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Thread: Lynx Hilo.

  1. #1
    music whore Happy Camper's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    Lynx Hilo.

    I've been procrastinating on buying a new DAC.I had been using a 20 yr old CAL DAC but finally had an opportunity and made a decision. I was all over the place the last five years learning about advancements in computer audio. I found it rare to have a lot of capability and killer sound at a reasonable price. Older high end DACs are limited by bit rate/ depth but offer great output implementation. The new DACs offer better resolution and more capability with digital management but save a buck on the important components to fit a price range. So I concluded I need to spend for components and technology but at what cost?

    I determined long ago that getting hi end performance could be found with mid end money if you were diligent. You could pay more and find a bigger percentage of hi end performance but isn't a guarantee. I've decided that $2k is a pretty good price/value point for high end sound. The issue then is do you buy used for better value or new for gimmickry and "new car" feel.

    I was down to an AN kit, Anedio D2, or a used NAD M51 or PWD II. While doing review searches, I saw mention of a box that will let you manage digital and analog sources and offered quality sound and a decent headphone amp. It gives you the ability to rip vinyl or other analog source to computer. You could drop in on any input or output to monitor with the headphone amp. It becomes a switcher, AD/DA converter up to 192/24, field management of recording up to 32 individual inputs. All outputs are controlled so you can feed several systems and have volume control to each.

    The geargeek in me won out and so I contacted my local dealer about pricing and explained that I was on a few headphone forums and might have a few neighbors interested if the price was worth it. The list of $2495 was kind of over my budget but I was really wanting one of these. The owner responded with a price of $1850 for a USB and $1725 for a non USB unit. A grin erupted as I could now get one. And for his offer, several have contacted him for a purchase.

    Us guys think we know more than we do sometimes so we think that by pushing buttons and selecting options by ourselves is the only way to learn so off I go. BAD little monkey. Fortunately it was pretty easy to set up and with some tinkering with outputs of my music players, was listening to music in no time. Unfortunately my main headphone rig headphone went down the same day so I'm limited to my dynamic headphones and the Hilo's headphone amp. (Tube hp amp out on loan) My audio buddy was moved to let me borrow a pair or two until I can get my main rig back up to speed. The RS-1s don't do this baby justice. My Ety 4s never sounded so good. Rich, full sound. Not like typical SS gear. I left the unit on all night to begin break in and this morning was rewarded with a more open soundstage and the dynamics were already impressive but just lets you know how powerful this headphone amp is. It is ran from it's own DAC so takes a feed from the input, before the main DAC input.

    I won't go further until I've given a few weeks break-in and I can listen to it on my main HP rig of the HE-6. Unfortunately, the HE-6 are off to the maker for a repair of my own ignorance. I hope they go easy on me but I'm prepared for the worst. The danger of using an unfamiliar piece of gear in your system. I pushed a wrong button on the DAC and put full volume line out to my headphones and me thinks I popped the traces on the panels. Stoopid of me but I'm not too proud to admit so that maybe others will learn. I know how to use it now and won't make that same mistake again.

    My curious nature has me taking the DAC to my buddy's place where I can get some idea of it's sound on his HE-6 rig tomorrow. He also has a M51 and PWDII at home and a Buffalo III being modded. Our other local head fier has the Anedio D2 so we'll get together in a bit for a shoot out. The HE-6 on a Nelson Pass First Watt F1 and the LCD-3 on a Schiit Moljnir with each of the DACS.

    I've had a listen to the PWD II and the M51 already and the Hilo falls between the two. The PWD is very refined and the M51 has a more full sound and both are very good DACs. I've also heard the Anedio D2 in my rig. They all have more in common but we will do some instant comparisons as the Hilo can do digital switching and has optical, coax, balanced digital ins and can be assigned to any output. Hilo Reference A/D D/A Converter System

    I love this hobby.

    update. Head Direct is a true gem. $110 replacement cost of a $1,300 headphone that's three years old is above and beyond my expectations. Thank you Dr. Fang and Co.

    Lynx Hilo.-img_9093.jpg

    Lynx Hilo.-img_9094.jpg
    Last edited by Happy Camper; 01-22-2013 at 08:49 PM. Reason: add pic and follow up comments
    d HC b

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