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Is there a point of getting a lynx l22 if i get the benchmark dac1? Audio Interfaces
Old 19th August 2007
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musicl's Avatar

Is there a point of getting a lynx l22 if i get the benchmark dac1?

Question as the title: if the monitor mix is digital though a spdif it shouldn't matter getting the lynx with it's great converters, right?

The DAC1 - Benchmark Media Systems, Inc.

On this note, which has the better converters for monitoring the DAC or the Lynx? I'd get the l22 but it only has 2 outs so no headphone mix!
Old 20th August 2007
The DAC1 is a better than the D/A in the Lynx L22, but if you get only the DAC1 you're missing some important stuff like, um, an A/D. Also, as you noted above, you've got no way to get a separate headphone mix out. Finally, if you're here on gearsluz, it's certain that there is (or will be) some truly lovely piece of analog gear in your rack that you'd like to use during mixdown. To make that happen, you'll want extra D/A and A/D channels.

So my advice is to take the money you would have spent on a DAC1, and spend it on a Lynx IIA instead. That will get you four good channels of A/D, four good channels of D/A, zero latency monitoring for overdubs, plus digital I/O that you can use to interface with higher quality converters when you can afford them.

The Lynx II is far from the tweakiest thing out there, but it sounds plenty good enough to do professional mixes on. I have sixteen channels of Lynx A/D/A here (four cards). Yes, I'd prefer to have Prism instead. But I don't spend much time obsessing about it when there's production work to get done.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 20th August 2007
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musicl's Avatar

Hey Rick, thanks for your wisdom!

Far as i can tell the DAC does have a headphone out and monitor out. I will be going into my DAW digitally via my API A2D. Yes, i do have some lovely analogue gear but these are old delays and i usually record them wet on guitar though the API (no hardware compressors unfortunately!)

If you say the DAC is better than the lynx, i might buy the DAC and a cheap soundcard to plug my API into. How does that look? (considering i don't need the A/D)

I'm trying to figure out my next move so people please chime in!

This is my proposed chain:

Mic connected to API A2D - digital connection to DAW >

DAW with cheap soundcard? >
DAC1 USB with decent D/A converters > monitoring system

DAW with soundcard w/ INBUILT D/A better than the DAC1 > monitoring system
Old 20th August 2007
Lives for gear

I got the Lynx AES16SRC. I have a couple of A2D, a older Lucid A/D 9624 (still good value), a DAC-1 and reverbs etc with either s/pdif or AES which can all be integrated. AES cable are a luxury, because the cables can be as long as you want.
Old 20th August 2007
Lives for gear

If you want a short term cheap solution with no compromise, a M-Audio Audiophile 192 card with s/pdif i/o would let you use your A2D and DAC-1. You could also the analog i/o, giving 4 simultaneous channels.
Old 20th August 2007
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musicl's Avatar

Nice one Kiwiburger utalising that AES.

I didn't want to go with option 1 with the cheap soundcard route to be honest.... I was hoping there is a product out there which can fulfil option 2. I was thinking about what David said above about the Lynx II but
1: the DAC converters are better and...
2: i needed a headphone preamp (i work a hell of a lot with headphones) The DAC USB is the only product that is coming close. :?

Buying gear can be fun but also a real thinker on the tinker.
Old 21st August 2007
I didn't realize you needed a headphone amp -- I thought you needed a headphone mix. Meaning you need to be able to hear whatever you want in the control room while at the same time providing a different mix to the musician who is doing an overdub. If you only record yourself, then maybe you don't need a separate musican's mix.

The DAC1 cannot accomodate two separate mixes, but it has a very good headphone amp. The headphone amp on the DAC1USB is supposed to be even a little bit better. OTOH, the DAC1 can't provide a zero-latency feed for overdubs. Maybe your proposed cheap sound card can, but not if the live feed comes through the Neve ADC. The work-around is to use a small Mackie mixer just for the headphone cue mix (and feed one channel from the Neve analog out). But if you're going to do that, do you really need the headphone amp in the DAC1?

If you are considering the Benchmark DAC1, you should also consider the Lavry Black. I can't recommend one over the other based on personal experience, but do a search here and you will find some discussion of relative tradeoffs.

-- David
Old 22nd August 2007
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musicl's Avatar

Thanks David, yes it looks like it's going to be the cheap soundcard route which is shame considering all the other high end gear i'm accumulating.. My main concern with the DAC is the converters being better than the lynx but it's looking like the only feasible route out of this predicament.

I tried checking the Lavry Black and it's a little hard to get here over in the UK. It does get some sound words though. Headphone mix - sorry, i miscommunicated!!
Old 22nd August 2007
Gear Addict
EliasGwinn's Avatar


The M-Audio PCI card won't degrade the audio quality going to the DAC1. We've done several tests with the M-Audio Audiophile, and it has very low distortion when using the digital output. This can feed a good, clean signal to the DAC1 without a lot of latency. The Lynx AES16 is even better, but the M-Audio has a little more compassion for your budget.

On the other hand, using the built-in D-to-A converter of a PCI card is dangerous because of the high EMI (electro-magnetic interference) environment within a computer chassis. Not only will this affect the digital signal by adding jitter, but the analog signal will be doomed as well. It is best to keep the signal digital until it is in a dedicated D-to-A box with good jitter attenuation.

Old 22nd August 2007
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musicl's Avatar

Wow, a reply from the man who makes the black box

Thanks, i have heard the warnings of built in D/A's on a card and getting them far away from the DAW as possible. What i didn't understand is how the the lynx is better than the audiophile if only both the digital outputs are being used (unless we are only talking about how the cards have better EMI shielding). I don't want to start an AES vs SPDIF war. Digital is digital is digital if you can remove jitter from the equation.

Was reading on the neat feature the benchmark has with the left headphone input muting the rear output (speakers) and the right headphone output being normal. Nice work. Looking forward to my benchmark
Old 22nd August 2007
Gear Addict
EliasGwinn's Avatar

Originally Posted by musicl View Post
What i didn't understand is how the the lynx is better than the audiophile if only both the digital outputs are being used (unless we are only talking about how the cards have better EMI shielding). I don't want to start an AES vs SPDIF war. Digital is digital is digital if you can remove jitter from the equation.
Its all about the software. The drivers and control-software used to drive these (and any computer-based) device can make or break its ability to deliver the digital audio from harddrive/DAW to its digital output. If the software is not designed properly, there can be strange things happening to the audio before it hits the hardware - things like sample-rate conversion, bit-depth truncation, dither, DC-offset, gain adjustment, etc, etc. Ideally, the digital output should be 'bit-transparent' - that is, the digital audio data should be a bit-for-bit exact copy of what is on the DAW/harddrive.

The real test of a digital interface card is to record the digital output back into the DAW, adjust for latency, and flip the phase. There should be perfect cancellation.

The EMI environment will play a role in determining the amount of jitter on the digital output, which can be devastating to most D-to-A devices. Fortunately, the DAC1 is completely immune to jitter...literally, it doesn't matter how much jitter is in the digital signal, the DAC1 will perform to its top spec. This makes buying digital cables cheap and easy too!!

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