Auralic Vega G2.2 Streaming DAC review

Posted on 20th March, 2024

Auralic Vega G2.2 Streaming DAC review

Michael Evans samples a highly accomplished digital front end, complete with analogue preamplifier functionality…


Vega G2.2 Streaming DAC

£6,899 RRP

Auralic Vega G2.2 DAC review

As its name suggests, Auralic's new Vega G2.2 is an evolution of the previous G2.1, a highly capable, seriously priced streaming DAC. Indeed, I'd call it an object lesson in building a premium product, using clever technology to deliver stellar sound quality. Given that there was so little wrong with the last model, the improvements to this are subtle – but as we shall see, worthwhile all the same.


Measuring 340x320x96mm, the Vega G2.2 is a reasonably compact unit but is heavier than you would expect from its size. Unboxing it takes a bit of thought due to its sheer mass. Weighing in at just under 10kg, the density of the smallish device takes you by surprise, and your first thought is – what exactly is under the bonnet that makes it so heavy? Much of the answer can be found in the clever dual chassis design, with a second skin made entirely from copper to electrically shield all the internals. Factor in a decent-sized toroidal transformer and the perfectly finished aluminium and glass case; there's your answer.

Auralic Vega G2.2 DAC review

As with its predecessor, the Vega uses Auralic's so-called Fusion technology. This is basically the use of an ESS DAC with much of its functionality bypassed; the chip is then left to get on with the core number crunching. Instead, many of the DAC's everyday responsibilities are handled by Auralic's proprietary technology, including clocking, filtering and oversampling. This new G2.2 version gets what Auralic calls Direct Data Recording, which runs the audio data through a memory buffer and reclocks it carefully.

Around the back, the plethora of sockets shows that this is a proper workhorse designed for almost every application. Auralic has clearly done its best to future-proof the Vega and make it relevant for a very long time. The inputs include TOSLINK optical, coaxial electrical and AES digital, and USB type-B, LAN and HDMI. The Vega G2.2 is easily upgradable, as it has the potential to connect to Auralic's Aries streamer and Leo master clock. Last but not least is the 'hidden gem' – namely, a single pair of RCA phono analogue inputs, which gives this unit proper preamplifier functionality. On the output side, you get a choice between RCA phono and balanced XLR outputs; the latter clearly sound better, as you would expect.

Auralic Vega G2.2 DAC review

The front panel-mounted passive volume control is a thing of beauty, operating a true analogue ladder resistor volume control that delivers exceptional and noise-free control without introducing distortion. It has a superb action – being one of the most tactile and satisfying such controls that I have ever used. Indeed, it's almost a shame that the supplied remote control takes away the need to physically turn the dial.

The new G2.2 model uses the same preamplifier section as its predecessor, but the output level has been increased from 4.4V RMS to 6V RMS. This will give greater choice about which power amp you can pair it with. There's also the option to disable the preamp's volume control if desired or to reduce the output level to a standard 2V RMS, should you wish. There is also a home theatre bypass mode for the analogue inputs. Auralic says that its so-called ORFEO Class A output modules are used for superior sound quality.

Auralic Vega G2.2 DAC review

Getting up and running with the Vega G2.2 proved a cinch, for me at least. I plugged my network cable directly into the rear of the unit and it was immediately recognised by my Roon software. Streaming from my Synology NAS was equally easy, and a USB C to USB B cable allowed a direct connection to my Samsung phone, which automatically prompted me to use the Auralic DAC rather than its nasty inbuilt one. As you might expect, almost every different file type is supported, and there are far too many to mention here, but it is worth noting that it can process PCM files with sampling rates ranging from 44.1 to 384kHz, up to 32-bit resolution. It can also play DSD files ranging from DSD64 to DSD512.

Auralic offers an excellent app to control the device, but it's only iOS and not Android-compatible, so I had to dig out my old Apple iPad. Of course, not everyone can do this, and so many people will be left high and dry in this respect. This is one of the very few complaints I have about the Vega G2.2.


Sonically, the Auralic creates a great first impression with a silky smooth, effortlessly detailed and expansive sound. As a streamer, it really is difficult to fault—even considering its high-end price tag, this product delivers much. Feed it an excellent modern recording, such as Trevor Horn's 2003 release of Echoes, Ancient and Modern, and you soon begin to understand what it can do.

Auralic Vega G2.2 DAC review

This is quite a curious album, with unusual singer/song combinations such as Rick Astley singing Yes's Owner Of A Lonely Heart and Marc Almond covering Pat Benatar's Love is a Battlefield. For me, the showstopper is Grace Jones' Slave to the Rhythm, featuring Lady Blackbird. The original nineteen eighties Trevor Horn production is hugely accomplished, and this is no different. The opening vocal streamed through the Vega made my skin tingle – the way the mix was presented was little short of astonishing, with a fabulously open, expansive and translucent sound.

Progressing to some older and more familiar favourites, Tour De France and Expo 2000 by Kraftwerk saw the Vega G2.2 deconstructing the mix right in front of my very ears – granting access to each different effect produced by the electronic instrumentation. The snappy way in which the music started and stopped was remarkable. Likewise, Gary Numan's classic Are “Friends” Electric from Tubeway Army's 1979 Replicas album sounded great, even at CD-quality 16/44 resolution.

From previous experience, I have found some streamers to be a little cold and unemotional, but not in this case. The Vega G2.2 handled the track effortlessly, and while not as 'hi-fi sounding' as the Kraftwerk or Trevor Horn tracks, the production was faithfully reproduced by the Auralic, which retained a sonic signature that was so nice to listen to and did very little wrong.

Auralic Vega G2.2 DAC review

Auralic makes big claims for the Vega G2.2's analogue stage, so I decided to put it to the test and connected my Linn Sondek LP12/Naim ARO turntable via an Arcam rPhono phono stage to the single pair of RCA phono inputs. To say I was impressed is an understatement, as this really did show off just how well it has been implemented. No afterthought, this.

Playing the original recording of Slave to the Rhythm by Grace Jones on LP, the Auralic proved even more detailed and dynamic and really brought the record to life. The preamp worked brilliantly with an analogue companion as the front end; sonically, it was a big improvement on the streamer Qobuz equivalent. The only downside is that users are restricted to only one analogue input, which may be a deal breaker for some.


Overall, Auralic's latest Vega G2.2 is excellent. It faces stiff competition from some rivals that also excel sonically, but this product's competence as an all-round package is hard to beat. It is also largely future-proofed with its excellent connectivity, and upgrade options are available and may prove a temptation to some. The downsides are simply the lack of Android app functionality and the fact that there's only one analogue input—but I suppose you can't have everything.

The Vega G2.2 is an excellent streaming DAC preamplifier, then. Its sonic performance, operational sophistication, and build quality are testaments to the fact that the company has been around for over a decade, with the original Vega hitting the market in 2014. As such, it's an essential audition if you're lucky enough to be in the market for such a thing.

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      Michael Evans's avatar

      Michael Evans

      A music junkie who served his apprenticeship in UK hi-fi retail in the 1990s, Mike loves the simplicity of analogue and the complexity of digital. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject, he’s been on a life-long quest for great sound at a sensible price – and is still loving the journey…

      Posted in:Hi-Fi DACs Applause Awards 2024
      Tags: auralic 


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