Having already spent some time with Altair’s Vega G2 $9795 Streaming DAC I became intrigued to hear what happens at Altair’s entry level price point and requested a listen to the Altair G1 which has a RRP of$3795.
Physically it looks largely the same externally. Supplied pictures reveal a vast difference in construction with the individual isolation internally of the different tasks resulting in the audio (and price!) differences.
However, for many the $3795 price tag means this Altair G1 is indeed a serious piece of kit and indeed I believe it will prove to be a system changer at this price point.
Set up is very straight forward. It finds and locks onto your Wi-Fi network in a logical manner, set up is straight forward either via the Auralic app or the front control. A combination of both is required to find and use all the available options.
Finding your music streaming service is straight forward, again Tidal being the choice for we Australians as it is for the Vega G2. Finding in managing you own digital library proved a little more challenging but well sorted once I started using Minim as the UPnP server rather than my normal Asset.
And so the listening began. The Altair G1 really does live up to its growing reputation. I played all my well-known test tracks and then found myself playing both new recordings from my own library and then enjoying consistently good results via Tidal. This is a known indicator in my listening room that I am enjoying a new component a great deal. Timbre is accurate, musicianship is distinguishable and discernible, meaning it really does involve you and grab into the listening experience.
Put bluntly this Altair G1 is a bit of a bargain. No surprise to report it is not as good as its much higher priced bigger brother, where you simply get more of everything. Once again it appears you get what you pay for. It just happens that at the Altair G1 level you get a tremendous amount of enjoyment for way under half the price of the bigger brother.
As always, a well-balanced system is required to reveal what the Altair G1 can deliver. As a long-term supporter of the “source first” principle I believe the Altair G1 is a great place to start building a very musical audio system or a relatively affordable way to transform a system crying out for a decent source.
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