26 April 2010

Word Clock Problem Solved

The last week I was having an annoying problem in the studio. I use a lot of digital effects equipment and they all need to be synchronized. To do that you can use a Word Clock bus. One machine in the studio is a master clock generator and the other equipment slave their clock to that. You use a BNC coax cable to connect the equipment to this bus with T- or Y- connectors like the ones in the picture. On both ends this bus is terminated with a 75 ohm resistor. All nice when it works, but when there is a bad connection somewhere in this loop you get cracks and hickups. Usually when I had this I moved the cables a bit and it worked again for a while but today I decided to go and track this problem down. So armed with some new BNC cables and connectors I crawled behind my desk.

I found the problem quite quickly. In total I have 6 Word Clock busses originating from a Apogee Big Ben. The Big Ben has leds on the front that show the status of the loop. Since the led on loop 1 was going on and off each time I knew I which loop I had to check. It turned out to be the T-connectors I used on my RME interfaces caused the problem. Since they are just 1 unit high there is not much room on a T-connector for the cable. They are attached to the side. I replaced those T-connectors by Y-connectors that have the connections on the back. So here the cable goes straight out. The result is that there is no stress any more on those cables.

After this I didn't see the led blinking any more and I worked all day in the studio. So I guess the problem is fixed now. Quite a relief actually, since I am working on finishing a track for a sampler CD that has to be done next Friday. Well actually I had to be ready today even since it needs to be mastered before I can send it in and we will start working on that tomorrow. My work is done on the track now. Hopefully they will select it and if they do it will be released in August. I'll let you know as soon as I know myself. For now I'm going back on working on my new album for October.

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