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AURALiC introduces Altair G2.1

  • Next level. AURALiC’s entry-level streaming DAC – the Altair G1 – has been elevated to G2.1 status to sit alongside the recently reviewed Vega G2.1. Like the Vega G2.1, the all-new Altair G2.1 is a streaming DAC that features the Chinese/American manufacturer’s top-of-the-line Tesla platform, complete with dual Femto clocks, for the best streaming hardware AURALiC know how to make but – take note – without the Vega G2.1’s a) data-buffering – which helps maintain its audible edge – and b) Lightning Link, which allows it to be upgraded with additional hardware down the line.

    However, the Altair G2.1’s status elevation isn’t just a matter of better streaming hardware. As seen in the Vega G2.1 video, the Altair G2.1 features AURALiC’s Unity chassis arrangement that puts a copper sub-chassis on an aluminium base with “six-spring suspension footer system”. Also borrowed from the Vega G2.1 are Class A ORFEO output staging, a line-level analogue input, its all-analogue signal routing and resistor ladder volume control. These features collectively recast the Altair G2.1 as a streaming DAC with line-level pre-amplifier but with the functional advantages of HT bypass and – carried over from the Altair G1 – headphone connectivity, which you won’t find on a Vega 2.1.

    The Altair G2.1’s functional weaponry is further extended by two more noteworthy features not found on the Vega G2.1: behind a second analogue input sits a moving magnet (MM) phono input – hello, vinyl playback – and pop the lid to see enough internal real-estate for AURALiC’s optional hard drive install kit (€100) to have the Altair G2.1 behave as both Lightning DS streamer and server.

    On streaming software, the Vega G2.1 and Altair G2.1 are identical: both support Roon Readiness and Spotify Connect as well as AURALiC’s Lightning DS, which remains one of the few manufacturer-supplied streaming apps that can hold a candle to Roon, albeit on iOS only. Lightning DS wraps Tidal, Qobuz, Internet Radio and UPnP LAN streaming in a slick-n-speedy interface that serves up bio and album information alongside album artwork.

    The Altair G2.1 begins shipping this month and will sell for €4999, £4599 and US$5489 depending on territory.

    Further information: AURALiC

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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