AURALiC Altair G1.1 Streamer/DAC

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bcwsrt
bcwsrt Posts: 1,639
edited August 2023 in Electronics
Anyone have any experience with one of these? They’re running a $1,000 off special right now.

https://us.auralic.com/products/altair-g1-1?variant=43556870324476

Brian

One-owner Polk Audio RTA 15TL speakers refreshed w/ Sonicap, Vishay/Mills and Cardas components by "pitdogg2," "xschop" billet tweeter plates and BH5 | Stereo REL Acoustics T/5x subwoofers w/ Bassline Blue cables | Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III integrated tube amp | Technics SL-1210G turntable w/ Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 MM cart | Sony CDP-508ESD CD player (as a transport) | LampizatOr Baltic 4 tube DAC | Nordost & DH Labs cables/interconnects | APC H15 Power Conditioner | GIK Acoustics room treatments | Degritter RCM

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  • displayname
    displayname Posts: 1,140
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    Personally, I’d be very hesitant about a tech piece at 30% off. Mostly due to obsolescence.

    My biggest concern would be a new app release and no future updates of the current app.
    At $200, maybe worth the risk. At $2K, not for me.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,468
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    Tech piece? Maybe I missed that part in the link but, what is this in reference too?

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • rooftop59
    rooftop59 Posts: 8,000
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    treitz3 wrote: »
    Tech piece? Maybe I missed that part in the link but, what is this in reference too?

    Tom

    He’s just saying that unlike an amp or analog pre, this is a piece of technology that could quickly become obsolete…I doubt that’s a real concern, but it’s possible I suppose.
    Living Room 2.2: Usher BE-718 "tiny dancers"; Dual DIY Dayton audio RSS210HF-4 Subs with Dayton SPA-250 amps; Arcam SA30; Musical Fidelity A308; Sony UBP-x1000es; Squeezebox Touch with Bolder Power Supply
    Game Room 5.1.4:
    Denon AVR-X4200w; Sony UBP-x700; Definitive Technology Power Monitor 900 mains, CLR-3000 center, StudioMonitor 350 surrounds, ProMonitor 800 atmos x4; Sub - Monoprice Monolith 15in THX Ultra

    Bedroom 2.1
    Cambridge Azur 551r; Polk RT25i; ACI Titan Subwoofer
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,468
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    Ah, gotcha. Auralic (and Lumin) are a dedicated streaming companies and not some one off, boutique rebrand of a company that normally does not deal with streaming.

    Of the two companies, the only obsolete streamer between the two that has lost support was an Auralic product sold a long time ago for around 3 or $400. They still run but are no longer updated from Auralic. AFAIK, this is the only one from these two companies that I would consider obsolete.

    The Lightning app is a breeze to operate and I have nothing bad to say about my Auralic when I had it. In some ways, I wish I still had it. I had to go through a lot (multiple thousands) of dollars to get just a small bump in performance and the Lumin app I use now isn't as user friendly. FWIW.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • bcwsrt
    bcwsrt Posts: 1,639
    edited August 2023
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    Their Lightning app gets pretty rave reviews from what I’ve seen. That said, I’m not crazy about it being made in China, but if Tom had one and liked it, well …

    I may end up repurposing my Auris BT receiver (which I basically just use, wired, as a pass-thru to get Apple Music lossless content from my Mac to my DAC), so that was the main reason for asking,

    I like that the app is Apple-centric, which I have settled on, right or wrong. It would give me a headphone option without using tube time, which I don’t have now. And, the Wi-Fi connectivity is also a plus for me.

    Brian

    One-owner Polk Audio RTA 15TL speakers refreshed w/ Sonicap, Vishay/Mills and Cardas components by "pitdogg2," "xschop" billet tweeter plates and BH5 | Stereo REL Acoustics T/5x subwoofers w/ Bassline Blue cables | Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III integrated tube amp | Technics SL-1210G turntable w/ Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 MM cart | Sony CDP-508ESD CD player (as a transport) | LampizatOr Baltic 4 tube DAC | Nordost & DH Labs cables/interconnects | APC H15 Power Conditioner | GIK Acoustics room treatments | Degritter RCM
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,468
    edited August 2023
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    Even the Lumin is made in China. I try to avoid having anything purchased from that country but I cannot afford the Taiko Extreme or other offerings of that caliber from other countries. Even then, may of the parts used still come from China, so I just gave in on that aspect. It is what it is. Nothing I can do about it.

