 rest and lil did I know that the Big ben would improve the sonic quality even more 2 the point that when we returned it back my volunteers were missin it and so was I, so now im putting it into our budget cuz I need it like like a feen needs his drug! Your biggest upgrade though is skippin the xtra da conversion good luck.
Thats what i wanted to hear thanks for the info man. That D/A converters in the M7 really do suck I have been running digital into my XTA. It is a huge difference. I need to get that card because I have been running my subs on an aux now. Thanks for the tip and watch out on the version 3 firmware for the M7. I have found many quirky things wrong with it. They actually in some respects made the console worse in my opinion. The entire CH JOB section is now scene dependant when it should be global. There are a few other things that bother me but I need to talk to the Yamaha Tech guys and see why they did what they did.

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