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Upgrade to Altair G1 or use CXN V1 as streamer and buy new DAC?


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Hi, I am looking to upgrade the dac/streamer component of my setup and would appreciate some wisdom from SNA members ūüôā

 

My current setup is:

Op-amp rolled Kinki Studio EXM1 integrated amp; Cambridge Audio CXN V1 streamer/DAC; PMC twenty5.21 bookshelf speakers; REL T/7i subwoofer; DYI pure silver XLR interconnects; DYI high quality speaker cables, DYI speaker stands and DYI rack (see photo below).

 

The room is 5.0m (w) x 5.78m (long) x 2.7m (h) but household harmony issues prevent any obvious room treatment, as it is our main living room.

 

The CXN is usually fed CD-quality or higher WAV and FLAC  files via WiFi from a dedicated MacBook Pro (late 2012) running Audirvana set up in an adjacent room near our NBN modem and separate router. The MacBook Pro is connected to an ASUS RT-AC68U router via Supra ethernet cable. Music files are stored on an external SSD connected to the USB 3.0 input of the router via an AudioQuest Cinnamon USB cable.

 

The Audirvana audio output is deliberately restricted to 24/96 and WiFi copes with this 95+% of the time even though the WiFi dongle on the CXN is single-band wireless N only (and I haven’t been able to find a dongle upgrade anywhere to dual-band or AC). NB. Running ethernet is not really an option.

 

I have also used REW to assess the low-frequency profile of the listening room and use the Audio Units capability of Audirvana to apply some parametric equalisation to the low end only. This has tightened things up bit.

 

BTW, I don‚Äôt use Tidal/Qobuz or Internet Radio. I‚Äôve tried all three and, in the end, I have so much locally stored music that I am happy to listen to that and I found they languished ‚Äúon the shelf‚ÄĚ. I have also tried Roon and am not prepared to pay the asking price for what it brings to the table. I also thought Audirvana sounded better in my system‚Ķ

 

I do have an Apple Music subscription that I listen to when out and about using wireless ear-buds and I can stream that via AirPlay (1) to the CXN. I generally do this to trial listen to an album before buying a digital copy of it from zdigital.com.au or bandcamp.com or HDTracks or wherever… if I like it. Local file playback is a priority.

 

Anyway, the upshot is that I can get very good sound out of the setup, BUT…

 

The setup is a bit complicated, relies on WiFi and, sonically I am looking for a bit better soundstage width and depth than I currently get, whilst still being able to do some low end DSP.

 

I am thinking that I will upgrade to an Auralic Altair G1 with internal HDD as it will hopefully tick all of the above boxes. Lightning DS seems to be functional and I would have a high-quality, one-box, one-room solution ūüôā

 

There are dealers in Melbourne where I can audition the Altair G1 against the CXN V2 (and the Cambridge 851N, for that matter), so take it as a given that I will do due diligence before purchase.

 

If any SNA member has an Altair G1, I would be very keen to hear their impressions of the unit.

 

Also, are there any other streamer/dacs up to $4K, or so, that I should consider that fill most, if not all of my requirements? Lumin’s get a good wrap but won’t tick all of the boxes, functionality wise.

 

OR, should I consider using the CXN V1 as just a streamer and buy a new DAC such as a Denafrips Pontus, for example, and, hopefully, get improved sound/soundstaging, even though this will lead to an even more complex system?

 

Or, is the digital out of the CXN (Coax or Toslink) likely to be a weak link feeding something like the Denafrips Pontus or other similar quality dac and therefore not worth it?

 

Any thoughts/feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

Kind regards,

 

Peter

 

PS. Sorry for the length. I always write too much ūüėě

 

New setup.JPG

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Funny to see this, Snoop. I used to work in the MSO, and I remember the engineers had a miserable time with bass integration, trying to record a large orchestra in the very resonant Waverley Theatre (

A Zen (as well as the Mini) should fall into the budget. The ZEN incorporates a dual linear power supply, which shouldnt be overlooked in the realm of digital audio. The ZEN Mini could replace the CXN

As an Auralic user, I would obviously recommend the Auralic route, the Altair G1 would be an excellent solution at that price point. However there are other products at or less than your budget, Matri

The Altair G1 is better.

No offence, but based on personal experience ( and on forums, feedback, etc.) Cambridge Audio is Mid Fi. Auralic is Hi Fi.

The question/problem is the price difference between the Cambridge Audio and the Auralic. The age old issue of diminishing returns.

