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  • #16
    Thanks Paul! BTW your links to the pinouts reminds that I really should have mentioned that the Lynx web site is super-informative and surprisingly hype-free. It's a really good resource, and these days, I count a good manufacturer web site as a definite product "feature."
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    • #17
      Well it seems like I won't be able to test the AES16 with the Mac, because I just found out my dual G5 has PCI-X slots only! Couldn't they at least have included one standard PCI card slot? Grrr...

      So I guess I'll test it on Windows, which is a bit of an issue because all my slots are filled up in my main music computer. However, I do have a secondary music computer with open slots and it's no slouch, so I think I'm okay.

      Hey Bob or Paul -- I'm assuming there's no way the AES16 card will work in a Mac with PCI-X slots, right?
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      • #18

        Hey Bob or Paul -- I'm assuming there's no way the AES16 card will work in a Mac with PCI-X slots, right?


        Craig,
        The AES16 works beautifully in PCI-X slots, Mac or PC. It's a universal form factor and 3.3v tolerant. I've got three in PCI-X slots in a test machine and they work great. We have run into a very small number of PC server boards that will not tolerate 5v cards, but we can actually remedy that with a firmware variation if need be.

        PCI-X G5s all work great though.

        Now, if only it were so easy to adapt to PCIe

        Paul Erlandson
        Lynx Studio Technology
        Director of Product Support

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        • #19
          Great news! And now that I've finished up editing the NAMM videos for Harmony Central (71 in 10 days -- I think that may be a record), I'll be able to step up the pace of the Pro Reviews.
          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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          • #20
            Okay, I screwed up my courage, took my dual G5 Mac apart, and installed the AES16 board as well as the LS-ADAT board so the Lynx can "talk" with things like the Creamware interface in my Windows computer and my Panasonic DA7 mixer. Funny, I take PCs apart and put them back together all the time, but when it comes to opening up a Mac, I get a bit nervous around the edges...

            Of course, in the process I was reminded about how great the Mac's industrial design is It's so easy to take apart! Anyway, I just turned it on and it booted up, so now it's time to pop in the CD and see what happens next.

            Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the AES16 board. The LS-ADAT is a simple daughterboard that connects to the AES16 board with a ribbon cable.
            CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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            • #21
              The first step is a firmware update for the AES16, as it ships with Windows firmware. You can update to OS9 or OSX. It's all very automated: You expand the firmware update, double-click, and wait while the progress bar works its inexorable path from left to right. This is one of those deals where if the power goes away while updating you're screwed, but I have both my Mac and Windows machines on uninterruptible power supplies....no worries.

              It's about halfway through...think I'll check the Lynx site to see if there are any updates I should know about before proceeding. Remember Anderton's Law of Music Software: Never use anything that involves software until you check the manufacturer's web site for updates and known issues.
              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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              • #22
                Hey, it updated successfully! Cool. You now have to turn the computer off, and turn it back on again.

                After digging around on the Lynx site, I found there is indeed a driver update for OSX and another firmware update (there's also an update for the Aurora, but first things first).

                As I'm one of those weird people who actually reads the instructions before doing something (imagine that!), I found out that you need to uninstall any existing driver before installing the new one. As the process for doing that on a Mac is nowhere near as friendly as doing it on Windows (you need to use a third party deinstaller for the Mac; Windows just has an "add/remove programs" option), I was just as glad I hadn't yet installed the driver that came on the installation CD.

                As to the firmware update, it won't work with older drivers, you need to have the new driver installed. So the path seems clear: Install the update driver, then update the firmware again. Props to Lynx for putting all the necessary stuff on the web site, in an easy to find way.

                Here we go...
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                • #23
                  I really must say Lynx makes the process easy...the drivers installed just fine, and the instructions couldn't be clearer. I restarted, but it seems to take longer to boot up than it did before...maybe that's just a one time thing as it massages the new software. I'll see on subsequent reboots.

                  Okay, now for the updated drivers...here we go again. Yup, "update successful." Time to turn the computer off and turn it on again.
                  CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                  • #24
                    Well I've done a few reboots, and it's back to being lightning fast. Must have been a one-time thing.
                    CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                    • #25
                      All right! Everything worked and I didn't even need to call tech support.

                      The mixer application that now sits comfortably in my Mac has four pages: Adapter, Record/Play, Output, and LS-ADAT (because the LS-ADAT board is installed). I haven't connected the Aurora yet so the meters aren't moving or anything, but I've attached pictures of the four pages so you can see the "lay of the land."
                      CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                      • #26
                        And that's it for today. I'm trying to limit myself to an hour or two a day on a Pro Review so I don't end up where days go by without any posts, then I post a zillion messages. Besides, I like to leave things with a cliffhanger -- will the Aurora work with the AES16? Tune in tomorrow!

