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Bitmeister™ Digital S/PDIF Interconnects

Bitmeister S/PDIF digital interconnects are our new digital reference. S/PDIF stands for Sony-Philips/Digital Interface. S/PDIF is the standard interface for most CD and DVD players. The Bitmeister connects your CD or DVD transport to your DAC or Surround-Sound processor. The Bitmeister uses a patented technology that allows the conductors to be 50% bare. Bare conductors cause less dispersion (smearing) in the digital signal than fully insulated conductors, reducing jitter in the digital signal. The Bitmeister has a 75 ohm characteristic impedance, to match the S/PDIF specification, preventing reflections in the digital bit-stream. Not only is the cable 75 ohms, the connectors are 75 ohms as well. Pure 99.99% Perfect Crystal Silver conductors in a custom stranded configuration enhance high-frequency response by minimizing skin-effect and stranding effects. Bitmeisters are also double-shielded to keep the electromagnetic noise out.

Bitmeister S/PDIF digital interconnects are terminated with RCA-type connectors with heavy direct gold-plating OFC copper contacts, insuring reliable long-term connections. The internal structure of the RCA plug has a 75-ohm characteristic impedance, right up to the center contact.

Bits are not just bits. The bitstream from your transport contains the music data plus embedded clocking information. The clocking information is extracted at the receiving DAC. The clock that is extracted from the data stream needs to be very stable in order for the music to be reproduced with accuracy. Digital interconnects can introduce jitter into the bitstream, which will result in a jittery clock. There are no data-bit errors, but the clock in the DAC can have jitter as a result, which causes frequency modulation of the DAC output. This frequency modulation can be audible. Only DACs that completely buffer the bitstream are immune from this modulation. This is because these DACs discard completely the embedded clock and use a separate, stable quartz-crystal clock to retrieve the data from a large memory and apply it to the analog conversion circuitry. Most DAC’s are not like this. Therefore, it is important that the bit-stream be as jitter-free as possible. The Bitmeister minimizes jitter by providing an extremely low-loss, impedance-matched path for the bit-stream. The low-loss of the Bitmeister prevents effects such as dispersion from occurring. Dispersion can occur with high dielectric-constant insulators, such as Teflon and PVC. Dispersion occurs when the dielectric becomes charged to a varying voltage level, which depends on the pattern in the bitstream, which of course is a function of the music being played. Sometimes the pattern in the music puts a large charge into the dielectric insulation. Other music maintains a low charge in the dielectric insulation. When the bit stream transitions, the latent charge in the dielectric can cause the signal edge to move or transition slightly slower or faster, depending on the amount of latent charge. This is what causes jitter. The Bitmeister stores extremely low levels of latent charge, so the signal transitions do not shift depending on the data pattern. Jitter is minimized with Bitmeister.

The Bitmeister S/PDIF has an amazing effect on music. If there is any haziness or lack of separation in the stereo image, the Bitmeister will clean this up. Bongos sound like bongos. Cymbals sound like cymbals. If you could not make-out the individual back-up singers on your favorite disk, you can now, in fact you can understand the lyrics they are singing as well. It is like a microscope that needs focusing and the Bitmeister does the fine focus for you. The Bitmeister truly transforms music into ear candy.

Bitmeister S/PDIF Specifications

The following nominal specifications are provided for comparison purposes. They are not guaranteed and excursions in any parameter may take place due to manufacturing and material variation, however every effort is made to prevent any such excursions. Empirical Audio® reserves the right to modify any of the specified parameters without notice.

# Parameter Value Frequency
      DC 100KHz
1 Shunt Capacitance per foot+     18pF
2 Shunt Capacitance per meter+     59pF
3 Series Inductance per foot+     0.15µH
4 Series Inductance per meter+     0.5µH
5 Resistance per foot   29mW  
6 Resistance per meter   94mW  
7 Max. Cable Diameter .4"    
8 Characteristic Impedance++ 75W    
9 Pull Strength 30lbs    
10 Min. Bend Radius (inside measurement) 1.5"    
11 Min. RCA Jack Spacing 11/16"OC    
12 Min. Clearance Required Behind Component 3.5"    

+Measured with an hp/Agilent 4263B LCR meter

++Measured with Tektronix 11801B TDR

Bitmeister™ Digital AES/EBU Interconnects

Bitmeister AES/EBU digital is our new differential digital reference. The Bitmeister AES/EBU connects your CD or DVD transport to your D/A converter or Surround-Sound processor using XLR connectors. The Bitmeister AES/EBU uses a patented technology that allows the conductors to be 50% bare. Bare conductors cause less dispersion (smearing) in the digital signal than fully insulated conductors, reducing jitter in the digital signal. The Bitmeister AES/EBU has a 110 ohm characteristic impedance, to match the AES/EBU specification, which prevents reflections in the digital bit-stream. Pure 99.99% Perfect Crystal Silver conductors in a custom stranded configuration enhance high-frequency response by minimizing skin-effect and stranding effects. The Bitmeister AES/EBU is the lowest loss digital cable on the market, as evidenced by it's extemely low capacitance and inductance (see table below). Low loss prevents the cable from adding jitter to the digital signal.

