ND5 XS2 vs - AURALiC Altair G1(1.1)

This is a question about streamers rather than streaming, so I have placed it here. Happy to move if it’s the wrong place🙂

Yesterday I completed my speaker demo’s with the SF Sonetto III​:-1:t3: & the ATC SM40 (Passive):+1:t3:

The dealer was unable to provide a suitable LP12 as they had just sold their Akurate demo, therefore a Streamer was substituted. An AURALiC Aries G2 was the unit used and was stunning, but it is out of my price range.

I would be aiming at the AURALiC Altair G1 (or 1.1) level which matches on price to the ND5 XS2.

This is a very long and drawn out way of asking the Naim(erati) what experience of these two products have shown re performance and generally living with?

Can’t help you with the AURALiC but interested to hear your thoughts on the SF Sonettos…on my ‘possible’ list…

Cold, Sterile, Harsh, Unengaging and not as aesthetically pleasing in person as they are in the promo pictures.
I had high hopes for them, but the dealer said that when put up against the ATC SM40’s the ATC’s nearly always won.
I’ve gone for Dynaudio Evoke 50’s which I listened to last Saturday and found them to be EVERYTHING the Sonetto’s weren’t.
Very close call between the Dynaudio’s and the ATC’s. It came down to my wife’s preference on looks and the amount she enjoyed the Evokes last week.
Good luck, I hope you find your speaker bliss. Do give the Dynaudio’s a go if you can, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I can’t compare with the Naim kit as I haven’t heard them side by side.

I do have the Altair G1.1, an Aries G1.1 and the Vega G2.1. All are stunning bits of kit and work well with Naim amplification. I run mine on a mesh wifi system and their are no connection problems across the house.
The big advantage for me is that they all run Amazon HD streaming- as well as Qobuz etc.

Hi @QuickSticks, I’ve not done the exact comparison you mention in your OP, but one of the big advantages of the Altair G2.1 (I assume this was what you auditioned rather than the Aries) over the Altair G1 is the excellent analogue output stage which works very well straight into a power amp or active speakers. However, you’d not be using it this way since you already have an excellent pre, so I suspect the G1 would come fairly close in SQ to the G2 into your 202/200.

I did audition a Vega G2 against my 272/XPS a few years ago when no 272 successor seemed to be imminent. That was into active ATCs and I ended up with the Vega, but that undoubtedly reflects my musical tastes, at least in part. There both excellent but present the music somewhat differently. Auditioning would be ideal, but I doubt if you’d be unhappy with either.


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Interesting @PeakMan . I have an Altair G1 and use it with the volume control disabled in two systems. I think the Auralic products work very well with my two Naim systems. Certainly something to keep in mind to reduce the box count. I suppose the higher quality pre-amp section also improves the headphone listening experience as well.

If there’s a preamp in play I think the relative sonic advantage of the G2.1 over the G1 is reduced and may not repay the substantial extra investment. Of course that’s for each individual to decide. There’s a prolific poster on the Auralic forum who has run an Auralic streamer into a Naim 202/200 for some time. He’s recently upgraded from Altair G1 to G2.1 and seems very pleased by the results. I guess auditioning is key, where that is possible.



I’m in no hurry as I really enjoy the Altair G1 through a 252+300+SL2 or 42+110+wharfedale Diamond 220s

I agree and if I go Auralic it will definitely at G1 level. Whether preowned or Exdemo.
I’m not sure if ND5 XS2 lack of screen is an issue to me either, as all activity is implemented and viewed/controlled from another device🤔

Own ND5XS2 and have heard Altair G1 at dealers and would say sonically very close.
G1 allows more tweaking (filters, etc.) and has screen so if these are important this is your choice.
I chose ND5 as I thought it had better synergy with my amp and speakers.
My biggest learn on streaming has been importance of network.
I’ve resisted to date and been very sceptical until I tried.
Just demoing switches now but wow.
This is controversial in inter web land but would recommend trying it and does underpin all links in music chain make a difference.
Good luck and enjoy journey.


h had both at home with atc 40 I have to say it was hands down naim for me and my friend who agreed! The naim was much warmer sounding to us and out of the box sounding the g1 was cold and to my ears un exiting but I am told if you go up the line g2 etc it is not the case so pound for pound I would stick with Naim.

Is AURALIC from China? It’s a Chinese company? Do their products really convincing?

Yes, AURALiC is a Chinese company, originating in Beijing, and was established in 2008 by founders Xuanqian Wang and Yuan Wang. The AURALiC website gives you more information about the company and its background.

agreed - i ditched my altair quickly as found it sterile tonally

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Okay; I find both these replies very interesting.
Not one to support the Chinese economy if I can help it.
The only streamers I’ve heard so far are the Auralic G2 from the other day and a Naim Uniti that was playing at my Linn dealer when I went in to drop off my Keilidh’s for assessment.
Didn’t really get to listen properly to the Uniti, but the Auralic sounded decent at the time.
I need to go and listen to the two together, but the Chinese aspect is now immediately colouring my opinion.
Any suggestions that are in the same price point to put up against the ND5 XS2, that are not Chinese, would be welcome.

ive come from nd5xs2 to (used) sonore ultrarendu int chord qutest- different to the nd5xs2 with more insight but still has the musicality of the naim

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You will be hard put to find any electronic gizmo that does not have Chinese components. Anything from your car to your mobile or laptop you are logging on to here with, not to forget the internet connections and hardware. Remove the Chinese materials from our economies and sadly nothing will be working, from steel to Electricity to water and sewage. Base your choices on your preferences but don’t be fooled by the thought that you are harming China. You are harming the Chinese population just as much. Now if Naim ( or any other) are making a streamer with no Chinese components or raw earth materials then that is something to look at.


Oh, I absolutely understand that the world wouldn’t go round without all the Chinese elements in our products.
It is a full chain, I absolutely get that.
It’s not a “I will NOT buy…” embargo style choice. It’s more of an avoid where possible and reasonable.
Ethically, we all stand on shady ground no matter where we stand these days🤷🏻‍♂️

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Well, I’m with you on this. Consumers need to use their power to apply ethical standards.

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Unless some folks here have something against 2 Chinese individuals who have set up a hifi company run from HQs in both US and manufacturing in China , then the hypocrisy here is getting somewhat awkward reading and typing from your iphones and ipads?:slight_smile:

I also happen to find this thread going a bit political be it in favour of Naim if this justifies it but hey, that’s for the mods to decide!

For disclosure I have both Naim and Auralic and enjoy both.