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Micro Clock MKII
The Micro Clock MKII is a simple, yet elegant design in external clocking. It features ultra-low jitter, third order crystal oscillators with a high current parallel drive circuit designed to maintain harmonic content of the signal regardless of loading conditions. In addition to this, proprietary noise reduction circuitry dramatically eliminates unwanted switching harmonics normally found in digital signals. The Micro Clock MKII is one of the best performing external word clocks in the pro audio market today.
When we introduced the Micro Clock MKII, we didn’t anticipate the amount of demand and controversy that managed to accompany it. External clocking is certainly a hot button issue. Some folks maintain that there’s no basis for it; that it’s a sort of modern “emperor’s new clothes.” The reasoning behind this is that the device being clocked externally will simply filter the incoming clock signal through its phase locked loop, thereby eliminating any sort of benefit associated with the superior clock. In addition, the simple act of accepting the incoming signal and creating a new signal that’s in phase will add some jitter.
The biggest problem with this theory is that we know nothing about the PLL filter in question; it’s completely hypothetical. Many PLL’s in pro audio are designed to filter out unwanted signals that are outside of the desired bandwidth, although some are configured to filter out unwanted harmonics that lie within the signal’s frequency band. It’s incredibly rare to find one that does both at the same time. In the case of the Micro Clock MKII, it outputs a high bandwidth signal that is rare to find in internal clocks. Whether or not an external word clock can improve the sound quality of a receiving device is completely dependent on how the receiving device accepts an external word clock signal, and is dependant on the quality of the receiving device’s internal clock. It’s best to do an A/B listening comparison to know whether the external clock is making a positive impact on the sound or not.
The Micro Clock MKII is simple and probably even boring looking by most standards. It’s housed in a rugged 3” x 4” chassis that provides optimum RF shielding. It has no lights, no frequency display, and none of the usual visual candy that your friends might envy. However, for a modest black box, it does its job incredibly well and at a price that’s unheard of for this level of performance!
It features six selectable output frequencies from 44.1 kHz on up to 192 kHz. The output level is approximately 5 volts peak to peak. Jitter at the crystal oscillator is approximately 1 picosecond RMS, and just under 10 picoseconds RMS at the output. The power supply is a 9 volt DC wall wart that’s capable of accepting both 120 and 240 volts AC. The clock is compatible with all modern digital devices that have 75 ohm BNC word clock inputs.
13 x 10 x 4.5 in
Base frequency selector (44.1kHz or 48kHz)
75 ohm BNC outputs
Frequency multiplier (x1, x2, x4)
9VDC input jack (use a BLA-specified power supply only)
“Don’t buy it for its looks (like anybody ever looked on the inside of a record cover to see what a digital device looked like…) but rather pay attention if you’re the owner of a Digidesign LE hardware unit or some of the other low to mid-priced interface/converters on the market. The Micro Clock MKII really does a lot to snap those 1’s and 0’s in line for a much smoother and more coherent, dare I say “3D” sound. Features 3 BNC outputs for multiple sync of your studio’s digital devices.
Against many on board clocks, the Micro Clock MKII is like taking a camera off of auto focus and spending some time really dialing it in manually (not that you have to dial the unit in). Better yet, another way to say it is if you’re looking out of the window and then you open the window for a more pure vision. I don’t believe in voodoo but voodoo this box isn’t: it’s a serious clock that on lower cost devices can change the way you hear “into” your mix. I hear a slight smoothing of the sound, the guys at BLA attribute it to the use of transformers in the output section.
Conclusion: The Micro Clock MKII is so good, you may forego a converter upgrade and just enjoy your own converters that much more! The imaging is amazing, super bang for the buck in performance.”
– Warren Dent, ZenPro Audio, Orangeburg, SC
“Today I got my Micro Clock MKII! Listening with the Micro Clock music is like in the movie theater to see a 3D film with 3D glasses, of course! I am very impressed! It is exactly the effect occurred to me, I expected! THX BLA!”
– Patrick Kummeneker, Engineer, Creative Media Management, Austria
“Just wanted to give you all an update on things going on over here. I am presently in mix stages for my production work on Native Canadian (Metis Indian) country blues singer, John McLeod. It’s been an amazing process thus far utilizing all of my BLA studio processors. The record was recorded at Stagg Street Studios on a Vintage Legacy API console utilizing some of the best Mic collection on the west coast. Featuring “Fritz” Lewak on Drums (Jackson Browne, Melissa Etheridge) and Tim Emmons (Rod Stewart, Bo Diddley) on Bass. Of course I made sure I brought along my Micro Clock to keep everything sounding beautiful and solid.
