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Auralic Vega: my review

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Look, I'm just trying to offer this information up to folks who think this upgrade is "free". The UK dealer I worked with told me it is in fact free service, but I would pay for return shipping, which works out to $35 for me. My friend had offered to hand delivery the unit to UK post, but that chance has obviously passed.

 

Auralic told me to ship direct to them once they discovered I was a "direct buyer", and once they sent a ship label, without further mention of splitting shipping, I was assuming (my fault) it was free...mainly because Mr. Wang initially assured me about no customs fees and free shipping when I bought direct a few years ago. That was great! I was wrongly still in that mindset.

 

I mentioned paying whatever the charge would be to get the unit out of my country to them, but never heard back! I got the ship label instead so I was lumping it all together with being a "direct buyer". Wishful thinking.

 

I'm sure it will work out, but just a little frustrating to go from a free upgrade to a $200 one...which is not chump change.


DIGITAL: Windows 7 x64 JRMC19 >Adnaco S3B fiber over USB (battery power)> Auralic Vega > Tortuga LDR custom LPSU > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ANALOG: PTP Audio Solid 9 > Audiomods Series V > Audio Technica Art-7 MC > Allnic H1201 > Tortuga LDR > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ACCESSORIES: PlatterSpeed, BlackCat cables, Antipodes Cables, Huffman Cables, Feickert Protracter, OMA Graphite mat, JRemote

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Why couldnt you take it to any Auralic dealer regardlessl of where you bought it originally?

 

I did have a choice. There is no dealer in my country so I asked around and was aiming at UK.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


DIGITAL: Windows 7 x64 JRMC19 >Adnaco S3B fiber over USB (battery power)> Auralic Vega > Tortuga LDR custom LPSU > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ANALOG: PTP Audio Solid 9 > Audiomods Series V > Audio Technica Art-7 MC > Allnic H1201 > Tortuga LDR > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ACCESSORIES: PlatterSpeed, BlackCat cables, Antipodes Cables, Huffman Cables, Feickert Protracter, OMA Graphite mat, JRemote

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The fact that Auralic just dropped all their Android customers and no have no app is proof the company is sloppy when it comes to customer service.

 

Some other thoughts:

 

McIntosh is also a joke in the UK - you pay loads and loads and repairs are carried out by some bloke in a shed here in the UK

 

Bryston goes to PMC, who seem ok, but something makes me a little uncomfortable about a manufacturer being a distributor.

 

Anthony Gallo are amazing in the UK and I recommend them highly!

 

Cyrus randomly pull servicing and upgrades for various models and their stuff is overpriced in the first instance!

 

Naim I have no experience of but understand they are typically very good.

 

Benchmark are fantastic - they use SCV Distribution (A pro audio outfit) who are brilliant.

 

Project's German customer service are fantastic, but I was surprised when I dealt with Henley that they dont understand their own turntable range very well. It makes me comfortable how I can easily escalate to Austria though and they help out.


Benchmark HGC DAC2 / Ncore NC400 / Anthony Gallo Strada 2 / Anthony Gallo TR-3D Sub / Van Damme 6mm Speaker Cable

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I did have a choice. There is no dealer in my country so I asked around and was aiming at UK.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

I thought CA couldn't be used with Tapatalk?

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Apparently, my Vega is done, and I am being billed $200 USD.

 

When I purchased direct from Auralic, shipping and customs were included in the cost. Auralic also sent me a UPS label to return using their UPS account with no mention of any fee. Now I am being told the upgrade is free, but shipping/customs in $200 regardless if one lives in China vs. America.

 

Upgrade doesn't seem so free any more....and feels a bit sleazy to be honest.

 

I know customs & duty costs vary from country to country but in this part of the world FOC "repairs" are exempt from GST/duty/customs fees as long as the correct paperwork is filled in as such. IIRC the EU is the same?

 

What exactly are the customs fees for?

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Yesterday I made a really exciting and unexpected experience with my Vega.

 

The overall sound quality of my system had become suddenly remarkably better. I noticed details I've never heard before, voices had become even more realistic and with even more emotional expression. All that had come up during some casual listening together with my wife. Although being no experienced listener, she easily took notice of the bump in sound quality as well.

 

I was speculating the whole evening what might have caused that change in my system to explain all this. The only thing I had done the night before was changing my optical toslink cable from a cheap one with plastic connectors against one from Lifatec, which has machined connectors made of Aluminum. I'm using the toslink only to connect my Blueray transport, but my music is fed through USB to the Vega. So apparently the change of the toslink cable could not have led to the better sound quality, since the USB input is being used and not the toslink.

 

To make long story short, I found out that the Aluminum connector plugged into the toslink must provide something like an additional shield against EMI that might propagate through the toslink input into the Vega and interfere with the USB input board, which is internally mounted directly above the toslink input. To verify this theory I wrapped some self-adhesive copper foil around the toslink connector and connected this foil with an additional strip of copper foil with the casing of the Vega. This measure resulted in an even clearer result of better sound. The naturalness gained again a bit and furthermore the sound image has become rock stable with a great layering. Haven't heard it any better before with the Vega!

 

So my recommendation to you is to just give it a try as well. You will be most probably blown away as much as I am. The easiest measure is tacking a small piece of Aluminum foil from your kitchen in front of the toslink input jack, covering it completely.

 

I'm very much forward in hearing from your results.

 

All the best,

Henning

Edited by HenSch

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Very interesting Henning, thanks for sharing... I'll wrap some foil over a toslink cap and see what happens.


Source:

*Aurender N100 (no internal disk : LAN optically isolated via FMC with *LPS) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch - split for *LPS) > Intona Industrial (injected *LPS / internally shielded with copper tape) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > W4S Recovery (*LPS) > DIY 2cm USB adaptor (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > *Auralic VEGA (EXACT : balanced)

 

Control:

*Jeff Rowland CAPRI S2 (balanced)

 

Playback:

2 x Revel B15a subs (balanced) > ATC SCM 50 ASL (balanced - 80Hz HPF from subs)

 

Misc:

*Via Power Inspired AG1500 AC Regenerator

LPS: 3 x Swagman Lab Audiophile Signature Edition (W4S, Intona & FMC)

Storage: QNAP TS-253Pro 2x 3Tb, 8Gb RAM

Cables: DIY heavy gauge solid silver (balanced)

Mains: dedicated distribution board with 5 x 2 socket ring mains, all mains cables: Mark Grant Black Series DSP 2.5 Dual Screen

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Yesterday I made a really exciting and unexpected experience with my Vega.

 

The overall sound quality of my system had become suddenly remarkably better. I noticed details I've never heard before, voices had become even more realistic and with even more emotional expression. All that had come up during some casual listening together with my wife. Although being no experienced listener, she easily took notice of the bump in sound quality as well.

 

I was speculating the whole evening what might have caused that change in my system to explain all this. The only thing I had done the night before was changing my optical toslink cable from a cheap one with plastic connectors against one from Lifatec, which has machined connectors made of Aluminum. I'm using the toslink only to connect my Blueray transport, but my music is fed through USB to the Vega. So apparently the change of the toslink cable could not have led to the better sound quality, since the USB input is being used and not the toslink.

 

To make long story short, I found out that the Aluminum connector plugged into the toslink must provide something like an additional shield against EMI that might propagate through the toslink input into the Vega and interfere with the USB input board, which is internally mounted directly above the toslink input. To verify this theory I wrapped some self-adhesive copper foil around the toslink connector and connected this foil with an additional strip of copper foil with the casing of the Vega. This measure resulted in an even clearer result of better sound. The naturalness gained again a bit and furthermore the sound image has become rock stable with a great layering. Haven't heard it any better before with the Vega!

 

So my recommendation to you is to just give it a try as well. You will be most probably blown away as much as I am. The easiest measure is tacking a small piece of Aluminum foil from your kitchen in front of the toslink input jack, covering it completely.

 

I'm very much forward in hearing from your results.

