How different are clock cables from "normal" digital cables?


Well-Known Member
Dec 5, 2016
Dear forum members,

does anybody have some background on this question? My dealer told me that Shunyata clock cables were different from Shunyata's other digital cables and therefor warmly recommended them over any other "normal" digital cable for clock use applications (BNC/BNC termination). Is it true that Shunyata's clock cables are different from Shunyata's other digital cables in first place? And second, is it a general rule to prefer digital cables that were specifically designed for clock applications over other “normal” digital cables?
I want to upgrade the clock cables for my Vivaldi Stack and I am a bit confused now.


Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2019
High-speed digital transmission is very different from audio frequency signal transmission and requires a different knowledge base and design criteria. Audio cable signal transmission is governed by the principles of inductance, capacitance, and resistance. By contrast, high-speed digital signals are governed by a principle known as ‘transmission line theory’.

The performance of a transmission line is governed by the characteristic impedance of the cable. Certain types of cable require a specific characteristic impedance to achieve optimal performance — for instance, cable TV coaxial cables are 75 ohms, while test equipment cables require 50 ohm cables. Modern audio and entertainment systems may have multiple digital connections, each with potentially different characteristic impedances.

While the characteristic impedance is a critical factor in the optimal performance of digital cables, our research also indicates that the precision with which a digital cable is constructed has a significant impact on its performance.

Shunyata Research digital cables are produced using a Precision Matched Z concept. This dictates that tolerances of the conductor surface, dielectric extrusion, and the precision of the braided shield are held to smaller variances. To achieve these tight tolerances, the extrusion and braiding machines must be run at one-quarter speed during the manufacturing process. The result is better performance through a reduction of cable-induced ‘signal jitter’.


Well-Known Member
Oct 29, 2014
Apart from the slower extrusion process the Alpha clock V2 have a CMode filter as well. And the Sigma have two if I remember correctly. I really enjoy the Alpha V2 clock 75 to my 10MHz OCXO/EtherRegen.


Sep 3, 2012
Dear forum members,

... And second, is it a general rule to prefer digital cables that were specifically designed for clock applications over other “normal” digital cables?
I want to upgrade the clock cables for my Vivaldi Stack and I am a bit confused now.

First, congrats on your Vivaldi stack. I have used 4 sets of clock cables over the years. Stock, Cardas Lightning 15, Purist Audio Designs Proteus, and Transparent Audio Reference XL. In order of preference and unfortunately also in order of price. In my listening, each step up was clearly better and very easy to ascertain the differences.

I can't comment on Shunyata, I haven't tried their digital cables (I was a long time power cable/conditioner customer). But these other manufacturers have quite a bit of experience to and their "clock" cables are their BNC-BNC 75 ohm "normal" digital cables.

My advice, since you are a Shunyata power try em. I am sure they are better than stock. But you should also try something else, since you're a Tara Labs user, that's another consideration. I thought the Cardas Digital were the best buy for the money, I think the current top of the line digital cable is Cardas Clear. My guess is you're going to need 5 clock cables (2 to DAC, 2 to UPS, and one from your master clock)

Expect a significant improvement over the dCS stock cables.

Good luck !

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