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Anything better than Lynx Aurora 16 for under 5k? Digital Converters
Old 7th July 2009
  #1
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dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
Anything better than Lynx Aurora 16 for under 5k?

I have been blown away by several converter shootouts, and though I always knew a converter is a very important part of the overall sound, I figured that something like an Aurora 16 or even an RME would be fine. After hearing the 2192 and some Prism stuff.....Im speechless, just......

So, I decided that even though its a steep price, im going to go for an Orpheus from Prism instead of the RME Digiface, Aurora 16, Lavry DA-10 combo I had in mind before because of price, quality and space which the Orpheus dominates.

But im still stuck with a sort of dilemma. I will have an API lunchbox fully loaded with 4 preamps, 4 compressors and 2 eqs on top of 4 ch of separate compressors and possibly another 2 channel preamp. Now obviously I cannot use the Orpheus for all of that for the mixing part (ITB with outboard) because of channel count, so I figured Id slap on another 8 Ch AD DA box like the aurora. But after hearing some tests, Im not so sure I want to go from Prism to Aurora because of the differences in sound.

So my question is, are there any other similarly configured stand alone AD/DA boxes like the aurora with a....somewhat considerable upgrade in sonic properties for under 5 grand? I am pretty much exploring my options at this time and if you know of a great setup that would work with what I have mentioned, please do help.
Old 7th July 2009
  #2
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What about the SSL Alpha-link line? 24 i/0 with or without MADI. Audiolines is selling it without MADI for $2695.
Old 7th July 2009
  #3
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indie's Avatar
 

Used Radar!
Old 7th July 2009
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I have been blown away by several converter shootouts, and though I always knew a converter is a very important part of the overall sound, I figured that something like an Aurora 16 or even an RME would be fine. After hearing the 2192 and some Prism stuff.....Im speechless, just......
The Prism seems like its what you are looking for, as its sonic quality is unparalleled in its price range. $4500 is a bargain for getting 8ADA Prism converters in your studio, and not to mention all the other important and highly useful electronics that are featured on the box.

Quote:
So, I decided that even though its a steep price, im going to go for an Orpheus from Prism instead of the RME Digiface, Aurora 16, Lavry DA-10 combo I had in mind before because of price, quality and space which the Orpheus dominates.
You do in fact, get what you pay for in all regards with the Orpheus, in my experience anyway. Its one of the best AD/DA converter products I have used, period. And I have used a bunch.

Quote:
But im still stuck with a sort of dilemma. I will have an API lunchbox fully loaded with 4 preamps, 4 compressors and 2 eqs on top of 4 ch of separate compressors and possibly another 2 channel preamp. Now obviously I cannot use the Orpheus for all of that for the mixing part (ITB with outboard) because of channel count, so I figured Id slap on another 8 Ch AD DA box like the aurora. But after hearing some tests, Im not so sure I want to go from Prism to Aurora because of the differences in sound.
How is this a dilemma? Do you really need to mix with 8 Stereo Hardware inserts ITB? Doing hardware inserts, with a FW device, as well using another chassis over ADAT with different residual latency, is NOT recommended practice, by me personally. I would ditch the idea of adding any other AD/DA chassis, and invest in a righteously cool 8 channel Mixer. I would recommend the API 8200A. This will give you Eight Direct outputs, Eight Insert Send/Return, and master buss outputs, aside from the Prism Monitoring control. I think, if anything, this amount of equipment that you have is a blessing. Why not use most of your equipment on the way into the computer? You can certainly use it to record the sounds you want in the first place. You can patch all your external microphone preamplifiers into equalizers and compressors and patch the output into the last four channels of Prism AD.

Quote:
So my question is, are there any other similarly configured stand alone AD/DA boxes like the aurora with a....somewhat considerable upgrade in sonic properties for under 5 grand? I am pretty much exploring my options at this time and if you know of a great setup that would work with what I have mentioned, please do help.
You might check out the Lucid 88192 Eight Channel AD/DA. I think its a bit better sounding than the Lynx, and its less fuss with cabling, as this box is all XLR for AES and Analog I/O. It also has ADAT standard. I think its a contender, but in my honest opinion, it doesn't hold a candle to the quality and precision found in the Prism.
Old 8th July 2009
  #5
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warhead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
What about the SSL Alpha-link line? 24 i/0 with or without MADI. Audiolines is selling it without MADI for $2695.
Actually the current pricing with MADI is $2395.

