Auralic VEGA G2 DAC, Network streamer, Preamplifier
AURALiC appears to be on another roll with its newest G Series of components. Four new pieces, including the ARIES G2 Streaming Transporter, VEGA G2 Streaming DAC, SIRIUS G2 Upsampling Processor, and LEO G2 Femto Reference Clock have been announced.
The G Series is a considerable step up into a very premium category, compared to some previous Auralic products such as the ARIES MINI. In addition to hardware, Auralic also announced its Lightning Link communications protocol. As one can expect, the G Series components are designed to work optimally together, but nothing precludes consumers from mixing and matching hardware and software from other manufacturers. The Auralic VEGA G2 Streaming DAC is the next generation of the company's successful Vega DAC. Accepting music up through DSD512 and PCM 32/384 kHz, the G2 is a much different product than previous versions. This streaming DAC is literally a newly designed VEGA DAC and newly designed ARIES in a single chassis. The VEGA G2, like the ARIES G2, is built on Auralic's Tesla hardware platform and LIghtning streaming infrastructure.
The VEGA G2's powerful hardware enables what Auralic calls flexible filter mode. This is the next generation filter mode with four user selectable filters. The names of the modes are recognizable to existing Auralic customers, "Precise Mode maximizes in-band ripple and out-band attenuation performance for example, while Smooth Mode eliminates pre-ringing. Dynamic and Balance Modes round out the available options that provide an extra level of control for your listening." Similar to the ARIES G2, the VEGA G2 also has similar galvanic isolation and dual low noise linear purer-power supplies."
Like all streaming-capable AURALiC products, the VEGA G2’s expansive functionality and connectivity options are thanks to its native integration of AURALiC’s custom-built Lightning Streaming technology. Lightning Streaming uses your existing network to create a dedicated music streaming environment capable of processing and streaming the highest resolution musical formats available, including DSD512 and PCM 32bit/384k. Lightning Streaming brings with it all the audio network functionality you’ve come to expect from AURALiC devices too, like Gapless Playback, Memory Caching, Bit-Perfect Multi-Room, and Upsampling.
Lightning Link is a low-jitter, bi-directional 18Gbps coupling that takes advantage of high-speed HDMI-type hardware connectors to provide a superior level of transmission control, making today’s ultra-high resolution digital music shine like never before. Different from the I2S standard, the bi-directional Lightning Link opens the door to jitter-free operation of all the devices in your system. Clocking information from destination devices such as the VEGA G2 can drive the ARIES G2 timing for example, providing perfect data synchronization. Lightning Link also carries system control data for everything from volume control to processor engine setup, allowing all linked AURALiC devices to appear in a single, unified control interface.
The AURALiC Tesla Platform is at the heart of the VEGA G2’s processing power. Built around a Quad-Core A9 chip, with 1GB DDR3 memory and 4GB of storage, the VEGA G2 runs at a whopping 25,000 MIPS – 25 times faster than the processor found in the original VEGA. That allows for the introduction of more sophisticated filter algorithms and oversampling techniques than ever before. As always, automatic updates keep the VEGA G2 up to date with the latest feature set and support, continually expanding its functionality and ensuring peak performance.
Dual 72fs Femto Master Clocks
We’ve built the VEGA G2 with two incredibly precise clocks for amazing accuracy. One clock handles sampling of formats in multiples of 44.1kHz, and the second takes care of 48kHz (and multiples) files. They’re the most sophisticated clocks we’ve ever built, and function on 72 femtosecond cycles – 72 quadrillionths of a second. The result is less jitter and immaculate sound. The 72fs Femto Master Clock is just as quiet as it is accurate, with an extremely low -169dBc/Hz of phase noise and a 100Hz offset noise level of only -118dBc/Hz, thanks in part to its low-noise 3uV dedicated power supply.
The union of AURALiC’s Lightning OS, the Tesla Platform and our 72fs Femto Master Clock leads to a new trick hiding up the VEGA G2’s sleeve: it’s a DAC that’s always in charge. While DACs until now have relied on DPLL circuitry to lock on to the input signal’s frequency, the VEGA G2 has no such limitation – a first in the audio industry. Lightning OS takes full advantage of the Tesla Platform’s considerable resources by buffering enough data to make the input signal’s frequency irrelevant, allowing the VEGA G2 to govern all processing with that super-accurate 72fs Femto Master Clock. It’s a configurable setting too, from 0.1s to 1s, so a smaller buffer size may be set for higher quality sources.
Digital Audio Galvanic Isolation
Physically separating electrical circuits while allowing data to flow between them, Digital Audio Galvanic Isolation in the VEGA G2 offers a new level of protection against electromagnetic interference. We’ve designed a high speed galvanic isolator that’s configured between primary circuits in the VEGA G2. The noise-sensitive D/A converter, Femto Clock and analog circuit are isolated from the central processing circuit, eliminating EMI noise and contributing to unparalleled sound quality.
Full Passive Volume Control
Years of development at AURALiC have resulted in yet another brand-new feature appearing in the VEGA G2 – a high-performance, low power, fully passive volume control. The fact that most relays need to draw power whether their status is ‘closed’ or ‘open’ is not only inefficient, but their always-energized coils also generate significant levels of EMI noise, adversely affecting sound quality. The eight coil-latch relays driving the VEGA G2’s R-2R resistor ladder attenuator network draw no current once set. That fully passive, zero-current system means…zero noise. It’s an expensive solution to construct, but when the goal is precise control and uncompromised sound quality, it’s worth every penny.
ORFEO Class-A Output Module
Inspired by the classic Neve 8078 analog console circuit design, the ORFEO Class-A Output Module found in the VEGA G2 is capable of driving various loads, matching the characteristics of different power amplifiers. ORFEO uses small signal components with excellent linear characteristics, thermally balanced and biased into Class-A to achieve open loop distortion of less than 0.001%. In the VEGA G2, ORFEO has been optimized for lower noise while maintaining the ability to drive 600ohm loads without increasing distortion.
The VEGA G2 is housed in a completely redesigned enclosure – the Unity Chassis. It’s machined from a single billet of aluminum and specifically designed for the premium lineup of AURALiC G Series products, right down to mass balancing and the shape of its foot spikes. The Unity Chassis excels at shielding the inner workings of the VEGA G2 from EMI and providing superior dampening and absorption, reflecting the obsessive attention to noise reduction throughout the G Series.