Auralic Altair D/A processor Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Digital Sources: Apple MacBook Pro computer (2.5GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) running OS 10.12.1, Roon v1.2 Build 165, JRiver Media Center 19, iTunes 12, Amarra Computer Music Player, VLC, Reaper 5.20.100, XLD; Western Digital NAS (2TB); Toshiba, Western Digital portable USB drives; Oppo Digital BDP-103 universal BD player; Meridian Sooloos Digital Media System (Control 15, QNAP TS-669 Pro NAS); Apple iPad Air 2 & iPhone 6; Ayre Acoustics Codex, Benchmark DAC1 USB & DAC2 HGC, Luxman DA-250, T+A Elektroakustik DAC 8 DSD DACs.
Preamplifier: Marantz AV7005 in Pure Direct Mode.
Power Amplifiers: Classé CAM 350 monoblocks (2).
Loudspeakers: MartinLogan Renaissance ESL-15A, Prodigy, BalancedForce 212 subwoofers (2).
Desktop & recording monitoring system: Emotiva 5, Velodyne Servo-F subwoofer.
Headphones: AKG K 240, Audeze LCD-X, AudioQuest NightHawk, Grado Labs HP1, MrSpeakers Ether, NAD Viso, Sennheiser Amperior.
Cables: USB: AudioQuest Diamond, Cardas Clear. Interconnects: AudioQuest HD6 Carbon (S/PDIF, studio to main listening room), Cardas Neutral Reference (S/PDIF) & Clear (balanced, headphones), various Kimber Kable (line level), XLO HT Pro (line level) & XLO (S/PDIF). Speaker: Kimber Kable BiFocal XL.
Accessories: Dedicated 40A line (amplifiers & speakers), dedicated 15A lines (digital & analog components).—Jon Iverson

Auralic Limited
US distributor: Auralic North America Inc.
711 Dawson Drive, Suite A
Newark, DE 19713
(302) 314-5555

ednazarko's picture

I have an Aries Mini, and had the same kind of connect/disconnect, can't find a network/here's the network, scan/forget issues. I have a Windows based music server that serves all the devices in my home and studio. Some are computers that use the server as a network library, others are just UPnP endpoints. All run with JRiver. But I could never get the Mini to successfully work with the remote library. Many hours of trying, entering path, ID and passwords. Lots of back and forth with tech support. I'd get a lock on the remote library, the Mini would scan everything, and I'd think I solved things, then the next day it couldn't find the library. Start over. Sometimes it'd fail mid-scan several times, then scan fine. Then lose touch with the library again. Tech support said, Windows is a terrible server, just put music on a USB hard disk and connect it.

Feeling rather grumpy, that's what I did, for awhile. Then I thought, you know, I'll just drop Lightning DS and use it as a passive endpoint. When I went to do that, I noticed I could select a remote DLNA library. And... magic. Connected to the remote server, scanned the library. Hasn't lost it in weeks. I may still change it to a passive endpoint because then I'll only have one UI (JRemote) but my conclusion is that the UPnP implementation isn't great. The DLNA is.

Love the sound on the Mini (with the external power supply.) Punches well above its weight, more than good enough for when I'm working. I was thinking about an Altair for another part of the house where an old Logitech Touch has started showing its age, now that I've got the Mini working well via DLNA.

Solarophile's picture

"sitting on a removable board that includes a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB of DDR3 onboard memory, and 4GB of system storage. Auralic claims that this hardware will make it possible for the Altair to be upgraded for such planned features as DSD upsampling, MQA, and room-optimization software."

MQA-Core like the Blusound Node 2, sure. But this kind of CPU processing is very weak and I doubt it's capable of high quality DSD upsampling or room-optimization at a high quality.

I wish companies would stop making claims like this until they can actually show the ability to do it. And I think reviewers should really think about what companies say and realistically consider if there's any truth before just repeating them. Please show a little more skepticism for the unlikely to reduce the chance that your readers end up disappointed.

Jon Iverson's picture
This is why I begin such information with "Auralic claims that . . ." since this is not something I can test. However I get your point: why include it if the reviewer cannot verify the claim.
RichardCost's picture

I chuckled when I read your article as I had the exact same issues when setting up my Aries LE. You can not even talk to anyone at Auralic for help. You must email them and wait for days for a response. I've never had a problem solved by the Auralic team. I finally gave up on the Lighting software....thank goodness for Roon.

T-Bone's picture

I just purchased an Auralic Altair and have found, what I believe to be, a glaring oversight. It doesn't have a volume control bypass mode. I want to "lock" the output of the RCA jacks and let my pre-amp control volume duties. I contacted Auralic and their suggestion was to leave the Lightning DS app volume pegged at 100% and not to touch it. :-/
Many devices offer something like a "home theater bypass" output to use when connected to an external device with its own volume control.

I feel like this is something of an oversight.

John Atkinson's picture
T-Bone wrote:
I just purchased an Auralic Altair and have found, what I believe to be, a glaring oversight. It doesn't have a volume control bypass mode. . . I feel like this is something of an oversight.

As Altair recommended, if you leave the volume set to its maximum, it will effectively be out of circuit and there won't be any degradation of the signal.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile