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Auralic Altair DAC/Streamer

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Sounds like a good value and easy solution that will fit a lot of people who want good sound, but not a "fiddly" setup.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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From my brief reading am I right in thinking this can be used both as a standard USB DAC (Computer>USB>Altair and as a streamer with inbuilt DAC (Computer>Ethernet/Wifi>Altair)? If so that offers a lot of flexibility indeed. I see it can be used as a Roon endpoint, which is nice. No mention of NAA endpoint though.


Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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Hi Guys - Please excuse the formatting, I pasted it from my phone.

 

image.jpeg

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAXPONA: Room 304

AURALiC Debuts New ALTAIR:

A High-Quality Streaming DAC

Fully-Featured DAC and Streamer developed due to market demand

Gardena, CA, April 11, 2016 — AURALIC North America Inc. and its parent company, AURALIC LIMITED, is introducing the new ALTAIR Streaming DAC. The ALTAIR can act as an easy-to-use Home Music Center with more than 15 input sources including: Streaming Inputs: Network Shared Folder (NAS), USB drive, Internal music storage (optional), uPnP/DLNA media server, TIDAL and Qobuz streaming, Internet Radio, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Songcast and RoonReady; Digital Inputs: AES/EBU, Coaxial, Toslink, USB device to computer, 2 USB host for storage and DAC, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n/ac Tri-Band WiFi.

Xuanqian Wang, AURALiC’s president & CEO, said: “The new ALTAIR is both a high quality streamer and DAC, and was designed based on feedback from dealers for an exceptional yet convenient-to-operate Digital Source unit at an $1,800 - $2,000 price point.

 

“Some may consider this as a combination of VEGA and ARIES or the upgrade version of ARIES MINI with digital input. However, the ALTAIR is definitely a Line Extension, and not replacing the ARIES MINI, or AURALiC's award-winning VEGA DAC or ARIES Streamers which represent the very highest level of sound quality.”

 

 

The ALTAIR Streaming DAC utilizes AURALiC’s award-winning Lightning technology. Launched in 2014, Lightning is the audio industry’s first streaming technology that supports DXD and Quad-Rate DSD playback through a WiFi network. It also offers several new and advanced features such as Gapless Playback, On-Device Playlist and Multiple-Room functions, as part of AURALiC’s ongoing program of offering regular upgrades that download in the background.

 

Memory Playback, the latest feature added to to the Lightning streaming technology, allows the ALTAIR to fetch and cache the entire track in its memory or system storage in advance to improve the sound quality, and also play locally without the need of network data transfer.

 

Using Lightning DS, you can also stream TIDAL, Qobuz and listen to Internet Radio at any time. ALTAIR’s AirPlay, Songcast and Bluetooth functions provide alternative ways to stream your favorite music from Apple Music, Spotify and other service providers through your smartphone or computer.

 

ALTAIR’s streaming function, operated by AURALiC's Lightning DS control App, is available on iOS platforms right now, with Mac and Windows versions in development. It is also compatible with other 3rd party OpenHome or UPnP control software for playback.

 

ALTAIR also works as a RoonReady endpoint to use with Roon software, bringing you a new way to discover and listen to music. The unit’s other inputs include AES/EBU, Coaxial and Toslink, and a USB connection to a computer working as a standalone USB DAC.

 

When purchasing an ALTAIR from a dealer or AURALiC, you can add an optional 2.5-inch HDD or SSD for internal music storage, turning the ALTAIR into a full function Music Server. Or, you can always buy an ALTAIR and install the storage yourself.

 

Cosmetically, the new Altair shares the same size enclosure as the VEGA DAC, including a 512x64 pixels OLED Display (although the content is different from the VEGA). A headphone jack is located on the front panel.

 

The ALTAIR, with all its top quality features and performance, has a MSRP of $1,899. Shipment will commence in June, following the Munich HIGHEND Show.

 

AURALiC Tesla Platform

ALTAIR is powered by AURALiC's proprietary Tesla hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB system storage. The Tesla platform has a calculation ability of 25,000 MIPS, more than enough to decode a vast spectrum of audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA.

AURALiC has chosen this platform for its flexibility and long term support consideration. Future features planned include DSD Upsampling, Room Acoustic Treatment and MQA support. All these features can be delivered through automatic online updates without user’s attention.

 

Femto Master Clock

The dual-frequency Femto Master Clock inside the ALTAIR is specially designed and optimized for its ESS Sabre DAC chip: with one frequency for playing music with a sampling rate which is the multiple of 44.1K, and a second for 48K, making it possible for the ALTAIR to be able to lock on with highest clock precision (equal to the VEGA’s "EXACT" mode) at all time without dropouts. The Femto Master Clock, which is powered by a 9uV extremely low noise dedicated power supply, has a very low phase noise performance. It not only has dramatically low phase noise, which is only at -151dBc/Hz level, but also an excellent 100Hz offset noise level which is only -115dBc/Hz. Driven by such a high performance clock, the ALTAIR can bring you vivid music with natural detail and a solid sound image.

Linear Power Supply

With more and more DACs at this price range starting to use switching power supplies, AURALiC insists on using high performance but costly Purer-Power™ linear power supply technology on the ALTAIR. With this technology, the dirty AC power firstly goes into a power purification module, and the DC current and noise from both within and outside audio frequencies can be reduced by as much as 90dB. The purified AC power is then feed to a high quality transformer, with a specialty iron core made to AURALiC’s specifications, and unique wiring to ensure zero vibration and very low noise to avoid impacting the sensitive audio electrical circuit.

Compared to the conventional switching power supply which generates wide-band noise that is hard to eliminate, AURALiC’s discrete component- based power supply feeds the DAC chip’s analog circuit with an astonishing low noise that is below 1uV (1uV = 0.000001V) within the entire audio band, making ALTAIR a perfect tool to re-discover your music with more details in the "last bit" that you may never noticed before.

 

Flexible Filter Mode

ALTAIR has four built-in filter modes which allows its user to customize sound best befitting their personal preference. Those filter modes were developed from AURALiC’s well known Flexible Filter Mode in the VEGA Digital Audio Processor, with each containing several digital filters optimized for a corresponding sampling rate. Flexible Filter Mode was developed under AURALiC's subjective auditory sense and objective testing data relationship models, to optimize the listening experience for different music and format. The “Precise” mode exhibits perfect in-band ripple and out-band attenuation performance, while the “Smooth” mode is better for overall enjoyment as it has no 'pre-ringing' effect. The other two modes, named “Dynamic” and “Balance” are optimized for different music formats as well.

 

Technical Specifications

 

Frequency Response

20 - 20KHz, +/- 0.1dB*

 

THD+N

<0.001%, 20Hz-20KHz at 0dBFS

 

Dynamic Range

121dB, 20Hz-20KHz, A-weighted

 

Streaming Inputs

Network shared folder

USB drive

Internal music storage**

uPnP/DLNA media server

TIDAL and Qobuz streaming

Internet Radio

AirPlay

Bluetooth

Songcast

RoonReady

 

Digital Inputs

1*AES/EBU

1*Coaxial

1*Toslink

1*USB device to computer

2*USB host for storage and DAC

1*RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet

1*802.11b/g/n/ac Dual-Band WiFi

 

Analog Outputs

1*Balanced XLR (output impedance 10ohm)

1*Single-ended RCA (output impedance 50ohm)

1*6.35mm Headphone jack

 

Supported File Types

AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA

 

Supported Digital Formats

All PCM from 44.1KS/s to 384KS/s in 32Bit***

DSD64, DSD128, DSD256***

 

Output Voltage

2Vrms at Max. with dynamic-loss-free digital volume

 

Control Software

AURALiC Lightning DS for iOS

AURALiC RC-1 remote control

OpenHome compatible software

uPnP AV compatible software

 

Device Display

512x64 pixels OLED Display

 

Power Consumption

Sleep: <10W

Playback: 35W at max.

 

Dimensions

11''W x 9''D x 2.6''H (33cm x 23cm x 6.5cm)

 

Weight

7.0 pounds (3.2kg)

 

* Tested under filter mode ‘Precise’ for all sampling rates

** With optional 2.5-inch HDD or SSD installed

*** 352.8KS/s, 384KS/s and DSD through streaming and USB only

*** 32bit through streaming and USB only

 

All specifications are subject to change without notice.

###

 

About AURALiC

Based in Gardenia, CA, and Beijing, China, the U.S AURALIC North America Inc. and its parent company, AURALIC LIMITED, are passionately committed to designing, engineering and manufacturing user-friendly audio components that combine modern audio technologies with superior design and functionality, providing music lovers with a new way of enjoying music. Its growing family of products includes the ARIES, ARIES LE,and ARIES MINI Streaming Bridges, VEGA Digital Audio Processor with Class-A preamplification, the 200-Watt MERAK Monoblock Power Amplifier, the TAURUS PRE Balanced Class-A Line Stage Preamplifier, GEMINI 2000 Headphone Dock, the TAURUS MK II balanced Class-A headphone amplifier, and the new Altair Streaming DAC.

For further technical information, visit AURALiC's website at www.auralic.com

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Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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From my brief reading am I right in thinking this can be used both as a standard USB DAC (Computer>USB>Altair and as a streamer with inbuilt DAC (Computer>Ethernet/Wifi>Altair)? If so that offers a lot of flexibility indeed. I see it can be used as a Roon endpoint, which is nice. No mention of NAA endpoint though.

 

NAA is way too far from the mainstream for Auralic to consider it. Doesn't fit their roadmap at all.


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup and a RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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NAA is way too far from the mainstream for Auralic to consider it. Doesn't fit their roadmap at all.

 

 

On it's own perhaps, but given the integration with Roon now I figured maybe....


Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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This is really catching my eyes... Mostly since i was thinking of taking the route of buying a aries mini to feed a Schiit yggy... Hmmm decisions... Decisions...