I would suggest that the G1 would be about 20% better.

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No need to apologise for the length; it is most refreshing to have detailed information.

 

I am known to advocate simpler solutions, so no surprise my suggestion to go Altair. You could also investigate Innuos.

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14 minutes ago, Jventer said:

The Altair G1 is better.

No offence, but based on personal experience ( and on forums, feedback, etc.) Cambridge Audio is Mid Fi. Auralic is Hi Fi.

The question/problem is the price difference between the Cambridge Audio and the Auralic. The age old issue of diminishing returns.

I would suggest that the G1 would be about 20% better.

Thanks, J. 

No offence taken ūüôā

The CXN was my first dip into the digital/streaming world and I'm sure there are plenty of better options out there, at a price.

The Altair G1 is within the budget I have set myself and I'm quite hopeful it will be a step up in quality when I audition it.

Regards,

Peter

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19 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

No need to apologise for the length; it is most refreshing to have detailed information.

 

I am known to advocate simpler solutions, so no surprise my suggestion to go Altair. You could also investigate Innuos.

 

Thanks, Snoopy.

Yes, the single box solution of the Altair G1 appeals to me, as well. 

Never really read much about Innuos products. I will investigate them. Thanks.

Regards,

Peter

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3 minutes ago, PeterB7858 said:

Thanks, J. 

No offence taken ūüôā

The CXN was my first dip into the digital/streaming world and I'm sure there are plenty of better options out there, at a price.

The Altair G1 is within the budget I have set myself and I'm quite hopeful it will be a step up in quality when I audition it.

Regards,

Peter

Hi Peter

I have the older "brother": the Auralic Aries  Femto, and it has beaten many alternatives.

As I have mentioned, if you are Ok with the spending it is all good.

 

I have to apologise, I did not mention that the Auralic products only work with Apple products. (Not sure if it is impossible to control via Android or if there are work  arounds).

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Reading your situation, a music server first (streamer second) would probably make the biggest difference, considering the bulk of your music is local. A server will do a much better job of cataloguing your music collection, unlike a streamer. As an Innuos owner, this would fit the bill (as well as making future Cd ripping a breeze to do). 

 

However, the Auralic will do a better job of being your end point than the Cambridge, but I assume the CXN is also your DAC right?

 

Edit: Just saw the G1 has local storage onboard, so thats good. Just hope youre an iOS user though! (no Android app)

Edited by Hydrology
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Thanks, J.

No problems. I was aware of that limitation. It does appear there are workarounds, as you say, though.

I have been using Apple products for a long time and we have plenty of iPads and iPhones to use as controllers ūüôā¬†

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1 minute ago, Hydrology said:

Reading your situation, a music server first (streamer second) would probably make the biggest difference, considering the bulk of your music is local. A server will do a much better job of cataloguing your music collection, unlike a streamer. As an Innuos owner, this would fit the bill (as well as making future Cd ripping a breeze to do). 

 

However, the Auralic will do a better job of being your end point than the Cambridge, but I assume the CXN is also your DAC right?

 

 

Thanks for your input, H.

Yes the CXN is also my DAC in this setup.

Actually, I have already ripped nearly 400 CDs to WAV using dbPowerAmp and my Mac Mini desktop setup so I really don't need a ripper, anymore.

I need to look into Innuos more closely to really get a handle on what they offer. Are we talking the Zen Mk III?

Regards,

Peter.

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2 minutes ago, PeterB7858 said:

 

Thanks for your input, H.

Yes the CXN is also my DAC in this setup.

Actually, I have already ripped nearly 400 CDs to WAV using dbPowerAmp and my Mac Mini desktop setup so I really don't need a ripper, anymore.

I need to look into Innuos more closely to really get a handle on what they offer. Are we talking the Zen Mk III?

Regards,

Peter.

A Zen (as well as the Mini) should fall into the budget. The ZEN incorporates a dual linear power supply, which shouldnt be overlooked in the realm of digital audio. The ZEN Mini could replace the CXN potentially (having its own on-board DAC) but you might boost simplicity over performance, hence why the ZEN might give the biggest benefits.

But as you say, auditioning is key and you might come back with an entirely different opinion on ALL of the above!!!

 

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20 minutes ago, PeterB7858 said:

 

No problems. I was aware of that limitation. It does appear there are workarounds, as you say, though.

I have been using Apple products for a long time and we have plenty of iPads and iPhones to use as controllers ūüôā¬†

The workaround with Android is to use UPnP and BubbleUpnp as the app. The question then is how much compromise to SQ ?

 

Do look closely at the Zen and look for comparisons with the Altair. There are fans for each...

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As an Auralic user, I would obviously recommend the Auralic route, the Altair G1 would be an excellent solution at that price point. However there are other products at or less than your budget, Matrix Audio and Lumin (which you have mentioned), come to mind. I guess you need to weigh up the benefits of a one box solution vs perhaps a bit more flexibility. The Altair has no digital out for example, so you can’t plug it into an upgraded DAC down the track. However, it’s still a one box solution that’s excellent at that price point.

 

It‚Äôs an interesting topic for me. I decided to get more deeply¬†into streaming about a year ago, after a number of years with a Mac Mini and Audirvana+. I started¬†looking at the¬†Bluesound Node 2i, then went quickly to the Cambridge, but given where I am at, I wasn‚Äôt happy with that and then looked at the Altair. The Altair would have been excellent, but for¬†me though, a no regrets outcome drove me further up the Auralic food chain to a Vega G2.1, at considerably more dosh¬†than the Altair. It‚Äôs amazing what a COVID lockdown will do ūü§£ūü§£. Haven‚Äôt regretted it, the Vega is an absolutely outstanding¬†Streaming DAC. Six months later I went nuts and added an Aries G 2.1 but that‚Äôs another story, again with no regrets.

 

So, in summary, have a critical listen to the Altair, it’s a great all in one streaming DAC/Pre. For me, Geoff Haynes at HeyNow HIFi was very helpful in auditioning Auralic gear and indulging my choices.

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38 minutes ago, mjs said:

As an Auralic user, I would obviously recommend the Auralic route, the Altair G1 would be an excellent solution at that price point. However there are other products at or less than your budget, Matrix Audio and Lumin (which you have mentioned), come to mind. I guess you need to weigh up the benefits of a one box solution vs perhaps a bit more flexibility. The Altair has no digital out for example, so you can’t plug it into an upgraded DAC down the track. However, it’s still a one box solution that’s excellent at that price point.

 

It‚Äôs an interesting topic for me. I decided to get more deeply¬†into streaming about a year ago, after a number of years with a Mac Mini and Audirvana+. I started¬†looking at the¬†Bluesound Node 2i, then went quickly to the Cambridge, but given where I am at, I wasn‚Äôt happy with that and then looked at the Altair. The Altair would have been excellent, but for¬†me though, a no regrets outcome drove me further up the Auralic food chain to a Vega G2.1, at considerably more dosh¬†than the Altair. It‚Äôs amazing what a COVID lockdown will do ūü§£ūü§£. Haven‚Äôt regretted it, the Vega is an absolutely outstanding¬†Streaming DAC. Six months later I went nuts and added an Aries G 2.1 but that‚Äôs another story, again with no regrets.

 

So, in summary, have a critical listen to the Altair, it’s a great all in one streaming DAC/Pre. For me, Geoff Haynes at HeyNow HIFi was very helpful in auditioning Auralic gear and indulging my choices.

 

Thanks for your valuable thoughts, mjs.

Your hifi journey is impressive.

Auralic make some very highly regarded products, for sure.

The Vega G.1 is probably won't be on my horizon any time soon but I'm glad you are really happy with it.

In terms of a balance with the¬†rest of my system, and the functionality I think I need, the Altair G1 seems to fit right in the sweet spot for me.¬†I am aware that it has no digital output but I'm probably going to have to win Tattslotto to go too further up the hifi food chain ūüôā.

I have tweaked my current system within an inch of its life and really enjoy the sound quality it offers most of the time so I am hopeful that a step up in class to the Altair G1 will keep me very happy for the foreseeable future.

Regards,

Peter.

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15 minutes ago, PeterB7858 said:

 

Thanks for your valuable thoughts, mjs.

Your hifi journey is impressive.

Auralic make some very highly regarded products, for sure.

The Vega G.1 is probably won't be on my horizon any time soon but I'm glad you are really happy with it.

In terms of a balance with the¬†rest of my system, and the functionality I think I need, the Altair G1 seems to fit right in the sweet spot for me.¬†I am aware that it has no digital output but I'm probably going to have to win Tattslotto to go too further up the hifi food chain ūüôā.

I have tweaked my current system within an inch of its life and really enjoy the sound quality it offers most of the time so I am hopeful that a step up in class to the Altair G1 will keep me very happy for the foreseeable future.

Regards,

Peter.

Sounds like a plan! Good luck!

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Hi Peter,

 

Either the Innuos or the Auralic are very good options, I am happy to have both brands in my demo systems including an Altair, a Aries G2.1 and for Innuos a Zenith Mk3.
Bang for dollar the Altair is very hard to beat and does everything it’s designed to do extremely well. 
 

cheers,

Terry

Edited by TerryO
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2 hours ago, TerryO said:

Hi Peter,

 

Either the Innuos or the Auralic are very good options, I am happy to have both brands in my demo systems including an Altair, a Aries G2.1 and for Innuos a Zenith Mk3.
Bang for dollar the Altair is very hard to beat and does everything it’s designed to do extremely well. 
 

cheers,

Terry

 

Thanks, Terry.

Your thoughts are very welcome.

The Altair does seem to offer everything I am looking for in a single box solution.

 

In terms of pursuing an Innuos based solution, which, based on their design brief and reviews I'm sure would sound great, it seems that it I would be in for a much higher overall cost outlay?

 

The Zen Mk 3 seems to be a bit going for a bit over $4k with a 1 TB HDD, which is within my budget, but unless I just use it to just feed the CXN V1 and use its existing DAC, I would need to buy a better, stand alone DAC (and high quality cable) to really take advantage of its low-noise serving capabilities. Have I got that right?

And, as mentioned above, the CD-ripping functionality of the Innuous is not something I need any more so, as is, I would be paying over $4k for a low-noise server to feed music files into a higher noise, lower spec, CXN V1 DAC?

 

Question (to all SNR members, as well) - Is this a viable setup?

 

It also seems that the Innuos Zen Mk 3 requires an ethernet connection to achieve full functionality? Do I have that right?

It doesn't seem to have any WiFi specs that I can find. So I still end up using the CXN StreamMagic app to control the music?

 

Am I missing something, in all this? I very well could be ūüôā.

 

Any clarification as to how either the ZenMini or the Zen would fit into my system, as is, given the constraints of the current setup (i.e. no ethernet), and a ~$4k budget, would be greatly appreciated.

 

Kind regards,

 

Peter.

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You need Dac and if one box solution is required/prefered than anything from Innuos is out, secondly I’m not sure if you still require dsp, if yes than either extra box or something like Nad C 658 with onboard Dirac Live, if not than streamer with built in dac such as Auralic already mentioned or many others, if I would be looking for new streamer it would be Lumin for its excellent app, I tried most of them and Lumin is hands down one of the best, second would be Auralic, plenty of users of both camps here on SNA so you should be able to get decent feedback if you ask

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Another option that never seems to get a mention is the Aurender

 

Preamp, DAC, streamer, server all in one. Quality is second to none, A2A Melbourne might be worth calling to see if they have one you could audition & compare.

 

$3,899.35

 

https://addictedtoaudio.com.au/products/aurender-a100-caching-network-music-server-player-with-analog-outputs

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30 minutes ago, kukynas said:

You need Dac and if one box solution is required/prefered than anything from Innuos is out, secondly I’m not sure if you still require dsp, if yes than either extra box or something like Nad C 658 with onboard Dirac Live, if not than streamer with built in dac such as Auralic already mentioned or many others, if I would be looking for new streamer it would be Lumin for its excellent app, I tried most of them and Lumin is hands down one of the best, second would be Auralic, plenty of users of both camps here on SNA so you should be able to get decent feedback if you ask

 

Thanks, Daniel.

 

DSP tools are not a deal breaker but it would be good if they could be part of the setup, since room treatment is not a realistic option at the moment. The Altair G1 includes parametric EQ and wall boundary reflection tools in the Lightning DS app, so they would seem to be a viable option. I can use REW and have the mics, etc.. to analyse the setup and then just add some low end EQ in to, hopefully, tame a few room modes.

 

I did investigate the NAD C 658 with Dirac Live and, it could be a viable option, but I'm not sure if it is really going to give me a big step up in SQ over the Audirvana/EQ Audio Unit option I currently have? Happy to hear from others if they have a different view re this. I can actually audition this against the Altair at a local dealer, too.

 

I also investigated Lumin products and, as you say, they are highly regarded, but all seem to require an ethernet connection to function? No WiFi? And adding a Lumin L1 Music server is quite expensive. The Altair can include a 2TB internal HDD/SSD for an extra $400 or so. 

