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Lynx Aurora 16 still the only serious choice ?
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Immersion
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#31
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand View Post
I know I'm interested in the Antelope Orion box. That company doesn't seem to screw around with conversion. So if they're audacious enough to put out a 32 channel A/D/A box for 3k I'm all ears.

There are other choices than the Lynx by the way, and they've pretty much been mentioned on this thread. But if I was in the OP's position I'd seriously consider giving some time to get an Orion in my hands. If that thing works like it's marketed to, it'll put quite a few companies on notice. Judging from the track record of Antelope, I see no reason to suspect it'll be anything less than exceptionally good, except for the fact that no other company has offered so much for so little in this area before (that I know of at least).
by just pure look the orion looks impressive, but I am not going to buy it just because of that. I wonder do they have a pcie card ? or do I have to buy a third party ADAT card like RME Raydat ? I want good latency and stable audio output, adat is faster then usb and more stable so I would prefer it.
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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The orion32 really seem to offer a lot more then the lynx for sure, but what I wonder is how the converters compare ??? that is the most important thing really.
But the drivers are as important too.

I plan to use the Phoenix audio DRS 8 pre amp which is regarded to be one of the best in the world. so of course I want good converters in the sound interface too.
The orion feels a lot more mordern compared to the lynx for sure.
#33
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Originally Posted by Immersion View Post
I am building a studio. For the upper high end Lynx aurora 16 is still on the only choice? Why I am asking is cause it is an old product with a quite high price tag. Hopefully the converters are worth it.
I own an Aurora 8 and its great but, If I was in the market for some multichannel conversion right now, I would take a stab @ Antelope Audio's Orion 32 & marry it to a Burl Audio B32 Vancouver. $5k but still cheaper than 2 Lynx Aurora 16s.
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Originally Posted by TheOxmyn View Post
I own an Aurora 8 and its great but, If I was in the market for some multichannel conversion right now, I would take a stab @ Antelope Audio's Orion 32 & marry it to a Burl Audio B32 Vancouver. $5k but still cheaper than 2 Lynx Aurora 16s.
seem like the Orion is dominating the thread so far. which make me further interested in this product.

The SSL Alphalink, I know that SSL have good converters, but they are not know for the best drivers ? mainly because of the Duende dissaster if any one remember before Duende did go native.
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Originally Posted by Immersion View Post
by just pure look the orion looks impressive, but I am not going to buy it just because of that. I wonder do they have a pcie card ? or do I have to buy a third party ADAT card like RME Raydat ? I want good latency and stable audio output, adat is faster then usb and more stable so I would prefer it.
ADAT and USB aren't comparable technologies. USB is a serial bus for transmitting data, ADAT lightpipe is a digital audio format.

what you're actually comparing is USB and PCIe audio interfaces (you can get USB interfaces with ADAT IO of course). In which case - PCIe interfaces have a greater bandwith yes, but the stability is down to the drivers and nothing to do with the connection method (unless your computer has a dubious USB buss). Latency is also a driver issue.

Don't forget that to do higher sample rates over ADAT you generally half the IO capacity. If that's important to you - it might be better to go for eg an AES compatible PCIe card and then go AES IO to your converters. Or go for an integrated system like Apogee or PT HD Native.
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Latency and driver stability are important areas that are often overlooked when assessing converters and how they interface with your Daw. The current move towards native processing power, linked to great external pres & analog outboard via dedicated converters makes choices in this area even more crucial.

Trying to capture too many functions in the one device is where many products fall apart. This makes upgrading any one component problematic in the future. Many interfaces try to do too much; they want to have great pres, good ADC & DAC, onboard DSP with flexible routing, and achieve this at low latency with solid drivers. Most simply cannot manage these functions equally well. If one element falls apart, or does not work the way you need it to, you have to throw away everything when you upgrade or move on. Not a great move!

I think RME are the gold standard in terms of driver stability, low latency and flexible dsp routing within a PCIe sound card format. I would suggest the RME Madi FX card attached to any of the newer Madi based converters. (RME, Antelope, DirectOut, Lynx Aurora etc). Madi suffers the same halving of channels as you double the sample rate as Adat, however 64 channels at 44 Khz at up to 2km (via optical Madi), in a daisy chain is an amazingly flexible setup. The ability to also send midi and control messages via Madi is also a bonus with some capable devices.

Attach any of these newer converters, built around modern low latency conversion chips to such a sound card and you have a rock-solid system that will serve you well into the future, without locking you into a proprietary dead end.

