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Microphone Month 2

Apogee Big Ben Review

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.

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