 

As always, I'm happy to hear Lumin devotees to persuade me otherwise ūüôā.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, JB82 said:

Another option that never seems to get a mention is the Aurender

 

Preamp, DAC, streamer, server all in one. Quality is second to none, A2A Melbourne might be worth calling to see if they have one you could audition & compare.

 

$3,899.35

 

https://addictedtoaudio.com.au/products/aurender-a100-caching-network-music-server-player-with-analog-outputs

FB_IMG_1617745235496.jpg

 

Thanks, JB.

 

A2A have some great deals on Aurender products at the moment.

The A100 seems to tick a lot of boxes, including internal 2TB HDD, and would be something I would seriously consider, but again, unless I have got this all wrong, doesn't seem to be stand alone, in the sense that it doesn't have WiFi and needs an to ethernet connection connect to control apps, Tidal, etc.?

 

My NBN modem and router are in another room in the house, so I would need to run ethernet to the living room, or buy a couple of new tri-band routers and set up a mesh system with a 5GHz backline. Possible, for sure, but not as simple as plonking an Altair in place of the CXN?

 

Kind regards,

 

Peter.

 

P.S. The A100 doesn't have balanced XLR outs, which I would prefer. I see the A10 does but it costs more again..

Edited by PeterB7858
Forgot something...
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2 hours ago, PeterB7858 said:

It also seems that the Innuos Zen Mk 3 requires an ethernet connection to achieve full functionality? Do I have that right?

It doesn't seem to have any WiFi specs that I can find.

You could look at using a wireless network bridge to get a LAN cable to your streamer. That would involve getting another router and configuring as a bridge though.  So you will end up with a faster and more stable LAN connection.  Also gets you more options with wired streamers.

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28 minutes ago, madfonzy said:

You could look at using a wireless network bridge to get a LAN cable to your streamer. That would involve getting another router and configuring as a bridge though.  So you will end up with a faster and more stable LAN connection.  Also gets you more options with wired streamers.

 

Thanks, Fonzy (I've always want to say that ūüôā).

 

Yes, I agree with you. Having a wired ethernet connection locally available certainly increases the options I have re quality streamer/dacs.

 

I have set up bridged wireless connections in the past and given I would most often be playing music files locally attached to the streamer (internally or externally), and I don't stream hi-res Tidal, etc. then a bridge may very well do the trick under minimal loading. I will look into this further.

 

I also actually have a friend who is a network electrician, so perhaps it is time to bite the bullet and get him to install a few ethernet runs in the house from the router. 

 

Regards,

 

Peter.

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There’s an Aria Piccolo streamer in the Classifieds that Isuggest is well worth consideration.

 

I’m a happy Auralic Aries Femto user myself and feed a Gieseler Kompakt DAC. Both of those are excellent IMHO. 

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Another happy user of the Auralic family - though I have the older Aries femto. Highly recommended brand. I use Andriod mostly through BubbleUpnP. Not the best solution compared to the iOS interface, but you can live with it. You do need an iPad/iPhone for the first time configuration or if you need to make any changes to the settings. I have my Auralic streamer connected to a WiFi setup and have had no problems over the past year or so running Tidal. No buffering/lag - I do have a reasonably fast wifi setup though!

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54 minutes ago, lenticularis said:

There’s an Aria Piccolo streamer in the Classifieds that Isuggest is well worth consideration.

 

I’m a happy Auralic Aries Femto user myself and feed a Gieseler Kompakt DAC. Both of those are excellent IMHO. 

 

Thanks, David.

I will need to do some research on the Piccolo. I've never come across it before.

Auralic and Gieseler should be a fine combo.

 

Regards,

 

Peter

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49 minutes ago, anandpkumar said:

Another happy user of the Auralic family - though I have the older Aries femto. Highly recommended brand. I use Andriod mostly through BubbleUpnP. Not the best solution compared to the iOS interface, but you can live with it. You do need an iPad/iPhone for the first time configuration or if you need to make any changes to the settings. I have my Auralic streamer connected to a WiFi setup and have had no problems over the past year or so running Tidal. No buffering/lag - I do have a reasonably fast wifi setup though!

 

Good to hear, Anand.

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

IOS interfaces won't be a problem for me so the Altair should be easy to control.

My WiFi is reasonably fast and can transfer 24/96 music well. It struggles a bit at different times of the day with 24/192 files though, but that is more likely to be the single-band wireless N dongle of the CXN, rather than the network.

 

Regards,

 

Peter

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13 minutes ago, PeterB7858 said:

 

Thanks, David.

