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Lynx Hilo still a good purchase in 2019?
Old 17th June 2019
  #1
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matskull's Avatar
 

Lynx Hilo still a good purchase in 2019?

I’m slowly switching from a hybrid mixing rig to a mastering rig.
So I’m thinking about selling my protools HDX with 32 I/o and replace it with some great AD/DA dedicated for music listening and mastering.

I was tempted by the Mytek Brooklyn + DAC but it’s a DAC only, my gear is in storage right now so I’m itb at the moment but that might change eventually when I get more room again.

The Lynx HILO seems to be a prefect combination of AD and DA but is it still top of the line in 2019?
I want the very best in reasonably priced category.
Old 17th June 2019
  #2
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Hippocratic Mastering's Avatar
I'm still mastering hundreds of records a year with the Hilo here. I haven't compared it to any other converters for several years, but my clients seem happy enough.
Old 17th June 2019
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocratic Mastering View Post
I'm still mastering hundreds of records a year with the Hilo here. I haven't compared it to any other converters for several years, but my clients seem happy enough.
Do you consider it transparent or does it add something to the sound? For example does a round trip sound true to the source?

Also how’s the headphone amp?
Old 17th June 2019
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
Do you consider it transparent or does it add something to the sound? For example does a round trip sound true to the source?

Also how’s the headphone amp?
You'll always hear some difference but it's more transparent than anything else I've personally tried.

The headphone amp seems fine but I rarely use it and I'm not an expert in that field.
Old 17th June 2019
  #5
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I don't own one anymore but I think the HILO is still one of the best, if not the best starting point for getting out of the box for mastering.

It can do an analog loop and has another DA path for monitoring.

I only used it in standalone mode but it looks like it has good features for being used as the centerpiece for getting started.
Old 17th June 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin P. View Post
I don't own one anymore but I think the HILO is still one of the best, if not the best starting point for getting out of the box for mastering.

It can do an analog loop and has another DA path for monitoring.

I only used it in standalone mode but it looks like it has good features for being used as the centerpiece for getting started.
May I ask what you replaced it with?
Old 17th June 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
May I ask what you replaced it with?
My setup is a bit more complex with an RME AES card and Crane Song Avocet, so I only used the HILO in standalone mode.

Because I already have a Crane Song HEDD, my HILO was the cleaner option but after reviewing the Prism Lyra 2, I swapped the HILO for it officially.

I wouldn’t suggest the Lyra 2 as the heart of a mastering rig though, I just preferred the converters by a small amount, and I personally had less hassles with the Prism mixer app but that could just be me.
Old 17th June 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin P. View Post
I wouldn’t suggest the Lyra 2 as the heart of a mastering rig though.
Why not? These two seem to have pretty similar features.
I know I’m the end I’ll have to audition a bunch and decide for myself but it’s good to have other opinions.

I’m still unsure if I want to keep my outboard gear anyway, as much as I like my SHMC, Bax, SSL Comp and all the other stuff I have I often feel like it’s more of a luxury than a real need to get good sound. Maybe a great conversion would make me change my mind...
Old 17th June 2019
  #9
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I've heard that the headphone amp on the Lyra is not great. I've never tried it on mine since I use it in standalone mode in my mastering chain.

I can't really put it in words but I think the HILO makes for a better basic mastering studio centerpiece than the Lyra 2, but from a conversion standpoint alone which is all I cared about, I thought the Lyra 2 sounded just a touch better, and for my setup, the mixer app has been less of a PITA.

Last edited by Justin P.; 18th June 2019 at 12:03 AM..
Old 17th June 2019
  #10
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I see, thanks for the cue!
Old 18th June 2019
  #11
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Justin P.,

What do you think of the Lyra 2 DA?

Thanks!
Old 18th June 2019
  #12
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The short answer is yes, the Hilo is still very much relevant now as it was.

It is more transparent technically than Prism but Prism does a good job of making their converters sound nice which is what many people find appealing. Sort of like Burl. They sound cool but are not as transparent as the Hilo.

For mastering I prefer technical transparency which has been proven time and again in measurements and to my ear as well. The headphone amp is great too, same philosophy, very clean and transparent.

Another thing I love about my Hilo is the touch screen and how easy and quick it is to change routing. It did take me awhile to understand the routing but now that I get it, its super powerful and useful.
Old 18th June 2019
  #13
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If mine exploded today (no reason it should), I'd get a new one tomorrow in a heartbeat. indeed the solid routing options help it integrate easily in many different workflows, and the sound is pristine (in the transparent sense). As others have mentioned, the headphone amp on it is very nice too. I can't find a fault in this device.
Old 18th June 2019
  #14
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Thanks guys for the input I appreciate it!

How does it sound if clipped at the input?
Old 18th June 2019
  #15
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X-Pand Sound Mastering's Avatar
 

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Still here after several years now, and I wouldn't change it for anything else. Now the internal routing can be a bit misleading at the beginning, and using it "in the box" (in / out loop for the outboard) I experienced some unwanted feedback when I first got it. But after studying the software deeper it's now very easy to configure it the way I want to
Old 18th June 2019
  #16
I second what everyone else has said. Had mine for about 5 years now and it isn't going anywhere. If it broke and couldn't be repaired I would get another one just like that. Love the touch screen and routing, where you can save your own routing options.

Keith.
Old 18th June 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
Thanks guys for the input I appreciate it!

How does it sound if clipped at the input?
why would you wanna buy one of the best converters and then smash up its sound with insane levels?! i know it's a thing but imo it's plain silly: use some plugins or even better tube gear if you're after distortion...




p.s. it sounds like s... - as any other converter which gets clipped! if not getting clipped, i like it almost as much as the cranesong hedd 192.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 18th June 2019 at 08:53 PM.. Reason: edited/p.s. added
Old 18th June 2019
  #18
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Bichop's Avatar
Sorry for my bad English.

If you doubt your analog chain by the converters you see with the Lyra 2, the Hilo is very transparent like the Pure 2, but it does not give you the analoge goodness, in terms of sound the Lyra 2 sounds better, more analog, transparent but with weight, I sold the Pure 2 and I no longer think of converters, and if, in perfect mastering, it reacts very well in "musical" terms when you tighten it.
Lyra 2 is closer to UA 2192 or burl AD than to Hilo or pure 2

Last edited by Bichop; 19th June 2019 at 01:16 PM..
Old 18th June 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
How does it sound if clipped at the input?
It clips ok. But the analogue stage tends to like a bit of headroom to sound its best.
Old 19th June 2019
  #20
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Seems like this is still a pretty good deal after all!
I'd be curious to shoot it out against the Lyra 2, hear for myself, but the features of the Hilo do sound more appealing. AES on rca with an adapter seems a bit weird to me on the Lyra...
Old 19th June 2019
  #21
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I would definitely first shoot them out before deciding. I echo pretty much what everyone has said about both the Hilo and Lyra 2. I still use a Hilo I've had for 6 yrs and along side a Red4 Pre which is more recent. Before that an Aurora 16. Hilo integrates well with other interfaces.
Old 19th June 2019
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
Seems like this is still a pretty good deal after all!
I'd be curious to shoot it out against the Lyra 2, hear for myself, but the features of the Hilo do sound more appealing. AES on rca with an adapter seems a bit weird to me on the Lyra...
To be fair I also use AES on RCA with my Hilo, for a second digital connection (I use a Neutrik transformer that I think cost around 70 quid). It works flawlessly, so long as the connection is kept tight.

Last edited by Hippocratic Mastering; 19th June 2019 at 06:37 PM..
Old 19th June 2019
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocratic Mastering View Post
To be fair I also use AES on RCA with my Hilo, for a second digital connection (I use a Neumann transformer that I think cost around 70 quid). It works flawlessly, so long as the connection is kept tight.
Why not use the provided xlr? You're right though it might not be a deal breaker, just not ideal imo since the Bricasti M7 I'd like to connect in AES is XLR.
Old 19th June 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
Why not use the provided xlr? You're right though it might not be a deal breaker, just not ideal imo since the Bricasti M7 I'd like to connect in AES is XLR.
I do use the provided XLR, but for my setup I need a second digital out so I convert the S/PDIF out to AES using the Neumann transformer.

I probably used the wrong termonology - I'm not sure if that connector is technically RCA but it is visually identical.
Old 19th June 2019
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocratic Mastering View Post
I do use the provided XLR, but for my setup I need a second digital out so I convert the S/PDIF out to AES using the Neumann transformer.

I probably used the wrong termonology - I'm not sure if that connector is technically RCA but it is visually identical.
ok I see, I didn't know you could output an aes signal out of there spdif connector, good to know.
Old 19th June 2019
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
ok I see, I didn't know you could output an aes signal out of there spdif connector, good to know.
Yeah, you do need a converter but it works perfectly - occasionally I'll have to give it a wiggle as the connection is not particularly tight but this is digital, it's either there or it's not.
Old 19th June 2019
  #27
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as a consequence of the last few posts I googled AES vs Spdif in order to refresh my memory and possibly learn something new...

this link is a good read

https://www.rane.com/note149.html
Old 19th June 2019
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apostolos Siopis View Post
as a consequence of the last few posts I googled AES vs Spdif in order to refresh my memory and possibly learn something new...

this link is a good read

https://www.rane.com/note149.html
interesting
Old 19th June 2019
  #29
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For what its worth, someone on GS did a high end converter test and did audio loops through DAC and ADC. After 50 pass throughs, the only converter that made no change to the audio was the Lynx Hilo.

If you want it to "sound" nice do shootouts and buy whatever you like the most after a listening session. But the Hilo will be pure audio in a technical sense, and for people who do mastering or critical listening its nice to know what is "true".
Old 20th June 2019
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hairbow View Post
For what its worth, someone on GS did a high end converter test and did audio loops through DAC and ADC. After 50 pass throughs, the only converter that made no change to the audio was the Lynx Hilo.

If you want it to "sound" nice do shootouts and buy whatever you like the most after a listening session. But the Hilo will be pure audio in a technical sense, and for people who do mastering or critical listening its nice to know what is "true".
Didn't knew about this test, but that's what I heared with the Hilo right away : "Fidelity". A true to the source reproduction with an amazing definition. A lavry Gold for exemple, while having an amazing sound, well it HAS a sound. Not what I'm after for a Mastering conversion.
I remember a while ago when I first purchased an RME FF 400, It was the first time I felt I was listening to some "serious" conversion (and I still believe it about RME). Many years later I couldn't believe the difference between the two when I shot them out in the studio...

Last edited by X-Pand Sound Mastering; 20th June 2019 at 09:45 AM..
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