We get this question a lot, and we understand that our product offerings are in some cases similar enough that you may not immediately understand which one is for you. No problem though, we’re happy to explain our product family in a way that makes your decision a little easier. Also, rest assured that all of our ALTAIR, ARIES, and VEGA products can be controlled by our proprietary Lightning DS control software.
The first way we divide up our products is by putting them into four different categories:
1-Streaming Transporters, the names of which all begin with the word “ARIES.”
2-DACs with streaming capabilities, which all begin with the word “VEGA.”
3-All-in-one Digital Sources, or DAC/Streamer/Servers, which all begin with the word “ALTAIR."
4-Upgrade Products, which are made to enhance and improve the performance of the above three categories. Currently there are two of these: SIRIUS G2.1, an upsampling processor, and LEO GX.1, a reference master clock.
Once you know the composition of the AURALiC product categories, you can look at your own system and/or set of needs to identify the type of AURALiC product to consider first.
When it comes to our ARIES family of products, it will likely be a solution for you if you already own a DAC either from AURALiC or another company, and you want to add or improve upon your system’s network audio capabilities, be it to stream locally stored high-resolution files, or to stream online subscription-based content from providers like Qobuz or TIDAL. ARIES products are also all Roon-ready, functioning as endpoints and offering control from Roon.
ARIES products can also, if needed, provide CD playback and ripping functionality, if you own music in this format, simply connecting a CD drive via USB can add this functionality.
You can tell it’s an ARIES product by looking at the back and noticing that there are only digital outputs, no analog outputs, meaning there is no DAC onboard.
An additional feature of ARIES products is that they all offer Wi-Fi as a way to connect to your network. So if ethernet is a problem, ARIES may be an ideal solution.
Next, if you don’t own a DAC and you need to update and generally improve upon your system’s sound, you may want to add AURALiC’s high-performance digital-to-analog conversion solution to your system. The VEGA family of products are DACs, first and foremost, so the focus of the design is on sonic performance. In that same vein, this focus has limited additional functions having to do with network/local streaming.
Additional functions provided in all VEGA products include volume control and multiple inputs, which consist with a streaming input made specifically for providing you with subscription-based services like TIDAL and Qobuz. Also, VEGA products are all Roon-ready, functioning as endpoints and offering control from Roon.
It’s possible that this is your first foray into network-based digital audio, and you may not have a DAC or a streaming product of any kind. It’s also possible that the last time you purchased a digital product for your stereo system was a CD player, or a DAC made for connecting your stereo to your laptop or desktop computer. If any of the above are the case and you require a one-box digital source capable of every function offered by any one of the AURALiC products, the ALTAIR family is most certainly worth your consideration.
The ALTAIR design concept is rooted in offering an extensive set of features and functions all in one chassis. So, if you need a high-performance DAC, a network streamer, access to Qobuz or TIDAL, volume control, multiple digital inputs, CD playback and ripping options (from a USB CD drive), app-based control from AURALiC’s Lightning DS, or Roon, the ALTAIR name will provide you with a comprehensive solution for wonderful sound and a seamless experience from a one-box design.
This family is currently made up of just two products, each with a very specific purpose, and neither of which can operate independently as playback devices. The SIRIUS G2.1 upsampling processor and LEO GX.1 reference master clock must be used in conjunction with other products and will be a potential choice only if you’re considering an upgrade to your pre-existing digital stack, but are already satisfied with your DAC or streamer.
LEO GX.1 is an outboard reference master clock, designed to completely remove jitter from your digital signal path. It’s an appropriate product to consider only if you already own or plan on purchasing VEGA G2/G2.1, as it is not compatible with DACs made by other manufacturers. If that's the case, LEO GX.1 provides a way to improve the sonic performance of your system and does not add functionality.
SIRIUS G2.1, similar to LEO GX.1, does not offer to the VEGA G2/2.1 owner functions not performed by the product already but will improve upon those functions by devoting an entire chassis, power supply and processing platform to the task of upsampling. Also, any customer wanting to improve upon the upsampling capabilities of their system may take advantage of the sonic performance benefits of the SIRIUS G2.1, because it is universally compatible.
You may have noticed that at the end of each of these names, there is a G1, GX.1, or G2.1 designation. This nomenclature exists to designate performance levels and compatibility among our products.
To sum up, deciding between these levels of product is not necessarily a choice between function, but is one of absolute performance. A VEGA G1, for example, will function almost exactly as a VEGA G2.1. The G2.1 variant, however, will offer an analog volume control, whereas the VEGA G1 will offer a more cost effective digital volume control.