I will need to do some research on the Piccolo. I've never come across it before.

Auralic and Gieseler should be a fine combo.

 

Regards,

 

Peter


Peter, if Auralic Aries were more readily available then I would advocate looking for one, however they are highly sought after and generally retained. I actually sold one because I went for some room correction using miniDSP‚Äôs SHD studio that is also a streamer using Ethernet rather than the Aries‚Äô preferred wi-fi over its own Ethernet option. I wasn‚Äôt¬†convinced of¬†the SHD Studio‚Äôs streaming SQ so now I actually feed it with another Aries Femto I located on another audio marketplace. My DAC journey progressed from MBP, through Schiit Modi 3, through Gieseler Klein III, to the Kompakt. I bought the first production Kompakt s/n 0001,¬†such is my¬†¬†satisfaction and faith in Clay‚Äôs@Gieseler Audio¬†abilities and integrity (he doesn‚Äôt pay me for these plugs BTW ūüėÄ).

 

Anyway, had I not sourced another Aries then I would jump at the Aria Piccolo. It seems to have wi-fi connectivity and that avoids the whole ballgame of Ethernet cables, Ethernet regen ‚Äėdisciples‚Äô, network switches, etc, etc.

 

Re Gieseler DACs, they always sell quickly on here and Clay may have a demo unit available for evaluation.

 

I love that we can have these types of discussion on SNA. I learnt so much from it when starting to stream myself a couple of years ago.

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Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, lenticularis said:


Peter, if Auralic Aries were more readily available then I would advocate looking for one, however they are highly sought after and generally retained. I actually sold one because I went for some room correction using miniDSP‚Äôs SHD studio that is also a streamer using Ethernet rather than the Aries‚Äô preferred wi-fi over its own Ethernet option. I wasn‚Äôt¬†convinced of¬†the SHD Studio‚Äôs streaming SQ so now I actually feed it with another Aries Femto I located on another audio marketplace. My DAC journey progressed from MBP, through Schiit Modi 3, through Gieseler Klein III, to the Kompakt. I bought the first production Kompakt s/n 0001,¬†such is my¬†¬†satisfaction and faith in Clay‚Äôs@Gieseler Audio¬†abilities and integrity (he doesn‚Äôt pay me for these plugs BTW ūüėÄ).

 

Anyway, had I not sourced another Aries then I would jump at the Aria Piccolo. It seems to have wi-fi connectivity and that avoids the whole ballgame of Ethernet cables, Ethernet regen ‚Äėdisciples‚Äô, network switches, etc, etc.

 

Re Gieseler DACs, they always sell quickly on here and Clay may have a demo unit available for evaluation.

 

I love that we can have these types of discussion on SNA. I learnt so much from it when starting to stream myself a couple of years ago.

 

 Thanks, David.

I must admit that I have looked at the Gieseler website a number of times over the last six months because of the good reports from SNA members but low stock has been an issue, due to COVID interfering with supply lines, I'm guessing.

There is one Fein II DAC available on the site (USB input only). I've just been flicking through some comments from members with this DAC and the praise is consistent.

And you think it would be a good match with the Aria Piccolo as server? I'm assuming that means that the Piccolo is a DAC-less version?

I was going to ask but haven't got to it yet.

The two combined fit within my budget...

Interesting.

I will need to do some more homework.

 

P.S. No analogue XLR outs of the Piccolo is a bit disappointing but perhaps not a deal breaker.

 

Regards,

 

Peter

Edited by PeterB7858
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4 hours ago, PeterB7858 said:

DSP tools are not a deal breaker but it would be good if they could be part of the setup, since room treatment is not a realistic option at the moment. The Altair G1 includes parametric EQ and wall boundary reflection tools in the Lightning DS app, so they would seem to be a viable option. I can use REW and have the mics, etc.. to analyse the setup and then just add some low end EQ in to, hopefully, tame a few room modes.

DSP is more than measuring and adding a few PEQS.  Given you have no room treatment, Dirac is worthy of deeper investigation.

 

4 hours ago, PeterB7858 said:

I did investigate the NAD C 658 with Dirac Live and, it could be a viable option, but I'm not sure if it is really going to give me a big step up in SQ over the Audirvana/EQ Audio Unit option I currently have? Happy to hear from others if they have a different view re this. I can actually audition this against the Altair at a local dealer, too.

