TapeOp Review: Lynx: Aurora(n) Interface
Good digital conversion has come a long way in a relatively short time. There are now so many great options, ranging from streamlined 2-channel desktop interfaces and modular systems all the way up to multichannel I/Os that serve the needs of large format professional studios. Lynx is not new to the game, consistently building top-of-the-line converters for audio tracking, mixing, playback, and mastering needs for over 20 years. The latest offering from Lynx is their Aurora(n). Lynx continues to use swappable LSlot cards with their Hilo [Tape Op #90] and original Aurora [#73] interfaces. They’ve carried on that LSlot technology to the Aurora(n) and have introduced several new modules that allow you to configure the interface to fit your workflow. These can be configured at the time of purchase (lynxstudio.com/custom-shop) or upgraded later. This modular system (when using the LSlot for computer connectivity, paired with firmware updating) makes the Aurora(n) essentially “future proof.” Currently swappable LSlot cards are available for USB, Thunderbolt, Pro Tools | HD, and Dante.
My single rack space review unit came configured with 32×32 I/O (also available in 8×8, 16×16 and 24×24 versions) with a Thunderbolt LSlot card. Because I planned on using the Aurora(n) with both with my newer Apple laptop and my older Mac Pro tower setup, Lynx also sent me an LT-HD LSlot card (for my Pro Tools | HD system) that I could swap out for the Thunderbolt card. The analog line inputs and outputs are connected via DB-25s on the back panel. The back panel also sports BNC connectors (1 in and 3 out) to an ultra-low jitter word clock. Different rear module configurations and combinations allow you to customize your entire I/O, within reason. Lynx currently offers a 4-channel mic pre with A/D (LM-PRE4), an 8-channel analog I/O (LM-AIO8), and a 16-channel AES/EBU digital I/O module (LM-DIG) with more options on the way. Setting up was “plug and play.” Simple changes to my DAW’s I/O configuration were all that I needed for use with laptop via the Thunderbolt LSlot card, and, when switching to the LT-HD LSlot to integrate with my older Mac Pro / Pro Tools 10 [#86] system with HD Accel cards, the converter appeared seamlessly as a compatible 192 device (more on this later)!
The real highlight of the Aurora(n) is its sound, due in part to the analog signal path for each channel that has been designed as a self-contained and shielded circuit. Plus, each channel pair has its own dedicated conversion device. This offers the sonic advantage of reducing crosstalk and distortion while significantly increasing dynamic range and performance, resulting in transparent imaging and detail. HCT (Hilo Converter Technology), which borrows the mastering grade conversion design of the Lynx Hilo, makes up the core of the Aurora(n).
But how does the Aurora(n) sound? In a word: awesome! It’s uncolored, and elements of my mixes were presented with what I perceived as more of their own “space.” After working on a mix for several hours, I found myself using less EQ and reverb. Maybe we had done such a fantastic job of recording it that it was unnecessary, but regardless, with this clarity I knew that I was making informed choices. Stereo imaging was solid and the sound stage expansive. With any conversion, my preference is to not hear it. I just want to be confident that what I am hearing is not being altered in the conversion process. If something needs grit, great! I can add it. If the low end of a track needs to be tidied up, I want to have a crystal clear idea of just how much. The Aurora(n) delivered on all fronts in this regard, and I worked more efficiently when using the Lynx.
Another standout feature of this unit is that microSD recording is built-in. When you are tracking, and the band plays that magical idea during a run through of a song, you won’t miss it – even if your DAW wasn’t actively recording or, worse yet, crashes in the middle of a take! This is a great safety net and dummy check. Imagine the uses (and redundancy) for live show recordings…
Front panel function buttons control a menu that provides easy navigation of the LED display, which offers two main metering options: stereo or multichannel. Here the user has the option to route pairs of audio outputs to the SD recorder or to the two built-in, fantastic sounding, audiophile grade headphone outputs with individual level controls. Without referencing the manual, it was easy to understand and operate.
