[time-nuts] Rb references for audiophiles?

Jim Lux james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Fri Jul 4 09:49:54 EDT 2008

For your amusement...

Sitting in a waiting room yesterday, I read an article in a  
very-high-end audio magazine describing a $15K Rubidium frequency  
standard for providing low jitter clocks to your audio system.  It has  
outputs at 44.1, 48, etc. kHz, as well as a 100kHz, which the person  
writing said might become a new standard (huh?)

Aside from the usual blather about how the improved clock jitter made  
this album or that more open sounding and improved the auditory  
experience, there were the usual gold plated connectors, etc.

Hey... here's a golden opportunity for a time nut.  I suspect they  
generate the various clocks using (gasp) digital dividers and such.   
Now's your chance to design an incredibly complex all analog synthesis  
chain with step recovery diodes, mix and add, etc.   Everyone knows  
that for the finest in audio, an all analog (preferably all Class A)  
design is essential. Make sure that you have at least one vacuum tube  
in the design, preferably two, that can be "hand selected" and mounted  
so there's a little window to see the glow, and have some nice analog  
meters to monitor some useless parameter (suppressor grid voltage or  

I don't know where they get Rubidium, but maybe you could market a  
concept of terroir (as for wine).. why, the Mark 3000 Rubidium  
reference source uses Rb extracted only from the finest hand selected  
ores from Canada, where they have been mined by miners with multiple  
generations of experience, using trucks fueled with, etc...

Or following on the more recent discussions on the list about Cs and  
NH3 references, maybe you can one-up the Rb maker with a Cs.

Or maybe GPS disciplined clock sources (you know... if the 44.1kHz  
sample stream coming off the CD isn't precisely aligned on the second,  
sonic quality is definitely impaired.. the only real question is  
whether you should have a means of adjusting the clock rates to  
accommodate small changes in the earth's rotation or relativistic  

A whole magazine, 100 pages long, filled with this sort of thing (and  
yes, they had the special speaker cables with the arrows to indicate  
preferred direction of power flow, too....)


More information about the time-nuts mailing list