In Barn for Review: AURALiC ALTAIR G1 Digital Audio Streamer

Seems like the whole world is streaming, something. With lossless streaming hitting the Big Players including Amazon, Apple, and soon-to-be Spotify, along with our beloved hi-res high-quality Tidal and Qobuz services, there’s every reason to bring streaming to your hi-fi. And the ALTAIR G1 is designed to do just that.

The AURALiC ALTAIR G1 Digital Audio Streamer is also a DAC with a digital volume control so we’re talking about network or digital in, analog out.

You can bring the outside streaming world into the G1 via tri-band WiFi or hard-wired Ethernet, while the DAC side offers USB, Coax, Toslink, and AES inputs. Single-ended RCAs and balanced XLR outputs deliver the analog signal to your hifi.

Don’t let the G1’s minimal appearance fool you as it’s chock full of functionality. For music playback from a NAS (Network Attached Storage), USB storage, and streaming sources using AURALiC’s own Lightning DS app for iOS devices, Roon, the UPnP/DLNA app of your choice, Internet Radio, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and SongCast, the G1 has you covered.

You can also play and rip CDs using the G1 with an external USB CD drive (not included):

As with AURALiC’s Lightning file streaming, our unique CD playback feature uses the same advanced, jitter-reducing Memory Playback technology. CD data is first read, and compared several times for accuracy into the system cache before playing. The result is elimination of potentially induced jitter from the transport, canceling any negative effects from the quality of your chosen CD drive, potentially improving performance beyond what’s offered from competitors’ CD players.

photo credit: Auralic

Inside, dual temperature regulated 72fs Femto Clocks help keep jitter at bay, while the G1’s Tesla G2 hardware platform dedicates a whopping 1GB of RAM to the task of caching. There’s also space for optional internal storage and a number of user-selectable digital filters to tailor the G1’s output to taste.

The entire package is wrapped in a matte black anodized aluminum shell, with a 4″ high-resolution color display up front.

Way back in the early days of ‘computer audio’, I reviewed the AURALiC Vega Digital Audio Processor for AudioStream and was very happy to use it as my reference for a number of years. I look forward to hearing what has developed in the intervening years. Stay tuned.


AURALiC ALTAIR G1 Digital Audio Streamer
Price: $2,889.00

Specifications

Benchmark

Frequency Response: 20 – 20KHz, +/- 0.1dB*
THD+N: < 0.0002% (XLR); < 0.0003% (RCA), 20Hz-20KHz at 0dBFS
Dynamic Range: 124dB, 20Hz-20KHz, A-weighted

Streaming File Format

Lossless: AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, OGG, WAV and WV
Lossy: AAC, MP3 and WMA

Sampling Rate

PCM: 44.1KHz to 384KHz in 32Bit***
DSD: DSD64(2.8224MHz), DSD128(5.6448MHz), DSD256(11.2896MHz), DSD512(22.57892MHz)****

Control Software

AURALiC Lightning DS for iOS
AURALiC Lightning DS for web browser (device setting only)
OpenHome compatible control software (BubbleUPnP, Kazoo)
Roon (Roon Core required separately)

Audio Inputs

Digital Inputs: AES/EBU, Coaxial, Toslink, USB Audio
Streaming Inputs: Network shared folder, USB Storage, USB CD Drive, Optional Internal Storage, UPnP/DLNA Media Server, native TIDAL, HighResAudio and Qobuz Sublime+, Internet Radio, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Songcast, RoonReady

Audio Outputs

Balanced: XLR (4.5Vrms at 0dBFS, output impedance 10ohm)
Unbalanced: RCA (4.5Vrms at 0dBFS, output impedance 50ohm)
Headphone: 6.35mm Headphone Jack (output impedance 5ohm)

Network

Wired: Gigabit Ethernet
Wireless: 802.11b/g/n/ac Tri-Band WiFi

Power Consumption

Playback: 50W at max

Dimensions – W x D x H: 13.4 x 12.6 x 3.2 in. (34cm x 32cm x 8cm)
Weight: 15 lbs (6.8kg)
Product Finishing: Anodized aluminum case in matte black

Company Website: AURALiC