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My intention with this unit is to use it as the master DAC and volume control for my studio monitors, and for its headphone amp, along with a UAD Apollo (silver) as my DAW centerpiece. This unit lacks a word clock output - is this going to be a problem, if I'm running S/PDIF from the Apollo to the m920? I would think I'd want my Apollo clock synced to the m920 ideally, but this is not doable? Is this box not for me, should I be looking at one with a word clock output?
You would want to use your Apollo on it's internal clock. The m920 will extract the clock from the incoming data, put it through it's s-Lock PLL, then the DAC will run off the internal crystal so you get maximum performance.
This is not going to be a problem at all. m920 has superb s-Lock PLL that synchronizes to an external digital source and completely eliminates jitter. In addition, Apollo has pretty good internal clock. You get a crystal clear signal really, nothing to worry about.
Thanks and also to Alex for the helpful info. I've been reading up a lot more on DACs and clocks, it's a crazy time sink if you let it be but I suppose the folks here already know that :) ... I, however, am new to DAC geekery.
I'm very close to pulling the trigger on this drop but TBH I am hung up debating the Dangerous Source, which given my budget would probably be where I'd land - if not for the awesomely tempting price on this drop. It is cheaper gear of course, from a technical standpoint having no internal clock (probly ok with my Apollo), and necessarily cheaper componentry (there are actually four dacs inside, a wall-wart power supply that apparently helps to replace with a third party linear power supply for best performance, and I hear some say the volume knob audibly diminishes fidelity vs bypassing it). So I'm confident in reasoning the m920 will sonically outperform the Source, but I have no idea by *how much* - does anyone have a sense if that gap is going to be subtle vs a big step up?
My use case is mixing, often drum and bass heavy EDM, so I'm looking for ultra-precise dynamics and very accurate bass in particular. I have a treated room and good monitors, and Grado RS-2 headphones but I barely use headphones anymore (maybe that will change?)
(Also, funny thing: I have an Eventide H8000 fx unit that I didn't realize has much better converters than my Apollo. I'd been using the Eventide as an fx processor only and not for primary monitoring. Whoa.)
I am using it's earlier (discontinued) brother m902 for music production for about 10 years now, and I can never thank myself for spending my money on it! It helps me to nail issues, such as sample zero crossing points, etc. You hear a tiny click with it – It's just so revealing! m920 is even better. Probably, you won't be looking at anything in the coming decade, at least.
After some further research into the Dangerous Source's technical performance, I'm going for the m920. The Source appears to be a great product for the value, but at this price, the m920 is what I really want.