Grimm Audio CC1 Word Clock Sync Generator and Distributor Review

May 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Erik Zobler



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photo of Grimm CC1

Clocking is important in any audio setup, and for those taking the extra step toward uncompromising system operation, high-quality audiophile clocking is even more important. For this reason, it's no surprise that Grace Design, a company that sets the quality bar high, has brought Grimm Audio's products to the U.S.

Based in the Netherlands, Grimm Audio makes an array of products including loudness software, speakers, cables, a replacement power supply for tube microphones, an A/D converter and a word clock generator/distributor. The Grimm CC1 clock, reviewed here, appears to be a straightforward and simple device at first glance. But don’t let its wood-paneled front plate lull you into believing that this is a bare-bones box—it is a pro-level device through and through.

The Grimm CC1 is a word clock sync generator and distributor built into one piece. To select its base operating frequency, you can choose its internal “discrete design” crystal oscillator (at 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz), or you can select a BNC or AES connector as an external slave input. The CC1’s Slave input uses a very slow, but very accurate, Phase Locked Loop (PLL) circuit that can take up to 20 seconds to “lock.” The CC1’s oscillator exhibits performance specs that are so low (which means good) that they had to design special test gear to measure it: a 60dB low-noise and low-distortion wideband amplifier and a Very Low Frequency nano-voltmeter that allow them to make highly accurate low-level measurements.

The CC1 has 16 BNC outputs in two groups. The first group has 12 BNC connectors while the second group has four. Each group has its own 1x, 2x or 4x multiplier of the base clock rate, selected on the front panel. There is also an AES output for a total of 17 outputs. This AES output can also be used to “re-clock” (i.e., de-jitter) a signal at the AES input (including audio and sub-code data) that is fed to a device that has no word clock input.

Because there is no standard for word sync inputs, Grimm designed the CC1 for multiple applications. Connection possibilities include serial, parallel, high-impedance termination or no termination at all. The back of the CC1 has four sets of DIP switches that allow you to configure each BNC connector to either 75 ohm or 30 ohm (low impedance). In addition, two of the BNC connectors in each output group have phase reverse DIP switches.

A useful feature for installations where settings might be accidentally changed is the “Key Lock” mode. This mode deactivates the front panel buttons, preventing unwanted changes to the CC1’s settings.

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