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Auralic Altair DAC/Streamer

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In the meantime, I decided to do a little experiment. I set the scheduled rescan to 'On', set the time to 01.00 am and added a few files to the library.

This morning I launched the app on my Ipad and sure enough, after a quick 'album art refresh' pause, the new uplooads showed up.

 

Excellent! No more manual rescans of the library during the day...

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3 hours ago, pvanosta said:

In the meantime, I decided to do a little experiment. I set the scheduled rescan to 'On', set the time to 01.00 am and added a few files to the library.

This morning I launched the app on my Ipad and sure enough, after a quick 'album art refresh' pause, the new uplooads showed up.

 

Excellent! No more manual rescans of the library during the day...

 

Yes, this is because the Altair itself is what is doing the rescan, and the iPad app is just displaying the Altair's database in more or less real time. Your iPad could be away or turned off, and the rescan would still happen. 

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Didn't know there was another Altair thread going on. I started one under the category "streaming". Here's the mini-review.

 

1. LightningDS: Clean and easy-to-use interface. It literally fits right into my hands. I love how you can start playing music from any track and the album automatically loads into the cue. When you move onto another album it clears automatically. It just suits my listening habits. Also, I don't need Roon. It was not a life-changing experience for me when demoed nor was I crazy about building (or buying) a server on top of the cost for its lifetime subscription.

2. Less boxes: I went from Bluesound to Bluesound+DAC to SOtM+DAC. Then read here about getting a linear power supply and USB regenerator and linear power supply for the USB regenerator and linear power supply for the linear power supply... You get the point. It was endless. Less boxes also means less cables. Less variables.

3. Sound quality: I can't recall any DAC sounding bad in my system. Some matched well, some didn't. The Altair matched my system perfectly. Compared to the Aries+Vega just for fun. There are too many variables to take the comparison seriously. All I can say is that I'm not getting a surprise degradation in performance the longer I listen. It was great out of the box. It's even better now.

 

More observations

4. Wireless sounds better than wired: I don't know why or how, but wireless just sings a different tune. When wired, I hear the same kind of cleanliness/etch with less bass and more flatness with the SOtM I had. I guess I like it dirty.

5. Tidal sounds inconsistent: Not related to Auralic, but some files from Tidal sound different compared to my ripped files. Just trying it out for a month, but so far not impressed.

6. Zero issues - No issues setting up and remaining consistent wirelessly. I've read some reviews about Auralic products and their idiosyncracies when setting up. I've had more issues with other products than this one.

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Noticing about a $400 price drop on the Altair recently.  Could that mean a new updated version is soon to be released, a G1 version?


RIG:  MBP - Benchmark DAC3 L Nord SE NC500 MKII | Paradigm Sig S6 Cables:   Van Damme XLR Canare 4S11 Biwire Lifatec optical

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Returned my brand new Altair today after less than a week. Streaming module kept crashing every 5-10 minutes requiring switching inputs for it to start working again. Auralic support told me to just go ahead and return it and didn't bother to diagnose it at all. My RaspPi has no such problems. I'm pretty disappointed. 

 

Looking into the Mytek Brooklyn to replace it (though I'll have to keep using the Pi). 

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10 hours ago, Mike Pinkerton said:

Returned my brand new Altair today after less than a week. Streaming module kept crashing every 5-10 minutes requiring switching inputs for it to start working again. Auralic support told me to just go ahead and return it and didn't bother to diagnose it at all. My RaspPi has no such problems. I'm pretty disappointed. 

 

Looking into the Mytek Brooklyn to replace it (though I'll have to keep using the Pi). 

 

Unlucky! :(

I was considering Altair when I wanted to change my Pioneer U-05 DAC since I have been using the Aries Mini for years without any major issues. I finally pulled the plug with the Brooklyn DAC together with Aries Mini and have´nt looked back since. 

 

A strong recommendation for Aries is to use a wireless adapter or wireless bridge into a network switch pre the Aries. I had some minor drop-outs before I did the change. Now both the SQ and the reliability of LightningDS are top notch. Not had a single problem during the last year or so.


       Auralic Aries Mini, Ariston RD40 & Mytek Brooklyn DAC system

          with Fostex TH900 & Gibson Les Paul 8 reference monitors

                    For detailed info see Audio System and About Me

                                  

  Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others. Graucho Marx

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How much improvment do you get with altair compared to an auralic aries mini runing with an external DAC (Atoll HD 100)?

The question more precisely is would you improve the system by keeping the mini and changing the DAC or upgrading to the altair?

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4 minutes ago, Enrok said:

How much improvment do you get with altair compared to an auralic aries mini runing with an external DAC (Atoll HD 100)?

