Reality is Cruel : Cybershaft new Ultimate OCXO 10M Clocks Shootout OP20 vs OP17

CKKeung

Active Member
Jun 18, 2011
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Hong Kong
#41
Feb 8, 2015
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#42
I have that GPSDO. I see that TLi is using a nordost Valhalla cable with it. The GPSDO is intended to be used with a 50 ohm cable for test equipment. Is he seeing any problem using it that way? In one of the pictures the cable is also oriented incorrectly. Using a wall wart to power it would also inject some noise I suppose.

It looks like how you implement any external reference clock is critical to achieving its best performance. I've found that even slightly different cable lengths affect the phase of two signals when compared on an oscilloscope.
 

CKKeung

Active Member
Jun 18, 2011
981
117
43
Hong Kong
#43
It looks like how you implement any external reference clock is critical to achieving its best performance. I've found that even slightly different cable lengths affect the phase of two signals when compared on an oscilloscope.
Agree!
My experience/impression is that clock cables and psu/powercord affect the performance of external audiophile hugely.
For example, in TLi's dCS Vivaldi 4-piece frontend system, if the clock cables from the Vivaldi Clock to the other three Vivaldi frontend pieces are of diff length (even of the same brand/model), the resulting sonic deterioration is easily audible.
 
Jan 23, 2018
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#44
I've ever used both cybershaft premium ocxo and SRS Rubidium.
OCXO made warm and smooth, Rubidium made fresh and cool.
Some times OCXO was better, some times Rubidium was better.....

For cybershaft, I think their measured spec is really good.
But their peripheral was not enouth. Thermal control, power stability, Vibration, ...
I tried to improve those by my self-diy for my esotric dac.
 
#45
Great discussion and thanks to Thomas and others for the tests and results. I had tried a GPSDO unit a couple of years ago and honestly preferred the results I'd had with an OP14 and later OP17 and now OP21 Cybershaft as well as tests I'd run with an Esoteric G1 over the GPSDO unit.
 
Feb 8, 2015
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#47
I bought a cheap GPSDO 10MHz clock from China. It locks to GPS signal to enhance its performance. This little device enhanced the sound of my dCS Vivaldi combo. Several of my friends bought it as well and were very happy with it. For a very small amount of money, it brought very noticeable improvement, a good bargain indeed.

Later on I bought Antelope 10MX and Cybershaft OP13 to compare with GPSDO. Both Antelope and Cybershaft were better.

Now I have the Cybershaft OP20 which is a lot better than anything I have before. I don't know if it is the accuracy or phase noise that make the difference, but it is clearly there. So my ranking list is OP20> Antelope 10MX> OP13> View attachment 47334 View attachment 47335 View attachment 47336 GPSDO.
Hello Tom

I looked up your dCS equipment online, and that's a very impressive setup! I've been thinking about this thread a lot, and its inspired me to try to make my own reference clock and dac. Its a big challenge, but that's what makes life interesting for me.
 

TLi

Member
May 27, 2016
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34
18
#48
Hello Tom

I looked up your dCS equipment online, and that's a very impressive setup! I've been thinking about this thread a lot, and its inspired me to try to make my own reference clock and dac. Its a big challenge, but that's what makes life interesting for me.
Adding good quality 10MHz reference clock to dCS clock brings very noticeable improvement, no doubt about it. Good clock brings the sonic picture in focus, just like focusing in photography. When it is out of focus, everything is soft and muddy. High quality clock gives high resolution picture, everything is clear, sharp and real.

It is a very interesting and rewarding journey. Start with a cheap GPSDO clock and experience the focus effect. With better clock, the picture becomes more in focus. If you are also in photography, you know what I mean.

I have come to the conclusion that when DAC has reached a certain level, it is the clock that determines the final sound, better the clock, better the sound. That is why many DAC manufacturers provide 10MHz reference input. High quality clock production is a very specialized process. DAC manufacturers know they are not clock specialist, so allows better clocks to be attached to theirs.

Enjoy the journey.
 