I suggest you look up the DawBench benchmark sites for the latest on the current state of the art. Vin, a local Melbourne daw builder, has set up this exceptional resource & website and has worked with a colleague to create a round-trip-latency measurement tool covering a wide range of interfaces. His benchmarks across a number of cross platform daws also make interesting reading. Real empirical data with no commercial agenda. A rare treat in the sea of gearslutz hyperbole. Well worth a visit.

Cheers, George.
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Yes, an Antelope Orion hooked up to an RME Madi FX card makes sense to me. Tidy setup too :-)
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30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban Studios View Post
Latency and driver stability are important areas that are often overlooked when assessing converters and how they interface with your Daw. The current move towards native processing power, linked to great external pres & analog outboard via dedicated converters makes choices in this area even more crucial.

Trying to capture too many functions in the one device is where many products fall apart. This makes upgrading any one component problematic in the future. Many interfaces try to do too much; they want to have great pres, good ADC & DAC, onboard DSP with flexible routing, and achieve this at low latency with solid drivers. Most simply cannot manage these functions equally well. If one element falls apart, or does not work the way you need it to, you have to throw away everything when you upgrade or move on. Not a great move!

I think RME are the gold standard in terms of driver stability, low latency and flexible dsp routing within a PCIe sound card format. I would suggest the RME Madi FX card attached to any of the newer Madi based converters. (RME, Antelope, DirectOut, Lynx Aurora etc). Madi suffers the same halving of channels as you double the sample rate as Adat, however 64 channels at 44 Khz at up to 2km (via optical Madi), in a daisy chain is an amazingly flexible setup. The ability to also send midi and control messages via Madi is also a bonus with some capable devices.

Attach any of these newer converters, built around modern low latency conversion chips to such a sound card and you have a rock-solid system that will serve you well into the future, without locking you into a proprietary dead end.

I suggest you look up the DawBench benchmark sites for the latest on the current state of the art. Vin, a local Melbourne daw builder, has set up this exceptional resource & website and has worked with a colleague to create a round-trip-latency measurement tool covering a wide range of interfaces. His benchmarks across a number of cross platform daws also make interesting reading. Real empirical data with no commercial agenda. A rare treat in the sea of gearslutz hyperbole. Well worth a visit.

Cheers, George.
don't confuse converters with interfaces - whilst an interface may well involve a converter, they don't have to, and standalone converters certainly don't have any issues with stability (and latency too is a much simpler affair) because they don't have any drivers.

I know YOU know the difference - but the above post would be confusing to a noob when you use the terms interchangeably.
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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For a Mac based setup, seems the the Apogee Symphony (with all the I/O options) is the clear winner, no matter what the considerations....

The SSL Alpha link with the Black Lion mod would be another consideration imo.
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Hi again. Yes that is a valid and worthwhile criticism. The difference between an audio interface and an audio converter should be made clear and kept in mind in these discussions.

Converters obviously take care of the process of analog-to-digital conversion and digital-to-analog conversion, hence the acronyms ADC & DAC respectively. This process converts an analog signal into digital audio, characterized by a specified bit depth (ie 24 bit) and sample rate (44.1 Khz).

An audio interface then takes this digital audio information and passes it in to and out of your computer/daw. Digital audio in its various formats (AES, Adat, Madi, Spdif), must not be confused with the packets of digital information that are manipulated within a computer. It is the job of an audio interface and its driver to pass on these packets of information, via whatever hardware protocol is employed, to the daw software.

Higher end interfaces employ a custom driver (Asio drivers for Windows and CoreAudio drivers for Macs). Consumer models are often what is known as class compliant, using the built-in generic drivers within an Operating System (generally based on the USB or Firewire protocols). These are not recommended in a professional setup.

The medium of digital information transfer to the computer also obviously has an effect on the speed and bandwidth available to your daw, by imposing a particular computational overhead and minimum turnaround time. Each protocol has its own limitations and advantages, often a function of the chip-set implemented on a computer motherboard. PCI, PCIe, USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt etc...

What is confusing is that most digital audio hardware manufacturers make both converters and interfaces. A converter can also be easily transformed into an audio interface, through the addition of an add-on card and drivers (eg the Lynx Aurora series can expand from a simple converter to an audio interface through the addition of various LSlot cards, using the USB or Firewire protocols). Other add-in cards (Adat, Madi) can simply expand the available formats of digital audio transmission, thus helping to interface with other digital audio equipment.

A confusing jumble of acronyms, to be sure! Sorry for adding to the confusion.

Cheers, George.

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30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban Studios View Post
The difference between an audio interface and an audio converter should be made clear and kept in mind in these discussions.
Which is another reason why the Apogee Symphony is so strong: converters + interface (add to that quality of the conversion and low price).