The question more precisely is would you improve the system by keeping the mini and changing the DAC or upgrading to the altair?

I think the answer is 'it depends'. How much money do you plan on spending on the new dac? The Altair dac is not quite at the level of the $2600 Vega but it gets pretty darn close. Unless you plan on spending the price of the Altair on the standalone DAC, you might not get a noticeable improvement difference over the Altair, while the Altair offers a one-box solution. Also: How big is your library?(I had to move from Mini to Altair because the mini could not handle my library size (>200,000 tracks). Your mileage may vary, as always.

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45 minutes ago, pvanosta said:

I think the answer is 'it depends'. How much money do you plan on spending on the new dac? The Altair dac is not quite at the level of the $2600 Vega but it gets pretty darn close. Unless you plan on spending the price of the Altair on the standalone DAC, you might not get a noticeable improvement difference over the Altair, while the Altair offers a one-box solution. Also: How big is your library?(I had to move from Mini to Altair because the mini could not handle my library size (>200,000 tracks). Your mileage may vary, as always.

I don't have a library. For the moment it is only for streaming tidal or Qobuz

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On 5/8/2017 at 8:31 PM, cordobaman said:

Especially the loud "scratchy" sound, I have experienced the same issue with two different units! It is intermittent but absolutely there. AURALiC actually exchanged my Altair so they could test it after my complaints.

 

I performed detailed experiments to pin down the occurrence, hoping to help them find a cause because at first they could not seem to reproduce it.  After I pointed out exactly how to make the anomaly occur, they admitted the issue and stated " there are maybe 4 of you guys out of the whole world wide market taking issue with the sample rate click".

 

I was told the sound is due to clock changes between 44.1 and 48 Hz frequencies and their multipliers (96 Hz, 192 Hz). They tell me it occurs because there is no hardware muting circuit for clock changes, however they may be able to minimize the problem thru firmware.

 

So again, please contact them so that there are more voices asking for relief from the annoying tick/pop/static!  I absolutely LOVE the Altair's sound quality, one-box ease of use, and overall performance.  But I cringe every time I listen to a variety playlist with multiple sampling frequencies because I know that dreaded tick may pop out.  If it weren't for this one issue I'd give the Altair a100% Five Star rating!

 

 

 

I have resurrected the Femto clock change anomaly with Mr. Wang at Auralic.  He was very receptive to investigating what was happening, so I sent a video of my Altair's intermittent tick/snap sound as it changes between the 44.1 and 48 MHz clocks.  He believes they have a potential software fix!  Here's what he told me...

" We have done a simulation on our internal development platform, it appears the problem maybe fixed by software update. The current testing result shows if we put the DAC chip in reset (off) status before switch the clock source then the noise can be eliminated. However this is a very complex operation as the DAC chip need to be re-initialized after the reset operation, we will need extensive time to test what we have done to make sure the change will not mess anything else up. So if there is any fix for this problem, the path will be included in firmware 5.5 rather than 5.4 (next version).  Xuanqian Wang"

Great news for us Altair owners!

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New firmware pushed to our Altair's today.  I believe as a result I lost the ability to add/remove files to my internal SSD (sharing/permissions have changed).  Will look further and report.

Firmware Version 5.4 Build 20180319

About This Release:

  • March 19, 2018

Fixes:

  • Spotify Connect function wont work after recent Spotify App upgrade
  • Windows 10 computer can not find device internal storage after recent upgrade (disabled SMBv1 protocol)
  • Unable to initialize internal storage over 2.2TB size
  • Unable to play transcode WAVE file generated by AssetUPnP server software
  • Web control interface become blank if room name contains special character

Improvements:

  • Lightning Server general improvement
  • USB DAC output compatibility improvement on Spotify Connect, Bluetooth and Songcast input

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17 hours ago, cordobaman said:

New firmware pushed to our Altair's today.  I believe as a result I lost the ability to add/remove files to my internal SSD (sharing/permissions have changed).  Will look further and report.

Firmware Version 5.4 Build 20180319

About This Release:

  • March 19, 2018

Fixes:

  • Spotify Connect function wont work after recent Spotify App upgrade
  • Windows 10 computer can not find device internal storage after recent upgrade (disabled SMBv1 protocol)
  • Unable to initialize internal storage over 2.2TB size
  • Unable to play transcode WAVE file generated by AssetUPnP server software
  • Web control interface become blank if room name contains special character

Improvements:

  • Lightning Server general improvement
  • USB DAC output compatibility improvement on Spotify Connect, Bluetooth and Songcast input

 

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