Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

8821783

Collapse
X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #61
    Having checked out the software and the D/A, I figured it was time to check out the D/A conversion. However, one thing I've noticed is that setting the Aurora 8 up for different tests seems "against the grain" of what it really wants to do, which is sit in a rack, have its appropriate cables connected, and sit there all day to do what it does best.

    So, let me describe the test procedure first. I like using different types of material, as different material spotlights different strengths and weaknesses of the conversion process.

    My reference A/D is the one in my Panasonic DA7 mixer, which as explained previously, is somewhat overachieving at this price point because it appropriates technology developed for a far more expensive console. Still, the converters are older 24-bit technology, so I was expecting to have some kind of meaningful difference compared to what I would get from the Lynx.

    I devised three tests. The first one was creating a mono guitar, drum machine, and narration mix in the DigiTech GNX4 recorder. I split one audio out into the DA7, and the other into a Lynx analog input. A Lynx digital output fed the DA7's digital in, bypassing the DA7's conversion process. This type of signal source is good for checking out pure bass range and to see how the converters react to any aliasing or funkiness that might be created by a relatively low-cost, do-all digital device.

    The next test involved two recordings. The first was Astor Piazzolla's "Love Tanguedia." For those not familiar with Astor Piazzolla, he was an Argentinian who pretty much invented the whole "nuevo tango" movement, which added jazz and classical influences to traditional tango. Aside from giving me something to listen to that I like, the mix of violin, bandoneon, double bass, electric guitar, and piano provided a rich, warm group of signal sources.

    The second recording was Angelique Kidjo's Oyaya!, which is Afropop and has plenty of percussion and vocals to run the high frequencies through the ringer. I wouldn't hesistate to recommend CDs from either artist, by the way.

    But I had one more task to do. I opened the test selections in Peak 5.2, mixed the stereo tracks to mono, then duplicated the mono track in both channels and burned a new CD. This way, I could be assured the same signal was going to both the DA7's analog in and the Lynx digital in. For playback, I took the balanced outputs from my Alesis Masterlink (the only CD player I have with balanced outs).

    At the DA7, I panned each of the test channels to center to avoid the effects of any possible differences between the two ADAM A7 speakers I use for monitoring (although I really can't hear any differences between the two), and enabled both channels. To have the same level difference, I temporarily inverted the phase of one of the channels and adjusted levels for nulling. However, this also required delaying the signal coming from the Lynx somewhat. I don't really understand why this should be so; I would think that it takes a finite amount of time to convert analog into digital, with the only real variable being sample rate. Yet it seems the Lynx converts audio faster than the DA7; or maybe there are other delays caused by going into an analog input instead of a digital input of which I'm not aware. Perhaps someone at Lynx could explain what's happening in my setup that makes the Lynx seem "speedier."

    Now that I was set up and ready to go, I could enable one channel or the other and do A-B comparisons.
    CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

    Subscribe, like, and share the links!

    Comment


    • #62
      My first surprise was that the low frequencies on the drum machine kick were far more present – not muffled, not deep, just more “there.” Also, the upper mids on the DA7 were a bit brighter; some might say “harsher,” but they didn’t sound bad to me. It seemed more like a little bit of a frequency response bump.

      The distorted guitar really didn’t sound much different on either one. After thinking about it for a bit, this didn’t seem unusual; it doesn’t have much bass, the cabinet emulation rolls off the treble, and there’s not a lot of dynamic range, either. So, it didn’t really need anything special to sound the way it wanted to sound. Ditto voice: No big difference. But the difference on the drums was quite pronounced, and I appreciated the extra low end because it seemed like an “honest” low end, not one that was hyped.
      CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

      Comment


      • #63
        Here you could definitely hear a little bit of that high-end harshness/peakiness with the DA7; the Lynx sounded smoother. Also, the low end fullness I picked up with the drum machine, while not as pronounced, was definitely there and an improvement. Now, bear in mind we’re not talking huge differences; but the differences were pronounced enough that even when switching randomly, I coulD pick out which was which.

        The other distinguishing characteristic, which I’m beginning to think is a “Lynx thing,” was that sense of three-dimensionality and depth to the mix. The Lynx almost sounded slightly louder; I at first thought I must have hit a slider accidentally or something but no, I check enabling both sources and again, they canceled. Huh? Well, here’s my theory: Being able to hear the mix with more depth gives the same kind of effect you’d normally get by turning up the volume a hair. Everything coming out of the Lynx was just sharper and more defined.
        CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

        Comment


        • #64
          The results were pretty much the same as: Better bass, smoother highs, more definition. But how it manifested itself changed somewhat. The definition brought out the ambience better, and the scrape of the bow on the violin and double bass had a round, but aggressive kind of “in your face” quality that really made you feel the fact that it was a live recording.

          Now, there’s the question of comparing to other A/D converters. And I suppose if I wanted to be really thorough, I should probably get 27 A/D converters in here, and see how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. But truthfully, I’m not an audio snob; I just care if 1) something sounds better than something else, and 2) its “character,” independent of any comparisons. In all my tests, A/D or D/A, the one thing that kept coming back to me is that the Lynx has a much higher-resolution sound than lesser converters. It’s as if each instrument in a mix was dusted off and polished a little bit. The result is a just plain more pleasant listening experience.
          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

          Comment


          • #65
            Even though there are more tests I could do, at this point I feel the basics have been covered. In answer to my original question – does spending more bucks get you a better sound? – the answer is yes, and you don’t have to be a golden ears kinda person to hear it. One of the more interesting things was that I was sitting here listening to the Piazzolla CD in the background, just for pleasure, and had this nagging feeling that maybe the Lynx wasn’t quite as good as thought. That’s when I looked over at the mixer and realized I had mistakenly left the “wrong” input enabled. So even when not doing a direct A-B test, I knew the sound of the Lynx well enough to recognize that wasn’t what I was hearing.

            But there’s another aspect to testing. Although cutting back and forth and doing an A-B test is a recognized way to do testing, the above incident brought forth something else: Quality sound is cumulative. Listening to the Lynx, even as background music, resulted in a more pleasant overall listening experience over time. If I was going to listen to music for hours on end, I’d much rather do it through a quality converter! Even if the differences aren’t huge, over time even a tiny bit of harshness, or a little bit of flatness, becomes wearing.

            It’s been a real ear-opener to be able to spend some time with some really high-class gear. Now, it’s your turn: Is there some other aspect you want me to investigate? I could go into the software mixer application in a little more depth I suppose, but really, it’s pretty straightforward…ins, out, meters, status, etc. So, before I wrap this review, let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to cover.
            CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

            Comment


            • #66
              To have the same level difference, I temporarily inverted the phase of one of the channels and adjusted levels for nulling. However, this also required delaying the signal coming from the Lynx somewhat. I don't really understand why this should be so; I would think that it takes a finite amount of time to convert analog into digital, with the only real variable being sample rate. Yet it seems the Lynx converts audio faster than the DA7; or maybe there are other delays caused by going into an analog input instead of a digital input of which I'm not aware. Perhaps someone at Lynx could explain what's happening in my setup that makes the Lynx seem "speedier."


              Conversion speed definitely varies, and is the sum of the intrinisic delay of the converter chips used (which can vary by sample rate), and any housekeeping tasks like time in and out of an FPGA/DSP. The DA conversion on the Aurora is extremely speedy:
              9.4 samples @ 1X rates (44.1k, 48k)
              4.6 samples @ 2X rates (88.2k/96k)
              4.7 samples @ 4X rates (176.4k/192k)
              Plus - 3 samples for the FPGA at any rate.

              As a point of comparison, the LynxTWO DA stage (which uses previous generation chips) is between 12-38 samples. With the LT-HD, our Aurora expansion card for users of ProTools|HD, we had to add buffers to slow it (way) down so that the delay compensation within ProTools was accurate. So the Aurora is very fast compared to most converters on the market.

              Paul Erlandson
              Lynx Studio Technology
              Director of Product Support

              Comment


              • #67
                Thank you Craig for your in-depth review and for the time taken.

                I for one have been following this review for several weeks, and it has helped me in the ever-evolving quest for new converters.

                All the best,

                Comment


                • #68
                  Glad to hear it! This has actually been a rather difficult product to review, because a lot of what I've said is subjective...terms like "more defined" aren't the same as, say, a frequency response measurement. And, there's no way that I can demonstrate the differences with an MP3 example file. Just the act of recording what I'm hearing into something else is problematic.

                  What I can say for sure is that the Lynx sounds just plain wonderful. Whether it's "0.01 audiophile units" better or worse than other high end converters is beyond the scope of this review, and frankly, I don't know how relevant that is because if you get ten engineeers in a room with impeccable credentials, they'll still disagree about audio But it's clearly better than even "upper middle class" converters.

