Manufacturer's Comment

Hi, Michael:

On behalf of AURALiC, I would like to thank you and AudioStream for the outstanding and insightful review of our VEGA digital audio processor and it is a great honor for our product to get the 'Greatest Bits' award. I am especially happy that you are loving it so much. As in the case with any positive review, it serves as reinforcement to us, the manufacturer, that the ultimate performance goal were indeed achieved. When VEGA was conceived, the main objective was to bring high resolution music playback, especially for the original DSD recordings, to a higher level. This has always been paramount for us during the two year's development.

VEGA is a completely different approach with latest technologies comparing to the NOS design such as the Metrum Hex in your review. We believe modern way will endow the digital to analog process with lower distortion and better transparency. For the same reason, VEGA will bring listener the ultimate fidelity with totally balanced tone, great details and most important, the living voice. For the remote control as you have criticized in your review, we have already received a few complains during the CES 2013 as it is too 'plastic', the demand for a better remote control is unexpected. We have already started to design an optional luxury remote control cutting from a whole piece of aluminum to satisfy our customers.

In the last, I want to thank you and AudioStream once again for allowing us the platform to expose our products, as well as for the opportunity to offer a response.—Best regards, Wang Xuanqian | 王轩骞, AURALIC LIMITED | 声韵音响


christopher3393's picture

Thanks! Contagious enthusiasm! This is a review I've been waiting for. I'm also looking forward to the rest of Srajan Ebaen's review on 6moons and John Darko's review of the Vega as well. Also, I'm assuming you might have more to say about comparative DSD playback, although that's not as important to me as overall sound quality.

Any thoughts about amp and speakers that might pair well with the Vega, especially on a desktop setup? I wouldn't want to choose components that might  tilt the balance into the fatiguing zone.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

I can say for certain that the Vega mates very well with my Pass INT-30A. Seeing as the Vega's preamp works so well, I'd suggest the single-ended Pass amp (XA.5) would make a fine pairing.

Speakers is a whole 'nother can of worms. There are a million choices and the best choice is the one you like listening to and looking at most.

Desktop: Wow. That would make for a killer desktop DAC/Pre! I may have a suggestion for you in a few weeks....

christopher3393's picture

Thanks! Looking forward to the potential suggestion. I'm wondering if you compared volume control from the Pass INT with the Vega?

Srajan very much preferred using a separate (high-end) preamp, saying: " Swapping in my new Nagra Jazz preamp in 0dB gain mode with the Vega back at 100 became decidedly more dimensional, billowy, fluid and embodied. This demonstrated in completely unambiguous terms how despite fancy numbers magic, a truly superior preamp still retained a very significant advantage. At lower levels the contrast was painful. Going DAC-direct sounded stripped, stark and flat. Audible space and all its connective tissue had collapsed and all prior tonal and textural elegance abandoned."

Yikes! especially for someone who wants to use the Vega as a preamp in a nearfield setup that sounds great at low volume levels. A second opinion  based on your system would be much appreciated.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

...instead of the Pass' which is how I used it for the entirety of this review. But I can certainly see how adding a $12,000+ preamp may improve things, especially at lower levels ;-) But if we're talking about spending $15,000+ on a DAC/preamp solution, there may be more effective ways to skin that cat.

When it comes to questions like these, specifics matter in terms of system context, cost, and ultimately ones preferences.

tbrads's picture


Great review, as always.  I am supposed to get the Vega in, too, so i will review it as a sort of second opinion, as I don't think I can match the nice well-rounded intro and description of the unit and its goals and objectives as you did.

Question:  you didn;t get into the Vega-as-preamp (only alluded to the fact that you are using it as such and want a better remote wand); i.e how well it's digital volume control worked without a typical audiophile preamp-amp setup.  I ask becuase I always try and evaluate that aspect, but have only once (Antelope Gold) come away with "ok, I can ditch my wonderful preamp" feeling.  In all other cases i've determined that my active preamp (Concert Fidelity CF-080) adds heft, weight and overall balls to the program, if not imepdance matching (although I dare say i don;t know much about it :) ).  Whether that is an additive that my sytem needs, and is really a tone control who can say..although others feel the same way.  My Myteks, for example, are classic cases..I listen in bypass (once the jumpers are in to cut down the hot output).  My Meitner has no such option to drive direct.  The Exasound remote was fine, but no match for my pre.

