“I remember being blown away by the AURALiC Vega playing DSD files. I can’t be positive because the Vega left my sound room many months ago, but I wasn’t as impressed with the Altair on DSD. Don’t get me wrong, DSD sounded great but just not as great as I remembered with the Vega. With DSD I had more of a sensation of listening to musicians playing in a definable space rather than in a studio. There was more air and separation more often on DSD than on .flac. ”
“For US$4K, it might be possible (nay, easy) to compile a separates rig that outshines the Polaris. To point this out is to miss the point of AURALiC’s finest offering to date. It also ignores the time suck and cash drain of going mix n match. Like Devialet and Peachtree – and the increasing number of super-integrateds coming to market – their intent is simplicity without audible sacrifice.”
“The ability to place instruments and voices in a believable space and to deliver exceptionally rich tonal color was just as evident on small-scale classical music. Hilary Hahn’s duets with pianist Cory Smythe on In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores (LP [Deutsche Grammophon 00289 479 6664], CD [Deutsche Grammophon B0019103-02]) are a case in point. While the LP was released after the Yvettes had arrived, the CD had been out long enough for me to listen to it on other speakers in my home and still others in showrooms and at shows. My initial reaction to this disc was of mild disappointment, with Hahn sometimes sounding uncharacteristically harsh and the piano parts lacking a sense of integration and conversation with the violin.”
” One feature I found especially useful was the pair of analog outputs that can be used in parallel (where they will send the identical signal to both) or as separate individual music streams. For those prospective buyers who would like to have three identical synchronized streams by using both analog and digital outputs, the digital stream will not be exactly synched with the analog. I used the second analog feed to supply a headphone amplifier, which increased my listening options. ”
” My concentration changes focus throughout the piece, in sort of a meditative way as it ebbs and flows throughout the piece. I found this happening when listening to the MLife play my favorite power orchestral pieces. Regardless of how boisterous the music might become, my focus changes throughout the piece, focusing on different instruments, different sections of the orchestra, and to its soloists. As it does in real life. The dynamic distance the MLife can create with this large group of instrument is second to none in my experience, regardless of whether I’m listening to the internal DAC fed by the Ethernet connection or a source connected through an interconnect, digital or analog”
“Library management is a fundamental part of server design and Innuos has gone further than most in its attempts to make this easier. It could, and undoubtedly will, be refined over time, but so long as you let it do the sorting for you – and look at those reports when they come in – the ZENith is capable of making this side of things pretty straightforward. On the sound quality side, it is very capable indeed – clearly more so than the competition I had to hand thanks one presumes to the SSD storage. This does limit absolute capacity, but you can always go for the 2TB option for an extra £500, and even then the ZENith MkII is the least expensive SSD server on the market. All in all, it’s a very hard act to beat for anyone looking to push streaming quality to the max.”
“I spent a full two weeks listening to the T+A driven by my Auralic Aries, Windows 10 laptop via Ifi Audio iusb, Tascam DA3000 (AES/EBU), and Oppo (S/PDIF). This allowed me to calibrate my ears prior to evaluating what the SGM brings to the party. My initial impressions of the T+A DAC driven by my usual selection of transports was competent @ the price point for PCM and better than its price point for DSD. In truth, it was a fairly large step down from my resident Golden Gate as you would expect at ~20% of the price.
“The limiting factor to the ACE is fairly obvious. Strip away all the features and it’s a 50W amplifier. It’s a really good 50W amplifier, capable of punching above its weight, and hangs on to its sonic character for a lot longer than most 50W integrated amplifiers, but that still imposes certain limits on what speakers you can use with the ACE. I don’t suppose anyone in their right mind would use the ACE with a punishing £100,000 behemoth loudspeaker with the impedance load of a small asteroid, but this highlights the ACE’s performance in positive terms. You wouldn’t partner these two because of the price differential, but in performance terms, the ACE is a more tempting proposition, thanks to its outstanding sound quality. If you are going for some really high-grade loudspeakers, it might be best looking at a separates approach – very possibly from the same brand.”