The only downside imo is the mac only thing. Lots of video folks have jumped on the pc bandwagon, and the same may happen in audio...
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Originally Posted by thesoundpost View Post
Yes, an Antelope Orion hooked up to an RME Madi FX card makes sense to me. Tidy setup too :-)
yeah it seem like a real powerful combo. The madi FX seem to be a monster from the little I have seen of it, very powerful card.
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30th December 2012
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Well the Antelope unit is just shipping now to a few guys so it would be smart to not be in a hurry to buy something and wait for the real user info to get posted. They make some interesting claims about their USB performance that no other units are getting (USB interfaces usually choke after 16 channels) so that will be real interesting to hear about. Given their rep on the forums here has described their converter as sounding musical, that marketspeak typically means "colored" but lets wait for the real users to comment on that.

As for the RME interface you are interested in, the Raydat their ADAT based PCIe slot card is basically the same thing as their PCI slot 9652, just with a bridge chip to run in a PCIe slot and an additional 8 channels I/O. You can put two Raydats in a computer for a total of 64 channels I/O but you can put three 9652's in a computer for 72 channels I/O (yes you can find new motherboards runing the latest CPU's (Ivybridge) with 3 PCI slots). Get the newer version of the 9652 card though, the one with 2 midi I/O). You can find a used RME 9652 for $300.

If going with the RME ADAT interface a good converter to team with it is the 24 channel I/O Alesis HD24XR (used $1200). Plenty of threads on it here to search and Jim Williams mods them to in his words better than Radar but many think the their stock converter is fine. You can use the HD24XR just for it's converters and you get a remote recorder for free.

Remember picking a converter/interface is based on answering the questions I posted earlier and seeing what fits the answers instead of picking a converter/interface and building everything else around it's particular limitations.
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamwerks View Post
Which is another reason why the Apogee Symphony is so strong: converters + interface (add to that quality of the conversion and low price). The only downside imo is the mac only thing. Lots of video folks have jumped on the pc bandwagon, and the same may happen in audio...
This all-in-one approach is exactly the reason I would avoid such a product. As I mentioned earlier, trying to capture too many functions inside the one device is problematic. If at any later stage you want to change/upgrade any one element or component (your computer platform/OS, your DAW, your mic pre-amps, your way of working with a DSP mixer for headphone mixes etc... then you are unfortunately at a dead end with this type of all-in-one product. This also doesn't take into account the problems that would arise if this box went down and required repair or replacement. Enforced down-time in a professional working environment is not fun. The Symphony unit also has a fan, which has caused noise issues for some users, especially as as you load up the chassis with more cards. This would be a deal-breaker for some. Not sure about the existence of the fans on other boxes, but it would be worth checking.

As mentioned, many people are moving away from Mac's to PC's, partly due to the greater value-for-money on the PC side, and others because PC's simply offer better performance for most native DAW software packages. (See the DawBench and ADK ProAudio websites for detailed and thorough empirical data).

I would recommend that anyone wanting to lay down any cash on a interface/converter set-up, to choose the best individual and discrete components based on their obvious and well recognized strengths.

Interface/sound-card requirements: On my list would be solid drivers, good support, low-latency, cross-platform ability, and some extra bells-and-whistles if possible. RME interface cards are renowned for their solid drivers, cross-platform compatibility, lowest native latencies, and come with the best DSP mixer going around (TotalMix) as well as an awesome free measurement/analysis tool (DigiCheck) built into the cards FPGA onboard chip.

Conversion with easy future expandability: You want an easily expandable digital audio format that is robust and can scale with you as your needs grow. Madi would be my format of choice. Lots of options have been suggested, (Lynx Aurora, Antelope Orion, DirectOut, RME, SSL MX series etc...). I think any of these would be great paired up with an RME Madi FX interface card.

Such a combination is very hard to beat for a much smaller financial outlay than others have mentioned and gives you greater options going forward. If you want to work on a PC or a Mac, no problem. If you want to work with ProTools, the SSL Delta-Link or Avid Madi interface boxes can be used to interface with your HD-TDM or the newer HD-Native or HDX cards. If you want a solid DSP mixer (including basic effects) precise measurement tools (level-meters, spectral-analysers, vector-scopes, ITU/EBU metering etc...) then the RME cards are a no-brainer.

Good luck in your quest, but think carefully about your priorities. The latest greatest all in-one super box may not be the answer. I always prefer buying discrete items with specialized functionality, which I select based on their proven strengths. This way, you will build a flexible and expandable system that will grow with you.

Cheers, George.
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30th December 2012
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Since I may be going PC, I've been looking also at the SSL MX (with a Black lion mod), but with that I'd need a monitor controller, and there's no digital connections for a Bricasti. The bundle (Madi 64 + MX 4x16) price though is quite low!

I'm hoping RME or Lynx will soon do a Symphony type thing, but cross platform.
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30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immersion View Post
seem like the Orion is dominating the thread so far. which make me further interested in this product.
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30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban Studios View Post
This all-in-one approach is exactly the reason I would avoid such a product. As I mentioned earlier, trying to capture too many functions inside the one device is problematic. If at any later stage you want to change/upgrade any one element or component (your computer platform/OS, your DAW, your mic pre-amps, your way of working with a DSP mixer for headphone mixes etc... then you are unfortunately at a dead end with this type of all-in-one product. This also doesn't take into account the problems that would arise if this box went down and required repair or replacement. Enforced down-time in a professional working environment is not fun. The Symphony unit also has a fan, which has caused noise issues for some users, especially as as you load up the chassis with more cards. This would be a deal-breaker for some. Not sure about the existence of the fans on other boxes, but it would be worth checking.
Actually the symphony system kind of ticks all the boxes - can be used as a standalone converter, has built in USB for 16io, but can be expanded to 32io when running either with an HD rig or with the Symphony PCIe card. you can choose to incorporate mic pres, or not - that's up to the purchaser. The fan isn't noticeable above the average studio aircon, although if you have a whisper quiet room it might be.

I agree with what you're saying in principle, but the Symphony is not a good example of this - it's a good example of how to work round something!

The thing is - if you're a home user, you probably want something all in one, for reasons of cost/compactness/portability etc. If you're a pro user, you're going to have separate mic pres anyway, so you're not even going to look at interface solutions with those sorts of features built in. If you're in a pro room and your rig goes down, you hire something to get you through the sessions. If you're a home user, you wait, and it's not so important.

There's obviously a middle ground (home user with pro commitments etc) but there's products and workarounds for that situation too. I'm just not sure who you're trying to educate here!
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1st January 2013
Old 1st January 2013
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Originally Posted by TheOxmyn View Post
there is a converter test where they test a certain competitive converters on the market, according to the test people where satisfied with the converters, but this test was not that big, I guess, more tests need to be done.

Also, it seem the are shipping a non complete product cause the drivers are not even done yet, still no answer at all regarding Latency.

Regaring usb and madi etc. Orion32 is not a traditional usb interface, cause this is the first interface in the world with its own usb chip, made only for audio, according to Antelope the performance difference is astronomical, so for people who are afraid of usb might look if this works better.

We will see how i turn out, for me I mostly concerned about the latency since I use a lot of midi stuff...if the latency sucks over usb I hope it can perform better through madi or some kind of solution that makes it better.
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1st January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immersion View Post
Regaring usb and madi etc. Orion32 is not a traditional usb interface, cause this is the first interface in the world with its own usb chip, made only for audio, according to Antelope the performance difference is astronomical, so for people who are afraid of usb might look if this works better.

We will see how i turn out, for me I mostly concerned about the latency since I use a lot of midi stuff...if the latency sucks over usb I hope it can perform better through madi or some kind of solution that makes it better.
Again, and it's not totally your fault here because the orion press release is a bit confusing, you're not comparing like with like.

USB is a data format. MADI is a digital audio format. You can have a MADI interface that connects over USB - then a converter that sends audio streams via MADI to your interface. You can't connect a mouse via MADI but you can via USB because it's just digital data.

The "custom USB" chip thing remains to be seen how effective it is....but latency doesn't "suck" over USB normally, it's just there to allow 32io over USB (eg Lynx or Symphony can only do 16io over USB normally, with perfectly acceptable latency).