Anyway, great review.


Michael Lavorgna's picture

I was very comfortable using the Vega as preamp with the Pass INT-30A in amp-only mode. But whether or not a preamp is preferable in general comes down to system/preferences. I can see using the Vega with or without depending on the specifics. And I'm not trying to avoid answering even though I am...

I look forward to hearing what you think of the Vega - please keep me posted!


Blu's picture

Thank you Michael, your review certainly begs the question of a comparison between the Vega and the Invicta.


Michael Lavorgna's picture

But the Invicta left here nearly a year ago so a direct comparison is not possible. Also, I reviewed the Invicta before it had DSD capability and I understand there have been other changes as well.

John Grandberg's picture

I haven't heard the Vega so this is kind of a pointless factoid... But I absolutely love my Invicta paired with the AURALiC Taurus balanced headphone amp. It's an absolute Titan of a combo, which for me cements the idea that AURALiC really knows what they are doing. 

wisnon's picture

Chord Qute HD? In both DSD and PCM (Hires & RBCD)?

Technically, we have FPGA/Pulse Array Dac-WTA filter (with 10ps clock) vs Sanctuary ARM chip, user selectable filters, clock precision selection, Femto clock and Sabre Chip/Xmos. Quite a high tech showdown!

Of course, the Vega is double the price and reports more impressive paper specs, but it also is a preamp and has greater connectivity. The Vega also has a dedicated built in PSU, while the Chord can ditch the (quailty SMPS) wallwart and for $500 one can get a high quality L-PSU like a Paul Hynes SR3, MCRus or a Teddy Pardo and still save a Grand in overall layout. Still the Vega offers DSD128 right now, and that only a hope for the Qute, though MOST DSD materail will come from SACD rips via PS3 and that is only DSD64 which the Chord can render right now.


So, is the Vega worth the turnkey, no hassle investment, or is it worth tweaking  the Qute just a little to get similar or possibly better performance and save $1,200?

Michael Lavorgna's picture

Very nicely put. Since the Chord left here some months ago, a direct comparison is not possible. That said, my short answer is I really (really) enjoyed the heck out of the Vega. Whether or not that enjoyment is worth the difference in price between it and the Chord, which I also enjoyed, is something I cannot answer for anyone but me.

wisnon's picture

I do understand the difficulty and dont want to put you in an unfair spot.

You had only used the Qute with the supplied wallwart, so really cant say what difference a 3rd party L-PSU would make. Anecdotal reports online universally say this steps up the performance a notch or two.  One Aussie chap was about to sell his after testing it for a few days against his top-line Bel Canto 3.5VBMk2. However, he started to hear it open up after limited  burn-in and so let it play for 3 days continuously plus borrowed his pal's quality L-PSU. Suffice to say he is now forced to give it more evaluation time, as the tonal quality improved a lot, as well as the soundstage. He is still a bit concerned about the treble, though he says its no longer harsh, just more prominent that he would like...this may well change again with more burn-in.

Having said all that, the Vega seems very enticing and though more expensive, seems to threaten Dacs further up the price chain. It is quite future proof with impressive specs and a pleasing sound. 6 Moons also raves about it and gave a 6moons awards.

Aint it great to have so much choice in the DSD capable arena, with real world pricing to boot!'s picture

It is refreshing to see that Audio Stream knocked this one out of the park!

Thank you Mr. Lavorgna!

Too many great small companies don't get considered for review because they have not spent huge advertising dollars to buy a place in the magazines, even though their products may represent cutting edge technology, and affordable pricing.

The honesty and integrity of Audio Stream shows that they are not affraid to pursue and write about this exciting dac and other similarly exciting and interesting products.

Audio Doctor is showcasing this Dac at the New York Audio Show next week in suite 1126 and I was waiting for this review to come out to see if other people heard what I heard in the Vega, 

We will be showcasing the Vega along with the new Aragon 8008 with the terrific Watefall Audio Evo glass speakers, This is going to be a great sounding, and affordable setup! I would love for your to stop by. 

I was thrilled to read the review because it did validate everything that I heard, the Vega sounds and performs at a level that very few products under $10k can muster,I know because I sell many of them. 

This is all great news because the people at Auralic are terrific people and have demonstrated that they can produce a world class product, design and build it well, and sell it for a price that many people can afford,Everything about Auarlic shows they are a professional group of people, the Dac is extremely well finished, it is nicely packed, comes with a real instruction manual, and they have a terrific website. 

Congratualtions to Mr. Lavorgnia, and to the staff of Auralic as well as music lovers everywhere looking to elevate the sound of their digital playback systems without going broke doing it.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

I will certainly see you at the NY Audio Show next week.

Too many great small companies don't get considered for review because they have not spent huge advertising dollars to buy a place in the magazines, even though their products may represent cutting edge technology, and affordable pricing.

I can't say that I agree with this point of view, i.e. that there's a direct link between advertising and what gets reviewed, at least in Stereophile (and I'm not suggesting that this exists for other magazines, just that I have no knowledge one way or another). I've seen John Atkinson address this misconception more times than I care to remember where he cites a ratio of, if memory serves, roughly 50% in terms of people who do/do not get reviewed and run ads in the magazine. Stereophile does have their "5 Dealer" rule for reviews which makes sense to me, all things considered.

labjr's picture

Well at least someone's honest and impartial.

We'd hate to have to depend on Mr Lavorgna's biased opinions alone. Guys like him are easy to spot. He gushes over everything like he has a personal interest in a product and never proof-reads his copy.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

Please do explain exactly what you mean. Don't be shy, now.

labjr's picture

Was trying to be sarcastic. Some of the manufacturers/dealers comments are a bit over the top.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

Sometimes enthusiasm can come across a bit heavy handed but I'd rather have people excited and passionate about what they do. 

labjr's picture

"Sometimes enthusiasm can come across a bit heavy handed but I'd rather have people excited and passionate about what they do."

Nothing wrong with being excited about what they do. Just not sure manufacturers, distributors or dealers belong in the forums pushing their products.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

I don't see a problem.'s picture

Dear Labjr,

I don't see it that way, I do see Mr. Lavornia liking a lot of dacs, quite frankly today there are a lot of very good dacs, there are howerver very few remarkable dacs, and at each price range in my mind there are clear winners.

If you look at my store I sell a boat load of dac's at very different prices, with differrent features and capabilities, and yes I like them all, but I love only a handful, and just for your edification I sell:

HRT, Cambridge Dac Magic, Audioquest Dragonfly, M2 Young, Bryston, Chord Qute HD, AMR DP 777, Naim NDX, Chord QBD 76, Meitner MA 1, EMM Labs Dac 2X, Esoteric K03, Esoteric D02, plus serveral streamers and CD Player/Dacs, and of course now the Vega.

wisnon's picture

What are your beloved DACs at each price point? Which are the clear winners?'s picture

You pose a great question that I am affraid I can't anwser without upsetting at least some of my vendors, let's see what I can say:

Under $2k the Chord is pretty hard to beat, and let's just say the Auralic Vega is the deal of the century! In the higher price ranges if you can afford the higher end Meitner and Emm Labs stuff you won't be too unhappy!

Other Dac's come way more down to taste warm and rhythmic in the case of the Naim and some of the others 

The Micromega Mydac which I forgot to list in the the first post is incredible for under $400.00 the Dac Magic is pretty darn nice for the feature set and sound qualtiy for a $600 price point. 

I have all of these dacs plus the Micromega and Arcam on display plus a couple of cool streamers, viva la choice! 



labjr's picture

"...let's just say the Auralic Vega is the deal of the century! "

'til the next deal of the century comes along in a few weeks!

wisnon's picture



Then again, you kinda owe me anyway...because I did send a a highly motivated potential customer from New England...yes the same one that contacted you today. LoL


Me, I have the Qute for DSD and the WONDERFUL Lampizator Dac for PCM. Gen 4 Level 4. Very grown up sound and incredible weight and tonality. Can you say

A-N-A-L-O-G? You can keep those megabuck Dacs. LoL


PS, have you heard the Calyx Femto DAC???'s picture

Yes thank you for the response.

In terms of the Calyx I haven't heard it but I did read a review on it I think from Computer Audiophile where they compared it to the Meinter MA 1 and the reviewer wasn't swayed enough to like the Calyx over the MA 1. 

I do have the MA 1 and it is excellent I have been going back and forth between the Vega and the MA 1 and lets just say both are excellent and do different things well. 

