Thoughts on the Auralic Altair?

Digital Audio Review and 6 Moons both recently did previews of the forthcoming Altair, which is intended to be a 1-box streamer + dac solution. The posted msrp of $1895 is about 63% lower than the cost of a Vega + Aries setup. Both previews said the Altair will essentially be a scaled-down Vega with the Femto-Clock version of the Aries.

In terms of marketing, it appears textbook, provided it can deliver around 80% of the sound quality of the separates. (I’m essentially taking the 40% cost of the Altair relative to the separates and doubling it).

I’ve heard the Vega is particularly sensitive to static discharge. If that’s been addressed in the Altair I would certainly consider picking one up.

What do others think?
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.
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...

Sound quality?
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.


Can you confirm that to configure Altair the user must use Lighting DS which is only compatible with an Apple IOS device. Or is there some other option for non-Apple users.

Also, how do you think the Altair will compare to the "coming latter this year" Oppo Sonica DAC product?
Thanks for that link. It did answer my main question about whether one needs an IOS device for Lighting DS to setup and config Altair.
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