Apogee Big Ben Reviews5.0/5.0 based on 6 customer reviews
To synchronize digital gear I always recommend BIG BEN from Apogee. Apogee has been making great clocks for their own units for years, so who better to make the industry standard for a master clock? This master clock solidifies a digital studio into a unified, jitter-free rig. My clients are astounded at the improved audio quality, and I often hear, 'I never knew my gear could sound so good.'
The difference between not clocking to the BigBen and clocking to the BigBen is NOT subtle. I always say to my customers 'If you don't think it improved your sound by $1495 worth, then send it back.' Never has anybody sent it back because it didn't sound way better than $1495 worth! Never! It's hard to get some people to pay $1495 for a piece of gear that doesn't really make a sound. But once they get it, they never want to part with it! If you are looking for a 'better' audio quality for your studio, before you upgrade your audio interface or digital recorder, get a BigBen and get ready for the real deal!
When using multiple digital devices in your DAW environment, the Big Ben is a must. Apogee has gone to great lengths in power supply and clock design to make this the MOST stable master clock ever designed. Say goodbye to stereo imaging issues, clicks and pops, and listen to it. You won't believe you're listening to your gear.
from Tortola British Virgin Islands
May 12, 2010Music Background:
Recording Engineer,Sound Engineer
Big Ben Is The Best Friend I Ever HadWhat this thing does to an interface i cant even explain all i know i have no more clicks and pops no stop when am recording jitter is reduce and the sound quality is enhanced it also works great with hardware every thing is in sync and you hear stuff different and make better music get your self a big ben and you see why i said he is the best friend i ever had.
from japan/harvey illinois
June 26, 2007Music Background:
Pro Rapper,Producer,Engineer,and always Student
Apogee Is My Biggest Homey !!!!!The Big Ben Is use to clock just about anything i get my hands on it gives you the confidence to buy products that you are not sure of cause they come with a word clock input!!!!!! i own a pair of Dynaudio Air 15 monitors and the fact that they have a word clock input on them and i clock my monitors (yeah that right) is great they already sound crazy good but with big ben its like woooooooooooooo baby
I also have Rosetta 800 and Ensmble needles to say those are clocked my tc eletronic voice pro yup clocked too ....Why do i say all this cause the big ben makes that much of a difference you will only be falling behind in this digital age if you dont buy one today
from Castle Rock, CO
January 28, 2007Music Background:
Apogee Big Ben really works!I've got an older Motu PCI-424 system on my Mac G5 with a Motu 2408 Mk II hooked up - plan to upgrade to Mk3 this year. Anyway, I had been looking at the Apogee Big Ben for some time and always put it off because of the price. I've also got two M-Audio ProFire LightBridges on two separate computers slaved to the Motu DAW.
I also upgraded to the JBL LSR4326 Monitors and AKG701 Pro Headphones first to see if I could get the system to sound better. It was then I identified that the Motu converters are okay but knew from working in an Apogee-based recording studio that a better sound can be achieved.
As soon as I hooked it up I was amazed. First off, there seemed to be more beef in the mids and the mud was gone! The high end harshness was also gone - replaced by sweetened rolled off highs that sound superb. The bass is more solid and accurate. And the imaging! No more wall of sound as everything has a more 3D spatial image (I mix orchestral stuff). The exciting thing is when I started recording acoustic guitar - I've never heard this system sound so sweet! The A/D conversion sounds like the big boys.
I recommend the Big Ben to anyone wanting to improve their studio sound.
from Dearborn, MI
July 25, 2006Music Background:
Musician - Home Studio Owner
Studio EngineThe Big Ben is the engine that runs the show. I purchased the Big Ben because I was getting clicks in my recordings. The Big Ben told me that I had a clock termination problem in my RME card. It turned out to be a jumper on the RME card was incorrectly set. I never would have known that unless I purchased the Big Ben. The Big Ben has made everything sound better. It is hard to describe but it really is smoother and more pleasing. It opens up the sound somehow. The best purchase I have ever made.
January 2, 2006
Big Ben - On Time!I am slowly migrating to a new studio set up and my Sales Eng. and I decided to add a Big Ben as the first piece of new gear. The difference it has made in the quality of my existing gear is hard to imagine. The harsh jitter went away, the stereo field opened up and the whole kit sounded "smoother". Inexpensive A/D converters are made to sound expensive - that's magic! Be sure to get 75 ohm terminating plugs for WC!
June 1, 2005
X FactorBig Ben is like Windex for your DAW. It cleans the audio imaging field without leaving any residue. On something like Pro Tools HD with Rosettas or a 192, it will make some difference. In my case, it really opened up the stereo imaging of my recordings. Cymbals were sweeter, less harsh. Dense drum mixes were more articulate. Acoustics were less icepicky. And reverb tails appeared out of nowhere :-). On something like a Digi002, it really helped me capture the spaciousness of the Churches I've recorded in. Bigger improvement here, no doubt. And if you've got a bunch of digital devices to work with, this is really a great way to bypass their crappy clocks. In all, you should probably get good mics and pres and a good interface first. Then, when you realy wanna get that X Factor, the "Whats Next", the "Wow" factor (esp on classical and jazz), the Ben is the way to go.
Being a self labeled gearhead, it's not uncommon for me to add new pieces of gear to my collection every month or week depending on my current "need." After acquiring many different digital pieces in my arsenal I decided that my next piece to the puzzle would be Apogee's Big Ben master clock. Previously, I had been using my DAW as the master clock. This setup worked well without incident, until during one session I noticed a small amount of noise or jitter caused by clocking issues. Knowing that Apogee manufactured well respected A/D and D/A convertors, I felt intrigued by all of the positive reviews that their Big Ben was getting.
At first I was a little skeptical about how much improvement I would get out of a product that was simply a master clock, but when I brought it home, I realized that the Big Ben is actually much more. Not only is Big Ben a stable clock reference that has the ability to distribute clock to up to 10 devices at once, but it can also process external clocks and convert different clock formats from its versatile I/O (S/DIF, AES/EBU, ADAT, etc.)
Next, I dove into the manual to see what other aspects of the Big Ben that I could benefit from. Key features such as: the Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS), Adaptive Loop filtering and the "SureLock" dropout defense all seemed very useful tools that the Big Ben offered.
Another feature that I found simple and very useful was the front panel's digital display. Visual indication of over- and under-termination of each word clock out can eliminate a lot of of problems and save time troubleshooting.
Using the Big Ben as my master clock I have eliminated the previous issues that I had with jitter. I have yet to experience any dropout since the implementation of the Big Ben, and the improvement of overall sound is very noticeable to me and other gearheads that frequent my home studio. I'm extremely satisfied with the Big Ben and recommend it to anyone in need a a high-quality, versatile master clock.
Apogee's Big Ben is an incredible addition to any professional digital recording studio. Anyone who is doing professional digital audio ranging from music, to foley and film should consider adding the Big Ben to their setup.
Apogee's Big Ben is superior to other word clocks in many ways. While most clocks use a combination of analog and digital elements, Apogee uses Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) with their C777 clock technology to maximize performance results. In order to minimize the amount of jitter, and optimize external clock performance, Big Ben uses a method called Adaptive Loop Filtering, or ALF. ALF is essentially a low pass filter that can take a jittery external clock, and improve upon it! In the event you should decide to sync the Big Ben up to another clock source, Apogee has installed it's new Sure Lock system. The Sure Lock system will cause the Big Ben to continue to generate word clock at the last detected frequency rate to other devices in the event that the master clock should fail.
I recently used the Big Ben on a session in my project studio, which has a Digi 002 rack at it's heart. To sync the 002 up to the Big Ben, I attached Big Ben to a Digimax LT lightpipe preamp, slaved the Digimax LT to the Big Ben, and then Pro Tools to the lightpipe input for clocking. As soon as I hit play, I immediately noticed a remarkable difference. Even on program material that was recorded without the Big Ben! The reason for this is that a word clock not only effects the A/D process, but the D/A process as well. Both conversion points are victims of jitter, and you would not believe how much this clock can improve your D/A performance. The largest, most obvious improvements were in the Low end. Suddenly, the bass guitar in the mix had increased, sharp, and accurate detail. The low notes no longer seemed to flub around. No more mud! It was as though I added a new pair of studio monitors to my set up. The next improvement I noticed was in the stereo imaging. Panned instruments seemed to be more realistically placed in the stereo field. There was an increased amount of both depth and space.
The results on the A/D process were just as impressive. I had a bass player, and electric guitar player come in from a country style group for the session. The bass guitar had even greater results when recorded with the Big Ben engaged. The electric guitar had an increased amount of detail, compared to the results that I usually get from my setup, especially with the room mics. The room sounded larger than ever, and it wasn't due to artificial mik'ing techniques.
I never thought adding something like a word clock to a system would show such positive results, but I must say I have a new outlook on digital recording. I felt like I had a newly upgraded Pro Tools rig in just minutes. I would advise anyone looking for an increased amount of detail from their already existing equipment to go meet Big Ben today!