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The Perfect Single-Box Solution
AURALiC's Altair is a perfect single-box music source for today's hi-fi system, brilliantly combining a high-end DAC with a world class wireless streaming solution. It boasts a full 15 input sources, giving you huge flexibility and capacity in integrating it to a wide range of musical components. The input sources include streaming from Network Shared Folder, USB drive, uPnP/DLNA media server, TIDAL and Qobuz streaming, Internet Radio, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Songcast, and RoonReady. The rest of digital inputs are AES/EBU, Coaxial, Toslink, USB device to computer, plus two USB hosts for storage and an external DAC.
High-End Wireless Streaming
Altair is equipped with AURALiC’s awards-winning Lightning streaming technology, which was used to great acclaim in the highly regarded Vega. Lightning streaming, launched in year 2014, is the industry’s first streaming technology that supports DXD and Quad-Rate DSD playback through WiFi network. It also supports several advanced features such as gapless playback, on-device playlist and multiple-room functions.
Altair’s streaming function can ben operated by the AURALiC Lightning DS control App which is available on iOS platform right now with Mac and Windows version in development. It is also compatible with other 3rd party OpenHome or UPnP control software for playback.
"The Sweet Spot of Streaming"
"Run the Altair as a Roon endpoint, add Roon's metadata-rich app and its associated library running on a networked computer or NAS somewhere, and you've hit the sweet spot of streaming, state-of-the-art control, and decent sound – all for a reasonable price," says Jon Iverson in his February 16, 2017 Stereophile review.
"What if AURALiC were to offer a DAC that retained much of the Vega’s performance but added an Aries with its proprietary Tesla hardware platform, ‘flexible filters’, linear power supply and Femto clocking plus a headphone socket for more casual listening? What if that product were to sell for US$1899?" asks John H. Darko, DigitalAudioReview.net, April 2016. "Say hello to ALTAIR… A single box solution for skinnier wallets."
"Whether you look at it from the standpoint of convenience, flexibility, performance, or sheer value, the Altair is that rare multi-purpose component that can play many different roles, all of them successfully," reports Chris Martens in his January 27, 2017 review for HiFi+ magazine.
Memory Playback is the latest must-have feature that AURALiC has added to Lightning streaming technology. Memory Playback allows Altair to fetch and cache the entire track in its memory or system storage in advance, and then play the track locally without the need of network data transfer for a significant improvement in sound quality.
15 Input Sources, More to Come
The Altair can act as the home music center for virtually all digital input source. It reads music stored on USB drive, network shared folder and DLNA/UPnP music server. By joint use with Lightning DS, you can also stream TIDAL, Qobuz and listen to Internet Radio at any time. Altair’s AirPlay, Songcast, and Bluetooth inputs provide alternative way to stream your favorite music from Apple Music, Spotify and other service providers through smartphone or computer.
The Altair also work as a RoonReady endpoint to use with Roon software if necessary, bringing you a new way to discover and listen to music. The rest of the onboard inputs includes AES/EBU, Coaxial, Toslink and USB connection to a computer working as a USB DAC.
Analog outputs consist of balanced XLR, single-ended RCA, and a 1/4" headphone jack.
AURALiC Tesla Platform
The 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.
** 352.8KS/s and 384KS/s are supported through streaming and USB input only
*** 32bit is supported through streaming and USB input only
*** By 'DoP V1.1' or native DSD protocol through streaming and USB input only
* Tested under Filter Mode Precise for all sampling rates
"Run the Altair as a Roon endpoint, add Roon's metadata-rich app and its associated library running on a networked computer or NAS somewhere, and you've hit the sweet spot of streaming, state-of-the-art control, and decent sound – all for a reasonable price."
- Jon Iverson, Stereophile, February 16, 2017
"What if AURALiC were to offer a DAC that retained much of the Vega’s performance but added an Aries with its proprietary Tesla hardware platform, ‘flexible filters’, linear power supply and Femto clocking plus a headphone socket for more casual listening? What if that product were to sell for US$1899?"
"Say hello to ALTAIR… A single box solution for skinnier wallets."
John H. Darko, DigitalAudioReview.net, April 2016
"Whether you look at it from the standpoint of convenience, flexibility, performance, or sheer value, the Altair is that rare multi-purpose component that can play many different roles, all of them successfully."
- Chris Martens, HiFi+ magazine, January 27, 2017
|Write Your Own Review|
After lusting after the Class A-rated Auralic Vega DAC for a long time I finally decided to take the plunge with the Altair which offers a similar version of the Vega DAC plus a built-in music streamer. First off, its a beautiful piece of gear and construction is first-rate. It's smartly designed - fifteen total inputs - Wow! - I've never seen or heard of a piece of digital gear with so many options - including full DXD and DSD compatibility. So far I haven't tried any DSD files, but my hi-res FLAC files sound amazing. For general 'back-ground' listening I'm also streaming TIDAL which I think is the best streaming service. Here's my synopsis: Construction: 10. Features: 10. Sound quality: 9.0 - its the best sounding DAC I've had in my system, but I haven't heard everything out there. That's 4.5 stars, but I'm rounding up to five stars.
|- Sreek, CA|
As an engineer I must first compliment Auralic on the beauty of the internal design, layout and construction. Impressive. And I can't stop there. The beauty of the interior is reflected in the cleanliness and amazing detail of the sound. I won't claim to have 'golden ears' but the Altair easily bests anything I've heard in my system - including my $1K Musical Fidelity DAC - and it's an all-in-one. Like I said, its impressive.
|- Peter J, INT|
|Thank You Auralic!|
I just want to thank Auralic for creating a product that hits all the right notes for me and makes me a very happy listener. I'm very impressed with both the hardware - construction quality - and the easy of use of your software. What I love most about the Altair is that it simplifies my system - because it combines the streamer and dac functions - without compromising my sound on bit. Thank you!
I'm very happy with the Altair and I'm especially enjoying all the music selections provided by TIDAL streaming.
|- Clare, MD|
What a great machine! In use now for six weeks. I replaced the Aries Mini with the Altair and there are galaxies between the two. With the Altair, you can definately forget both PC and Mac streaming solutions - the Altair handles all that and sounds much, much better. I don't know any product on the market near this price that can compete with it. Fantastic solution!
|- Strider B, NE|