But to use the Orion as an interface - you have to use the USB connection. You can't use MADI "instead" (although you could use a different MADI interface, and use the Orion purely as a converter - which is a bit of a waste of money if you ask me!).
#51
2nd January 2013
Old 2nd January 2013
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Orion32 is not a traditional usb interface, cause this is the first interface in the world with its own usb chip, made only for audio, according to Antelope the performance difference is astronomical, so for people who are afraid of usb might look if this works better.
Wrong, RME were the first ones with this approach, and their USB devices run extremely well in the real world (FF UC being the first one, more than two years ago, I guess, followed by Babyface, FF UFX). This still has to be shown for Antelope, we don't know anything about it besides glamorous product announcements...
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2nd January 2013
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I doubt anyone would consider Lynx converters super high end, but then 99% of people would not be able to tell the difference between Lynx and pretty much any other converter on a track per track basis anyhow. I personally prefer the SSL Converters for the same sort of money. The Lynx converters have a slight coloration that I find alters the real picture a touch ( over a whole mix it becomes more apparent ). Apogees are even more colored, but I could work with any of them quite happily. I think if it was a mastering setup you would need to take a step up, but for general production work, any of the above mentioned are more than up to the task.
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3rd January 2013
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Wrong, RME were the first ones with this approach, and their USB devices run extremely well in the real world (FF UC being the first one, more than two years ago, I guess, followed by Babyface, FF UFX). This still has to be shown for Antelope, we don't know anything about it besides glamorous product announcements...
Sorry I take it back then, I guess I did misunderstood stomething...
Antelope did some unique solution to the chip atleast...
so that they can use the full bandwidth.
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3rd January 2013
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I doubt anyone would consider Lynx converters super high end, but then 99% of people would not be able to tell the difference between Lynx and pretty much any other converter on a track per track basis anyhow. I personally prefer the SSL Converters for the same sort of money. The Lynx converters have a slight coloration that I find alters the real picture a touch ( over a whole mix it becomes more apparent ). Apogees are even more colored, but I could work with any of them quite happily. I think if it was a mastering setup you would need to take a step up, but for general production work, any of the above mentioned are more than up to the task.
When I made this thread, Lynx was my no 1 choice..now I have learned that lynx is far from the first choice..I Really thought the lynx was a lot more highly regarded here on the forum..but I guess time change...2005 I guess it was different.
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3rd January 2013
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Pretty happy iwth my Avid HD I/O after moving from Apogee. I thought Apogee sounded better than Lynx and the HD I/O better than apogee. in my opinion it's a few steps down formthe HD I/O and you can get them pretty cheap on Ebay compared to the original pricing
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3rd January 2013
Old 3rd January 2013
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I have an RME HDSPe besides good drives the sound is not good on this card in my opinion.
Does that card have analog ins/outs? This is not meant to be a sly remark (and I'm actually not sure), I am merely asking, because you have to be sure wether the RME interface card or the actual converters you're using with it is a problem to you.


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3rd January 2013
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When I made this thread, Lynx was my no 1 choice..now I have learned that lynx is far from the first choice..I Really thought the lynx was a lot more highly regarded here on the forum..but I guess time change...2005 I guess it was different.
They're great bang for the buck, no-one (well, few at least!) are debating that. They're just not the "only serious choice" - far from it. Better options if you want to spend more. Few better options if you don't. That's it really.
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3rd January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyboy7 View Post
Pretty happy iwth my Avid HD I/O after moving from Apogee. I thought Apogee sounded better than Lynx and the HD I/O better than apogee. in my opinion it's a few steps down formthe HD I/O and you can get them pretty cheap on Ebay compared to the original pricing
Funny. I saw it as a definite upgrade when I changed from HD i/o to Aurora 16 5,6 years ago.
From memory, Lynx to me had a much more organic softer feel to it which I really liked. But it's just individual preference after all.

Few steps down from HD i/o though? That's plainly wrong.
#59
3rd January 2013
Old 3rd January 2013
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immersion View Post
When I made this thread, Lynx was my no 1 choice..now I have learned that lynx is far from the first choice..I Really thought the lynx was a lot more highly regarded here on the forum..but I guess time change...2005 I guess it was different.
In all fairness, I know this is the high end.. But there are tons of professional engineers out there doing completely serviceable and great sounding albums / music for games and film with the likes of an apogee ensemble.. This is gear slutz and talking about gear and the finer point is one of the main reasons this forum exists, but sometimes when your spending your own money. You have to come back down to reality a little bit, there is better.. How much is subjective and at mercy of the rest of your chain.

Some recent chart hitting rock music was done completely with a Mackie 1640I and ITB pro tools setup.. Things are night and day compared to 10 or 15 years ago, there is so much great audio equipment out there for little money.

Also I'm not sure it's all psycho acoustic, I did some tracking in a friends studio the other week he has a neve desk and uses lavry.. But it seems to be the room and the setting that had the most effect on everyone, the singer felt excited to be in a fancy studio.. I was engaged in an array of shiny lights and it just made a big difference to the overall quality of the track ..

I've seen people using Burl AD / DA's with Behringer truth's and cheap sennheiser mic's.. Somethings up with the priority on that one?
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#60
3rd January 2013
Old 3rd January 2013
  #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbjp View Post
Funny. I saw it as a definite upgrade when I changed from HD i/o to Aurora 16 5,6 years ago.
If you're speaking of Avid, 5-6 years ago it was the "192", and the Aurora undoubtedly was a step up. But the current Avid HD i/o is probably now a tad "better" than the Aurora.
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