Lynx Hilo Black Face A/D D/A Converter System with LT-TB Thunderbolt Option Card
High quality Reference A/D D/A Converter System
The Lynx Hilo Black Face Reference A/D D/A Converter System is a transparent, high quality
converter with a unique LCD screen that handles routing, control, and even serves up VU style metering on demand! With ADAT, AES, and S/PDIF inputs, the Hilo (pronounced HE-low) provides two channels of mastering quality analog to digital conversion, and up to eight channels of digital to analog conversion.
The Hilo also features an independent headphone amplifier with a dedicated D/A converter. Flexible signal routing allows the headphones to be fed directly from any input source.
Lynx Hilo A/D-D/A Converter:
Hilo completely redefines and evolves the category of the two channel converter. Of utmost importance is the audio signal quality. The completely new design of the analog stages and converter topology for Hilo break new ground in terms of lowering distortion and noise while maintaining transparency for A/D and D/A conversion. Beyond that, Hilo offers extensive I/O capabilities and utilizes the latest FPGA technology with vast resources for control, routing, and signal processing capabilities. Also in development are diagnostic and analysis tools for Hilo. The LCD screen is a natural interface for these functions. With the pristine, open, transparent audio quality for which Lynx is known, Hilo (pronounced HE-low) provides two channels of mastering quality analog to digital conversion, up to eight channels of digital to analog conversion, a secondary monitor output, and a world class independent headphone amplifier in a compact half-rack size. A first for the two-channel pro converter market, Hilo’s innovative 480 x 272 touchscreen provides a flexible and intuitive interface that can adapt to a particular application and be easily upgraded with enhancements and new features. Initial front panel controls support extensive signal routing and mixing, sample rate selection, clock source options, levels, metering and diagnostic features. The digital or analog inputs can be routed to three separate outputs, Line Output (with 8 trim settings), Monitor Output, and Headphone Output. The Monitor and Headphone Outputs have volume controls, accessible via faders on the touchscreen or the single knob on the front (offering control in ½ dB increments). Another innovation, the Headphone section has its own dedicated D/A converter. This supports the creation of 32-channel headphone mixes independent of the main and monitor outputs, as well as providing specifications that rival those of dedicated headphone amps costing $1500 and more.
The digital section offers a wide range of inputs. AES/EBU inputs and outputs have transformer isolated balanced XLR connectors. SPDIF input and output are available via transformer-coupled coax or optical (TOSLINK) connections. The Optical ports can also be used for up to eight ADAT channels. The ADAT input and output channels are completely independent from the AES/EBU or S/PDIF coax channels. The Lynx LT-USB LSlot accessory is also included, for computer connectivity. Lynx’s low jitter SynchroLock word clock is also included, with Word Clock in and out connections available.
In total, Hilo has 12 total inputs, 16 total outputs plus 32 channels possible via its LSlot port. The unit’s FPGA powers its internal 32 channel mixer, which allows Hilo to offer the most versatile I/O and routing in the two channel converter genre. This is just the beginning of the innovation.
In contrast to the concentrated and intricate back panel, Hilo’s front panel is elegant in its simplicity. It has a power switch, headphone jack, multipurpose control and a 480 x 272 pixel high resolution LCD touchscreen. This high-resolution screen does a lot more than simply replace the buttons on the front panel of most other converters. Of course it handles the basic settings and routing functions, clocking and level settings.
A second meter screen shows just two larger bar-graph style stereo bar meters. Any input or output set can be assigned to each meter. In addition to bar-graph meters common on most converters, Hilo’s touchscreen is able to show more traditional metering types, such as old style VU meters. Also in development are diagnostic screens, such as real time analyzer, phase meter and loudness meter. As with all other Lynx products, Hilo is FPGA based, meaning new features, capabilities and graphics can be added at any time with a simple download.
Lynx LT-TB Thunderbolt Option Card
Lynx Studio Technology announces the Lynx LT-TB Thunderbolt LSlot interface for its Aurora and Hilo converters. The LT-TB is a two-port Thunderbolt expansion card that supports daisy-chaining Aurora and Hilo converters and any other certified Thunderbolt device on both Apple and Windows computers. The LT-TB and accompanying Aurora and Hilo models are the first Thunderbolt audio devices certified for Windows as well as Mac.
