Sound Tip #4 – Word Clocks!

I’m going to make this super short…

Sound Tip #4: Word clocks are important! There… that’s it!

If you are wanting to get the best out of your audio recording and editing, invest in your word clock. The word clock is what provides the “slicing” function of your audio interface and recording system. Basically, it is what defines the parameters of your sample rate. Sample rates like 44.1k, 48k, 96k, 192k, are all defined by your word clock.

Do you hear it? This took me a long time to wrap my head around when I was younger.

Answer: yes and no (don’t you hate that?)

You hear it in the sense that it defines your sample rate and as the sample rate increase, the better recording you will get. But do you HEAR it? No, not really to the untrained ear.

However, a stand alone word clock will make your system run and process smoother and in turn other functions of your DAW also improve. It’s like having a speedometer in your car. A car will technically function without it, but for obvious reasons it is a good thing to be able to determine the rate of speed at which you are driving.

Because the word clock is audibly elusive, it is typically the first thing to get skimped on in most commercial, low grade recording interfaces. They all have one because they have to, but a large majority of them are garbage. I suggest looking at the Apogee “Big Ben” if you can afford it… it is a bit pricey and many can not justify the expense without seeing/hearing an immediate difference. Personally, I prefer the Black Lion word clock. It is smaller and less expensive, you don’t get all the fancy bells and whistles that the Big Ben offers, but you get a solid word clock and that’s what is important.

Do some research and learn more about word clocks, it is absolutely worth it!

-Lee Kebler

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