Welcome to the Auralic Polaris
Regulars on our pages will know we’ve been getting on rather well with Auralics’ less expensive streamers. The Polaris ups the ante by some margin but also offers an extremely high performance streamer and DAC combined with a very good amplifier. All in one discreet box!
This is a very fine alternative to some of Naim audio’s Uniti products.
But the joy doesn’t end there (no Sir!) because the Polaris can take an internal hard-drive of up to 5 TB enabling you to store a huge array of digital finery onboard. Or it can simply read your music library from your network. Or both.
The Polaris also has plenty of inputs, including a good quality phono stage!
The unit costs £3499.
We listened to this with our PMC Twenty Five .23 floorstanding speakers and also with the Spendor D7. These are two high performance speakers that both work well in our demo room.
This is close to plug and play with an app that talks you through the set up. Once the product is “registered” you’re ready to play music.
The sound is superb and we were struck with the way the amplifier side of things can punch above its weight. Yesterday we had this driving the Bowers & Wilkins 802D3 and really this amp should have made them come alive in the way it did. But it did and we were very taken with the end result.
POLARIS defines the AURALiC brand: innovative technology, great sound, superb user experience, and excellent value. It is a wireless streamer, a music server, a DAC, a pre-amplifier and a stereo power amplifier – the ultimate solution for music lovers seeking high quality streaming from a single, compact audio component. It has seventeen inputs channels comprising streaming, digital and analog sources. The internal DAC, incorporating AURALiC Flexible Filters and Femto Master Clock, supports Quad-Rate DSD and PCM up to 32Bit/384K. The powerful internal stereo amplifier module can deliver 120 watts per channel into 8 ohms, 180 watts per channel into 4 ohms continuous power with exceptionally low distortion- sufficient for the most demanding loudspeakers.
POLARIS utilizes AURALiC’s award-winning Lightning Streaming Platform. Launched in 2014, Lightning Streaming is industry’s first streaming solution that supports Quad-Rate DSD, PCM up to 32Bit/384K through Wi-Fi network. Lightning Streaming offers several innovative and unique features such as Gapless Playback, On-Device Playlist, Memory Cache and Bit-Perfect Multi-Room functions. This on-going platform is maintained, and continually developed by AURALiC’s in-house software R&D team to ensure customers are regularly updated with new features through the product’s automatic software update system.
POLARIS can act as home music center for virtually all input source. It read music stored on USB drive, internal hard disk, network shared folder and DLNA/UPnP music server. By joint use with Lightning DS, you can also stream TIDAL, Qobuz and listen to Internet Radio at any time. POLARIS’s AirPlay, Songcast and Bluetooth inputs provide alternative way to stream your favorite music from Apple Music, Spotify and other service providers through smartphone or computer.
POLARIS also work as RoonReady endpoint to use withRoon software if necessary, bringing you a new way to discover and listen to music. The rest of inputs includes AES/EBU, Coaxial, Toslink and USB connection to computer working as USB DAC. When ordering POLARIS, you can add a 2’5-inch hard disk drive or solid state drive as internal music storage as an option, turning POLARIS into a full function music server. Since there is no capacity limitation, you can always purchase POLARIS and install the storage by yourself.
Analog Channels & Phono Stage
POLARIS is powered by AURALiC’s proprietary Tesla hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB system storage. The Tesla platform has a calculation ability of 25,000 MIPS, more than enough to decode a vast spectrum of audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA. AURALiC has chosen this platform for its flexibility and long term support consideration. Future features planned include DSD Upsampling, Room Acoustic Treatment. All these features can be delivered through automatic online updates without user’s attention.
Femto Master Clock
The dual-frequency Femto Master Clock inside the POLARIS is specially designed and optimized for its ESS Sabre DAC chip: with one frequency for playing music with a sampling rate which is the multiple of 44.1K, and a second for 48K, making it possible for the POLARIS to be able to lock on with highest clock precision (equal to the VEGA’s “EXACT” mode) at all time without dropouts. The Femto Master Clock, which is powered by a 9uV extremely low noise dedicated power supply, has a very low phase noise performance. It not only has dramatically low phase noise, which is only at -151dBc/Hz level, but also an excellent 100Hz offset noise level which is only -115dBc/Hz. Driven by such a high performance clock, the POLARIS can bring you vivid music with natural detail and a solid sound image.
Hybrid Volume Control
POLARIS has four built-in filter modes which allows its user to customize sound best befitting their personal preference. Those filter modes were developed from AURALiC’s well known Flexible Filter Mode in the VEGA Digital Audio Processor, with each containing several digital filters optimized for a corresponding sampling rate. Flexible Filter Mode was developed under AURALiC’s subjective auditory sense and objective testing data relationship models, to optimize the listening experience for different music and format. The “Precise” mode exhibits perfect in-band ripple and out-band attenuation performance, while the “Smooth” mode is better for overall enjoyment as it has no ‘pre-ringing’ effect. The other two modes, named “Dynamic” and “Balance” are optimized for different music formats as well.