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NOTE: This page will periodically be updated.

What playback system does Reference Recordings use? We are experimenting with several systems. Many manufacturers are making computer music playback products, and more are starting every day. Currently we are using:

Dell XPS 410 computer with Microsoft XP (a quieter-than-average CPU)
Lynx AES16 AES-EBU professional digital sound card
Alpha DAC from Berkeley Audio Design Associates
Media Monkey software (available as free download - see below))

We send the output of the DAC to a Spectral power amplifier, then to TAD Compact Reference loudspeakers.

If you decide to set up a similar system, here are tips for setting up the Lynx card and Media Monkey to properly play the HRx 176.4/24 WAV files.

Thanks to Michael Ritter of Berkeley Audio Design for these



Lynx Studio Technology AES16 Installation for music servers running Windows XP 

(1) Install AES16 card in computer running Windows XP.

(2) Boot up in administrator mode.

(3) Cancel New Hardware Found Wizard, which should pop up (It installs the wrong driver, which confuses everything).

(4) Run 'Version 1 Driver Installer 57g' program found in the '\Windows\LynxTWO L22 AES16' directory on the disc that came with the AES16 card.

It can also be downloaded from the Lynx web site: (check ‘Search Archives’)

(5) In the Lynx Mixer, under the Mixer Menu, select 'Restore Defaults' and check version numbers under 'About' menu. Verify that Driver: LynxTWO Version 1.30 Build 057g and either Firmware Rev 22 or Rev 23 are installed.

(6) If Firmware Rev 22 or Rev 23 is not installed, use this link to download the correct firmware updater. Save it to the desktop.

(7) Double click on the ‘L2Update21o.exe’ icon and follow the prompts. Repeat step 5 to verify that Firmware Rev 22 is installed. Note: if another AES16 driver version was previously installed, it must be manually uninstalled and the system rebooted before installation.


Media Monkey Installation

Go to:

Download ‘Standard’ version and follow installation instructions

Media Monkey setup:

(1) Select ‘Tools’ - ‘Options’.
(2) Select ‘General’.
(3) Uncheck ‘Pop-up track info in tray’ to avoid alert tones. 
(4) Select ‘General-File Types’
(5) Check ‘extensions to be associated with Media Monkey’.  Include FLAC and WAV
(6) Select ‘Player - Output Plugins’.
(7) Select ‘waveOut’.
(8) Click on ‘Configure’ button
(9) In ‘Device’ window select AES16. 
(10) Under ‘Buffering’ set ‘Buffer-ahead on track change:’ slider to 0 ms. 
        The 200 ms default causes (noise problems with high-res material.
(11) Check that ‘Prebuffer:’ slider is also set to 0 ms.
(12) Leave ‘Buffer length:’ at 2000 ms default.
(13) Under ‘Volume control’ uncheck ‘Enable’.
(14) Click on ‘OK’ in ‘waveOut’
(15) Click on ‘OK’ in ‘Options’


Using HRx with Windows Vista
Tests with the below listed equipment were performed to verify Vista, (32 bit version) playback: 1. Dell XPS720 computer:
a. Drive 1 boots to XP.
b. Drive 2 boots to Vista.
c. Drive 3 stores the music files.

2. MediaMonkey Player – version
a. XP – waveOut output version 2.0.2a.
b. Vista – ASIO output plugins supplied from the MediaMonkey website:
    i. ASIO output plugin 67.
    ii. ASIO output plugin (exe. Version) version 0.70SSE2.

3. Lynx PCI I/O:
a. XP – Mixer version: 1.30 Build 057g, Firmware ID 0 rev. 22
b. Vista – Mixer version: 2.00 Build 016, Firmware ID 0 rev. 22.

4. .wav files @:
a. 16/44.1k HDCD.
b. 24/48k.
c. 24/88.2k w/ and w/o HDCD.
d. 24/176.4k w/ and w/o HDCD.
e. 24/192k w/ and w/o HDCD.



1. ESI/Ego-Sys Juli@ - 24-Bit/192kHz 4 Input / 4 Output PCI Audio/MIDI Interface with Swappable I/O Socket - Mac and Windows - $140. LINK

2. VLC media player free. Works on Windows, OSX and Linux. LINK

NOTE: On a PC (possibly also on a Mac, I have not tried it yet) this combo plays the files at their native rate and bit depth. The card has two separate crystals for the 44.1 and the 48 frequency chains and no PLL. VLC will play anything and only screws it up if you tell it to. It will play any video content as well.


Another low cost option for quality playback EMU Sound, owned by Creative Labs, has some very respectable quality soundcards. One is no longer in production because it was not lead-free. That model was the 1820m and consisted of two cards plus a large external box which contained all the audio circuitry. The closest current model is the 1616m. This is available with either a PCI interface card for desktop computers or a PCMCIA card for notebook computers. This model also has an external enclosure for all the audio circuitry. The 1616m requires using their supplied 48vdc power supply to provide all power to the audio box. The 1820m got its power from an internal cable connected to your computer power supply. Both operate natively at 176.4KHz without rate conversion and are capable of full 24 bit audio. The D/A converter in the 1616m is the CS4398. The A/D converter is the AK5394A. The inputs and outputs are balanced but may also drive unbalanced loads wihout problem. Don't skimp and get either model without the `m' suffix.

The software I use is Adobe Audition 2. The try-out version of Adobe Audition 3 will also work for playback. One needs to setup the EMU patch mixer "session" to 176.4KHz, ASIO input, and typicially L1/L2 output. Do this before starting Audition or any other software you may wish to use so these values will appear in the playback software. - Jeffrey Pawlan, Pawlan Communications, San Jose, CA






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