TSS Two Chassis Super DAC


The latest flagship model Esoteric master clock generator (Grandioso G1) only has a 10MHz output. All their previous and current model lesser clocks could be configured to output the 44.1 and 48 groups. It is widely accepted in the Esoteric owner community that, on their products, clocking at 10 MHz sounds best. Which might fly against technical explanations, but that’s just the reality of it for their products.

As owners I think it is universally accepted that the choice of the designer of a product, whether it supports external clocking or not, matters not much. What works best for a particular design is what the designer decides.


I’m defintly not arguing that external clocks don’t work well for many people. I’m just pointing out that it’s not because they use temperature controlled ovens, or atomic clocks, or… and that they need to overcome having more links/distance between them and the DAC proper. External clocks work well when they have a good design and implementation, but they could work as well or better by ignoring the long term stability issues and concentrating on the phase noise, they would be a lot cheaper to build as well. I’m not sure that I got it right but I think that MSB is measuring their jitter right at the DAC proper which is great.


Which is why the best cables designed for clocking (Mexcel, Shunyata) cost upwards of $2000/m. A set of clock cables alone for some of these digital audio stacks are getting towards $10K. Makes a lot of sense to me, a design like MSB which uses internal clock options (al-be-it expensive ones) and thus avoid the need to throw big money at cables.


Is the assumption correct that an external clock of an extreme accuracy (or any other clock improvement) mainly further avoids jitter?

If not, what’s the main improvement?

If yes, compared to other measures avoiding jitter…ist so much more efficient worth the price?


Yes, the idea is to avoid phase noise over the audio range of frequencies (minimizing short term jitter). Phase noise has a spectrum just like audio does and saying “33 Femtosecond of jitter” is like assuming that everything that matters about a car is contained in “33MPG”. Long term stability of the clock (e.g. being slaved to GPS, an atomic source, etc.) doesn’t matter at all for audio and indeed can be counter productive. If you have a clock that’s very accurate over long terms it probably isn’t horrible at short term jitter, but just making short term jitter better is a much more cost effective way of improving short term jitter. External vs. internal is a no brainer: technically internal is almost certainly better, conversely from a marketing point of view external is almost certainly better.


Thanks Ted!

And just to rank it in its effect:

Would an improved clock solution of +30k (MSB) or +5k (Ted) have a bigger or smaller effect than one of your firmware improvements or other alternative ways to reduce jitter?


I haven’t heard the various MSB’s. The DS’s clocking is pretty darned good, certainly adding an external variant would be worse. The TSS will be improving things with better components (especially the clock splitter and the retiming flip flops) and better power supplies, etc. But the clock chip itself will be the same.


Thanks…I didn’t mean to ask how the MSB sounds, just which effect such clock improvements as you make them in a different way than MSB, have in comparison to other measures. I understood you also lowered jitter by your firmware upgrades.

My feeling is, if one adds a xxk$ clock to an MSB, the improvement is possibly smaller than a firmware upgrade to the DS.


Cables and connectors produce jitter?


It seems industry produces “wannahaves” for everyone…we’re not better all of us, just in different price ranges :wink:


I am sure there are plenty of people who spend this kind of money or more based on perceived value, regardless of whether or not this improvement is placebo. So, I agree that one must appreciate and buy into the product they are purchasing as this is the “value” leading to the purchase decision in the first place, but actual audio improvement is not guaranteed based on the price tag alone.


I guess those who buy fast aging digital technology in this price range think different anyway. They probably want what they think is the absolute best for the moment and is elitist enough to be owned by only few (which for them is mainly defined by the price+reputation+built quality&design…and sound in case they have time, listening skill and patience to make comparisons).


Cable-induced signal jitter


During the summer, well, our summer your winter, and on a trip to London I visited an Esoteric dealer. I heard the full range of Esoteric equipment. Definitely one of the best sounds I’ve heard in a dealers dem room… I also heard the external clock - ‘I thought it was sizeable improvement with the clock installed’. The pros & cons of the clock can be debated ad nausea - but if I was a punter on that day, with serious intentions of buying Esoteric on that day, I would have bought the clock as well because to my ears it was a significant improvement musically.

Begs the question though, why doesn’t Esoteric incorporate the clocks performance enhancement attributes in the build of the equipment considering the stratospheric cost of their products…

Well, I guess it’s just another route open to them to extract more money from the rich … And - as you said, there’s the added expense of another costly interconnect cable, hence another sale …… which you thrive on.

I only buy products based solely on their musical attributes. The vast majority of Esoteric owners buy because they want to, perceived to, own the very best available to them and the price doesn’t factor… Some of them are like you, loads of money (although you say you are poor) but musically, (the puerile rubbish you listen to) and the arts as a whole, just philistines…….:grin:


I like the MSB approach, a range of models at different price points, all with various upgrade options, clocks or whatever. If I was buying with a fixed budget in mind I would buy the highest spec model in the lineup that fitted the budget, but with the entry level bits for that model.

By the sound of it the TSS is going to be a choice of one. Unless they offer color or finish options for the chassis.

I sold my Esoteric clock cable today, it’s going to its new owner in Brooklyn, on the other side of the planet. I’ll be using a Shunyata clock cable for the time being. My Esoteric dealer has set aside a P1 for me, so I’m not at risk of losing it whilst I ponder my next step.


Just buy it. You know you want to. :wink:


I have someone interested in buying my Esoteric N-01 network streamer DAC + G-02X clock. If that sells soon my priorities will change. The Grandioso D1X will be the new DAC, I’ll buy a high spec Cybershaft clock to go with it, and dispense with buying a disc spinner. Unless the arrival of TSS is imminent in which case I’ll put everything on pause and wait for a few months of TSS user reviews to come in.

Tonight however there is some new puerile rubbish to listen to. A Spanish import CD that I imported today from the US. All this audio stuff traveling all over the world…the distances my stuff has traveled to get here is mind boggling.


Makes sense re:TSS. That’s what I am waiting on.


Absolutely true, often they are very nice people. They just tend to be dreadful riders. For many, it is their first bike and they started riding at 55 or 60 thinking they can do everything. Harley ownership also emphasizes lifestyle over riding (I’m sure Harley makes more money on swag and accessories than the bikes.) This is a poor combination of factors.

As a social issue I would like to understand when one passes a Harley swarm which is traveling 50 MPH in 55 MPH zone why they get so upset. I do not blow by them at light speed or make insulting gestures - just signal and quietly pass.

I admit amusement when the Swarm Leader tries to race me. It is akin to a four year-old challenging an MMA fighter.

Single Harley riders in the twisties will typically wave me by - very kind. They are also typically pretty good riders. Apparently they get meaner when they flock or herd together.


I’m neutral as non biker…but this doesn’t sound like an unstressed relationship from both sides although people are just using different brands during a very similar hobby :wink: