New Hilo Reference A/D D/A Converter System Pleases the Purists


Performing artists and audio recording engineers are jazzed about Lynx Studio Technology’s new Hilo Reference A/D D/A Converter System. Pronounced "HE-low," the Hilo converter system provides two channels of analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion, up to eight channels of digital-to-analog (D/A) conversion, a secondary monitor output and a headphone amplifier, all in one compact unit.

No matter how expensive your recording equipment is, its integrated A/D and D/A circuitry and interfaces often leave much to be desired. That’s why audio purists typically use stand-alone converters. Applications for Hilo include mastering, location recording, overdubbing, monitor control and more. And Hilo is FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) based, so new features can be added via a simple download.

Hilo contains an A/D converter, D/A converter and a headphone amplifier. The headphone amplifier has its own dedicated D/A converter, thus delivering high clarity with low noise. Digital I/O circuitry supports AES/EBU, S/PDIF (via coax or optical) or ADAT protocols. An internal 32-channel mixer allows any input to be routed to the stereo headphone output, even if it’s not routed to the analog outputs.

Hilo features 12 inputs, 16 outputs and 32 possible channels through its LSlot port. The AES/EBU inputs and outputs are transformer isolated XLR connectors, while the SPDIF input and output are accessible via transformer-coupled coax or optical (TOSLINK) connections. The optical ports support up to eight ADAT channels, and the ADAT input and output channels are independent of the AES/EBU or S/PDIF co-ax channels.

Hilo’s front panel features a power switch, headphone jack, multipurpose control and a 480 x 272 pixel touch-screen LCD. The touch-screen interface can display only what’s needed for a particular application without appearing too cluttered, and it can be modified easily with a software update. The display shows the basic settings, routing functions, clocking and level settings, and a secondary meter screen can be set to show bar-graph style stereo meters, as well as more conventional metering types like old style VU meters. Hilo can be set up for AC power or battery operation.

ADC 24-bit
DAC 24-bit
Sample Rates 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 196 kHz 
Analog Inputs 2x XLR
Analog Outputs 2x XLR Line
2x 1/4" TRS phone monitor 
Digital Inputs 1x XLR AES/EBU
1x RCA coaxial S/PDIF
1x TOSLink optical S/PDIF or ADAT 
Digital Outputs 1x XLR AES/EBU
1x RCA coaxial S/PDIF
1x TOSLink optical S/PDIF or ADAT 
Other Connectors 1x USB
1x 4-pin XLR battery Input 
Word Clock 2x BNC I/O
Dynamic Range 121dB, A-weighted, -60dBFS signal method
Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 kHz, +/-0.01dB
THD + N Input: -114dB @1 kHz, -1dBFS, 20k Hz filter
Output: -109dB @1 kHz, -1dBFS, 20 kHz filter 
Crosstalk Input: -130dB maximum @ 1 kHz, -1dBFS signal
Output: -120dB maximum @ 1 kHz, -1dBFS signal 
Display 480 x 272 pixel LCD touch screen
Power Requirements 100-240VAC, 50/60 Hz
9-18VDC battery 
Dimensions (WxHxD) 8.5 x 10 x 3.25" (216 x 254 x 83mm)
Weight 6.75 lb (3.1 kg)