- Mar242020Nicole WynnRead more
Black Lion’s designers set out to bring versatility and lower noise to a classic preamp without sacrificing character — have they succeeded?
Black Lion Audio first made a name for themselves through their popular ‘modding’ service — the idea being that they’d apply their analogue electronics know-how to upgrade the performance of other companies’ products. Starting in 2006, they were probably most well known for ‘hot-rodding’ the old Digidesign 002 and 003 audio interfaces — this was back in the pre-Avid days when you could only use the Pro Tools software with the same company’s hardware, and these were the most affordable multitrack interfaces that were compatible. The hot-rodding typically entailed upgrading the analogue input and output stages, the power supply and the internal clocking — small individual improvements that collectively added up to a significant improvement.
- Feb282020Nicole WynnRead more
Streaky tries out the word clock made by Black Lion Audio in his mastering studio.
- Aug072017Nate BierdemanRead more
Modifying your audio gear can be a great way to make it perform to an even higher standard than it already does. Matt Vanacoro found out what Black Lion Audio could do to supercharge his Apollo 8.
The first thing I was curious to find out was ‘exactly what are you going to do to my Apollo?’ I talked with Nate from BLA and he gave me the lowdown. Newer, high-performance op-amps would be put on the analog ins and outs (mic, line, monitor, headphones). The capacitors would be upgrade on the analog input signal path. The A/D and D/A converters would be decoupled, as well as the mic preamp chips.
- Oct172015Black Lion AudioRead more
Black Lion Audio recently debuted the third incarnation of their dedicated master word clock, the MicroClock mkIII. Analog to digital conversion is something that BLA is passionate about, so much so that the concern, based out of Chicago, is constantly evaluating new crystal technology as it develops to determine how to enhance their products. Better crystals mean less jitter, and less jitter means better sound. Thus, when Black Lion released the third version of the MicroClock, we knew that this was not going to be just a polishing of the mkII. According to Nate Bierdeman, Black Lion Audio’s Chief Executive Officer, the company not only infused the latest crystal technology into the mkIII, but also looked to “remove the parasitic elements out of the signal.” This meant the company “performed critical listening at each stage, often A/B’ing different component pools and crystals to come up with the best result possible.”
- Oct092015Black Lion AudioRead more
What’s most fascinating about this clock is that nearly everything we hooked it up to sounded great. We clocked an older Pro Tools rig (with the outdated Digidesign 192 Digital I/O) to the Micro Clock MkIII – sounded much better. A Forssell mastering converter — sounded great, though not better. My Aurora Lynx mix rig — sounded great, and better. The new Dangerous Music Convert-8 — sounded great, though not better. Obviously, we didn’t try every combination known, but the consistency of the sound with the Micro Clock MkIII was impressive. A solid center image, big bass, and a depth to the soundstage that’s typical of excellent, low-jitter clocking. We walked away saying, “That’s a great little clock!”