May 15, 2006

New Toys!

by Chris Randall

I scored a Lynx AES16 card over the weekend. A really cool guy on Gearslutz was selling a new-in-box one for a significant discount, which I couldn't pass up. So I stopped by his house/studio on the way to visit my Grandmother for Mother's Day, and we traded cash for card. I've ordered the proper cables, but I don't have 'em yet. As soon as they arrive, my MOTU 896 is for sale. I'd like to get $600 for it, so if there is anyone out there that wants to take the next step up from, say, an Mbox or something, now is your chance.

Speaking of Mboxen, the person that wanted to buy mine backed out, so it is available again. I originally had it for $150, but I'd take $125 for it, or I would trade for something interesting, like an electric resonator guitar or a cool old mic or pedal or something.

Speaking of tasty new toys, you may not have seen in the comments of an earlier thread that I cancelled my Chandler Germanium order with Mercenary. I didn't particularly care for their lack of communication regarding the order taking so long. So I ordered a 312A from Brent Averill, and it just arrived this morning. Customer service: 5 blinking gold stars. Product quality: 10 neon orange gold stars. This is a fantastic mic pre, and they really did right by me. I can't find the superlatives, except to say that if you're on the fence about purchasing a Brent Averill product, hop on over. They couldn't be nicer, and you get what you pay for and then some. As soon as I build up enough scratch I'm going to get the 1272, as well.

EDIT: I've just been fooling with this Lynx card, and I've got it running at 1.45 ms of latency on a jam-packed project with no skips. How fucking nice is that. I love pro gear.



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May.15.2006 @ 5:53 PM
How is this more or less "pro" than RME kit? (Does anyone really make "pro" digital gear?)

Those RME guys seem to have their shit together w.r.t. drivers and the PCI spec in general, though I'm displeased to report that my new hotshit dual-core AMD box still glitches now and again when playing back 20-track 24-bit projects of medium density and CPU usage. Thanks VST!


May.15.2006 @ 6:04 PM
Chris Randall
It's not more or less "pro" than the equivalent RME product. My research shows there's really only two choices if you want a lot of AES I/O in your computer and you don't use PT, and that's RME or this Lynx card. I got a good deal on the Lynx card, so I rocked it. My point is that this card is "pro" relative to, say, a Focusrite Safire.

It is worth mentioning that I also had the problems you mentioned, which is one reason I sold the Hammerfall in the first place. I also never got better than 5ms of input latency out of the RME without glitching. My testing method here was to record all 16 inputs simultaneously, while playing back a 28-track 24 bit 44.1 project. I got no glitches with the buffer at 64, and an input latency, as I said, of 1.45ms. I'm happy. There is, of course, additional latency at the Rosetta, but nothing to write home about.

I know that people have gotten really good (and certainly equivalent) performance out of the Hammerfall, so this isn't saying the Lynx is any better or worse than the RME. But I now have what I needed, and it seems to work well.



May.15.2006 @ 9:07 PM
I'm not sure why people are so reserved about Lynx. I own the venerable old LynxOne, and it still gives me rock-solid super low latency audio about 5 or 6 years after I got it. I also owned an RME Digi 96/8, which worked great, but the Lynx has been more stable, and has really hot clean balanced outs. If you look at the cable loom you get with the LynxOne, it just OOZES quality. It's super heavy duty cables, with all XLR connectors. And the mixer app for it may be ugly, but it works flawless.

I've owned many other pro and semi pro interfaces, and I have always been impressed with the Lynx. It holds up quite well against much newer gear.


May.15.2006 @ 11:58 PM
to my ears, the Lynx Aurora 16 beats converters twice its price.

so the PCI cards aren't their only products that are worth far more than they sell for (and often worth more than higher priced competitors)


May.16.2006 @ 2:25 AM
Interesting. It never even occurred to me to blame any glitches on the RME, that's how much I trust those guys -- I assumed that my new hotshit machine has a problem. Hard sayin, I guess. But right now I wouldn't use this thing for a big multitrack session. And that's sad.

OTOH if I got rid of the multiface I'd need me some A/D and D/A. Ow, spendy.


May.16.2006 @ 11:25 AM
Chris Randall
Just try raising your buffer size until the glitches go away. Simple. (Of course, if you go past 512, you're going to have to start examining zero-latency monitoring options.)



May.16.2006 @ 11:35 AM
Its odd that my Hammerfall seems to be free of 'glitching' issues, although Live doesn't seem to be as happy as it should (I blame that fact that this is a dual xeon) Logic and Nuendo work fine down to 1.5ms.

May.16.2006 @ 11:53 AM
Chris Randall
It is worth noting that the current Euphonix system uses the RME MADI card, and all the RME cards are the same basic thing with different connectors, so I'm sure there's a way everyone can have trouble-free performance with the high-end RME cards.

That said, and having now owned both an RME and a Lynx, I can say without any shadow of a doubt that it was a lot easier to set up the Lynx for glitch-free operation, at least in Windows with Nuendo. It took me all of 15 minutes to get it all configured, whereas I've literally spent days tuning the Hammerfall.

The big bonus of the RME card, as far as I can tell, is a slightly lower CPU load at high track counts. I believe this is a result of the ASIO "poured in hardware." So, with only 1 day of Lynx use, my initial opinion reads like this: easier to set up than the RME, and a more sophisticated driver and control panel, but if you run 30 to 60 tracks, your CPU load from _just_ the playback (not using any plugins) will be higher.

I don't know how that would work out with CoreAudio, though, which isn't going to make use of the "poured ASIO." I think that the CPU load is going to be similar for both cards in OSX.

Since my normal projects run 20 to 30 tracks, I'm not going to see the benefit of the ASIO stuff on the RME card, in real-world terms, so it doesn't really matter to me. Thus, the "easy to set up" part, and the quite extensive control over the card are more important.

And finally, the Lynx does 2-wire DSUB, so you can use a single DB25 cable for an Apogee AD/DA 16X. With a Hammerfall, you've got to come up with some rather ridiculous fan-outs to pull this off. I think that's actually kind of a big deal.



May.16.2006 @ 12:26 PM
I haven't had a chance to do some more experiments on my new machine -- I may be able to blame things on a UAD-1 and the video card sharing an IRQ. (it's 2006! yay!) In my experience, the UAD-1 is *much* flakier than the RME when it comes to IRQ sharing, etc.

Raising the latency isn't attractive for obvious reasons, and also because dammit, a brand new screamer machine should be able to perform better than my 5-year-old Athlon 1400 did.

As for the Apogee 16x -- that's a bunch o' cash. I do want to get 16 tracks going in and out of my machine at some point tho, and maybe even in a portable fashion for remote recording.


May.16.2006 @ 12:31 PM
Chris Randall
I've heard from a couple places that the UAD-1 isn't at all happy with low buffer sizes. I've just recently shied away from my PowerCore fascination for that same reason. I'm hoping Duende will allow at least a 256 without troubles. I prefer 64, but I can live with 256 for some SSL action.



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