Most overdubs were done at my studio, Emily’s Basement Recording in Hollywood. I utilized my Auteur Mic Pre in stereo mode, recording Dobro and Acoustic Guitars. Everything was monitored through my Sparrow converter to ensure the best possible playback. And finally, for the first time I am employing my BLA PM-8 summing mixer. My mixes are simply slamming and all clocked together once again, with my Micro Clock. Thanks for the great work BLA!“
– George Landress, Mixer/Engineer/Producer (No Doubt, Jon B., Chaka Khan, Jane’s Addiction, The Killers)
“Just connected my MKll Clock..!!!! Holy Crap my Profire 2626 came to life!!!! Thanks BLA Team!!!! Can’t wait to get my ADA8000 back!!! THANKS a million!!!“
– Ruben D. Tirado, Justice IL
“I had the pleasure of ‘hearing’ your clock for the first time last night, while mixing Tower of Power on a pair of M7’s (venue provided). WOW!! What a noticeable improvement. I’ll order mine shortly!!“
– Mike Deezy
“Now that I hear it, I could not go back to being without it!“
– Dave Bourgeois, BC, Canada
“Just to let you know I received the [Micro Clock MKII] last night. Set it up [with a $6500 Marantz SA-7S1 CD/SACD Player] and gave it a go. Extremely impressive, it lifts the complete soundstage to another level, clears up the vocals and instruments to a high definition. Never have believed it could make such a difference, especially to a high end CD player.“
– Alan Bennett
“This thing is bloody amazing! The difference playing back through my fw1814 is night & day… I am floored…! Shite! i am REALLY pleased with your [Micro Clock MKII], mate. Thanx!“
– Michael “Muddy” Lawrence,Long Island, NY
“I just wanted to give you my opinion about the Micro Clock I’ve been using for about 6 months now. It is just a great tool. I’ve been clocking all the digital desks I’ve had to work with, whereas on tour or with rental companies i work for, and it just make my job really easier. First of all, the size of the box is just what I needed. I just place it in my small travel bag and I can bring it everywhere. Second, I couldn’t say why but it just really make the sound easier to work with. One of my friends who tested it told me that he thought the sound was deeper and the stereo image wider (test on a PM1Dinternal clock vs. Micro Clock)….Thanks again for that ‘low cost’ but really great clock.“
– Nicolas Laurent
“Your Black Lion Micro Clock MKII makes my Venue D-Show/Pro Tools rig smile! Thanks for that!“
– Lee Lundgren
“Just LOVE my Micro Clock MKII – my rig has never sounded better than with this baby as the master clock. It’s ridiculous!“
– Vic Rivera
“I would say that a Metric Halo ULN-2 clocked with an affordable Black Lion Audio Micro Clock MKII does make enough of a difference (with a 6″ BNC) that it’s a keeper. Even at 88kHz there’s more clarity and definition to the sound. Crazy.“
– Robert Hedin
“…thanks for your amazing low priced gear. You are doing an awesome work for the new engineers!“
– Saul Wolf
“I just received my BLA modified Motu 828MKII and Micro Clock MKII. The improvement is beyond words. I expected it would be better, but not by this much. I wonder how I could work before!!… Like my monitors were covered in thick felt before… I am able to hear details that just weren’t [previously] there… So it’s like I received new monitors and a perfectly treated room with the package. Shocking!!!“
– Till Rohmann (aka “Glitterbug”), Cologne, Germany
“So I have a really nice drum set. Problem is, it never sounded like a nice one until I recorded it with the Micro Clock MKII. Thanks guys!“
– Wade Sweatt
“Just purchased your Micro Clock MKII. Plugged it in and clocked my HD192 and 2408 MK3 to it. I break out all my mixed over 8 stereo busses over an analog console (ssl, neve, soundcraft) and print them to 1/2 inch. I noticed that I heard my dog barking in the stereo tambourine track, which I have never heard before (so much for sound proofing)! That sounds kinda funny, but I must say the detail in the stereo image has increased. The low end, (next to hearing my dog barking) was the first thing I noticed, bigger and punchier. The top end was smoother, more like analog tape, not to bright, and the clarity was exceptional… This could possibly be the missing link to mixing in the box. I have tried out at least 5 different clocks out, which are 3 or 4 times more the cost of your clock and you WIN.“
“A client of yours, John VanEaten, loaned me his Micro Clock to try out. After a few days, I really didn’t want to give it back to him! I had just returned from Nashville visiting some friends (including Masterfonics engineer, Jonathan Russell). We had a listen to some recent mixes of mine and discovered I was a bit dark on the top and a tad cloudy on the bottom. I was of course bummed but curious what was going on, speakers, room whatever.