I would expect the Altair to beat the C658 when you audition them out of the box.  This is because Dirac Live has not been set up on the demo box. Depending on your room, Dirac Live could make a bigger difference in SQ than swapping over to a better streamer/DAC. 

 

4 hours ago, PeterB7858 said:

I also investigated Lumin products and, as you say, they are highly regarded, but all seem to require an ethernet connection to function? No WiFi? And adding a Lumin L1 Music server is quite expensive. The Altair can include a 2TB internal HDD/SSD for an extra $400 or so.

You seem to have painted your self into a corner by requiring Wifi.  There is a good reason why many high end streamer/DACs have only Ethernet; better SQ.

 

 

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20 minutes ago, PeterB7858 said:

 I must admit that I have looked at the Gieseler website a number of times over the last six months because of the good reports from SNA members but low stock has been an issue, due to COVID interfering with supply lines, I'm guessing.

 

 

There was a shortage of Clay's (Gieseler Audio) DACs because he uses the AKM chips and these chips have been unavailable for a few months since a fire broke out at the AKM factory in Japan

 

As per a recent post from Clay, he's now producing a new batch with Wolfson chips. Might be worth reaching out to him. I think he has a 30 day return policy - so you can safely try out in your system. I've heard of great synergy between Auralic streamers and Gieseler DACs, and Clay himself uses one of the Auralic streamers

 

 

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Thanks, again for your thoughts, Snoop.

You are right. I was a bit trite with my description of DSP and Dirac does seem to be a quality, more comprehensive product. Are you using Dirac over the whole audio spectrum, or just the low end? Hopefully I can find a store with a C 658 setup to showcase Dirac.

Without being able to demo both the C 658 with Dirac and the Altair with PEQ and speaker boundary tweaks , at home, it will be tough to compare them. I tend to think that you are right re the Altair sounding better than the Dirac-less C 658 in isolation. 
And, I agree, that having an Ethernet connection nearby would be optimal but there are some people out there who think WiFi can sound as good as, if not better, than Ethernet, if it is implemented properly. 
Contrariness is the hifi world's middle name¬†ūüôā.¬†
Regards,

Peter
 

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51 minutes ago, PeterB7858 said:

You are right. I was a bit trite with my description of DSP and Dirac does seem to be a quality, more comprehensive product. Are you using Dirac over the whole audio spectrum, or just the low end?

I am only using Dirac with my HT setup and use it full range.¬† You are correct in saying some people prefer to use room correction (& Dirac) over the bass frequencies.¬† Do not have Dirac for my stereo, in part because my mains have a well controlled response in my open plan family room.¬† I do bass room correction with dual subs integrated using MSO.¬† (no, not the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra!¬† ūüėĄ )

 

51 minutes ago, PeterB7858 said:

 Hopefully I can find a store with a C 658 setup to showcase Dirac.

Let me know if you find the first one who has implemented Dirac! ūüėČ And I have my doubts that there are many retailers who have used it.

 

51 minutes ago, PeterB7858 said:

And, I agree, that having an Ethernet connection nearby would be optimal but there are some people out there who think WiFi can sound as good as, if not better, than Ethernet, if it is implemented properly. 

Contrariness is the hifi world's middle name¬†ūüôā.

I bolded your answer; that is always the escape clause. If you want even more contrarian views (correction, a minefield with many explosive episodes), look at Ethernet switches, cables...

Edited by Snoopy8
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1 hour ago, PeterB7858 said:

 

 Thanks, David.

I must admit that I have looked at the Gieseler website a number of times over the last six months because of the good reports from SNA members but low stock has been an issue, due to COVID interfering with supply lines, I'm guessing.

There is one Fein II DAC available on the site (USB input only). 

And you think it would be a good match with the Aria Piccolo as server? I'm assuming that means that the Piccolo is a DAC-less version?

 

....The two combined fit within my budget...

Peter

Yes Peter, the AKM factory fire was a horrible event for any users of those DAC chips in their DACs, such as all of the Gieseler range. As Snoopy said, Clay very recently reported that he has re-engineered his Kompakt DAC with a Wolfson chip.

 

Ethernet vs wi-fi streamer connectivity: Auralic espouse wi-fi as their preferred method and they have both supplied.

 

It's not clear from that Piccolo advert if it is a DAC-included version or not. The seller is also in Melbourne so perhaps you could appraise it against your CXN?