I don't know if [email protected] is saying he wants that many channels.

I use the Alpha Link converters daily and really enjoy them, very natural sound.

War
Old 8th July 2009
  #6
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la grange's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by warhead View Post
Actually the current pricing with MADI is $2395.

I don't know if [email protected] is saying he wants that many channels.

I use the Alpha Link converters daily and really enjoy them, very natural sound.

War

yep, he's right
+1

Oli
Old 8th July 2009
  #7
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dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by trashman View Post
What about the SSL Alpha-link line? 24 i/0 with or without MADI. Audiolines is selling it without MADI for $2695.
are they somewhat considerably better than Auroras?
Old 8th July 2009
  #8
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dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Mixwell View Post
The Prism seems like its what you are looking for, as its sonic quality is unparalleled in its price range. $4500 is a bargain for getting 8ADA Prism converters in your studio, and not to mention all the other important and highly useful electronics that are featured on the box.

You do in fact, get what you pay for in all regards with the Orpheus, in my experience anyway. Its one of the best AD/DA converter products I have used, period. And I have used a bunch.

How is this a dilemma? Do you really need to mix with 8 Stereo Hardware inserts ITB? Doing hardware inserts, with a FW device, as well using another chassis over ADAT with different residual latency, is NOT recommended practice, by me personally. I would ditch the idea of adding any other AD/DA chassis, and invest in a righteously cool 8 channel Mixer. I would recommend the API 8200A. This will give you Eight Direct outputs, Eight Insert Send/Return, and master buss outputs, aside from the Prism Monitoring control. I think, if anything, this amount of equipment that you have is a blessing. Why not use most of your equipment on the way into the computer? You can certainly use it to record the sounds you want in the first place. You can patch all your external microphone preamplifiers into equalizers and compressors and patch the output into the last four channels of Prism AD.

You might check out the Lucid 88192 Eight Channel AD/DA. I think its a bit better sounding than the Lynx, and its less fuss with cabling, as this box is all XLR for AES and Analog I/O. It also has ADAT standard. I think its a contender, but in my honest opinion, it doesn't hold a candle to the quality and precision found in the Prism.
Thats a different way of looking at it, thanks. I totally didnt think of the latency associate with an addon ADDA. Thanks for the enlightenment. I always enjoy your posts and this is no different.

I guess at the end of the day, the preamps could be completely floating because I do more mixing than recording. I guess I can have 2 channels prepatched (like MA5's through AM660 on 1 and OCL 500 on 2, into Avedis E27s out for conversion) and then the rest floating and unassociated just patched. In that case I could just buy a patch bay, which id rather not do, but I might have to for ease. Or I might just record first, then do processing.....I dont know......

BTW are there any button controller patchbays or more like matrix routers that are good quality relay based? So for example I could patch everything up like a normal patchbay in the back, and on the front bay you would have buttons that engage relays which can be pressed in at the same time forming the signal chain. Anybody know of anything like that? Kind of like that TC Electronic thing but for analog....
Old 8th July 2009
  #9
For 16 I/O there's not much under 5k.

For 8 I/O:

the Mytek 8x192 and

MYTEK DIGITAL USA

The Metric Halo uln8 is probably worth checking out...

ULN-8: Premier Converter, Preamp, Processor, Interface
Old 9th July 2009
  #10
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dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waltz Mastering View Post
For 16 I/O there's not much under 5k.

For 8 I/O:

the Mytek 8x192 and

MYTEK DIGITAL USA

The Metric Halo uln8 is probably worth checking out...

ULN-8: Premier Converter, Preamp, Processor, Interface
Hey! Thanks for that, I totally forgot Myteks exist lol.
It turns out that I took Adam's ideas to heart and it just seems like the more I think about it, the more gear I cut.

I am a very visual person (hence a Graphic/Web Designer) and I like to plan things visually. For your enjoyment and recommendations I have posed the visual plan for new gear acquisitions as well as things I already own. Maybe with the graphic I can hear some suggestions about hooking it up the best way.

Just as a heads up, I would rather prefer no patch bay unless absolutely necessary and I also prefer for everything to be plugged in (which kind of can't happen). I do more mixing than recording and when I record I do at most 2 Ch at once (keyboards usually) and 1 Ch Vox. So at any given time I record 2 channels simultaneously. I would like to use the hardware on recording as well as mixing which is why the issue is kind of complicated.

Any suggestions about hooking all of this up most efficiently would be much appreciated, you might just give me a great idea like Adam has (Thanks BTW buddy).

I use Cubase 4 (getting 5) and my computer is more than powerful enough for anything I can possibly throw at it (trust me!!)
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Old 9th July 2009
  #11
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la grange's Avatar
 

something that bothers me a little and that people don't take into account long term is how much does a converter colors your sound.
Run a track ten times through one and you will see the difference.
In a ITB mixing situation, I think it is fine but if you intend to run some outboard on some tracks, mix analog, and do a mastering attempt your self, I think the transparency is a must and the xtra color should come from the outboards rather than the converter...
the compression and smiley face Bandwidth I hear from very popular brands is something that really surprise me.
I guess some marketing does the job.

Oli
Old 9th July 2009
  #12
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malice's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
are they somewhat considerably better than Auroras?

I wouldn't say it's night and day, but to be totaly objective, I feel a bit uneasy with the price tag of the SSL.

I think that if they would sell the same price as apogees, everyone would rave about them.

I have a set up with SSL, Lavry Blue and Cranesong. They stack up prety well.

They are very natural. In that respect, they are indeed comparable to the Lavrys. Of course the Lavrys are better, but considering 2 channels of them is the same price as 24 SSL + the AES in and outs, I would say it's a killer bargain.

If you like "uncolored" but clean and tight bass, it's a good option.

For me, Auroras, Apogees and SSL are in the same balpark sonicaly.

If you want a step ahead, you need Cranesong, Lavrys or Radar. Not the same price at all.

malice
Old 9th July 2009
  #13
Skip the cheapo converters and buy a patch bay

You could certainly use a cheaper 8-channel A/D/A set with the Orpheus and bring it into the Orpheus Toslink input. That would allow you to get all your audio through the Orpheus driver. But above 48 ksps you'd have fewer channels. Plus, you'll always feel bad about your expensive outboard running though what you now know are inferior converters.

What I did with my first Orpheus was to use a patch bay. A year later, I could afford to buy a second Orpheus, and life got better. In your case, I'd say you should normal the patchbay for your most common mix routing, and put up with having to plug a couple of cables when you're tracking.

True, you'll want to monitor through the Orpheus, so you'll really only have 6 hardware inserts, but maybe you can bounce certain tracks through the hardware in advance of the final mix. Some DAWs probably make this easier than others.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 9th July 2009
  #14
Gear Head
 

Lynx 16. 16 Analog I/O's 16 Digital I/O's. Just use the clock it comes with, don't even bother getting all complicated and ****. Not the best you can get, but it is the best bang for your buck. We have one. I stripe **** in and out all the time thru it, and it is pretty transparent.
Old 9th July 2009
  #15
Here for the gear
 

+1 for LUCID.

best bang for the buck.
Old 9th July 2009
  #16
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dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick View Post
You could certainly use a cheaper 8-channel A/D/A set with the Orpheus and bring it into the Orpheus Toslink input. That would allow you to get all your audio through the Orpheus driver. But above 48 ksps you'd have fewer channels. Plus, you'll always feel bad about your expensive outboard running though what you now know are inferior converters.

What I did with my first Orpheus was to use a patch bay. A year later, I could afford to buy a second Orpheus, and life got better. In your case, I'd say you should normal the patchbay for your most common mix routing, and put up with having to plug a couple of cables when you're tracking.

True, you'll want to monitor through the Orpheus, so you'll really only have 6 hardware inserts, but maybe you can bounce certain tracks through the hardware in advance of the final mix. Some DAWs probably make this easier than others.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Thats what I was kind of thinking. I said to myself "why overhaul when I really dont need to; simplify simplify simplify!"

I think that I might not even do patchbay, Il just leave the preamps unplugged and patch what I need when I need it. And like you said, when I can I might just pick up another Orpheus. Its just I would hate to pay for all those extras that I wont use like preamps and all the other digital crap. Thats kind of why I figured it would be a good idea to review my options for 8 CH ADDA converters under 5K. Then I know that everything is on par with everything else which for me is important psychologically (thats why I ended up spending 4 grand on my PC tower.... But I have piece and happyness becasue I know its the best....

As far as the SSL converters, I honestly dont believe that they are on par with Auroras. Of course this is my opinion based on many variables and knowing SSL's marketing strategies. It seems that auroras would kind of be my only choice. They are solid, they sound great and maybe I am leaning too much into GS bull**** that's clouding my judgment. And I really appreciate companies that do things right, put money into the R&D of their products and release an affordable and great piece. I think Lynx does that.

I am also interested in the Mytek's and if anybody has a good recording done on Mytek converters I would appreciate a PM or post, either way. Like I always say, if your going to do something, damit - do it right. Ive had too much tech experience and mess-ups to under mind that any further.

Appreciate the posts, keep em coming!
Old 10th July 2009
  #17
Gear Nut
 

DANNY,

The Mytek 8x192 is a slightly more transparent, detailed, 'euphonic' converter than the Lynx (I have them both) .... It is audibly 'better', but the public could'nt tell the difference. It also has basic stereo analog summing, headphone amp and xlr speaker outs as well as some interesting routing options. Highly reccommended. The firwire card is very expensive. (It's probably not as reliable as the LYnx .... not sure yet ....)

I don't know what DAW you are using, but I CAN GAURANTEE latency WILL be an issue especially with two converters linked (by any format). Firewire is good but it's not AES. I run a Macbook Pro via firewire and the system can get overloaded in odd ways (no workarounds). AES is the standard. It's my next move.

Apparently NUENDO and CUBASE are the only DAW's that deal with I/O outboard latency well. Logic certainly doesn't, (it's a PITA)

As a previous poster suggested, do you really need more than 8 I/o's for mixdown (You only have 8 EQ's/comps ....) An 8 or 16 channel desk (or even fancy summer, eg Tanner/Daking/Chandler/API, etc) would largely (totally) overcome latency issues and maybe more EQ than you have as well as having a 'sound'.

If you get a 16ch desk you could add another converter later and they wouldn't be piggy backed but rather workinf in parallel....

I will send you a PM sent to me by someone who gave me a lot of suggestions about this issue....

Good luck

Michael V
Tasmania
Old 10th July 2009
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by beginagain View Post
I don't know what DAW you are using, but I CAN GAURANTEE latency WILL be an issue especially with two converters linked (by any format).

<snip!>

Apparently NUENDO and CUBASE are the only DAW's that deal with I/O outboard latency well. Logic certainly doesn't, (it's a PITA)
When setting up hardware inserts, Samplitude can compensate for a different latency on each stereo pair. (You have to be careful that it doesn't take out the predelay on your reverb!) The other thing it's good at is bouncing individual tracks so you can reuse the outboard.

Tracking with two A/D's would be a bigger issue. The Orpheus can only do near-zero-latency foldback on the main channels: the Toslink channels aren't available in the mixer applet. But the OP is probably not going to be tracking more than eight channels at a time anyway.

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
Old 10th July 2009
  #19
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hey_mavis's Avatar
 

I agree with everything so far
Old 10th July 2009
  #20
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Spindrift's Avatar
 

Yes.

Sony/MCI 24TRK and Amek Matchless Console 4SALE

Seriously though, I'm an Aurora user but am looking towards RADAR in the future.
Old 10th July 2009
  #21
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I recently did an extensive shootout between:

* digi 192
* Radar 192
* DAD AX-24
* Prism Dream ADA 8 X-R

The prism was to me the clear winner.
It´s got the fastest transient response
and is diamond clear from top to bottom.

These days you get the prism so cheap
that I wouldn´t waste time with anything else
to be honest.
Old 17th July 2009
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Im actually in this same problem Alpha Link SX and Aurora 16 VT. I have an 8816, so i need at least 16 outputs though ill need more if i want to go about using any outboard gear while mixing. I don't actually own any outboard gear worthy of putting into a mix (only a bbe sonic maximizer) so i don't know. All i can think of is that the alpha link seems to be way more bang for the buck and ive heard it compared to apogee stuff but not lynx directly. In fact lynx in indirect examples sounds a bit smoothed out where as the SSL is "transparent" for lack of a better word. I won't be planning on getting a 2nd aurora if i want more ins and outs so i dont know, logically it seems the SSL is a better choice but im worried about quality issues. So yea, that's my 2 cents, hopefully someone can chime in and help me decide.
Old 17th July 2009
  #23
Having owned the Prism ADA8, Apogee AD/DA 16X and now finally the Auroras (and having done the listening tests with the 192 i/o and SSL converters) I have to say that my preference is towards the Aurora. The integration with both Mac and PC, PT|HD or Native software and the clarity yet not clinical sound quality has made me stop thinking about other converters and allows me to track/mix without worry.

I've shown the Auroras to so many people over the years and most everyone goes crazy over the sound. It's certainly one thing to discuss it on the net but to actually experience what the Aurora brings to the table in person is quite another.
Old 17th July 2009
  #24
Why not go for the Behringer ADA8000 and spend the rest on hookers and blow?

Lynx vs. Behringer thread
Old 17th July 2009
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by orangeoctane View Post
Why not go for the Behringer ADA8000 and spend the rest on hookers and blow?

Lynx vs. Behringer thread
yea, that's one of the indirect comparisons i used, they both sound good though the lynx kinds smooths out some of the high-mids a bit which is actually really good but it seemed to have a tiny bit less presence which is also a bit towards my fancy. It's funny how micro the details are with converters yet they seem to be almost more scrutinized than any other part of the signal chain
Old 18th July 2009
  #26
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Silvertone's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittonian View Post
Having owned the Prism ADA8, Apogee AD/DA 16X and now finally the Auroras (and having done the listening tests with the 192 i/o and SSL converters) I have to say that my preference is towards the Aurora. The integration with both Mac and PC, PT|HD or Native software and the clarity yet not clinical sound quality has made me stop thinking about other converters and allows me to track/mix without worry.

I've shown the Auroras to so many people over the years and most everyone goes crazy over the sound. It's certainly one thing to discuss it on the net but to actually experience what the Aurora brings to the table in person is quite another.
I agree completely!
Old 18th July 2009
  #27
Gear Nut
 

i ended up going with the alpha link SX, got a discount so 2795 total, $400 extra in my pocket! to get the same funcionality with the auroras i would need to throw down an additional $6000+ (2 auroras, dsub cables and a madi converter). I could have gone with 2 rme hdspe AES cards (4 units total so i would also need a magma chassis). So yea, i cant really justify going with aurora yet. Hopefully oneday they will release a 32 channel AES-50 model, and hopefully reform their mixing software. Thanks for the inputs u guys! Can't wait til get this setup running!
Old 18th July 2009
  #28
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sweetmojo's Avatar
 

Cool! Let us know how it goes. Looking to upgrade from RME and I'm considering the SSL but also the Auroras. To be honest, we're moving from ITB to a hybrid system since we just got a 48 channel desk and some outboard dynamics so we're still trying to figure out signal flow/latency stuff that seem to be an issue with a hybrid setup.
Old 19th July 2009
  #29
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dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
Well, I think I decided that I dont actually need to mix with more than 8 I/O's at a time, besides I will be recording each processor back into Cubase so I dont actually need more than 8 I/o. Thats a decision that Adam Brass helped with, and man, I cant thank you enough! You saved me almost 5 grand!

Thanks for all the contributors.

Thread closed (i wounder if this actually works
Old 19th July 2009
  #30
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
Thread closed (i wounder if this actually works
Nope... doesn't look like it does.
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