About the Paganini Master Clock

Clocking is vitally important in any digital audio system because timing errors that occur in the DAC will be converted directly into errors in the analogue output. dCS DACs can act as the system master clock, but listening tests have shown that there is no substitute for a high-quality, dedicated master clock.

Used as part of the Paganini digital audio playback system, it improves on an already spectacular sound and takes it into an entirely new domain. With a clock added to a dCS system images snap into sharper focus and the music displays a substantially greater sense of authority and power as well as offering noticeably higher resolution of detail.

Paganini Master Clock is based on our professional studio master clocks and the classic Verona clock. All dCS Master Clocks are subjected to rigorous in-house testing and the crystal oscillators are pre-aged and selected for long term stability.

An asynchronous USB input is now fitted which allows high resolution audio to be played from a computer. In this mode it synchronises the audio by providing a feedback pipe to the PC or Mac. The computer’s audio stream is effectively clocked by the Master Clock for dramatically lower jitter. Clock frequency is automatically switched to suit the incoming audio stream, resulting in extremely accurate performance.

dCS equipment is designed to generate and accept industry-standard Word Clock on 75 ohm coaxial cable. Other manufacturers’ equipment designed to accept standard Word Clock can be used with our clocks. Non-standard clock formats must be assumed to be proprietary to that manufacturer.

Key Features

  • Powerful yet simple to use Grade 1 master clock with additional USB-S/PDIF conversion based on our pioneering developments in studio and home audio.
  • Six Word Clock outputs and one S/PDIF output for transmitting high resolution audio at up to 24-bit, 192kS/s.
  • All dCS products use a sophisticated multi-mode Phase-Locked-Loop (PLL) which significantly reduces clock jitter.
  • Improved power supplies give lower running temperature and superior tolerance to AC supply variations.
  • Aerospace-grade aluminium chassis and laminated acoustic damping panels reduce magnetic effects and vibration.
  • Low-power LC display makes the user interface easier to read, keeps power requirements down and minimises electrical noise.
  • ‘Soft’ approach to programmable logic allows new software to be loaded from a dCS update CD to add new features and adapt to changes in digital formats.


  • Class 1 Master Clock.
  • 44.1, 48, 88.2 or 96kHz.
  • Silver or Black.
  • 460mm/18.1” x 400mm/15.8” x 110 mm/4.4”. Allow extra depth for cable connectors.
  • 10.5kg/23.1lbs.
  • Better than +/-1ppm when shipped (guaranteed for 12 months from shipping). Typically +/-0.1ppm when shipped and stabilised.
  • External Reference Input on 1x 75Ω BNC connector. Accepts Word Clock (with the Coupling menu page set to TTL) or AC coupled signals (with the Coupling menu page set to Bipolar) at 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 1MHz, 5MHz & 10MHz. Lock range is +/-300ppm. 1 x USB 2.0 interface on Type B connector.
  • 6x Word Clock outputs, independently buffered, may be set to 44.1, 48, 88.2 or 96kHz*.
  • 1x SPDIF on RCA Phono, carrying data from the USB input.
  • Packetised PCM at 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 176.4 & 192kS/s.
  • Typically 1 minute to rated accuracy.
  • Tested on Windows XP/Vista/7 and Mac OSX. Operates in “Audio Class” mode. Class 1 mode (limited to 96kS/s) is available and does not require special drivers to be installed. Class 2 mode requires the dCS drivers (supplied) to be installed on Windows PCs. Not required on OSX 10.6.3 or later.
  • Loaded from CD via reference input or PC via USB input.
  • dCS Premium remote control provided with Paganini Transport or RS232.
  • Factory set for 100, 115, 220 or 230V AC, 49-62Hz.
  • 11 watts typical/13 watts maximum.


“There was a massive, almost disconcerting, sense of space to the recording, the like of which I’ve not heard from 16/44 Red Book digital before.”

- Hi-Fi World

“Now you can hear what 16bit, 44.1kHz Red Book CD is capable of when given the audio equivalent of a full facelift and the maximum allowable dose of steroids...”

- Hi-Fi World

“White papers aside, the master clock is the crucial piece in the digital puzzle, taking my experience with digital playback considerably further than I had experienced.”

- Tone Magazine

Read the full review Read More


Visit our support hub to find out more about our products or speak with a member of the dCS team