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14 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

I do bass room correction with dual subs integrated using MSO.¬† (no, not the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra!¬† ūüėĄ )

 

Funny to see this, Snoop. I used to work in the MSO, and I remember the engineers had a miserable time with bass integration, trying to record a large orchestra in the very resonant Waverley Theatre (yes, it was the '70s).

 

I tend to avoid live orchestral recordings for the same reason: thick and boomy, whatever the playback equipment.

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Thanks for all the great information and discussion, to date.. 

 

After a bit of a ponder, I think my first move is to actually audition the Altair G1 against a CXN V2, which I know I can do at a store in Melbourne. They also sell NAD so I will put it on them to set up the C 658 with Dirac in the same room, and see how they respond.

 

I got all excited with the various other combinations mentioned, and would love to try some of them, but I will look to, in the first instance, KEEP IT SIMPLE ūüôā.

 

An internal HD in the Altair actually gives me almost all the functionality I would like, so if trialling it against the CXN V2 and/or the C 658, provides me with the best SQ solution, given my musical tastes, then I will probably just go with it.

 

Any two, or three, box solution looks like it will require bringing together components from different sellers, new and/or second-hand, and also require more fretting about cables, power supplies, etc, etc...

 

Please feel free to keep the discussion going, though. I will follow it with great interest, and definitely report back when I have done some auditioning.

 

Thanks, again.

 

Kind regards,

 

Peter..

 

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1 hour ago, PeterB7858 said:

 

After a bit of a ponder, I think my first move is to actually audition the Altair G1 against a CXN V2, which I know I can do at a store in Melbourne. They also sell NAD so I will put it on them to set up the C 658 with Dirac in the same room, and see how they respond.

 

 

 

+1

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On 07/04/2021 at 2:02 PM, lenticularis said:

It's not clear from that Piccolo advert if it is a DAC-included version or not. The seller is also in Melbourne so perhaps you could appraise it against your CXN?

I have a Piccolo and looking at the image of the rear of the one you are referring to, it looks like the model without the DAC, the two rubber plugs fill the hole where the RCA plugs would be. (mine is the same) I have never used mine on Wi-Fi so I can't comment on how that sounds. 

 

Good luck with the search

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39 minutes ago, srms said:

I have a Piccolo and looking at the image of the rear of the one you are referring to, it looks like the model without the DAC, the two rubber plugs fill the hole where the RCA plugs would be. (mine is the same) I have never used mine on Wi-Fi so I can't comment on how that sounds. 

 

Good luck with the search

 

Thanks for your help, Adrian.

I would have contacted the Piccolo owner but I really want to audition the Altair first (hopefully early next week) to get my head around what SQ improvement spending that type of money might bring.

 

If I go Altair, I think I will try streaming files from a USB 3.0 SSD attached to my router via WiFi, first, and see how that goes.

If that's not optimal, I will consider buying a basic NAS setup, and/or installing Ethernet, but I only have about 0.6TB of music files, so a NAS seems a bit of an overkill.

 

Interestingly, I read this last night:

https://community.auralic.com/t/internal-hard-drives/4547

"...The best sound quality option is to use any streamer but put music inside a NAS drive. It is critical to separate keep hard drive away from audio circuit, for best sound quality result. Putting hard drive inside our streaming device or using USB plugged to the back of the unit will both degrade sound quality comparing to let the machine read file from NAS drive...."

which makes me less keen to go the internal SSD or HDD that I was contemplating.

 

But I still need to check stuff out first and see what might work best for my setup..

 

Thanks, for your support.

 

Kind regards,

 

Peter.

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Interesting I found a German site that compared the sound quality of a Auralic Aries G2.1 using a internal SSD vs a Melco server.

They could hardly detect a difference 

Quote

As I said, the G2.1 was equipped with a two terabyte SSD by the sales department, which should be beneficial for the sound quality. The differences between the internal hard drive and NAS are almost negligible, even with a very high-resolution system - but only almost: When the data comes from the Melco, the playback appears a bit less, cleaner and more plastic. But maybe that has a little to do with the fact that I have been familiar with the tonal character of the Melco for years. In principle, Xuanqian Wang prefers the use of a NAS to the internal hard drive, as it is not only possible to store music data on it. The possibility of integrating a hard disk into the G2.1 is primarily intended for those of its owners whowho prefer a simple solution for playing music files. But whether with or without an internal hard drive: For me, the G2.1 combines the sonic advantages of the G1 and G2.

 

https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&u=https://www.hifistatement.net/tests/item/2885-auralic-aries-g2-1?start%3D2

 

 

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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