Dan Worth checks out the $399 Remedy “digital reclocker” from Wyred4Sound.

Remedy from Wyred4Sound is a re-clocking unit which takes the digital signal from any piece of equipment that has an SPDIF coaxial or optical output. Utilising the Femto clock the unit is powered by a 9v switch mode power supply (SMPS) which I would strongly recommend ditching and replacing it with a good linear supply to reduce the nasties injected into the signal path and back into the mains.ZYRED5

The idea behind the unit is to give the end user the ability to add a new clocking system to standard digital sources such as streamers, Apple TV’s, computers and TV boxes etc to lower the jitter which the DAC receives, making for a more stable signal and more musical performance.

There are two inputs on Remedy, firstly a coaxial RCA and secondly an optical. A switch on one side allows for choice of input. On the opposite side Remedy has a RCA output as well as BNC and also an optical. You will need to double up on cabling as this is an in-line product.

The casework on Remedy is very nice indeed, a good solid metal powder coated enclosure with machined logo on the roof, all sockets are of high quality and the overall finish is very smart.

THE SOUND

I had the perfect units ready to be ‘Remedied’ – an Apple TV2 running the latest release of Kodi playing my NAS files and various internal music repositories, a Pro-Ject Streambox DS Net with NAS and Spotify files and a Virgin Media TiVO television receiver box which is connected to a Bose system in the bedroom and also running the Spotify App.

First up was the Pro-Ject Streambox DS Net.

Now this unit can do with a helping hand and since adding a linear power supply to the DS it has become a far more interesting unit, but its sound can be a bit limp and weedy.

When adding the Remedy into the system it took no time at all to ascertain the effects. The entire soundstage matures and a fullness comes over the music. Bass is more tuneful and digs deeper into the depths reflecting a more natural rendition of instrument tone and timbre. The entire sound simply had more stability.ZYRED1

John Legend and Megan Trainer’s ‘Like I’m Gunna Lose You’ came through with a new found crispness and simplicity to the upper registers allowing for a slightly more effortless listen and most notably timing errors seem to have decreased and a graininess (which I hadn’t really significantly noticed before until implementing Remedy) had vanished. The sound was more accurate and musical, allowing for the duos vocals to really shine.

Soundstage throughout my listening tests and various music genres was nothing short of impressive. The width, height and depth, along with three dimensionality was substantially improved. Instruments and vocalists both grew in size and shape, with more air around them, free floating in a noticeably darker background allowing for smaller details and micro dynamics to become more prominent.

My overall impressions here were that the sound was less strangled and freer… more engaging, with a better detail extraction and musical appeal.

The Apple TV2 is a device which is used everyday without fail in my home. I have a good range of old classic gangster movies which I love and old classic English series such as Only Fools and Horses. Along with the direct NAS streaming of my music libraries the system I have in this room covers all of my needs and wants.

I currently use little Fiio DACs, one from the ATV2 and one from the TiVo. As my TV has a few USB’s what I do is power the DACs from the TV rather than the wall so that when I turn the TV on or off the DACs respond accordingly.

Adding Remedy to the ATV2 gave a new lease of life to watching films through the Bose system. Dynamics were more intense and speech was clearly better defined. Dependant on what I’m watching and where and how it’s streamed overall quality does really vary, but with the Remedy in place the sound was considerably more active and lively, pitches and tones were more energetically portrayed and an increased sense of realism was reached.

The same was apparent in music playback through the ATV2. The Acoustimass module for the system lives in a sea grass trunk with the cables routed inside skirting and with the lids on this keeps everything neat and tidy. I’ve never had any complaints about the bass and the levels are set so that the lower frequencies just come in enough to fill out the sound, so the unit’s location is never pin pointed.

With the W4S Remedy aiding the flow of digital signals bass notes had a bit more punch to their upper frequencies, the lower mids were cleaner and better defined… which is an area where the Bose will leave a bit of a void. The brand isn’t much loved by the average Hifi enthusiast, but in its location and use it’s fantastic and exactly what I wanted for my bedroom.

Kick drums had that slap they very well needed, better rhythm was achieved and the areas of the sound I had grown to ignore were no longer ignorable. I would have to get used to this a little if Rememdy was to remain in this system, sometimes when something is good we can all appreciate it and just listen, but when it gets past good we naturally begin to criticise it more and more.

My conclusions in this matter were that yes Remedy was giving a better performance all round, movies especially were far more interesting. Music though had good and bad points –  the good was that the sound became more cohesive, the bad was that if I was using this system purely for music the Remedy highlighted its flaws and better it was than without Remedy… but it just wanted me to want more, but then that’s the audiophile brain we all have unfortunately.

I’ll touch on the TiVO box for completeness as this runs through the same system in the same room. My findings were very much like the ATV2. What did stand out though is how well recorded adverts are. There is an awful lot of spatial awareness, good clean speech and music embedded in adverts was coming over in excellent form.

The quality and levels of recorded material are no doubt specified and we all know adverts are louder in volume than the main event, in an attempt to try and force some revolutionary toothpaste down our throats. This aside, on advertisements and some Dolby digital sound recordings I was absolutely take by the Remedied sound. Overall sound of course was heightened with a more solid stable and clearer nature, but 1080p and Dolby was excellent. If I still had a home cinema I would have loved to try Remedy between Bluray and receiver, or TiVO and a high-end multi speaker system.WYRED2

Bear in mind with Remedy its performance is still relative to the device in hand. It will revive and upgrade units it’s paired with, but if the unit in question is shockingly poor in the first place it won’t give Remedy much to work with and the effects will not be as prominent as an item with an already good starting point.

With the three units I tested Remedy with I was extremely pleased with the results, although if I wanted one for each of these the overall cost would outweigh the implementation. I would suggest that if you are listening through a moderately priced streamer as a main source (such as the Pro-Ject or even the ATV for instance) Remedy is an outstanding add-on, but unless the cost is not an issue I wouldn’t be rushing out to get one for the TiVO box or any item that wasn’t listened to in a crucial way.

CONCLUSION

Many CD players and DACs have a BNC to permit World Clock control, allowing users to add a separate Master Clock for overall control. These items are usually very expensive and the means suits the price.

Remedy however is simply an in-line product which will fit neatly between any coax or optical output and any coax or optical input ie on the DAC or receiver. Adding the famous Femto clock to any unit within reason (not a four box DCS CD) will enhance the sound reproduction of movies, TV or music. The Remedy’s main characteristics are better clarity, timing and extension of a note. Ait affords a blacker background, allowing for smaller details to be heard and a more cohesive rhythmic sound. The Femto is not a detail extractor, think of it as controller which cleans up all the nasties and orders the 1’s and 0’s to fall back into an orderly line.

I was going to send the Remedy back to W4S but decided to buy it… it’s such a fantastic upgrade to an Apple TV I can actually listen to music through it now quite comfortably!

Build Quality – 8.4/10RECOMMENDED LOGO NEW
Sound Quality – 8.4/10
Value For Money – 8.2/10
Overall – 8.33/10

Pros:
Adds an uncoloured improvement to digital sources
Flexible connectivity
Solid and attractive build

Cons:
Would have liked to see all connections on the rear of a chassis

Dan Worth

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