#49
Adding good quality 10MHz reference clock to dCS clock brings very noticeable improvement, no doubt about it. Good clock brings the sonic picture in focus, just like focusing in photography. When it is out of focus, everything is soft and muddy. High quality clock gives high resolution picture, everything is clear, sharp and real.

It is a very interesting and rewarding journey. Start with a cheap GPSDO clock and experience the focus effect. With better clock, the picture becomes more in focus. If you are also in photography, you know what I mean.

I have come to the conclusion that when DAC has reached a certain level, it is the clock that determines the final sound, better the clock, better the sound. That is why many DAC manufacturers provide 10MHz reference input. High quality clock production is a very specialized process. DAC manufacturers know they are not clock specialist, so allows better clocks to be attached to theirs.

Enjoy the journey.
+1,...great response!
 
May 30, 2010
14,805
338
83
Portugal
#50
(...) I have come to the conclusion that when DAC has reached a certain level, it is the clock that determines the final sound, better the clock, better the sound. That is why many DAC manufacturers provide 10MHz reference input. High quality clock production is a very specialized process. DAC manufacturers know they are not clock specialist, so allows better clocks to be attached to theirs.

Enjoy the journey.
Although it is very true that a better clock can result in a better sound quality and some manufacturers - not all of them - recognize it, as far as I see the main reason manufacturers have a 10 MHz reference clock is to synchronize all clocks in a system, avoiding beat frequencies due to asynchronous clocks in a system.
 
Feb 8, 2015
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#51
'I have come to the conclusion that when DAC has reached a certain level, it is the clock that determines the final sound, better the clock, better the sound. '

I completely agree, there is little point in pursuing a clock upgrade without addressing all the other issues such as power supply etc. You won't get the full impact of the clock upgrade.
 
Likes: CKKeung
Feb 8, 2015
51
6
8
#52
I've ever used both cybershaft premium ocxo and SRS Rubidium.
OCXO made warm and smooth, Rubidium made fresh and cool.
Some times OCXO was better, some times Rubidium was better.....

For cybershaft, I think their measured spec is really good.
But their peripheral was not enouth. Thermal control, power stability, Vibration, ...
I tried to improve those by my self-diy for my esotric dac.
What improvements have you made specifically? I have an older Musical Fidelity A3/24 that has undergone a total physical transformation, certainly never in the price range of a dCS. Nevertheless, sound wise it's quite something...
 
Feb 8, 2015
51
6
8
#53
Although it is very true that a better clock can result in a better sound quality and some manufacturers - not all of them - recognize it, as far as I see the main reason manufacturers have a 10 MHz reference clock is to synchronize all clocks in a system, avoiding beat frequencies due to asynchronous clocks in a system.
I've been wondering about the point of the engineering required to make an external reference clock work, when compared to designing a single box digital product. You'd think the benefits of shorter distance and using a single reference for all internal components would outweigh other designs.
 

TLi

Member
May 27, 2016
60
34
18
#54
I've been wondering about the point of the engineering required to make an external reference clock work, when compared to designing a single box digital product. You'd think the benefits of shorter distance and using a single reference for all internal components would outweigh other designs.
A single clock module on the main mother board is certainly the best option provided you have a good clock module.

Good clock module is difficult to get. By allowing external reference clock to slave onto the main clock will improvement its performance.
 
Jan 23, 2018
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#55
What improvements have you made specifically? I have an older Musical Fidelity A3/24 that has undergone a total physical transformation, certainly never in the price range of a dCS. Nevertheless, sound wise it's quite something...
Hi audioguy1958
Adding ext clock means you added at least one power cable and clock cable. Those cable have its own colors, will change the sound anyway.

My friend and me tested seriously for a several cases. Then the conclusion was the clock does not change the colors but just let the singer and players to work harder. It means you may be impressed much more from the same music.

I don't know about your musical fidelity dac.
If it has a input 10Mhz clock, you may just input it. If it has a input word clock like as 44.1 or 48khz, it will have better performance, but you have to change it when ever you change sampling rate.
For dsd, I didn't see any of clock solution until now.

As a last, if you like now sound quality of your system, please challenge to the clocks. But if you don't satisfy and want to upgrade, I recommand to invest other part.

Thabks
 
#56
Where an external clock is essential in my opinion and experience is where you have a multi-box setup with the need to sync multiple components (Transport, DAC (s), music streamer). In my case this has been an Esoteric P-03U and D-03, followed by my current P-02 and D-02. Regardless of how much refinement is done with an onboard clock circuit, there are always compromises in overall engineering and it is probably not an actual true master clock implementation anyway. It is true you can improve things and 'slave' one box to the clock in the other box(es) but you ultimately will hit the compromises the designers made to fit a high-quality clock circuit into what is probably already a complicated design, form factor and price equation.

When you multiply out with 2 or 3 or more boxes, nothing beats the sonic results of having them all 'see' the same concept of timing with an external clock be it a word clock or true master clock.
 
Aug 10, 2015
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#57
Hi audioguy1958
Adding ext clock means you added at least one power cable and clock cable. Those cable have its own colors, will change the sound anyway.

My friend and me tested seriously for a several cases. Then the conclusion was the clock does not change the colors but just let the singer and players to work harder. It means you may be impressed much more from the same music.


Thabks
As important as a good clock is, providing more smoother, naturalness, detail and atmosphere, i too felt the cables, especially the clock cable set the final tonality and colour of the sound which can range from being too warm, too detailed etc etc etc..

The clock cable used, itself makes choosing a cable with the right synergy as if one was comparing and choosing a dac or equipment that one prefers or matches a system best.

A huge undertaking without having many cables to try! Each, with its own signature showing throughout the system.

Is there a definitive of clock cables.

The Shunyata Alphas or Sigma clock cable are reported to be very good, but highly limited in review and sonic attributes to what these Cables provide in comparison to other costly highly regarded brands of clock cable.
 

Elberoth

Member Sponsor
Dec 16, 2012
1,918
58
48
Poland
#58
Did anyone tried the Mutec 10MHz clock ? (OCXO based)

My dCS dealer raves about it. The specs seem to be up with the best:


It is definately much easier to source than the elusive Cyber Shaft.
 

CKKeung

Active Member
Jun 18, 2011
981
117
43
Hong Kong
#59
Did anyone tried the Mutec 10MHz clock ? (OCXO based)

My dCS dealer raves about it. The specs seem to be up with the best:


It is definately much easier to source than the elusive Cyber Shaft.
There are many Mutec Ref10 users in Hong Kong. Most use it for the digital frontends of Esoteric, dCS and CH Precision. A small number of CAS audiophiles use it for the top SOtM switch and tx-USBultra.

My friends and I compared it to both the previous and current generations of Cybershaft 10M clocks.

In summary, subjectively it betters the previous Cybershafts (even the op13 model).
However when compared to the new Cybershafts, its absolute performance is around op15-16 Cybershaft models only.
The Cybershaft Ultimate or Limited2 OP20 win it easily.

In fact several of my Mutec Ref10 owner friends had already sold the Ref10 and bought Cyberahaft OP20.
 
Aug 10, 2015
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#60
I moved from the Cybershaft op17 to a Mutec solely because i now need 4 clock outputs.

When i got the Cybershaft few years back, I recall a conversation with Ken that you would want the phase noise of the clock to suited the inherent embedded noise in the original recording.

So what it meant to me was that it could be counter productive to have anything better than say a op14 -op15 and would be possibly a better match.

My observations are that the Op17 was smoother and had slightly more refinement which was more evident on audiophile recordings.

The mutec was no less enjoyable and gave a gutsier presentation which i actually preferred more for pop rock streaming from tidal.

All this was still without any glare and would say had more presence and brilliance to the highs and a more powerful midband.

This was using the same equipment and clock cable comparing just feeding 1 equipment.

The Mutec was very good, different presentation but no less any worst just after testing a single track and didnt look back or needed to make more comparisions.
 

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