When I got the Micro Clock in here, something magic happened on the top that opened things up and allowed me to tweak these mixes easily and avoid the dreaded “darkness.” Also, the bottom end became obvious and the cloudiness could be addressed with ease. This was the first word clock generator that clearly showed a large difference from other clocks I’ve used in terms of my ability to work better.
Wanting to explore this more, I invited my friend Doug Thornton (a film composer) who has an Apogee AD16 (with the Big Ben clock in it) over yesterday and spent the day listening to the stock SSL clock (Alphalink), Apogee, the BLA and a little bit of the Lynx all using the SSL converters in my PMC 5.1 rig.
We listened to a lot of music, commercial releases, differing styles… and then to some 5.1 surround mixes my friend brought over for a film he’s posting. Both the music and film sound took on new dimensions with the BLA clock… There was a sense of “you can touch it” with your clock. The SSL and Lynx are not even in the same zip code and we shortly stopped listening to them. ?
The effects of the clock change were so profound and pervasive, it’s one of those things that affects everything in recording and mixing, kinda like a good pair of speakers in a tuned room, y’know? OK enough yakking, I need to get one…. like now!“
– Ashley Shepherd, Producer/Engineer, Audiogrotto, Newport, KY (Carol King’s Tapestry Revisited, & TV’s Everyone Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey Show, 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, Dateline, Access Hollywood, Late Show with David Letterman, Guiding Light)
“….Wow! What an improvement! Much more depth and clarity. I suddenly heard parts in the arrangement of the song that was playing that I hadn’t noticed before?!“
– Yrjo in ‘t Veld, Netherlands
“Well, I’ve been playing with the BLA clock (with their premium cable, btw) for a little while, A/B’ing with the [RME FF400]’s internal clock, and I can already tell you this: I’ve turned down the gain on several panned tracks, just because I can hear them better now… There seems to be a definite improvement in the stereo image… my feeling is growing that my rig has crossed a subtle line between semi-pro and pro…“
– Rick Cowan
“My name is Josh Hamilton. I am the audio engineer with navy band northwest. I received today a Micro Clock MKII for my ls9-32. I have to say, wow! That’s the best thing that could have happened to an ls9…“
– Josh Hamilton
“[We] added a BLA Micro Clock MKII to sync our digital conversion. This piece replaced the famous Apogee Big Ben for clocking and everyone who has listened in the room attests to the huge overall improvement of the sound- even verses clocking with Big Ben! The stereo field widened, the depth increased, reverb trails are more audible and lush. The lows are more defined and bigger, while the low mids seem less murky, the upper mids finally seem smooth and detailed and pleasing to the ear while the highs really have a lovely sweetness. Overall the sound is bigger, smoother, more open and three dimensional and somehow more natural. We honestly didn’t expect this to be such a huge improvement but congrats to the geniuses over at Black Lion Audio for figuring this out and at such a great price point!“
– Ethereal Mastering, Lebanon, Oregon (As posted in their online blog @ etherealmastering.com)
“Just LOVE my Micro Clock MKII – my rig has never sounded better than with this baby as the master clock. It’s ridiculous!”
The Micro Clock MKIII XB is the most accurate word clock we’ve developed to date. With only 0.6pS RMS of jitter at the BNC outputs, it has less than one third of the jitter of the standard Micro Clock MKIII! It boasts incredibly accurate crystal oscillators and superior quality galvanic isolation, both of which contribute to the extraordinarily low jitter measurement.
The Micro Clock MKIII is the culmination of almost 10 years of research involving jitter-reducing, harmonic-enhancing design techniques not found in any other master word clocks on the market. It not only can sync all of your digital audio gear together, but can significantly improve the sound quality as well. It may be the most significant single upgrade you can make to your digital audio setup. Get ready to hear what you’ve been missing!
If you'd like to upgrade a Micro Clock MKIII you already own to a Micro Clock MKIII XB, please add this upgrade to your cart (and the optional 1 year warranty add-on if you'd like).
Once you pay for the XB upgrade, you will need to fill out an RMA form to include with your standard Micro Clock MKIII, then will need to ship both items to the address on the form at your earliest convenience.
Our turnaround time on XB upgrades is typically 7-10 business days from the time we receive your unit. We will contact you when it's ready to ship back out.