I think it's very interesting indeed, especially as a Roon endpoint with inbuilt DAC. But will have to reserve judgement until it's actually out. If the SQ is up there, then it will be a very versatile device.
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I see this line in Audio Advisor catalog these days.
Very interesting product line but current line seems expensive to me for what you get compared to some options available to anyone with a home computer already. I suppose there is value for a traditional audiophile not interested in learning how to get good sound off files stored on a typical home computer. Also I always worry about future value and performance of any computer device since technology moves so fast in this area. A big investment today depreciates greatly over time except maybe if a collectors item.
I have tested both setups side by side:
Aries (the fancier one) with a Vega and an Altair.
Let me put it this way, I kept the Altair.
Selling the Aries and Vega and buying the Altair left me enough $ to take a vacation...
In my ears the same, maybe a little detail gets lost. NOT $3,100 worth of difference...
Of course Auralic can't say that the Altair practically sounds the same as the Aries/Vega combo.
For 99% of the people that have a decent setup it will sound close enough to use an Altair over the Aries/Vega combo. (self conducted survey with 1 person asked the question...)
We just got our demo Altair for the store, and it's still breaking in. So, far I like it. Build quality is very good, Vega level.
The 4 filter options are great, and change the sound significantly, which can help in some systems...
Just the other day they did a firmware update, and Roon is working flawlessly now.