Apogee Big Ben No Longer Available

192kHz Master Word Clock with Adaptive Loop Filtering, Format Conversion
Item ID: BigBen

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Apogee Big Ben image 1
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Apogee Big Ben
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Turn Your Clock Over to Big Ben!

Big Ben sets a new standard for clocking! For years audio professionals have been asking when Apogee was going to make their legendary clocking technology available as a standalone master clock. Introducing Big Ben by Apogee, a radical new studio timepiece that will set the pace for master clocks for a long time! For nearly 150 years a tower named Big Ben has accurately kept time in London - now you can have that kind of accuracy in your studio with Apogee's Big Ben!

Apogee Big Ben at a Glance:

  • Accurate, jitter-free clock with digital phase lock loop

  • Added flexibility with format conversion capability
  • Automatic termination sensing for complex audio chains

A Cure for the Jitters - Apogee's new C777 Clock
At the heart of any word clock regeneration is a phase lock loop (PLL). Most common applications use a combination of analog and digital elements without the ability to dynamically adapt to the nature of external clocks. That's where Big Ben's new C777 clock comes in. Big Ben utilizes an entirely digital process that Apogee has developed, using the most advanced Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) technology available along with DSP based digital filtering. The result? Big Ben has the most aggressive jitter reduction ever. With a stable, crystal based digital PLL ticking away as its heart, Big Ben is able to intelligently manipulate incoming signals and adapt to them accordingly.

Added Flexibility with Format Conversion
Big Ben also does something that you wouldn't expect a master clock. Big Ben gives you the option of real-time format conversion. Use Big Ben's intuitive digital display to go from S/PDIF to AES, AES to ADAT, ADAT to S/PDIF and more.

Termination Issues... A Thing of the Past
Got a complex multi-unit digital audio chain? Apogee helps you stop watching the clock with Big Ben's termination sensing ability. Very often in an elaborate audio chain word clock signals are improperly terminated. Big Ben will chime in with a visual indication of over or under termination on its digital display for each word clock output, allowing you to troubleshoot more quickly and get back to business.

Apogee Big Ben Features:

  • AES, S/PDIF, Optical I/O - Word Clock/Video In - 6 Word Clock Outs

  • Optional Firewire connection to facilitate clocking and format conversion with other Firewire devices
  • Real-time format conversion between all digital formats
  • Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) using Apogee's C777 Clock Technology up to 192kHz
  • Adaptive Loop Filtering (ALF) to optimize clock performance and minimize jitter
  • Fail-safe lock to external sources (Sure Lock) and Word Clock termination sensing
Let Big Ben clock your digital audio system!

Additional Media

Apogee Big Ben Review
Clocking a MOTU audio interface to an Apogee Big Ben, but termination LED doesn't light.
Apogee Big Ben Review

Tech Specs

Manufacturer Part Number BIG BEN

Customer Reviews

Based on 7 reviews

Sweetwater Advice

Jeremy Wright

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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Mark Abrams

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!
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See also: Word Clocks, Apogee, Apogee Synchronizers