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Article: Review | Auralic Altair G1 Digital Audio Streamer

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20 minutes ago, hopkins said:

"the likes of which it hadn't seen before and may never see again" 

 

You've been watching the daily white house press briefings 😆

 

Good review. 

Ha! 


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How would it interface with a laptop running Audrivana or with an external hard drive that has been used in a Mac laptop?

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12 minutes ago, JoeWhip said:

How would it interface with a laptop running Audrivana or with an external hard drive that has been used in a Mac laptop?

 

You could run Audirvana to the Altair G1 via USB or UPnP.

 

RE: USB hard drive - From the manual:

HDD

USB host port for connecting USB removable storage. When USB storage is present, Lightning Server will read the content on the USB storage and scan the music files automatically. The partition formats supported are FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, EXT-2/3/4 and limited support of Apple HFS+. The maximum current driving ability of this port is 5V/500mA. AURALiC recommend you use USB storage with a dedicated power supply for sound quality considerations. Lightning Server will only scan the largest partition on your USB storage for music data.


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Chris, thank you very much for this excellent & interesting review.
It sounds like this G1 is pretty much all you need with a set of active speaker if you you're up to a digital-only system.

Given the recent discussion I followed about the difference of AKM and ESS-Chip design for direct DSD mode

I was wondering if you could describe any perceptible difference in sonic imaging using HQP/DSD compared to the AURENDER A30 (+15k$) that uses the AKM AK4497 DAC chips in double mono configuration for up to DSD512?

Curious, Tom
 

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7 minutes ago, d_elm said:

There is a heading problem near the end of the review, "Other Ayre Acoustics Product Options".

Fixed. Thanks!


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33 minutes ago, DuckToller said:

I was wondering if you could describe any perceptible difference in sonic imaging using HQP/DSD compared to the AURENDER A30 (+15k$) that uses the AKM AK4497 DAC chips in double mono configuration for up to DSD512?

Curious, Tom

Hi Tom, I wish I could describe exactly what you wish, but I really can't Even if I had both components setup here right now, I'm afraid that attributing sonic differences to ESS vs AKM would be a disservice. 


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The fact that you felt compelled to bypass the Altair's volume control makes me question its value. For $1,300 more you can get a Vega G1 with a legitimate analog volume control, a supposedly superior DAC and an analog input.  It’s almost as if you hadn’t heard or reviewed the Vega.  


DIY PC ASUS Q1900 ITX Board>Regen Amber>MF V192>Gill Audio Tube Dac (1704k Dacs, Lundahl OPT's); Rega RP6>Dyna 20XL>Cinemag Step up; Audio Note OTO SE Phono>Audio Note AN-E's.

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I've been holding back on a streamer, in large part because I cannot imagine the sound quality matching a local file on my server.  How would you compare the G1's streams to a local file in terms of sound?

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I get confused about Auralic's product line-up.  If the Altair is this good, what's the point of the Aries G1 streamer (only)?

 

This seems to offer the same level of streaming capability - plus a decent in-built DAC - for the same price.

 

What have I missed?


Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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6 hours ago, Markhh2 said:

The fact that you felt compelled to bypass the Altair's volume control makes me question its value. For $1,300 more you can get a Vega G1 with a legitimate analog volume control, a supposedly superior DAC and an analog input.  It’s almost as if you hadn’t heard or reviewed the Vega.  

 

I was compelled to use the Altair G1 in all its possible configurations. I heard from Auralic that many of its customers have more than a single source, thus bypass its volume control when used with a preamp. It's only prudent for me to do the same for the vast audience who will use it this way. 

 

For 30% more money you certainly can get something better. That's not the point of this review though. The same could be said for every component ever reviewed. 

 

I don't understand your last sentence. 

 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, OldBigEars said:

I get confused about Auralic's product line-up.  If the Altair is this good, what's the point of the Aries G1 streamer (only)?

 

This seems to offer the same level of streaming capability - plus a decent in-built DAC - for the same price.

 

What have I missed?

 

The ARIES is only a transport. No analog output. The Altair is only a DAC. No digital output.