    The Lightning app is still my favorite amongst the three streaming brands I have had. There is no learning curve, it is very user friendly and you don't need to know your way around things to simply find and play music. In fact, when I first got the Auralic, the first time I heard it was at Polkfest a couple of years ago. Straight out of the box and into a system we had built in Troy's LR.

    After I had gotten all of the passwords, updates and credentials logged in, we started playing the music. When I was done, I simply placed the iPad on the coffee table and everyone there was able to find and play what they wanted without directions on how to do so.

    That would NOT be the case with the Lumin app. I have had mine (Lumin) for about 4 or 5 months now and I feel that I am just now getting the hang of things. You definitely need a cheat sheet or a great memory. Their symbols bite and there is a great learning curve. The search feature leaves a lot to be desired when compared to the Lightning App.

    The only thing about the Lightning app that people don't like (myself included) was that it could only be ran on Apple products. Unlike you, I am not an Apple user. I had to buy an iPad just to operate it and I lost the ability (moving up the the Auralic from a BlueSound Node2 with a separate DAC) to control the unit from my computer. I work from home a lot, so that was a very convenient feature for me.

    Of course, the Lumin isn't that much better with controlling it via the computer. Apparently there is a way to do it but I have tried multiple attempts and have been unsuccessful every time. It's weird that way. The family could control the BS Node 2 off of anything, then that functionality gets more and more restricted, the more you move up the ladder to higher end products/brands. That should be the complete opposite....but whatever. It is what it is.

    I guess my point is, their are different attributes and deficiencies with each streaming device/brand but out of all of the ones I have auditioned/used in my rig, the Lightning app smokes them all. IMO, that user app is hands down the clear winner, even with the deficiencies concerning compatibility of user devices to operate the unit.

    Plus, I liked that you could tell what was playing (album cover) from across the room. The screen is sharp and bright enough to not have to strain to see it on a sunny day (dimmable for at night listening). The Lumin does not do album covers, unfortunately. Plus, Auralic has a dedicated forum as to where I had to ask/research to find out where to discuss things concerning a Lumin.

    Like I said, I have nothing bad to say about Auralic and would recommend their products to anyone looking for great sound to come from streaming. Please note - to achieve the best performance from ANY streaming product, concentrate on eliminating noise from the electrical system of your house/incoming cable line/Ethernet line. It was amazing to me what happened when I started attacking these bottlenecks. You may not hear the noise now but when it's gone, you DEFINITELY know that it's gone.....and you do not have to have a Golden Ear to (not) hear it. It will make your streaming journey jump leaps and bounds!

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • bcwsrt
    bcwsrt Posts: 1,639
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    Excellent feedback and valid point re: China.

    Brian

    One-owner Polk Audio RTA 15TL speakers refreshed w/ Sonicap, Vishay/Mills and Cardas components by "pitdogg2," "xschop" billet tweeter plates and BH5 | Stereo REL Acoustics T/5x subwoofers w/ Bassline Blue cables | Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III integrated tube amp | Technics SL-1210G turntable w/ Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 MM cart | Sony CDP-508ESD CD player (as a transport) | LampizatOr Baltic 4 tube DAC | Nordost & DH Labs cables/interconnects | APC H15 Power Conditioner | GIK Acoustics room treatments | Degritter RCM
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,468
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    BTW, you may be wondering.....if I liked the Auralic so much, why did I go to Lumin?

    Different flavors. Changing things up…or at least having the option to do just that. I like pushing things to the limit and the Vega G2 was an all in one unit where I couldn't do anything to the DAC but what user settings that were built into the unit. Yes, I could have gotten an Auralic DAC but the expense for something like that wasn't worth it to me. I had already heard DAC's that were lower cost with stellar performance.

    In other words, it was the very expensive Auralic stand alone DAC or nothing. I felt restricted. I mean, what if I didn't like the upgraded Auralic DAC? I'd lose money on the deal right off the bat. That was issue #1. Issue #2 was that I wanted to move away from the Delta Sigma DAC. There is nothing wrong with it, I just wanted to try something different and Auralic uses only DS DAC's. The DS DAC filters low level noises, FWIW, and I I wanted to try something that did not filter anything. Even my Marantz Reference SACD player uses the DS DAC.

