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Old 10th August 2014, 08:55 PM   #1
voxxonline is offline voxxonline  United Kingdom
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Default 10K Atomic clock:Rubidium atomic reference generator

Isochrone 10M | Antelope Audio

If your goal is to set up your studio for maximum performance, you will certainly appreciate a clocking reference that is a staggering 100,000 times more accurate than the quartz oscillators used in most equipment.

I found it online, price is about 10k:
Swiss-made Rubidium core with accuracy of 0.03 ppb (parts per BILLION)
Ultra-precise Atomic oscillator with stability of 1 second in 1,000 years
Rubidium core is FEI 5660 Compatible Stanford PRS10 Equivalent
Dual Redundant power supply with automatic switchover
8 BNC Outputs of 10 MHz
Compatible with any device that accepts 10 MHz reference
Utmost ease of operation, just connect it and power it on
Extremely sturdy mechanical construction
Perfect match for OCX, OCX-V and Trinity


well, pro's using it, I believe
Can clock make 10k quality difference ?
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Old 10th August 2014, 09:12 PM   #2
5th element is offline 5th element  United Kingdom
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I thought the point of using atomic radioactive decay for a clock was clock accuracy, ie it will show extremely little frequency drift over time. This is virtually pointless for music reproduction. It probably has a small amount of application for recording music where it would be more possible to get your sampling frequency bang on an ideal standard, but besides that, completely pointless.
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Old 10th August 2014, 09:37 PM   #3
peufeu is offline peufeu  France
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5th element View Post
I thought the point of using atomic radioactive decay for a clock was clock accuracy
Atomic clocks have nothing to do with radioactive decay.

But you're right about the rest, audio doesn't need high accuracy, but low phase noise, and I don't see a phase noise spec here...

Also generating a clock multiple of 44.1k from 10MHz will need a fractional PLL, which will probably have a worse phase noise spec that a reasonable quality clock (crystek et al).
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Old 10th August 2014, 09:46 PM   #4
5th element is offline 5th element  United Kingdom
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That's news to me, I had always assumed that they used radioactive decay to set their time base, as it would on average, be extremely accurate. It makes more sense that they'd use the photo-electric effect though.
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Old 10th August 2014, 11:28 PM   #5
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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Default audio has no need for matching absolute pitch to ppb

low phase noise "close in" == audio frequency is what we should want

which you get from OCXO Oven Controlled Quartz Crystal Oscillators with SC cut

at nearly 2 orders of magnitude less cost

and the lower frequency of the phase noise, <100 Hz phase noise is disproportionately more expensive to reduce and probably of little audible consequence considering critical band theory and Fletcher-Munson poor human low frequency low level sensitivity


even ppm is a bit of overkill for audio - do some numbers - what's the Doppler shift from normal "still" air motion in human occupied rooms, your breath, body heat convection currents, normal air exchange rate that keeps the air breathable, not "stuffy"

Last edited by jcx; 10th August 2014 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 10th August 2014, 11:48 PM   #6
simon7000 is offline simon7000  United States
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You can get a rubidium atomic clock for a few bucks on eBay. They are pulled from obsolete cell phone tower stations. There are even ones that have the parts need to give a CD clock signal.
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Old 10th August 2014, 11:55 PM   #7
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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my understanding is that they use OCXO to get low phase noise, just use the atomic clock for long term drift performance

but GPS signal is lots cheaper if the longer disciplined frequency matters to most of us

Notes on Trimble Thunderbolt performance and modifications

Last edited by jcx; 11th August 2014 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 11th August 2014, 02:29 PM   #8
DF96 is online now DF96  England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxxonline
well, pro's using it, I believe
The only studio pros using a rubidium clock as a reference will be those who don't understand electronics; in particular, oscillators.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 5th element
It makes more sense that they'd use the photo-electric effect though.
No, not the photoelectric effect either. It will be an electronic transition frequency which they use, probably in the microwave region. I'm sure Google will tell you. In general terms, they phase-lock a high quality quartz crystal oscillator to a particular spectral line of rubidium. The rubidium line will have poor jitter performance (due to temperature etc.) but very good long term drift performance. The crystal PLL will clean this up so you get the jitter of quartz combined with the stability of rubidium. It is only the former which audio requires, so all the rubidium stuff is unnecessary - in fact, the PLL is likely to degrade the jitter performance of the crystal so you would probably get better performance for audio by disabling the rubidium lock!
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Old 11th August 2014, 05:42 PM   #9
linuxguru is offline linuxguru  India
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simon7000 View Post
You can get a rubidium atomic clock for a few bucks on eBay. They are pulled from obsolete cell phone tower stations. There are even ones that have the parts need to give a CD clock signal.
Yup, about a hundred bucks when I last looked for them, maybe lower now. They require a few minutes to warm up and lock the PLL, after which they give a very stable 10 MHz digital signal as well as a divided-down 1 Hz digital signal.
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Old 15th August 2014, 08:15 PM   #10
voxxonline is offline voxxonline  United Kingdom
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Just want to add another interesting device, from the other side of audio product spectrum: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...?ref=discovery

It is only kickstarter project, but still- got more than 100000$ instead of 50000$, possible success and unspotted market gap ?
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