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@Oscar0990

Agreed! This is the kind of box I have been waiting for. If the reviews of the DAC portion position it close to the Vega (or at least much closer to the Vega than to the Mini's DAC), this could be an absolute bargain in a relatively small competitive field. I guess the nearest competitor would be the Lumin D1 (limited to DSD64) and after that there does not seem to be much out there under 5K (Simaudio 380D, Aurender A10) or higher (Nadac). This could be a game changer in this market and I await the reviews...

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I love the fact that you can install a SSD drive in it and store music on it... Thats why i wanted the Mini, to store music and feed a yggy... Hmmm this is really interesting...

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Thanks...After I purchase a Vega and Aries,you do this to me....

 

If you want the ultimate in sonics what you have is preferred.


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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I noticed that this has an Ethernet input - allowing for bypassing USB altogether.

Of course the wifi connectivity does the same thing as well.

 

Should be interesting how it sounds.


Win10 Transport + Fidelizer 8 + JRMC 25 & HQPlayer | TotalDAC D1 USB Filter | Job INT | Western Electric 12GA | Green Mountain Audio Eos HX

 

 

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I noticed that this has an Ethernet input - allowing for bypassing USB altogether.

Of course the wifi connectivity does the same thing as well.

 

Should be interesting how it sounds.

 

Ethernet or WIFI for network connection.

 

USB for digital input.


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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The black looks pretty cool....

 

 

though I think I would have preferred orange display. Green doesn't look bad though.


Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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The price point is quite different than the Vega, so will have to wait and see about the sound. Would be interesting to compare with the PS Audio Jr, though even there the price points are not the same. Still, would be an interesting comparison.

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Would like to see a comparison to the Marantz NA8005 which also does DSD streaming + USB inputs. Seems like nobody has critical listening reviews of the marantz DAC, almost like it's a ghost. You'd think more people would want the future-proofing of both streaming and USB, at least, that's why I bought it. Maybe that's why Auralic is getting into this market (albeit at 2x the street price of the Marantz).

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I noticed that this has an Ethernet input - allowing for bypassing USB altogether.

Of course the wifi connectivity does the same thing as well.

 

I liked this but then noticed it's only USB out, which somewhat dampens my enthusiasm. The same variety out as in (of the physical connections) would have been preferable for my own possible uses.

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Would like to see a comparison to the Marantz NA8005 which also does DSD streaming + USB inputs. Seems like nobody has critical listening reviews of the marantz DAC, almost like it's a ghost. You'd think more people would want the future-proofing of both streaming and USB, at least, that's why I bought it. Maybe that's why Auralic is getting into this market (albeit at 2x the street price of the Marantz).

 

 

I am looking to replace my Marrantz SR6009 AVR specifically because it's streaming/Marantz App constantly drops connection (wired ethernet), and has issues skipping songs (.dsf files especially).

 

I am strongly considering the Altair, and like others, waiting for some reviews before I take the plunge.

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I am looking to replace my Marrantz SR6009 AVR specifically because it's streaming/Marantz App constantly drops connection (wired ethernet), and has issues skipping songs (.dsf files especially).

 

I am strongly considering the Altair, and like others, waiting for some reviews before I take the plunge.

 

I replaced the streaming portion of my NA8005 with a RaspberryPi3. It does both Roon and NAA for HQPlayer for $50. So I use the 8005 just as a DAC via USB-in and couldn't be happier.

 

-mike

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I replaced the streaming portion of my NA8005 with a RaspberryPi3. It does both Roon and NAA for HQPlayer for $50. So I use the 8005 just as a DAC via USB-in and couldn't be happier.

 

-mike

 

 

How do you like Roon...worth the cost in your opinion? I am using a RP2 with a DAC HAT and Rune in my office and it sounds really nice for the cost. However Rune takes about 10 minutes to load my music library, so that is a little frustrating.

 

Still, the all-in-one no fuss solution of the Altair seems really appealing.

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Very interested to read your take on it.

There's been precious little (i.e. NONE) first hand info on out on the Altair.

 

Mine should be here next week. It will feed my bedroom headphone system (Sennheiser HD 800/HDVA 600). Can't wait!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Computer Audiophile

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How do you like Roon...worth the cost in your opinion? I am using a RP2 with a DAC HAT and Rune in my office and it sounds really nice for the cost. However Rune takes about 10 minutes to load my music library, so that is a little frustrating.

 

Still, the all-in-one no fuss solution of the Altair seems really appealing.

 

I love Roon, very worth the cost. I left A+ and never looked back. I haven't had any performance problems with Roon (aside from the SMB bug with OSX 10.11.5 that affected everything on my NAS, and I worked around that). Have you posted about your load times on the Roon forums? They are amazingly responsive there.

 

I agree the all-in-one of the Altair is nice, and I am usually all for paying the tax for things that "just work". It's just that if you're going to use the Altair as a RoonReady device (as I would if I purchased one), you're paying for a lot that goes unused.

 

-mike

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