Due to the compact form factor for all this I/O, the Aurora(n) makes for a great mobile rig option that is a snap to throw into a manageable rack along with some preamps and select outboard gear. Because of the SD recorder onboard, you could skip the computer altogether and just record straight to the card, noting however you have no DAW control functions beyond record and stop. All tracks from the microSD card can be dragged right into your favorite DAW for editing later!
Swapping out the Thunderbolt LSlot card for the supplied LT-HD LSlot card was very easy; a screwdriver was all I needed. I especially wanted to audition this option because I am sure that not everyone that’s upgrading converters will want to completely replace their computer, software, etc. The thing that sucks about working in the digital realm is that a single update of a system component is almost never just that, but rather an extensive and expensive endeavor. Set up was straightforward, and, as mentioned earlier, with a few adjustments in Pro Tools, the system saw the Aurora(n) as a compatible 192 I/O. I ate up all my I/O options with analog connections, but, with the use of some mults and patchbay magic, I was working in the same way I had for years – only it sounded markedly better.
Gear at this level doesn’t come cheap. A maxed out 32×32 Aurora(n)configuration will run about $5600, which, in my opinion, is a more than fair price if you never have to think about buying another converter – well worth the cost for its high-quality and uncompromising audio. Comparing the Aurora(n) to other converters in its class is like comparing bad-ass sports cars. They look great and are fast as hell, so it’s just a matter of taste really. With that in mind, the Aurora(n)’s ability to integrate future forms of connectivity makes it a stand out amongst the others.
LIPA Further Invests in Audient at Sixth Form College
An Audient ASP8024 Heritage Edition is now installed at the brand new recording studio in LIPA Sixth Form College. Sound technician, John Kershaw – a LIPA graduate himself, therefore fully conversant with Audient products – is very pleased at its arrival. “It is our hope that tech students from LIPA Sixth Form will graduate and gain a place at LIPA HE to study on the Sound Tech degree programme. Having already used the ASP8024-HE in college, they should feel right at home with LIPA’s studios housing two original ASP8024s,” he says.
“…ASP8024-HE provides students with the best of both worlds; analogue inputs and digital control”
With a variety of courses on offer including Sound Technology and Music, the studio is already enjoying heavy footfall. “We take in around 15 Sound Technology students every academic year, who will spend most of their time between the recording studio, Mac lab and theatre. All our Music students will complete a recording module during their time here too,” he explains.
“We also have a couple of Audient iD4 audio interfaces dotted around the college. These little boxes are great for recording vocals, dialogue and for re-recording individual tracks on studio projects. They look and feel like the master section of an analogue desk,” continues John.
iD4: “These little boxes are great for recording vocals, dialogue and for re-recording individual tracks on studio projects.”
So, what is it about Audient products that makes them so effective in the classroom? John speaks of his experience as a student and technician: “At the time and now, what struck me the most with Audient’s designs was the simple and logical signal paths used in the desk architecture. This is obviously great for mixing engineers, but also makes it the best choice for teaching students.
“When students can easily retrace their signal path from input to output, they will nearly always be able to pin-point and resolve any issues without having to ask for help.” A technique that clearly worked for John back in the day.
He runs through the current setup. “In our new studio, we are running an Audient ASP8024-HE desk with 12 input channels, DLC control and master section with an Audient ASP880patched in for expansion when needed.”
John Kershaw on Audient products: “great for mixing engineers, but also […] the best choice for teaching students.”
“Using an iMac running Logic and Pro Tools, the ASP8024-HE provides students with the best of both worlds, analogue inputs and digital control. Students are able to set up their sessions based on 2 preset projects:
- 12in/12out for analogue tracking and mixing through the ASP8024-HE
- 16in/2out, using the 12 inputs on the ASP8024-HE and utilising a further 4 from the ASP880, mixing within the DAW using the DLC control faders and monitoring back through the ASP8024-HE.
“Both project mixdowns can be routed through the console’s master section to make use of the retro iron, tone shaping and mix bus compressor. Both projects can also be routed easily through the foldback. For instance, a drummer can monitor from the analogue inputs whilst playing to a click coming back from a Logic return so as to avoid latency,” he says.
“One understated feature of the ASP8024-HE is its noiseless power supply. This is a huge advantage for anyone working in a small control room where fan noise from the desk, computers and other devices can really affect your mixing.”
