A/D D/A Converter System with Headphone Amplifier
Lynx Reengineers the two-channel converter format with innovative features and control
Lynx Studio Technology is proud to present the Hilo Reference A/D D/A Converter System. With the pristine, open, transparent audio quality for which Lynx is known, Hilo (pronounced HE-low) provides two channels of mastering quality analog to digital conversion, up to eight channels of digital to analog conversion, a secondary monitor output, and a world class independent headphone amplifier in a compact half-rack size. A first for the two-channel pro converter market, Hilo’s innovative 480 x 272 touchscreen provides a flexible and intuitive interface that can adapt to a particular application and be easily upgraded with enhancements and new features. Initial front panel controls support extensive signal routing and mixing, sample rate selection, clock source options, levels, metering and diagnostic features.
Hilo completely redefines and evolves the category of the two channel converter. Of utmost importance is the audio signal quality. The completely new design of the analog stages and converter topology for Hilo break new ground in terms of lowering distortion and noise while maintaining transparency for A/D and D/A conversion. Beyond that, Hilo offers extensive I/O capabilities and utilizes the latest FPGA technology with vast resources for control, routing, and signal processing capabilities. Also in development are diagnostic and analysis tools for Hilo. The LCD screen is a natural interface for these functions.
The digital or analog inputs can be routed to three separate outputs, Line Output (with 8 trim settings), Monitor Output, and Headphone Output. The Monitor and Headphone Outputs have volume controls, accessible via faders on the touchscreen or the single knob on the front (offering control in ½ dB increments). Another innovation, the Headphone section has its own dedicated D/A converter. This supports the creation of 32-channel headphone mixes independent of the main and monitor outputs, as well as providing specifications that rival those of dedicated headphone amps costing $1500 and more.
The digital section offers a wide range of inputs. AES/EBU inputs and outputs have transformer isolated balanced XLR connectors. SPDIF input and output are available via transformer-coupled coax or optical (TOSLINK) connections. The Optical ports can also be used for up to eight ADAT channels. The ADAT input and output channels are completely independent from the AES/EBU or S/PDIF coax channels. The Lynx LT-USB LSlot accessory is also included, for computer connectivity. Lynx’s low jitter SynchroLock word clock is also included, with Word Clock in and out connections available.
In total, Hilo has 12 total inputs, 16 total outputs plus 32 channels possible via its LSlot port. The unit’s FPGA powers its internal 32 channel mixer, which allows Hilo to offer the most versatile I/O and routing in the two channel converter genre. This is just the beginning of the innovation.
In contrast to the concentrated and intricate back panel, Hilo’s front panel is elegant in its simplicity. It has a power switch, headphone jack, multipurpose control and a 480 x 272 pixel high resolution LCD touchscreen. This high-resolution screen does a lot more than simply replace the buttons on the front panel of most other converters. Of course it handles the basic settings and routing functions, clocking and level settings.
A second meter screen shows just two larger bar-graph style stereo bar meters. Any input or output set can be assigned to each meter. In addition to bar-graph meters common on most converters, Hilo’s touchscreen is able to show more traditional metering types, such as old style VU meters. Also in development are diagnostic screens, such as real time analyzer, phase meter and loudness meter. As with all other Lynx products, Hilo is FPGA based, meaning new features, capabilities and graphics can be added at any time with a simple download.
Crucial for mastering and critical listening, Hilo offers world class, verifiable specifications. Actual measurements of a preproduction model show:
LINE IN A/D PERFORMANCE
THD+N -114dB @1kHz, -1dBFS, 20kHz filter
Dynamic Range 121 dB, A-weighted, -60dBFS signal method
Frequency Resp. ± 0.01 dB, 20 – 20kHz
Crosstalk -140 dB maximum @ 1kHz, -1dBFS signal
LINE OUT D/A PERFORMANCE
THD+N -109dB @1kHz, -1dBFS, 20kHz filter
Dynamic Range 121 dB, A- weighted, -60dBFS signal method
Frequency Resp. ± 0.02 dB, 20 – 20kHz
Crosstalk -135 dB maximum @ 1kHz, -1dBFS signal
Hilo can be powered by standard 110-230V AC power or remotely with 9-18 volts DC, allowing the use of standard video battery packs or even auto cigarette lighter connections. Hilo measures 8.50 x 3.25 x 10.00 inches, weighs 6.75 pounds and will be available with a silver or black front panel/knob option. Available in the second half of 2011, the US suggested retail price is $2495.
It is impossible to compare Hilo to other two channel AD and DA converters. In fact it is a unique product that is, at first, a little difficult to get your head around. Basically, Hilo replaces three different, critical components:
#1 Hilo is an analog to digital converter
#2 It is also a digital to analog converter. With most companies, these are two separate units.
#3 It is an independent headphone amplifier. The headphone section has its own, dedicated D/A converter. This provides two key benefits. First this allows Hilo to offer a headphone output with exceptional clarity and noise specifications. Second, due to Hilo’s internal 32 channel mixer, any input set can be routed to the headphone stereo output. This means that a mix that is entirely different from the analog outputs and monitors can be applied to the headphones.
- Hilo is a 3 in one unit – AD converter, DA converter and Headphone with its own dedicated D/A converter.
- There are three unique sets of analog outputs: main analog output, monitor output (with volume) and headphone output (with volume)
- The flexible digital I/O section offers the choice of AES/EBU, SPDIF by coax or TOSLINK optical, or ADAT formats
- The innovative design of the analog stage and converter topology allow ultra low noise and distortion specifications
- A 480 x 272 pixel LCD touch screen for operation and monitoring
- A 32 channel internal mixer in the updatable FPGA
- 12 total inputs, 16 total outputs plus 32 channels possible via LSlot.
- AC powered with Battery operation available
- Open ended software for future measurement, metering, diagnostic and personalization features using the touch screen LCD.