 

All the best,

Henning

 

Nice one! EMI in an optical cable? April 1st?

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Nice one! EMI in an optical cable? April 1st?

 

No, this is audio....


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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Not really, sorry that I expressed myself not clearly enough obviously. Language barrier is a tough one.

 

The toslink input connector is just an opening in the enclosure of the Vega and thus a small open door for EMI entering the inside. Better understandable?

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You expressed yourself perfectly the first time, no need to apologise, it seemed obvious to me.

 

I've just made a foil covered toslink cap in a couple of minutes.

 

Not sure if it will make much difference, but for zero pence and 2 minutes, why not give it a go.

 

:-)

 

 

Not really, sorry that I expressed myself not clearly enough obviously. Language barrier is a tough one.

 

The toslink input connector is just an opening in the enclosure of the Vega and thus a small open door for EMI entering the inside. Better understandable?


Source:

*Aurender N100 (no internal disk : LAN optically isolated via FMC with *LPS) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch - split for *LPS) > Intona Industrial (injected *LPS / internally shielded with copper tape) > DIY 5cm USB link (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > W4S Recovery (*LPS) > DIY 2cm USB adaptor (5v rail removed / ground lift switch) > *Auralic VEGA (EXACT : balanced)

 

Control:

*Jeff Rowland CAPRI S2 (balanced)

 

Playback:

2 x Revel B15a subs (balanced) > ATC SCM 50 ASL (balanced - 80Hz HPF from subs)

 

Misc:

*Via Power Inspired AG1500 AC Regenerator

LPS: 3 x Swagman Lab Audiophile Signature Edition (W4S, Intona & FMC)

Storage: QNAP TS-253Pro 2x 3Tb, 8Gb RAM

Cables: DIY heavy gauge solid silver (balanced)

Mains: dedicated distribution board with 5 x 2 socket ring mains, all mains cables: Mark Grant Black Series DSP 2.5 Dual Screen

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Are the new Vegas shipping DSD256 ready? I haven't seen much about it.

 

yes.


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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Has anyone in the US received the DSD256 upgrade?

 

On its way to me now.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


DIGITAL: Windows 7 x64 JRMC19 >Adnaco S3B fiber over USB (battery power)> Auralic Vega > Tortuga LDR custom LPSU > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ANALOG: PTP Audio Solid 9 > Audiomods Series V > Audio Technica Art-7 MC > Allnic H1201 > Tortuga LDR > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ACCESSORIES: PlatterSpeed, BlackCat cables, Antipodes Cables, Huffman Cables, Feickert Protracter, OMA Graphite mat, JRemote

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Not really, sorry that I expressed myself not clearly enough obviously. Language barrier is a tough one.

 

The toslink input connector is just an opening in the enclosure of the Vega and thus a small open door for EMI entering the inside. Better understandable?

 

I just keep my entire unit wrapped in foil.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


DIGITAL: Windows 7 x64 JRMC19 >Adnaco S3B fiber over USB (battery power)> Auralic Vega > Tortuga LDR custom LPSU > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ANALOG: PTP Audio Solid 9 > Audiomods Series V > Audio Technica Art-7 MC > Allnic H1201 > Tortuga LDR > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ACCESSORIES: PlatterSpeed, BlackCat cables, Antipodes Cables, Huffman Cables, Feickert Protracter, OMA Graphite mat, JRemote

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A little update to my Vega adventures.

 

So I decided to try out a simple XLR to RCA cable and remove the Jensen and the extra cable. To be honest in my system I had found that the Jensen removed a bit of life.

 

I soldered up a pair of XLR to RCA ICs(with pin3 disconnected) using the Belden 8402 that I like so much. I prefer this connection to either the straight RCA or the Jensen solutions. Oddly it also still drops the output allowing me to easily run the Vega at 95 into my tube pre. I have a feeling that the output of the RCA is 4 volts and the output of the XLR is 4 volts from "+" to "-" so dropping the negative leg brings the output down to 2 volts which is plenty.

