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Founded in 1998 by a small group of seasoned audio engineers, Lynx Studio Technology offers a range of high-end hardware and PCIe AD/DA converters. Over the years, the brand has continued to refine its converters with increased precision and improved functionality. Today, Lynx is best known for its transparent Aurora(n) and Hilo converters and has become a staple in some of the world’s greatest mixing and mastering studios.
In this buyer’s guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about Lynx’s configurable Aurora(n) and Hilo converters, as well as the brand’s popular PCIe cards. But first, let’s take a closer look at what makes Lynx converters so unique.
A converter is a serious investment for any engineer, and Lynx hardware is designed to adapt with the inevitably changing needs of your studio. Both the Hilo and Aurora(n) feature endlessly configurable connectivity via proprietary LSlot cards. These interchangeable cards can be used to reconfigure or update analog and digital I/O as well as connectivity with other devices.
Swappable USB, TB3, ProTools HD and Dante output cards are available for all Lynx interfaces. Importantly, LSlot connection options will be available for future standards as well, ensuring that you can maximize the return on investment you get from your Lynx converter.
Plus, the brand’s use of Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chips ensures that firmware updates will allow devices made today to work with future updates so you never have to worry about getting left in the past.
Lynx’s Aurora(n) is the newest generation of the brand’s iconic multitrack interface. It offers pristine, ultra-transparent AD/DA conversion with an endlessly configurable modular design that can be integrated into studios big and small.
Every Aurora(n) includes the second generation of Lynx’s SynchroLock word clock, which offers a stunning 300,000:1 reduction in jitter. The hardware includes one input and three outputs on BNC connectors, as well as an onboard 32-channel microSD recorder for recording and playback independent of a DAW, and two audiophile-grade headphone amps, each with its own volume control.
The converters in the Aurora(n) borrow technology and design from the Hilo to improve specifications and transparency over previous generations of the Aurora, offering up to 24-bit, 192 kHz conversion. Additionally, the Aurora(n) includes a discrete converter array—each pair of channels has its own dedicated, self-contained conversion device, ensuring minimal crosstalk and distortion while increasing dynamic range.
Utilizing the brand’s LSlot technology, Lynx is able to offer the Aurora(n) in a variety of configurations (all customizable after purchase) to suit the needs of any size studio. The Aurora(n) can be configured with 8, 16, 24, or 32 channels—plus, you can always add an additional bank of 8 channels as your studio grows in the future.
The Aurora(n) is currently available with USB, Thunderbolt, Dante, and ProTools HD connectivity. The cards for these hardware connections are interchangeable after purchase. Importantly, future standards will be supported as well via their own LSlot cards and free firmware updates.
In addition to basic device connections and audio I/O, the Aurora(n) can be upgraded with additional modules. The LM-A4 and LM-A24 allow the user to add analog I/O to the Aurora(n) via TRS connectors. Both modules add four audio outputs, with the LM-A24 including two audio inputs as well.
The LM-PRE4 expands the Aurora(n) into a standalone computer interface or audio recording device by adding a four-channel microphone preamplifier. The LM-PRE4 supports microphone, Hi-Z, and line-level signals, and adds four channels of A/D conversion per module.
The LM-DIG is an LSlot upgrade that adds 16 channels of AES/EBU digital I/O connectivity. It allows the Aurora(n) to drop in seamlessly as a replacement for earlier Aurora models. The DB-ADAT pairs with the LM-DIG to add ADAT and S/PDIF connectivity, reinforcing Lynx’s tradition of non-obsolescence design.
At first glance, the Hilo would appear to be the sort of two-channel converter you might find in a mastering studio or audiophile listening room. However, a deeper look at its features reveals that it’s capable of much more than that.
Hilo offers two input and six output channels of AD/DA conversion (up to 192 kHz), both utilizing Lynx’s ultra-low jitter SynchroLock word clock to ensure unparalleled transparency. Hilo also features Lynx’s ultra-low jitter SynchroLock word clock. These features alone would make Hilo worth a look, but it's Hilo's flexibility and potential for expansion that really make it a standout.
Hilo’s onboard I/O can be expanded to up to 32 channels via AES, ADAT, and S/PDIF connections. Those channels are all internally routable to each other via an intuitive touchscreen interface. Hilo’s touchscreen also offers real-time metering and analysis (including analog-style VU meters), as well as control over sample rate, clock source and settings recall—no software needed.
The Hilo is also powerable by mains as well as 9-18v DC battery packs. That feature, coupled with its small size and flexible connectivity, makes Hilo an excellent choice for location recording and mobile studios.
Like the Aurora(n), the Hilo can be configured with swappable LSlot cards for USB, Thunderbolt, and Dante connections. Future connection standards will be available via the same LSlot format, meaning that Hilo users can count on this interface to be the nucleus of their setups for years to come.
In addition to their hardware interfaces, Lynx Studio Technology offers several PCI Express card converters for purely computer-based setups.
The Lynx E44 offers four channels of AD/DA conversion up to 192 kHz and four channels of AES3 or S/PDIF I/O in a PCIe format. It has a V2 DMA engine for extremely low-latency operation and has the same SynchroLock clock generator found in the Hilo. It offers fixed and adjustable trim on its four analog I/Os, controllable via the Lynx Mixer application. In addition to studio and broadcast, the E44 is ideal for medical, military, and industrial applications where reliable, full-spectrum audio is required.
The E22 offers the same features and functionality as the E44 in a 2-channel configuration.
The AES16e offers 16 channels of AES/EBU audio. Designed to integrate multichannel converters, digital consoles, DAWs and other digital equipment, the AES16e features a 32x16 digital mixer and supports 5.1 and 7.1 playback. The AES16e-SRC variant offers sixteen channels of sample rate conversion. Both models can be expanded with the optional AES50, which allows up to 48 channels of digital audio to be transmitted over CAT5e cable.