The LT-TB LSlot card can be installed into any existing Hilo or Aurora with an easy and free firmware update. In addition, Lynx is making Thunderbolt equipped Aurora and Hilo models available at the same time. These models are:
- Hilo-TB in Black and Silver
- Aurora 16-TB
- Aurora 16-VTTB (variable trim model)
- Aurora 8-TB
The LT-TB, in development for over a year, uses Intel’s Cactus Ridge second-generation Thunderbolt controller. This device allows for a more robust design electrically. Similar to other Lynx products, LT-TB incorporates an FPGA for audio mixing and control functions that can be easily updated in the field.
Months of in-house testing along with support from Apple and Intel assure that LT-TB works well with any other certified Thunderbolt product on the market.
Whereas some earlier Thunderbolt equipped converters are limited to two units and 32 analog channels, the LT-TB can be used in a chain of up to 6 Aurora converters for up to 96 analog channels, plus 96 digital channels on one Thunderbolt port. So theoretically, the upcoming 6 port Mac Pro could deliver up to 1,152 channels.
The Thunderbolt protocol allows up to six devices and one display to be connected to the computer on a single Thunderbolt port. So in addition to Lynx converters, you can have external drives, displays, expansion chassis and so on. The LT-TB has two Thunderbolt ports, which allows this daisy chaining of devices.
One of the other nice features of the LT-TB and other Thunderbolt devices is the ability to plug, unplug and hot-plug them. So you can easily bring in an additional Aurora or Hilo or other Thunderbolt device without needing to reinstall drivers or reset anything. It’s all automatic.
According to Intel, the developer of Thunderbolt, “Thunderbolt delivers unparalleled performance, flexibility and simplicity to personal computing.” said Jason Ziller, Intel’s director of Thunderbolt Marketing, “Products like the Lynx LT-TB LSlot interface help highlight what Thunderbolt makes possible.”
Thunderbolt technology is the fastest connection to your PC at 10Gbs – in each direction, and at the same time. This is twice the speed of USB 3.0. Thunderbolt provides flexibility and simplicity by connecting up to six data and display devices in a daisy-chain.
The Lynx LT-TB, Hilo-TB (silver or Black), Aurora-8 TB, Aurora 16-TB, Aurora 16-VTTB are available starting November 2013.
Crucial for mastering and critical listening, Hilo offers world class, verifiable specifications. Actual measurements of a preproduction model show:
LINE IN A/D PERFORMANCE
LINE OUT D/A PERFORMANCE
- THD+N -114dB @1kHz, -1dBFS, 20kHz filter
- Dynamic Range 121 dB, A-weighted, -60dBFS signal method
- Frequency Resp. ± 0.01 dB, 20 – 20kHz
- Crosstalk -140 dB maximum @ 1kHz, -1dBFS signal
- THD+N -109dB @1kHz, -1dBFS, 20kHz filter
- Dynamic Range 121 dB, A- weighted, -60dBFS signal method
- Frequency Resp. ± 0.02 dB, 20 – 20kHz
- Crosstalk -135 dB maximum @ 1kHz, -1dBFS signal
Hilo can be powered by standard 110-230v AC power or remotely with 9-18 volts DC, allowing the use of standard video battery packs or even auto cigarette lighter connections. Hilo measures 8.50 x 3.25 x 10.00 inches, weighs 6.75 pounds and will be available with a silver or black front panel/knob option.
It is impossible to compare Hilo to other two channel AD and DA converters. In fact it is a unique product that is, at first, a little difficult to get your head around. Basically, Hilo replaces three different, critical components:
#1 Hilo is an analog to digital converter
#2 It is also a digital to analog converter. With most companies, these are two separate units.
#3 It is an independent headphone amplifier. The headphone section has its own, dedicated D/A converter. This provides two key benefits. First this allows Hilo to offer a headphone output with exceptional clarity and noise specifications. Second, due to Hilo’s internal 32 channel mixer, any input set can be routed to the headphone stereo output. This means that a mix that is entirely different from the analog outputs and monitors can be applied to the headphones.
- Hilo is a 3 in one unit – AD converter, DA converter and Headphone with its own dedicated D/A converter.
- There are three unique sets of analog outputs: main analog output, monitor output (with volume) and headphone output (with volume)
- The flexible digital I/O section offers the choice of AES/EBU, SPDIF by coax or TOSLINK optical, or ADAT formats
- The innovative design of the analog stage and converter topology allow ultra low noise and distortion specifications
- A 480 x 272 pixel LCD touch screen for operation and monitoring
- A 32 channel internal mixer in the updatable FPGA
- 12 total inputs, 16 total outputs plus 32 channels possible via LSlot.
- AC powered with Battery operation available
- Open ended software for future measurement, metering, diagnostic and personalization features using the touch screen LCD.