DomT

Auralic Altair stick or twist?

Recommended Posts

After four hours of listening to Tidal via laptop yesterday and five hours this morning via the DS app I like the Altair. It seems neutral and detailed. It covers a wide range of music well. It’s a little too honest on some recordings eg David Sylvian’s Stars album version of Jean The Birdman sounds horrible and trashy. On this album Sylvian’s voice is clearly recorded differently album to album. 

Am now listening to Stevie Wonders early 70s output and it sounds rich and full. 

So this seems to be a competent all rounder. It is not fatiguing. It also works well as a DAC for the TV.

But it sometimes seems to lack conviction. It is lacking a certain something that I can’t describe (maybe texture of voice and instruments) and sometimes the band don’t seem to all play well together. My Lenco sounds a lot better. 

But there are very few streamer brands that I would consider. I really only want a product that has a top class app. This seems to be Naim, Linn, Bluesound and Auralic. 

I have the Naim Nova at home and the Auralic Altair/Marantz PM11S2 was so far ahead on any musical measure that the Nova was quickly discounted. The gulf that I heard was bigger than the gap between Nova vs Naim separates at the Naim dealer. At the same dealer I didn’t like the sound of the Linn and Linns have a built in preamp that I don’t need.

So my conclusion taking into consideration that it’s one box and it’s price that this could be ‘the one’.

Anyone have any thoughts before I pull the trigger? Chem Man?

Thanks

Dom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Guzziboy said:

Moon?

The cheapest equivalent product from Moon is £8900. The Altair is £1900. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How does this Moon product specifically compare to the Altair please?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tested a few well recorded Blu-ray films and the Auralic is too revealing so that you can hear imperfections that were no audible before. Warts and all is not what I need. It also lacks weight and coherence compared to the Benchmark dac that I have. 

I think that I will not find everything that I want in an all in one dac/streamer but don’t want to add to box count.

#FirstWorldProblems

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And having returned home and been listening to Tidal for an hour it seems that it liked being plugged in for 24 hours (dealer said that it was very new). Sounds really good on Tidal and am appreciating the additional detail. Need to do more investigation on films and maybe take a different path there?

@ Chem Man would be good to hear from you as you were on a similar journey. 

Thanks

Dom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you considered the Auralic Vega range (not sure how much you are willing to spend)

Or you could focus on a streaming solution which requires an external DAC .... This way you can fine tune to the type of sound you are looking for by changing the DAC .... This is the journey I'm on .... I'm happy with my DAC and I've just bought the minidsp shd studio which is a streamer but also a room correction facility ....

Good luck with your search

Sent from my BND-L21 using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer
19 hours ago, DomT said:

But it sometimes seems to lack conviction. It is lacking a certain something that I can’t describe (maybe texture of voice and instruments) and sometimes the band don’t seem to all play well together. My Lenco sounds a lot better. 

If you feel like that about it ..you will never settle with it as you will always be listening for faults..

Kindest regards Julian 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you played around with the different filters? I have with my Aries Mini and find it makes a difference. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, DomT said:

How does this Moon product specifically compare to the Altair please?

I haven’t compared side by side but have heard both. The Moon, my ears, was a little more organic. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, HouseElf said:

I haven’t compared side by side but have heard both. The Moon, my ears, was a little more organic. 

Thanks for the comment. I am not sure what you mean by organic. Rather than me try and guess can you give me an example please in relation to a music instrument eg the guitar was more abc rather than xyz 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thought that I would add some detailed notes for others who maybe considering the Altair.

I have done some more listening and to try to find out what the Altair was doing I decided just to listen to the DAC. I ran my Marantz UD7007 via coax to the Altair and compared from the UD7007 via the same coax cable to my Benchmark. 

The difference was as initially suspected. The Benchmark (that I have owned for 12 years) has more weight and scale to each instrument and the musicians play with a little more conviction. Some instruments are also pulled more forward in the mix. This is the sound that I am used to so anything different takes time to acclimatise.

The Altair by contrast is more detailed. Instruments have more textural detail. But the sound is a more gentle presentation. 

Interestingly enough it is a little bit like the difference between my Lenco vs SME Model 10 (the Model 10 being the Altair). I like both but the Altair does not work for me though on films. 

I did try the filters but they didn’t make a huge difference. The Harbeth SHL5s are not explicit enough as opposed to my old Wilson Beneschs.

I also tried the Headphone output of the Altair. I only have keyboard headphones BeyerDynamic DT770 Pro 250 ohm. Altair sounded good but when using the headphone socket of my Marantz PM11S2 the sound was more similar to the Benchmark in that everything had more weight and scale. 

Will listen to some more streamers. Naim seems an obvious one especially given that I have a Muso in the office.

Another consideration is to use my Benchmark but it does not have enough inputs. I need at least three but preferably four and it only has two. And I was hoping to sell the Benchmark to raise funds but I maybe can imaging keeping the Benchmark for films and use the Altair for music. (But this is not environmentally friendly and doesn’t reduce my box count)

D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, DomT said:

Thanks for the comment. I am not sure what you mean by organic. Rather than me try and guess can you give me an example please in relation to a music instrument eg the guitar was more abc rather than xyz 

No problem. By organic I am referring to, for example, an acoustic guitar sounding more like a dreadnought than a parlour guitar. The Moon, to me, had more body and richness of tone in the midrange that I found the Auralic lacks. It was a subtle but noticeable difference to me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, DomT said:

Thought that I would add some detailed notes for others who maybe considering the Altair.

I have done some more listening and to try to find out what the Altair was doing I decided just to listen to the DAC. I ran my Marantz UD7007 via coax to the Altair and compared from the UD7007 via the same coax cable to my Benchmark. 

The difference was as initially suspected. The Benchmark (that I have owned for 12 years) has more weight and scale to each instrument and the musicians play with a little more conviction. Some instruments are also pulled more forward in the mix. This is the sound that I am used to so anything different takes time to acclimatise.

The Altair by contrast is more detailed. Instruments have more textural detail. But the sound is a more gentle presentation. 

Interestingly enough it is a little bit like the difference between my Lenco vs SME Model 10 (the Model 10 being the Altair). I like both but the Altair does not work for me though on films. 

I did try the filters but they didn’t make a huge difference. The Harbeth SHL5s are not explicit enough as opposed to my old Wilson Beneschs.

I also tried the Headphone output of the Altair. I only have keyboard headphones BeyerDynamic DT770 Pro 250 ohm. Altair sounded good but when using the headphone socket of my Marantz PM11S2 the sound was more similar to the Benchmark in that everything had more weight and scale. 

Will listen to some more streamers. Naim seems an obvious one especially given that I have a Muso in the office.

Another consideration is to use my Benchmark but it does not have enough inputs. I need at least three but preferably four and it only has two. And I was hoping to sell the Benchmark to raise funds but I maybe can imaging keeping the Benchmark for films and use the Altair for music. (But this is not environmentally friendly and doesn’t reduce my box count)

D

Is it three digital inputs you need?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.