 


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15 minutes ago, Ron Lykins said:

I have owned the Altair G1 now for 7 months and it is the centerpiece of my HiFi system.  I like it very much and use it with the internal 2TB SSD installed to deliver my collection of ripped cds which I previously had on my iTunes library about 12,000 music files.  I still rip cds on my Mac but in FLAC using a third party ripper and then copy over to the Altair via wifi.  I tried Tidal and Qobuz on their free trials but neither won me over from AmazonHD which unfortunately is not an internal app but sounds great when delivering content over AirPlay.  I bypass my Oppo 203 disc player DAC  by running digital output to the Altair and notice significant improvements in dynamics and detail from the Altair’s ESS DAC.   The 4 DAC filters which I did not see mentioned in your review are great and allow me to fine tune the sound to the source I am listening to.   I also use the equalizer to make a small adjustment to my speakers in my family room.   One of the features I did not expect is how great the Altair makes my two headphones sound.  Don’t think I’ll need a headphone amp now in my system.   Likewise I was considering Roon but with the Lightning app doing much of what I wanted Roon for, I save that cost too. Another nice feature is the digital radio in the Lightning app which allows me to listen to stations world wide as well as local PBS.   Auralic has been very responsive when I have questions and there  is a great community of users on their forum.  Overall very pleased with the Altair G1.   My music has never sounded better.

Thanks for all the info Ron. Great stuff. 


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1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

I was compelled to use the Altair G1 in all its possible configurations. I heard from Auralic that many of its customers have more than a single source, thus bypass its volume control when used with a preamp. It's only prudent for me to do the same for the vast audience who will use it this way. 

 

For 30% more money you certainly can get something better. That's not the point of this review though. The same could be said for every component ever reviewed. 

 

I don't understand your last sentence. 

 

 

 

 

 

The ARIES is only a transport. No analog output. The Altair is only a DAC. No digital output.

 

 

The Altair is a streamer and transport as well as a DAC, no? Understood that you can't connect another DAC but it's obviously not "only a DAC".  However the ARIES is only a steamer / transport.  I hope my point is clearer now.

 


Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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1 minute ago, OldBigEars said:

 

The Altair is a streamer and transport as well as a DAC, no? Understood that you can't connect another DAC but it's obviously not "only a DAC".  However the ARIES is only a steamer / transport.  I hope my point is clearer now.

 

 

I don't think I'm following you. Wouldn't surprise me though. Times are tough :~)

 

The AIRES is for people who want different DAC choices but want all the benefits of the Auralic platform.  


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44 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

 

I don't think I'm following you. Wouldn't surprise me though. Times are tough :~)

 

The AIRES is for people who want different DAC choices but want all the benefits of the Auralic platform.  

 

OK that advantage is clear enough.  Thanks.


Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> AQ Vodka --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> USPCB --> Schiit Eitr --> AQ Coffee --> Hegel HD25 --> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

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Was it the upsampling that improved things? did you try hqp without upsampling? 

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IMHO HQP without upsampling is like buying a Ferrari to go get groceries; may not even be the best option, let alone using the most of its raison d'etre.

 

Chris, since very high rates (DXD and all DSD) are not supported by the ethernet input did you happen to compare HQP (say, redbook upsampled 24/192) via both USB and ethernet inputs?  Is that even apples v apples?

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8 hours ago, ted_b said:

IMHO HQP without upsampling is like buying a Ferrari to go get groceries; may not even be the best option, let alone using the most of its raison d'etre.

 

Chris, since very high rates (DXD and all DSD) are not supported by the ethernet input did you happen to compare HQP (say, redbook upsampled 24/192) via both USB and ethernet inputs?  Is that even apples v apples?

Why would anyone buy an expensive DAC that needs upsampling to sound good? 

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3 minutes ago, Rexp said:

Why would anyone buy an expensive DAC that needs upsampling to sound good? 

That's a discussion for a separate topic, as the subject of this review, the Altair G1 sounds great without upsampling.

 

Or, are you just trying to be snarky and prove some point that I don't understand?


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