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Aurora 16 + 192: internal clock or Big Ben?
Old 26th October 2014
  #1
Aurora 16 + 192: internal clock or Big Ben?

Hello there! So in a week or two I'm going to be summing my latest project - for which I was recording and mixing engineer - in preparation for sending it off to be mastered.

My A-system converter is a Lynx Aurora 16, and that's what I use for summing. Ordinarily, in the event that I have more than 16 channels, I simply sum to stems, then sum the stems to the final stereo print. This time however I am going to make use of a 192i/o with an extra output card which I have as well, for a total of 16 channels out from the Aurora and 16 out from the 192. Previously, I had avoided this as the 192 has various manual output trims that were all screwed up, and I didn't want to waste time precisely matching these to the Aurora. I'm now going to bite the bullet and do it, hence the question.

Said question regards clocking the 192i/o. The conventional wisdom seems to be that if you're running a single converter, you should clock it internally. However in this case I will have two converters, and so there must be some sort of synchronization.

I have a Big Ben that came along for the ride when I purchased the package of Mac Pro, HD3, Aurora, and 192 secondhand at the start of my studio. I use it mostly when I have multiple converters running for tracking. However, in this instance the question is whether or not to clock from the Big Ben or the Aurora.

I have three choices:
Aurora as master clock, with BNC cable to 192
192 as master clock, with BNC cable to Aurora
Big Ben as master clock, with BNC cables to Aurora and 192

Considering the quality - or lack thereof - that comes with the 192, that option is out. So it comes down to whether I clock the Aurora internally and run the 192 off of the Aurora's clock, or whether I slave both the Aurora and 192 to the Big Ben.

There has been a lot of agreement here on GS that Lynx Auroras do best off of their own internal clocks. However, I am wondering whether the addition of the 192 changes that equation at all in favor of the Big Ben. I know for a fact that the engineer who I purchased the system from clocked from the Big Ben, as he did a lot of summing work for stem mastering. I'm looking to see what everybody's input here might be.

The session is 24/96, and the printed mixes will be 24/96 as well, with the two converters feeding my Equinox and the 2-bus from the Equinox feeding two channels of A/D on the Aurora.

I did do a search for 'Aurora 192 clocking', 'Aurora 192 internal external', etc., before anybody hops in with 'UTFSE asshole!' - the results were not much relevant to this situation. Any thoughts?
Old 27th October 2014
  #2
I would just slave both units to the Big Ben,
But you could slave the Big Ben to the Aurora, which can then slave the 192. There are probably a couple ways to clock your setup. I wouldn't sweat it and just clock both interfaces from the Apogee. The Lynx will "wash" incoming word clock anyway...Unless you go and turn off the Syncro-lock, with "Aurora Remote" software. At which point the converter will measure worse.
To my ears the Big Ben doesn't change the sound of the Lynx unless you turn this feature off. Then it smears it a little.
Old 27th October 2014
  #3
Cool, I think I'll clock both off of the Big Ben, as the Aurora will do its thing regardless, whereas the 192 will benefit from the Ben's clock signal. I've used enough 192s clocked from a Big Ben to know the improvement in imaging, clarity, and definition that this brings. I've never seen a 192 clocked off of an Aurora on the other hand, so I'll go with the tried and true setup.

Granted there's nothing bad that would happen taking the clock from the Aurora into the 192, and the difference in sound that would result from the various potential permutations is fairly insignificant compared to the quality of the mixing and tracking. Still, it doesn't hurt to go for that extra little bit of quality, and seeing as it requires virtually no real investment in time or work it seems a good deal to me.

Thanks for the input for sure! I've heard about the synchrolock function on the Auroras before, but I've never looked into it in any detail to learn the theoretical side of things, to complement the practical side. And so this is a good a time to do so for sure.
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