 

So... I like the Vega very much. It crushes my departed TEAC 501 and also bests the also departed W4S for sheer musicality by a very wide margin.

 

BTW. If you are not DIY inclined, Cardas makes an XLR to RCA adapter specifically for the Vega with the negative leg (pin3) lifted.

 

And finally. Regarding the Belden cable. It replaced some $400 boutique ICs and provides great detail, tone, and much musical pleasure. I will confess however to liking a DHT tube sound and would rather err on the side of a slightly romantic presentation.

 

Has anyone else tried the XLR to RCA (with pin 3 floated) connection for the Vega output? I would be very interested in your thoughts regarding sound quality differences compared to straight RCA output.

 

Importantly, can can anyone verify the output level drop (nominally to 2V) because that would provide an easy solution for those that have had problems with the 4V output running into some preamps?

 

Lastly for for those using the Tortuga LDR (I am thinking of buying one), does the volume range it provides handle the 4V output or do you think it would operate better with a 2V input?

Edited by ClothEars
Grammar

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Has anyone else tried the XLR to RCA (with pin 3 floated) connection for the Vega output? I would be very interested in your thoughts regarding sound quality differences compared to straight RCA output.

 

Importantly, can can anyone verify the output level drop (nominally to 2V) because that would provide an easy solution for those that have had problems with the 4V output running into some preamps?

 

Lastly for for those using the Tortuga LDR (I am thinking of buying one), does the volume range it provides handle the 4V output or do you think it would operate better with a 2V input?

 

I did. In my opinion it was different, but not necessarily better. Removed them a while back so can't say much more. I used Neutrik adapters from eBay and cut the pin 3 wire myself.

 

Now I'm running pure balanced from the Vega to my Pass amp inputs, it doesn't get any better. Vega output is set to 100 and volume is controlled via software.

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Has anyone else tried the XLR to RCA (with pin 3 floated) connection for the Vega output? I would be very interested in your thoughts regarding sound quality differences compared to straight RCA output.

 

Importantly, can can anyone verify the output level drop (nominally to 2V) because that would provide an easy solution for those that have had problems with the 4V output running into some preamps?

 

Lastly for for those using the Tortuga LDR (I am thinking of buying one), does the volume range it provides handle the 4V output or do you think it would operate better with a 2V input?

 

I finally built a pair of IC's with pin 3 floated and was able to run my Vega at a much higher output level (90+) using it's built in digital volume control. At only 3db gain my preamp is nearly a buffer so I am using it's dual mono volume controls mainly for channel balance.

 

I bought a Schiit Yggdrasil and a Tortuga LDR volume control at the same time as the Vega and put them in my headphone system. I liked that combo so much that I was going to move it to my main system. In fact I liked it so much that I just decided to just sell my Vega and buy a second Yggy and Tortuga. The Tortuga has remote volume, balance, impedance, and input control. The best volume control I have used. I have previously used Alps, Noble, and TVC controls. The Yggy sounds more like real music than any DAC I have owned or heard and the Tortuga just gets out of the way.

 

I never did hook the Tortuga to my Vega but just dropping the negative leg on the XLR seems to cut the output and also sounds better to my ears than the RCA output. The Tortuga comes as either RCA or XLR input/output. I use the XLR output of my Yggy and drop pin 3 so I am getting probably getting ~2v to the Tortuga's RCA input.

 

I think that the Vega is unusual to be putting out 4v from the RCA. Most DACs and preamps that have both RCA and XLR out puts have 2v out from the R~CA(plus 2v-0 gnd) and ~4v out from the XLR(plus 2v-0-neg 2v). The 4v RCA makes it a bit of a challenge.



"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

System

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I finally built a pair of IC's with pin 3 floated and was able to run my Vega at a much higher output level (90+) using it's built in digital volume control. At only 3db gain my preamp is nearly a buffer so I am using it's dual mono volume controls mainly for channel balance.

 

I bought a Schiit Yggdrasil and a Tortuga LDR volume control at the same time as the Vega and put them in my headphone system. I liked that combo so much that I was going to move it to my main system. In fact I liked it so much that I just decided to just sell my Vega and buy a second Yggy and Tortuga. The Tortuga has remote volume, balance, impedance, and input control. The best volume control I have used. I have previously used Alps, Noble, and TVC controls. The Yggy sounds more like real music than any DAC I have owned or heard and the Tortuga just gets out of the way.

 

I never did hook the Tortuga to my Vega but just dropping the negative leg on the XLR seems to cut the output and also sounds better to my ears than the RCA output. The Tortuga comes as either RCA or XLR input/output. I use the XLR output of my Yggy and drop pin 3 so I am getting probably getting ~2v to the Tortuga's RCA input.

 

I think that the Vega is unusual to be putting out 4v from the RCA. Most DACs and preamps that have both RCA and XLR out puts have 2v out from the R~CA(plus 2v-0 gnd) and ~4v out from the XLR(plus 2v-0-neg 2v). The 4v RCA makes it a bit of a challenge.

 

Thanks for the response mourip. It sounds like it would be a good solution to try, especially if it could sound better.

 

I use a Sanders Magtech amp that only requires 2V for full output of 900W into my Maggie 1.7's. The 4V output issue meant I was always operating my preamp in the first half only of the volume control (I like the Vega output at 100) and the worry that I would probably fry the Maggies if the volume control was inadvertently cranked up to max.

 

The curious thing is that if the Vega had a switch for XLR to RCA (to do what the XLR/RCA connector plug does), then it would operate with the ORFEO output stage (and not require the opamp unbalanced conversion) at 4V balanced and 2V unbalanced thereby matching many more preamps/power amps out of the box.

 

PS* My preamp is actually a Lighter Note LDR that is great. The only problem is no remote volume control and the channel balance shifts very slightly between low & high volume settings. The Tortuga sounds like a great solution given I'm sticking with LDR attenuation after having tried many high calibre preamps that I didn't think were as good.

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Yesterday I made a really exciting and unexpected experience with my Vega.

 

The overall sound quality of my system had become suddenly remarkably better. I noticed details I've never heard before, voices had become even more realistic and with even more emotional expression. All that had come up during some casual listening together with my wife. Although being no experienced listener, she easily took notice of the bump in sound quality as well.

 

I was speculating the whole evening what might have caused that change in my system to explain all this. The only thing I had done the night before was changing my optical toslink cable from a cheap one with plastic connectors against one from Lifatec, which has machined connectors made of Aluminum. I'm using the toslink only to connect my Blueray transport, but my music is fed through USB to the Vega. So apparently the change of the toslink cable could not have led to the better sound quality, since the USB input is being used and not the toslink.

 

To make long story short, I found out that the Aluminum connector plugged into the toslink must provide something like an additional shield against EMI that might propagate through the toslink input into the Vega and interfere with the USB input board, which is internally mounted directly above the toslink input. To verify this theory I wrapped some self-adhesive copper foil around the toslink connector and connected this foil with an additional strip of copper foil with the casing of the Vega. This measure resulted in an even clearer result of better sound. The naturalness gained again a bit and furthermore the sound image has become rock stable with a great layering. Haven't heard it any better before with the Vega!

 

So my recommendation to you is to just give it a try as well. You will be most probably blown away as much as I am. The easiest measure is tacking a small piece of Aluminum foil from your kitchen in front of the toslink input jack, covering it completely.

 

I'm very much forward in hearing from your results.

 

All the best,

Henning

 

Interestingly, I have been having intermittent power connectivity to my Vega. I thought it was my home made power cord as I would wiggle it a bit in the IEC connector and it would eventually power up. This time the unit remained dead. So taking it apart and checking continuity with my voltage and continuity tester I isolated it to a bad ground connection where the power PCB meets the chassis. On the right rear standoff of that board, the ground connection from the IEC is supposed to meet the chassis and through the chassis it goes to the right front standoff where a spade lug connector goes to the transformer ground. Scraping the anodized finish off the top of the right rear standoff fixed the power problem and provided sonic benefits as well - most notably opening up the soundstage.

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