Bitmeister AES/EBU digital interconnects are terminated with Neutrik gold-plated connectors. The internal structure provides 110 ohms characteristic impedance up to the connector pins. The interconnects are directional in that the overall shield is connected at the DAC end and must be connected in that direction to insure proper characteristic impedance. The DAC and Transport ends are marked at the connectors.

Differential Digital Interconnect Basics:
Single-Ended interconnects have a two-wire system as opposed to the Differential three wire system. In Single-Ended interconnects, the signal wire and the ground wire (or shield in the case of coaxial construction) form a complete circuit, so both conductors carry signal currents. The ground wire or shield also serves the purpose of bringing the potential of the two components to the same level.

Differential interconnects have three conductors, two for carrying signal currents and one for grounding the two chassis together. Current flows in the two signal conductors, but not in the ground conductor. One signal conductor carries a non-inverted signal and the other an inverted signal. Both + and - signals are used at the component input to resolve the signal by subtracting the two signals. The advantage of this subtraction is that any noise that is common and the same polarity on the + and - signals will be subtracted-out. This is know as “common-mode” noise rejection. Most 60 Hz hum is common-mode noise as well as some RF that might be picked-up. Because the signal is generated by subtracting the + and - signals, the arrival times of these two signals is also critical. If there is any time difference in their arrivals (skew), this will cause distortion in the subtracted signal. Bitmeister AES/EBU interconnects take special care to insure that the signals arrive at the same time and are treated identically during their transit time in the cable.

XLR connectors also have the advantage that there is a male and a female connector, so they cannot be plugged in wrong and the connectors themselves are mate-able allowing longer lengths to be built from shorter lengths. Bitmeister AES/EBU is not directional, but can only be used in one direction due to the male and female connectors.

Bitmeister S/PDIF Specifications

The following nominal specifications are provided for comparison purposes. They are not guaranteed and excursions in any parameter may take place due to manufacturing and material variation, however every effort is made to prevent any such excursions. Empirical Audio® reserves the right to modify any of the specified parameters without notice.

# Parameter Value Frequency
      DC 100KHz
1 Shunt Capacitance per foot+     9.8pF
2 Shunt Capacitance per meter+     32pF
3 Series Inductance per foot+     0.18µH
4 Series Inductance per meter+     0.6µH
5 Resistance per foot   29.6mW  
6 Resistance per meter   97mW  
7 Max. Cable Diameter .5"    
8 Characteristic Impedance++ 110W    
9 Pull Strength 30lbs    
10 Min. Bend Radius (inside measurement) 1.5"    
11 Min. Clearance Required Behind Component 3.5"    

+Measured with an hp/Agilent 4263B LCR meter

++Measured with Tektronix 11801B TDR

Warranty

Bitmeister interconnects are offered with a 30-day unconditional return policy. If the interconnects are not cosmetically damaged, electrically altered or abused, they can be returned for a full refund within 30 days of date of original shipment. Customer pays return shipping. Refunds will be mailed within 5 working days of product return.

Bitmeister interconnects are further warranted to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 3 years from the shipment date. If a failure is found in the product, the customer must first notify Empirical Audio by Email. The customer will be responsible for shipping the product back to Empirical Audio. Empirical Audio will replace or repair any defective product within the 3 year warranty period and reimburse reasonable shipping charges that the customer incurs. After evaluation of the returned product, if Empirical Audio determines that misuse, alteration or abuse did not cause the failure, the customer will receive a working cable (which may be the repaired unit). If misuse, alteration or abuse is indicated, the customer will have the option of a repair fee determined by Empirical Audio depending on the extent of the damage. Empirical Audio will not be responsible for failure of related equipment as a result of a cable shorting due to excessive stress, crushing or sharp bending. This warranty applies only to the original purchaser and is not transferrable.

Call Empirical Audio today to discuss your needs.
(541) 595-1001 - 10:00am to 6:00pm Pacific Time