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Steve H

Comparing the AURALIC VEGA DAC and New VEGA G1 STREAMING DAC

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Back in 2013 I had just sold my Wyred 4 Sound DAC and was on the look out for a replacement. I attended a Hi-Fi show at Whittlebury Hall Hotel. There I met Gary from Audio Emotion and Xuanqian Wang from Auralic. Both friendly and knowledgeable guys. As there was a generous discount on the new AURALIC VEGA G1 Streaming DAC I ordered one along with a midrange Audioquest USB cable.  After six years of enjoying the DAC/Preamp, I began to read several favourable reviews about the new Auralic VEGA G1 from the likes of John Darko and Chris Connaker. This leads to thoughts of,  “will it sound nicer, can I afford one and will I use it enough” etc.

Fortunately for me, one came up for sale a couple of weeks ago which I bought. The first impressions are as follows: The G1 unit seems twice as heavy has my original Vega (curved edge aluminium) unit.

More than double the amount of plastic foam provided in the box, am sure this thing would survive an accidental drop. Two basic power cables, one braided USB cable included but no remote.

The large yellow led display of the original is nicely laid out and just provides the information I need to see from my sofa. The G1 has a square screen in the middle with large icons for input but very small font in the sub menus.

G1 units comes with the addition of an ethernet socket on the rear which the original does not have.

Because I have a Windows based music server, I needed to again install a small driver on to that from the Auralic site, which was straightforward.

The significant changes are that the new device has a streamer, completely updated electronics and the interface is more complex in my view.

To set up and configure the G1 device you can use any web browser, the built-in screen system menus or the Lightening DS app. The App provides prompts which I found easy to follow. However, when I tried to register the device with my email on the Lightening app, a message popped up which correctly stated that a previous owner had registered it and they would contact them for persimmon to allow me to register it as the new owner.  While I wait for a response from the previous owner, has anyone on this forum had experience of successfully transferred ownership of a used G1/G2 DAC, please?

Current VEGA boots up in a few seconds its then controlled by the supplied remote-control unit or the function button. Regarding the apps, I have for years been using JRIVER as my media player with J Remote app. Reliable, lots of features and sounds good. The G1 takes over a minute to boot up. However, JRiver is not compatible now so I have to use the Auralic Lightening DS App from the Apple iStore. (free). I have found that the Apple podcast apps works well too.  

To listen to Spotify on my original VEGA I used to turn on my Windows based audio server, login,  and could then use the Spotify app on my old iPad or Android mobile phone to control it.

To listen to Spotify on the new G1, I first I select ‘Streamer’ input device using the silver button to scroll and push to select, enable Spotify in the menu, (small font on the screen). Songs are selected with the Spotify App on my iPad mini 2.

My thoughts from a brief listening session; starting with the original Vega the sound is easy on the ear across the audible spectrum. Switching to the G1, its noticeably clearer and the sound can be presented in a way that you prefer by selecting from smooth, dynamic/balanced or precise. These filters make a positive discernible difference to my ears however on the original Vega I could not really tell the difference between the filters. The bass is firmer, slightly improved stereo image and clearer high end.

Poor quality recordings are exposed regardless of genre. Precise filter is fine for classical and Jazz music but initially seemed irritating for other types of music. Depending on your listening room, speakers and preferences etc. I seem to have mentally adjusted to this by the end of the first week.

Switching inputs takes a few seconds and I hear four clicks from inside the case. Using the TOS output on my TV to the DAC for the soundtrack on BBC iPlayer, Amazon and Plex. However, I have not yet figured out how to get the timing right, the delay is on the min setting of 50ms but still not spot on, any advice welcome. It just worked with the original one right out of the box!

What surprised me was that the streamer built in to the G1 sounds clearer (better separation and oomph) than my new server with JCAT sound card and two quality power supplies! What I have yet to test is how the Spotify App, with all sound quality settings on the highest available, sound compared to the same song ripped from a CD on my server.  In conclusion, while this G1 is a significant upgrade as is the manufacturers website, I will miss the simplicity of operating the original one however I can live with the complexity of the new one as the sound quality is better. The original VEGA DAC/Preamp unit will be up for sale soon on this forum in the Classifieds section.

Auralic front low res.jpg

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