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Lynx Aurora 8 Review (8-channel DAC/ADC)

Rate this DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 6 5.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 35 34.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 54 53.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 6 5.9%

  • Total voters
    101

Waxx

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Oh, plenty of Lynx products are consumed by prosumers. This is not some exotic custom product.
But the target public is not the prosumer. And like said rack space is premium for music studio's as a lot of equipment need to find space in only a few racks. ADC and DAC units can't be too big for that and as it's a pernament install, a DB25 is not that bad. The other side often is a patchbay where it's also a DB25 that makes the connection, so that is a standard cable that is needed. The patching of the recording or the playback happens trough the patchbay, not at the back of the adc or dac. Once installed in the rack nobody get's inside the rack anymore but the electronic engineer to fix issues...

For consumer and prosumer it's not practical, but for fixed install pro audio setups like studio's it's perfect and a longtime standard.
 

mk1classic

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Does the DB25 connector influence the sound reproduction in a negative way?
Short D-sub looms can be bought for the price of a few aftermarket sold Neutrik connectors.
 

tktran303

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This is getting OT.

Like reviewing a troop carrier from Australia sent to Ukraine and saying it doesn’t do the kids soccer run very well.
 

Tom C

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As Amir has said, there are probably better choices as opposed to this unit. Equally or more affordable packages are available, with better features and better performance.
Thanks for the review Amir!
 

Geert

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One of the most popular top end studio mixing consoles, the SSL 4000, was wired via D25 connectors (optionaly via 96 way DL connectors).
6a501db6788f8bc3147fbec59d7a4924_L.jpg
 

Tom C

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All of these examples miss the point, really. Amir is not reviewing equipment for studio use. This particular review, like many others, was in response to request from a member to analyze the unit specifically in the context of home user. The unit may not be designed and marketed for prosumer. That’s OK because our interest here is in how readily the unit can be adapted for home use. Conlclusion? Not terrible, compromises are livable if somewhat annoying, cost is not prohibitive but may not be the lowest, performance is acceptable but not the finest available.
A lot of good has come to me personally as a result of this type of review. Just because you are an experienced recording professional, doesn’t mean I’m an experienced recording professional. This review was not designed or marketed to professional studio use.
 

Lambda

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. Just because you are an experienced recording professional, doesn’t mean I’m an experienced recording professional. This review was not designed or marketed to professional studio use.
Just because i'm not an experienced recording professional, doesn’t mean no one is an experienced recording professional.

The difference is saying "this is not an ideal connector for my home hifi application" vs.

"That doesn't stop me from saying it is a bad idea. Nothing says "unprofessional" more than a pigtail cable. It is a hack."
Its not unprofessional and its not hack there is a AES standard.

many professional "brake outs" are available like:

focusrite PRO is still using it on there high end professional DA/AD Dante converters..

image-asset.jpeg

Nothing says "unprofessional" more than a 1u rack unit that needs 2 power cables.

its a bit like buying a Unimog 405 as my grocery getter SUV and complaining about comport features
 
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mdsimon2

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As Amir has said, there are probably better choices as opposed to this unit. Equally or more affordable packages are available, with better features and better performance.
Thanks for the review Amir!

Slightly contrarian take, I think there is nothing modern in the price range that can give you 8 ch AES I/O and 8 ch analog I/O. I've seen many of these units at $500 at Music Go Round and have been tempted to buy one many times.

Sure if you need USB input then this unit probably is not for you but if you need 8 ch AES I/O there are not tons of options available. Okto can do it but is almost 3 times the price, sporadically available, fussy with clocking and has inconsistent sample offsets when using AES.

Michael
 

Geert

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All of these examples miss the point, really. Amir is not reviewing equipment for studio use. This particular review, like many others, was in response to request from a member to analyze the unit specifically in the context of home user.

The buyer knew he was buying a pro audio device, and accepted it had D25 connectors. I'm pretty sure he didn't send it to Amir to get the connectors approved. Otherwise we can also do some complaining about the ugly 19" rack format and the lack of a remote control.
 

Tom C

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The buyer knew he was buying a pro audio device, and accepted it had D25 connectors. I'm pretty sure he didn't send it to Amir to get the connectors approved. Otherwise we can also do some complaining about the ugly 19" rack format and the lack of a remote control.
And I don’t think the buyer complained. Amir made a general comment about it being less than perfect for home user. Amir made the comment, because he was asked to by those of us who value greatly what he has to say.
Around here, I’ve seen people complain about XLR being too fussy, kludgey, exotic for home use, and prefer RCA. I don’t feel that way myself, but respect their point of view. That person may look at the back of this unit, and just scratch their heads, “where do I hook up my amp cables?”
 

Tom C

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Slightly contrarian take, I think there is nothing modern in the price range that can give you 8 ch AES I/O and 8 ch analog I/O. I've seen many of these units at $500 at Music Go Round and have been tempted to buy one many times.

Sure if you need USB input then this unit probably is not for you but if you need 8 ch AES I/O there are not tons of options available. Okto can do it but is almost 3 times the price, sporadically available, fussy with clocking and has inconsistent sample offsets when using AES.

Michael
Thank you for the tip! That just might make it worthwhile. Cost is king!
 

Geert

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Amir made a general comment about it being less than perfect for home user. Amir made the comment, because he was asked to by those of us who value greatly what he has to say.

Perfectly fine Amir made a comment, although no one explicitly asked him about the connectors.

And just as Amir can make a comment, others are free to explain why such a device might have such type of connectors. And here somebody did ask if they are bad for audio performance, hence my example of the SSL 4000.
 
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manisandher

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This is a review and measurements of the discontinued Lynx Aurora 8 audio interface (DAC & ADC).

I wonder how its ADC/DAC loopback measurement fares against other converters from that period?

Here's the measurement from my Pacific Microsonics Model Two:

ADC-DAC Loop Test.JPG

Mani.
 

L-Train

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I've made more measurements with the Aurora 8 using its internal clock, and with it being clocked by AES from the Lynx E44 with both SynchroLock on the Aurora enabled and disabled. All screenshots are in this order horizontally:
  1. Aurora 8 internal clock
  2. Aurora 8 clocked by AES with SynchroLock OFF
  3. Aurora 8 clocked by AES with SynchroLock ON

1 kHz sine (44.1 kHz, 24 bit)

Aurora 8 to E44 - 44.1 kHz 24 bit - 1 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - Aurora internal clock.png Aurora 8 to E44 - 44.1 kHz 24 bit - 1 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - E44 AES master - Aurora SynchroLoc...png Aurora 8 to E44 - 44.1 kHz 24 bit - 1 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - E44 AES master - Aurora SynchroLoc...png

Zoomed:
Aurora 8 to E44 - 44.1 kHz 24 bit - 1 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - Aurora internal clock zoomed.png Aurora 8 to E44 - 44.1 kHz 24 bit - 1 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - E44 AES master - Aurora SynchroLoc...png Aurora 8 to E44 - 44.1 kHz 24 bit - 1 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - E44 AES master - Aurora SynchroLoc...png


12 kHz sine (48 kHz, 24 bit)

Aurora 8 to E44 - 48 kHz 24 bit - 12 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - Aurora internal clock.png Aurora 8 to E44 - 48 kHz 24 bit - 12 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - E44 AES master - Aurora SynchroLock...png Aurora 8 to E44 - 48 kHz 24 bit - 12 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - E44 AES master - Aurora SynchroLock...png

Zoomed:
Aurora 8 to E44 - 48 kHz 24 bit - 12 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - Aurora internal clock zoomed.png Aurora 8 to E44 - 48 kHz 24 bit - 12 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - E44 AES master - Aurora SynchroLock...png Aurora 8 to E44 - 48 kHz 24 bit - 12 kHz sine at -1 dBFS - E44 AES master - Aurora SynchroLock...png


So it looks like Amir's measurements were done with SynchroLock disabled, or enabled and not yet locked. It's much cleaner if you're using the internal clock or if you enable SynchroLock and it becomes fully locked. If clocking externally (via AES or word clock) I can't think of a situation where you'd ever want to disable SynchroLock. If you're using the Aurora for playback or recording using its internal clock (e.g. with the USB or Thunderbolt L-Slot expansion options) it's a very clean interface with low noise and distortion, especially for the time when it was originally released.
 
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mdsimon2

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I've made more measurements with the Aurora 8 using its internal clock, and with it being clocked by AES from the Lynx E44 with both SynchroLock on the Aurora enabled and disabled. All screenshots are in this order horizontally:
  1. Aurora 8 internal clock
  2. Aurora 8 clocked by AES with SynchroLock OFF
  3. Aurora 8 clocked by AES with SynchroLock ON

1 kHz sine (44.1 kHz, 24 bit)

View attachment 211519 View attachment 211521 View attachment 211523

Zoomed:
View attachment 211518 View attachment 211520 View attachment 211522


12 kHz sine (48 kHz, 24 bit)

View attachment 211525 View attachment 211527 View attachment 211529

Zoomed:
View attachment 211524 View attachment 211526 View attachment 211528


So it looks like Amir's measurements were done with SynchroLock disabled. It's much cleaner if you're using the internal clock or if you enable SynchroLock. If clocking externally (via AES or word clock) I can't think of a situation where you'd ever want to disable SynchroLock. If you're using the Aurora for playback or recording using its internal clock (e.g. with the USB or Thunderbolt L-Slot expansion options) it's a very clean interface with low noise and distortion, especially for the time when it was originally released.

Thank you for following up! I always appreciate a deeper dive when something looks a bit weird and this yet again shows how useful having your own measurement capability can be.

Michael
 
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al2002

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This is a review and measurements of the discontinued Lynx Aurora 8 audio interface (DAC & ADC). I am told you can find them used for $700 although the price I see on ebay is $1000.
View attachment 211166
The owner wants to know if this can be competitive with modern 8-channel DACs so that is the functionality I focused on. Back panel has DB25 which means you have to also make or buy pigtails to XLR connectors:
View attachment 211167

These cables are quite thick although the ones the member send me are surprisingly supple. While you can add a USB input card to it, as you see this one doesn't have one so I tested using AES output of my analyzer. That output is stereo only so you are only going to see channels 1 & 2 in the measurements.

Lynx Aurora 8 Measurements
Full output level is a healthy 8 volts so I knocked the digital input by 6 dBFS to get our nominal 4 volt out:
View attachment 211168

While I am not happy with the shape of the noise floor, which varied up and down, overall sum of distortion+noise lands the Aurora 8 in competent category.

Letting the output go up to 8 volts doesn't get you much more:
View attachment 211169

Dynamic range does improve though:
View attachment 211170

IMD distortion is good:
View attachment 211171

Jitter is not:
View attachment 211172

Then again distortion is kept in check:
View attachment 211173

Dac filter is what we usually see as the default in DAC chips:

View attachment 211174

That produces competent THD+N vs frequency:

View attachment 211175

Linearity is near perfect:
View attachment 211176

Conclusions
Lynx had quite a brand in 1990s. It was revered by both professionals and audiophiles building PCs as the time. Their PCI cards were very much sought after. Good to see performance is competent sans whatever is going on with jitter.

For audio playback use, you won't be using the inputs yet paying for them. Add the cost of the USB interface and you don't really have a bargain here compared to likes to Okto 8 DAC.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
Amir, can you please test the ADC section of this unit if you still have it.

Edit: I see it was returned.
 
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GTAXL

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All of these examples miss the point, really. Amir is not reviewing equipment for studio use. This particular review, like many others, was in response to request from a member to analyze the unit specifically in the context of home user. The unit may not be designed and marketed for prosumer. That’s OK because our interest here is in how readily the unit can be adapted for home use. Conlclusion? Not terrible, compromises are livable if somewhat annoying, cost is not prohibitive but may not be the lowest, performance is acceptable but not the finest available.
A lot of good has come to me personally as a result of this type of review. Just because you are an experienced recording professional, doesn’t mean I’m an experienced recording professional. This review was not designed or marketed to professional studio use.
This is equipment for studio use though, that's why to evaluate it and review it for a different application and to ding it for not holding up to said application doesn't make sense.

Also, why does this site strictly have to be geared towards just home hi-fi usage? I thought this was "Audio Science Review" a site where audio equipment was objectively measured. I would love to see more professional units measured, and to be honest I think that's where such measurements have more weight, in the studio where the music is being created and quality must be top-notch. Not to mention home studios that have racks of professional gear. Not everyone is a normal home hifi consumer and into playback only. I am looking into creating a commercial studio and would love to see professional units objectively measured.
 

GTAXL

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So it looks like Amir's measurements were done with SynchroLock disabled. It's much cleaner if you're using the internal clock or if you enable SynchroLock. If clocking externally (via AES or word clock) I can't think of a situation where you'd ever want to disable SynchroLock.
It probably wasn't locked yet and using the analog PLL. But I figured something was fishy.
 
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