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 hç-lô) 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 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 a480 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. The main control screen has ten tabs for all of these plus five stereo meter sets, and faders for the monitor and headphone outputs. Beyond this first screen is where you see more of the innovation and versatility that Hilo offers.
A second meter screen shows just two larger bar-graph style stereo VU 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 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 130 dB maximum @ 1kHz, -1dBFS signal
LINE OUT PERFORMANCE THD+N -109dB @1kHz, -1dBFS, 20kHz filter Dynamic Range 121 dB, A- weighted, -60dBFS signal method Frequency Resp. ± 0.01 dB, 20 – 20kHz Crosstalk -120 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 expected to be $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 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.
- Output Mix Routing Page: Mono Mode. Any stereo input can now be set to Mono. For example, when bringing in a
- single channel on Line IN Left, pushing the Mono button under the meter will allow the same signal to also be routed
- to both the LEFT and RIGHT Outputs. The Mono button will also merge any LEFT / RIGHT pair to a single mono
- signal routed to both outputs. It is important to note that this selection is unique for every input/output combination.
- Overload Indicators. On the Output Mix Routing Page. Above each vertical meter we have added an Overload indicator.
- This aids in setting levels in the digital domain when routing the signals.
- “Show/Hide Recall Scene” button added to the Display menu. This button allows the end user to add a button to
- easily recall and switch between scenes from the VU and Horizontal meters pages. This same button also allows this
- added Scene Recall button on the Meters page to be hidden.
- “Power Up State” button in the Tools Menu. Useful for customers who power down an entire rack or studio with one
- switch. When this button shows “Standby”, Hilo can only be turned on by touching the power switch on the front.
- When the button shows “On”, Hilo can be turned on by the power switch on the back or by applying AC (with the
- power switch in the On position.)
- Headphone “Jack Sense” implemented. Hilo will now detect whether or not a cable is plugged into the Phones jack
- on the front of Hilo. When nothing is detected, the Rotary Control is only used for the Monitors output level – you do
- not need to press the knob to toggle between the levels for Headphone and Monitor outputs.
- Ability to play audio files directly from an iPad. Using Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit and aps such as iTunes,
- Garage Band, Golden Ear and others, Hilo can directly play back iTunes files as well as higher resolution WAV and
- FLAC files.
- ADAT implementation Phase 1. Hilo can now play 8 channels ADAT audio via the Optical output. This offers 8 channels
- at 44.1/48 kHz, and implement s S/MUX for 4 channels at 88.2/96 kHz or 2 channels at 176.4/192 kHz. ADAT
- inputs will be implemented in a future firmware release.
- “Return to Meters” button on the Display page, formerly named “Menu Delay”. “Return to Meters” better describes
- the function. The selectable time has been changed, to a minimum of 15 seconds (until the Meter screen comes
- back on) to 5 minutes. A “Never” option allows the user to only get back to meters by pushing the Display button in
- the lower left corner of the LCD.
- “About Hilo” in the Info page. Information about the LSlot card now shows the serial number.
- Level meters on Output Mix Routing Page now correctly show levels from -60dBFS to 0dBFS. Previously the meters
- showed levels down to -38.5dBFS.
Hilo Firmware Version 5 is now available. This free upgrade has many new added features, improvements as well as some tweaks “under the hood”. Here is some of what Hilo V5 offers:
- New DSD Playback The audiophile segment of the Hilo customer base has been waiting for this. We have tested DSD playback with Pure Music for Mac and JRiver for Windows and the results are stunning. Another great capability (and selling tool) for Hilo.
- New Solo Function Our Mastering customers told us they had to have this. Now they do. Added to the Outputs Mix Routing page, the Solo button can be used for any input channel.
- New Test Tone A new screen has been added to the Tools menu that allows you to send a 1 KHz test tone to any output with level control in 0.5 dB increments.
- Improved Screen Dim Function Now, in addition to being able to dim the touch screen, you can set a delay to dim it or turn it down all the way. So the customers who want the screen to go dark while Hilo continues to work now have this option.
- New Scene Memories are Nameable We have added a QWERTY keyboard to the user interface, so now Scene 1 through Scene 6 can be given any name you like, using up to 13 characters.
- Upgraded ADAT Section The Optical input now supports ADAT for up to 8 channels.
- Upgraded Analog Metering First, we significantly sped up the meters. Second, you can now calibrate the meter in a range of 0VU = -3dBFS to -24dBFS. Let the meters spring to life!
Other improvements include an improved Stereo/Mono section and color coded level indicators for the Monitor and Headphone volume. All in all, a very powerful set of new features and improvements. And all free to any current Hilo owner.