At the time of the review the POLARIS was listed in Roon as an uncertified device, and discussions with AURALiC indicate they are near the end of certification with Roon. However, there was no lack of functionality in this current state. I use Roon as my primary serving and curating music software and selecting the POLARIS as a Roon device and utilising it as I would my primary device, the PS Audio DirectStream DSD DAC, I could navigate my library and TIDAL without incident.
This review has been long on tech and a bit short on musical impression primarily due to the extraordinary nature of the convergence represented by the POLARIS’ included functions. I almost failed to mention the dual frequency Femto clock and hybrid analogue/digital volume control. Truly the tech just keeps on coming with POLARIS. This should be interpreted to mean the quality of the musical delivery was always strong and of excellent sonic character. At all times the DAC provided a near analogue performance and the amplification was fully capable of driving whatever speaker I used, from the LS50’s to the Vandersteen Treo CT’s to the GamuT RS5i’s. Never did I sense clipping or distress from the amp even during a nice long Led Zeppelin fuelled afternoon.
I wrapped up my listening with a new album from the Vancouver garage rock band Japandroids, Near to the Wild Heart of Life on TIDAL. The POLARIS grabbed the Treo CT’s and delivered a punk grunge dose of energy. This guitar and drums duo remind me of a Canadian version of the Black Keys. To me they are a musical metaphor for the POLARIS simple seeming as a Duo (Or single box audio device), but once you get into it you can enjoy the breadth without strain. Bravo AURALiC! Highly recommended.
Continuous Output Power: 120W/180W (8 Ohms/4 Ohms)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz–20 KHz, +/–0.1 dB
THD + N: < 0.01%, 20Hz–20KHz@1W
IMD: < 0.01%, 20Hz–20KHz@1W
Streaming Inputs: Network Shared Folder, USB Drive, Internal Music Storage (Optional add-On), uPnP/DLNA Media Server, TIDAL and Qobuz streaming, Internet Radio, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Songcast, RoonReady
Digital Inputs:1 AES/EBU, 1 Coaxial, 1 Toslink, 1 USB device to computer, 2 USB host to storage and DAC, 1 RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 802.11 b/g/n/ac Tri-Band Wi-Fi
Supported Digital Formats: AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA
Supported Digital Formats: All PCM from 44.1KS/s to 384KS/s in 32 Bit, DSD 64, DSD128, DSD256
Output Voltage: 4Vrms at 0dBFS (XLR) 2Vrms at 0dBFS (RCA)
Control Software: AURALIC Lightning DS for IOS
AURALIC RC-1 remote control
OpenHome compatible control software
uPnP compatible control software, Roon
Power Consumption: Sleep: <10W,
Playback: 450W at MAX
Dimensions: W 33cm × D 26cm × H 6.5cm
Finishing: Matte Black or Matte Silver
Manufactured by: AURALiC