The Vega has the most amazing midrange out of any dac that I can think of other than the EMM Labs DAC 2X, and I think it is the midrange quality of the Vega which Mr. Lavorgnia so loved. The midrange is warm and tubey yet the dac has gobs of resolution and a gigantic soundstage, how Auralic has managed to voice the dac this well I don't know, all I can say is I feel the same way Mr. Lavornia feels the Dac is incredibly engaging. 

wisnon's picture

I have not heard the Calyx, but a very trusted friend of mine sold a spectral setup and bought the Femto. He absolutely raves about being the best digital he has heard. The specs are supreme as well.


As for the Lampi...well its a midrange master, midrange being its raison d'etre and it IS tubey, because it uses tubes both for rectification and integral in its output stage. And its casts a HUGE soundstage with unbelievable heft and solidity. For me it works great with my SS amplification and Heil speakers. Its an R2R multibit Dac, so "no Sanctuary here" as Chris Jones would say.


Anyway, it seems for the money, the Vega (which I have not yet heard, but like intrinsically based on the story around it) seems to be a good value proposition with great performance for the money  and offers a nice techy approach, with Sanctuary chip and the Opheo modules, etc.

t30lse's picture

Hi Michael.

Steve has indicated that the MSB Analog dac is on its way to you after his very positive review of this product. Are there any plans to share your insight on how the Vega compares to the MSB Analog? I understand that these dacs are at very different price points but given the comments about the Vega's performance in this discussion thread and feedback from other online sources it does beg the question of how the Vega stands against some of the best in the businesss. Thanks.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

I also have the Luxman DA-06 here for review which is more line with the MSB's price so I'll be able to compare all three.

Balis65's picture

 I'm looking at upgrading my DAC from my current Moon 300D and considering the VEGA. My only fear is that it could induce listening fatigue. What's your take on this?

Michael Lavorgna's picture

I associate listening fatigue with an overly bright presentation where there's an unnatural sense of detail. To me, the Vega does not suffer from this and instead sounds exciting and engaging. I certainly never felt any listening fatigue with the Vega. That said, I have heard more laid back sounding DACs. The Luxman DA-06 is a prime candidate in the smooth camp.

stevej866's picture

Ok, your review has definitely sparked my interest so here's the Million Dollar Question - Auralic vs Bricasti?

azwldkat's picture

Hi Michael... as a 2.0 home audio / theater guy, i have 3 digital sources. FIOS Cable box, Oppo 105, Lossless USB Music Server. I bought a Vega expecting the best & immediately hit the wall with issues. YES, it SOUNDS SO SO GOOD, BUT I HATE IT CAUSE ITS INCONVENIENT TO USE. #1 it uses the exact same remote codes as my Simaudio I7 integrated. Basically i have to keep a towel over the Vega or I run into redundant volume Ups & Downs, Mutes, Power ons & offs, input selections, etc... Literally, the exact same remote! A deal breaker for most in my position. I contact Mr. Wang & he is not interested in addressing my concerns. I will forward those onto you if you wish to read them. I also addressed the no 12v trigger aspect on the Vega & the fact that you cannot use it to power up amps with no trigger... & finally, when you power the unit off or try to put it into sleep mode, the unit asks you to CONFIRM this action or the unit remains FULL ON. As great as this sounds, I don't know who this was designed for... Apparently not me...

I was blown away at the DC audio show by the Bricasti M1 setup. Basically the M1 & a pair of Mono's & a pair of Tidal's & nothing else in between (really nice!) but blown away none-the-less.

My question to you Michael is how does someone like me with ALL digital gear, get into a high end DAC & PREAMP, while getting rid of his analog integrated & just get a nice pair of Mono's ??? none of these new DAC / PREs have 12v triggers!! All these companies boast their DACs are also PREs but how am i supposed to trigger a pair of amps??? How am i supposed to go all digital in a digital world when analog still seems to reign supreme????

Pocketempty's picture

As always fantastic job. Would this be considered a good upgrade to the Ayre Codex?

geoffalter11's picture

Hi Michael,

Not sure where else to post this question, so I thought I would start here. I am looking to upgrade my DAC. I have a Metrum Musette. It is going from my iMac via Silver Dragon USB to my Wells Audio Milo Headphone Amp. What would be a good next DAC for me?

Thank you,