    Issue #3 is that I like tubes. Auralic (and Lumin) do not offer tubed DAC's. Well, at least with the Lumin, I could add a stand alone DAC that utilized a great topology, different DAC chips/arrangements and tubes.

    Issue #4 - Separate chassis for the PS. While Auralic did a stellar job with isolation of the power supply in the Vega G2, most everything in my rig has a separated power supply section. As mentioned before, the Auralic was an all in one unit. I have always heard (IME) better sound out of products that utilize a separate PS.

    Comparison of the PS's with Auralic and Lumin - Both are made of solid billet construction with thick walls. Both are low noise, optimally engineered and high quality parts are used but with the PS being in a different unit that can be separated from the streamer itself, clever placement and engineering wasn’t needed (as was the case with the Auralic) and all of the internal noise by the PS is now external to the streamer. That and there are two toroidal x-nsfrmrs in the PS section of the Lumin. This, allows the analogue and the digital circuitry to run independent from one another.

    I wanted to hear the difference with what I had and what "could be". These are the only reasons the Auralic is no longer with me.

    BTW, the sound difference between the BS Node2 with a Musical Fidelity tubed DAC and the Auralic? Profound difference in playback capability. You could always tell when I was streaming versus playing physical music. When I got the Auralic (especially when I cleaned up the incoming signal), even those who were familiar with my system had a hard time telling whether or not I was playing physical music or streaming. They were just on completely different playing fields. The BS Node2 left a lot to be desired but it was cheap enough to at least let me check out what streaming could do/offer.

    If I am not mistaken, the unit you are looking at? I believe you can use a stand alone DAC, if you wanted too. I say this because I did not realize that I couldn't add a stand alone DAC to the Vega G2 when I bought it. If this is an important aspect for you, you may want to double check before purchasing. It could save you some coin down the road. FWIW.

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • bcwsrt
    bcwsrt Posts: 1,639
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    It does not have any digital outputs, only inputs. I would have to hope I liked the integrated DAC as much, or more, than my Geshelli Labs J2 which I’m super happy with ATM.

    Brian

    One-owner Polk Audio RTA 15TL speakers refreshed w/ Sonicap, Vishay/Mills and Cardas components by "pitdogg2," "xschop" billet tweeter plates and BH5 | Stereo REL Acoustics T/5x subwoofers w/ Bassline Blue cables | Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III integrated tube amp | Technics SL-1210G turntable w/ Ortofon 2M Black LVB 250 MM cart | Sony CDP-508ESD CD player (as a transport) | LampizatOr Baltic 4 tube DAC | Nordost & DH Labs cables/interconnects | APC H15 Power Conditioner | GIK Acoustics room treatments | Degritter RCM
  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,468
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    That's a bummer. My ears have not been privy to the Geshelli Labs J2 DAC, so I can't offer you any insight on a comparison between the two.

    One of these days, I'll get my ears on it though...

    Tom
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • CottageChz
    CottageChz Posts: 366
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    Tom, the Lumin has an app that runs on the new Apple silicon machines (and maybe the older intel machines but not sure) that looks and works identically to the iPad app. I am guessing this doesn’t help you since you mentioned you can’t get it to work, but just wanted to let you know in case you didn’t!
  • displayname
    displayname Posts: 1,140
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    rooftop59 wrote: »
    treitz3 wrote: »
    Tech piece? Maybe I missed that part in the link but, what is this in reference too?

    Tom

    He’s just saying that unlike an amp or analog pre, this is a piece of technology that could quickly become obsolete…I doubt that’s a real concern, but it’s possible I suppose.

    This is exactly what I was getting at. The big discount just makes me question if they are clearing them out before they announce they will no longer support updates.


    On the discussion of apps, how you stream really determines the importance of the app in my opinion. If you have Roon, the app doesn’t matter much. Personally I only use Tidal, and their app is great. So great that now if the unit doesn’t use Tidal Connect and Spotify connect, that’s a deal breaker for me. I believe Qubuz has a connect app now too.

    The streaming services’ apps are always vastly easier for me to use vs the apps developed by the hardware companies. But if you stream from different sources, the app is a crucial part of the consideration.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Rosso Fiorentino Certaldo or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs