Of course you can hear the difference, man. Anything you do will affect the end result, just as anything you use in the process of recording will have a positive or negative [subjectively, or course] effect on the finished product.
I guess I didn't phrase my question very well. Let me start by saying that I have a great deal of respect for your ears, Joel. You turned me onto the EH 12AY7 and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Whenever I read something like this I always wonder how the degree of difference in an A/B test will compare with the degree of difference between, say, mics and preamps. Nothing fancy, just an actual test between two sets of tracks, mixed down, one recorded with the normal clock and one with the Antelope. If you get the opportunity to do that it would be great to hear.
I upgrade my gear carefully and I'm always looking for the points in the chain that will achieve the highest leverage for improvement. I love the Listening Sessions site for that reason. When I first encountered that site I was astounded at the level of difference between preamps, for example. Whether one sounds better than another is subjective but they certainly don't all sound the same.
In this case, for someone who mixes in the box (like me) the Antelope would only affect the initial A/D conversion. The D/A conversion would be handled by the consumer's CD player. It would be really enlightening to hear a comparison of two sets of tracks recorded and mixed down, one with the Antelope, and one with the regular clock, to see what the actual audible difference would be.
I hear you. I am not sure how much of a difference it would make for you. You should really see about borrowing a better clock source just to try it out for yourself. Without knowing what else I did during the mix, I cant seem to figure out how the "a/b" type of stuff is ever any use to people. Like I would just mix the thing with the clock engaged, and then maix again without it engaged? that would be the only way, because long ago [when adats first came out] that just being the "victim of the technology" would not do. I have to be a part of the feedback loop that listens>decides>adjusts>listens>decides>adjusts for the entire mix. I would make different eq decisions across an entire mix based on clocked/not clocked. I would make different decisions in general, so just pulling the rug out from under a mix seems pretty stupid, and unflattering to any kind of subjective analysis of clocked or unclocked. I dont feel like pitting one method against another teaches us anything, really. Like the "neve VS api" type of threads that we see so often. WTF do they mean to anyone? Why would it matter to me? Like if I did a recall on my nice old neve of a mix i did on a SSL I should expect magical results just because people say the neve circuitry is nicer?
I feel like the idea of upgrading one's studio is a personal decision, left to the owner/operator/engineer because nobody can hear what you are hearing,or your vision for the sounds, until you make it a reality... this clock helps me make the vision I may have for a bunch of sounds a reality.
To me that is one of the crucial distinctions between "great sounding demo" and "album."
When someone asks me for "album" I have to be able to deliver that, and some percentage of this process relies on the quality of your infrastructure.
If you are achieving your vision with your current setup, you have a perfect studio.
I like to move forward, in the pursuit of great sounds.. much in the same spirit that lead to the invention of many of the formats we take for granted in the sense that when I can see a way to make it better [the sound of the things I am working on] I WILL. simple as that, if I have the budget, and something exists that i can try out and I find that it helps me get a better sounding record for whoever is hiring me to do so, I will do it. for sure. without a doubt. Recording is what I love, and I am not rich, but I can save, and get some good stuff.