                        I also need to go offline for a bit and edit the videos I did with some of the Lynx personnel at NAMM, they provided some interesting insights about how all this stuff works. I'll post them either as MP3s or full videos, depending on how big they end up being.
                        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                        • #27
                          Hi Craig,
                          I just wanted to chime in quickly about the OSX firmware issue. The current OSX driver (build 42) does NOT require Mac firmware on the card. To put it in "nerd-speak", it supports little endian (Windows) and big endian (Mac) firmware. So someone purchasing a new card will not need to flash the firmware before installing the driver on OSX (although Craig's Rule is still worthwhile - always check the Lynx download page for recently updated drivers and firmware before the initial installation). The new and future OSX firmware updaters will program the card with the same firmware as the Windows updaters.

                          Another quick point, sometimes we need new firmware for the purpose of compatibility with recent runs of EEPROM chips. To an existing user, these types of firmware updates would not add any performance benefit or utility to the card. It's a good policy to check the Firmware Release Notes on the site to decide if a particular firmware update is worth pursuing.

                          Cheers-

                          Paul Erlandson
                          Lynx Studio Technology
                          Director of Product Support

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                          • #28
                            Well...okay...I've been wrapping my head around how to actually test this in a meaningful way. So this part isn't real time writing like the previous section, but the result of my messing around with the Aurora/AES16 for the past several hours.

                            As with any new piece of complex gear (and despite being "just an A/D and D/A converter" it is complex), it's best to start small and build up from there. So, I hooked up the digital cable from the Aurora to the AES16, booted up the Mac, and opened a file in Peak (there is a test tone sample included with the mixer for doing a check, but I wanted to go for the gusto right off the bat -- no test tones for me!). I connected the analog outs of the Lynx to the ins of my DA7 mixer so I could make sure I was getting signal, and making the mixer work right.

                            As is my usual protocol, I just left everything in the default positions. Hey, why not? The Aurora was set to internal clock and all seemed well. Setup in Peak was also a piece of cake: Set the sound out to Core Audio, and the hardware to AES16. So far, so good.

                            I clicked on play in Peak, went to the output page, selected Play 1 Left and Play 1 Right (it was a stereo file, so that seemed to make sense, eh?), and sure enough -- the meters started to wiggle. Still no sound, but I figured at least it was clear the AES16 was accepting signal, so it was time to turn my attention to the Aurora.

                            There are two prominent front panel switches on the Aurora, one that's To Analog Out, and the other marked To Digital Out. Okay, simple enough: I set To Analog Out to the AES In position (after all, the cable that goes to the AES16 card hooks into the AES connector, and was rewarded with sound.

                            So despite what was to me a fairly high intimidation factor at first, I was able to get sound happening pretty expeditiously. Good. Now for some testing.
                            CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                            • #29
                              I had three cables supplied with the review unit: One with 8 XLR audio ins, one with 8 XLR audio outs, and the digital cable that goes from the Aurora to the AES16 card. Well, I should have asked for the one that goes from the Aurora's digital port to AES/EBU digital, as my first ideal was to send the digital out from an old DAT deck playing mono material into the Aurora, convert it, and send its output to my one ADAM A7 speaker. (As a side note, I just love these speakers; they're also great for testing gear, because they're brutally honest speakers.) Then I'd send an XLR audio out from the DAT deck to the other speaker. Switching between the two would then allow me to compare the Aurora D/A to the DAT's D/A, which I figured would be a "no contest" situation -- my DA-30 does not exactly have designer converters. But I figured it would at least establish a baseline of comparison.

                              However, I couldn't figure out any way to make this happen without the additional cable, so I thought I'd come up with some other quickie test. Moral of the story: If you can afford the Lynx, you can afford to get the extra cables just in case you need to do some unexpected interfacing!
                              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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                              • #30
                                I took the DAT out and fed it into two Aurora analog ins. One output went directly to a speaker; the other went into the input of my DA7 and out to the other speaker, thus adding an extra stage of A/D/A conversion. I expected there would be some degradation when going through the DA7, but when comparing the two, it was much more than I expected. The sound was muffled and nowhere near as defined.

                                So then I took the LS-ADAT ADAT out, and fed it into the DA7's ADAT in. This way, I was using the A/D of the Aurora in both cases, with the D/A of the Aurora going into one channel and the D/A of the DA7 providing the other channel. There was a definite difference, although it was nowhere near as dramatic as running through the DA7 A/D/A. The Lynx converters again sound more defined. This was particularly noticeable in the bass range, where the sound was much cleaner. To use a graphic analogy, it was less grainy and more distinct...like using ASA 100 film compared to ASA 400. Of course, I could definitely mix music on either one, but the Aurora was clearly and obviously ahead in terms of sound quality.
                                CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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