                  I did find it interesting that it sounded obviously different and more "hi-fi" compared to, say, the converters in the DA7 but I was equally surprised that the DA7 converters held their own as well as they did. I guess Panasonic was telling me the truth that their converters really were hot stuff at the time.

                  But ultimately, the most surprising element of the whole review -- one that I did not expect -- was the effect of listening to the converters in the Lynx over time compared to other converters. There is no doubt in my mind that the amount of listener fatigue -- an even harder to quantify concept than "transparent sound" -- was far less with the Lynx than anything else in my studio. I could really see some rich audiophile buying a Lynx just to listen to CDs, because they really do sound that much better going through good converters.

                  I'd also like to thank the people at Lynx for being so accommodating and available during the course of this review. This is a good group of people IMHO, and and maybe that has something to do with the quality of the unit.
                  CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                  Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Thanks for the extra info Craig. Much appreciated!

                    I know it's been a few weeks but did you manage to get a chance to compare the Lynx Aurora with the other products in the Lynx line. I'd be really interested to know if there is a noticeable difference between say the Lynx Two and the Aurora, both in the A/D stage and the D/A stage?

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Thanks for the extra info Craig. Much appreciated!

                      I know it's been a few weeks but did you manage to get a chance to compare the Lynx Aurora with the other products in the Lynx line. I'd be really interested to know if there is a noticeable difference between say the Lynx Two and the Aurora, both in the A/D stage and the D/A stage?


                      I do not have any other Lynx gear here for comparison. But I did review their PCI quite some time ago and was floored at how quiet is was compared to the competition at the time.

                      My basic take is that Lynx designs to a certain level of performance and then figures out the price, and pretty much you get what you pay for, if not more.

                      Anyway, I'm back from the Frankfurt Messe and doing the Pro Reviews again...I think this one is pretty much wrapped up, but if there are any remaining questions, let me know! The unit is still set up for testing.
                      CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        I would have loved for you to hear this unit with The Apogee Big Ben external clock. Many good ears have said that it makes a world of difference and some even choose the Aurora/Big Ben combo (blindly) over the top end apogee setup.


                        What would be cool is a converter/clock shoot out with the addition of downloadable wave files for people to hear.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          I wonder if they would have chosen the Aurora by itself over the Apogee by itself...the fact that you mentioned it was a blind test is indeed interesting, there's a distinct lack of "scientific method" testing going on in this industry!

                          Did you download the MP3s earlier in the thread where Lynx's engineers talk about clocking? Interesting stuff.
                          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Well, I'm boxing up the hardware to send it back home to Lynx, and I must say, I'm sorry to see it go...my Mac never sounded so good . Seriously, though, my overall conclusion is that this is a very "pro" setup and I can't imagine that anyone would be disappointed or feel it doesn't provide value for money. It sounds great, is relatively easy to hook up, and the mixer applet software - while a bit cryptic at first, because it gives you so many options - it totally solid.

                            When I started this review, the question in my mind was whether an "upper class" device like the Lynx was obviously superior in terms of sonics to lower-priced converters. The answer is definitely yes. Furthermore, Lynx provided excellent support. Granted, they knew they were dealing with a very public platform, but the experience of other users I've talked to parallels mine...Lynx is a responsive company.

                            So the bottom line is if you have the money, this gets a thumbs up in terms of sonic purity. Of course, it doesn't have some of the bells and whistles of more mainstream gear (e.g., MIDI I/O, onboard effects, built-in mic pres, that sort of thing) but that's not the point...it's all about conversion, and it does that job really, really well. It was a pleasure to work with the Aurora.
                            CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              I have a Lynx Aurora 16 and it is so good - it's difficult to tell it against my Rosetta 800. They now co-exist as AD/DA for my PT HD system. Clocked by a Big Ben. The Aurora 16 is fantastic bang for the buck.
                              Sound Weavers Recording Studio
                              Makati Manila Philippines

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Craig...Thank You for all of the great info!

                                You started to mention about clocking with outboard converters, whether ir not it was important to clock them.....did I miss it somewhere?

                                I 'm currently using a Apogee Rosetta 200 with the Focusrite Liquid Channel going into the computer via a RME Hammerfall DSP Multiface II with the Breakout box.

                                Is it absolutly necessary to use a Big Ben to clock these units?

                                Thank You so much.

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X