Everything in the building is networked, so that studio projects can be accessed anywhere. “This is great for teaching staff who need to check the progress of work without disturbing current sessions. It is also great for students who need to work on projects without having to book the studio, saving precious time,” concludes John.
One of the newest colleges in Liverpool, LIPA Sixth Form College focuses on performing arts and is now entering its third year.
Introducing the Moog One Polyphonic Synthesizer
Today (October 8), Moog shared the first footage of the synthesizer in a short film featuring Suzanne Ciani, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Dev Hynes, Lonnie Smith, Robert Glasper, Paris Strother, Mike Dean, Mark Ronson and Jeff Bhasker.
The analog Moog One comes in two flavors – eight-voice and 16-voice. Each voice is made up of three VCOs, and two independent analog filters, while an extensive set of onboard effects allow for what Moog describes as “deeply layered, evolving soundscapes”.
Moog also relaunched its website today with an ongoing livestream that will show the production process at the Moog Factory in Asheville, NC every day during business hours. The new site also has a live chat function that allows the public to converse with all types of Moog staff, from engineers to retail.
In a press release, Moog says that these new functions are an extension of company founder Bob Moog’s philosophy, which was to build tools for artists to achieve their creative vision – something that Moog believes it can do better with their input. Watch the livestream below.
The Moog One is one of several new products from Moog this year, including a percussion synth called Drummer From Another Mother, a semi-modular synth, Grandmother, and an iOS version of its classic Model D instrument.
Last year, FACT visited the Moog factory to find out how the company’s much-loved synthesizers are made – read the feature here, and watch Mike Dean jamming on Moog’s recent DFAM synth below.
Flea Microphones in Stock at Awave
Flea microphones – custom made microphones, high quality studio tube condenser microphones manufactured in Slovakia.
Korg Introduces SEQUENZ Series Stands & Bags
A refined design that makes the player and instrument stand out, and enhances any performance. Multi-functionality that works with any model keyboard in a large variety of situations.
A classic line of accessories for working musicians made to the same exacting high-quality standards as you have come to expect from KORG.
This all-new brand dramatically challenges convention by focusing completely on what matters most to the player. Welcome SEQUENZ
MOTU – From Big Screen to Home Studio: A Modern Approach to Composing Classical Music
Get Acquainted with the Rupert Neve Designs RMP-D8
The RMP-D8’s First Review Is In
Whether used for live performance, broadcast, or in the studio, the new RMP-D8 is a revelation in sound quality, reliability and convenience. Each channel of the RMP-D8 has a fully-realized class-A microphone preamplifier feeding a custom transformer, maintaining the high standards of Rupert Neve Designs’ standalone preamplifiers while seamlessly integrating mastering-grade converters with Dante and AES connectivity.
“I heard and felt the difference immediately. The RMP-D8 sounded absolutely fantastic.”
-Vince Lepore, FOH Magazine
RMP Sound Tests at Orb Recording
To showcase the RMP-D8’s preamps and converters, we put them up against some of the most well-known studio equivalents (SSL 6K E G+) on drums, voice and guitar with similarly well-known microphones. While this is by no means a scientific shootout, it does provide a useful reference for the RMP-D8’s classic Rupert Neve character and capabilities.
“When we put the RMP in, it seemed like there was an instant body and dimension on the drums versus the other micpreamps and converters.”
Charlie Kramsky (Nothing More, Bobby McFerrin)
RMP-D8 Control with Yamaha CL / QL Consoles
Yamaha Professional Audio recently announced Version 5.0 for Yamaha CL and QL Digital Audio Consoles. With the new update, the Rupert Neve Designs RMP-D8 can now be controlled remotely from any Yamaha CL or QL console equipped with Dante, providing a new high-end mic preamp option for Dante-connected venues, studios, broadcast systems, and touring rigs.
In The Spotlight Cloud Microphones
Hear more of your mic’s character and less preamp with the ultra-clean gain of our award-winning Cloudlifter Series Mic Activators.
Elevate Your Sound to the power of Z and shape the sound of your mic, guitar, bass, or keyboard with our Vari-Z control.