AURALiC Aries G2 Statement wireless Streamer 32/384 DSD512 Roon Spotify

AC 02 MS ARIESG2
NZ$ 6,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
AURALic Audio

AURALiC, innovate technologies & inspire the music

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To outfit your audio system with superior high-resolution streaming, you need a device flexible enough to connect to everything, and smart enough to control your musical world with a touch. For truly exceptional performance, it must also be powerful enough to deliver an outstanding audio signal that gets the most from your gear. The ARIES G2 Wireless Streaming Transporter links your home audio system to high-resolution local and Internet sources, providing an astonishingly pure, bit-perfect stream for music formats up to DSD512 over Wi-Fi. Whether on its own or working in consort with other G Series devices from AURALiC, the ARIES G2 redefines the sound of digital audio connectivity.

Designed to Innovate, Engineered to Perform
Years in the making, G2 is the culmination of exhaustive R&D striving to create a new, holistic approach to digital music that pushes the boundaries of sonic quality. Incorporating state-of the art technologies and delivered with innovative features, G2 is built for ultimate performance.

Every G2 series component including the ARIES G2 sports an all-new industrial design that’s engineered to set a new standard for sound quality, heightening the user experience and looking every bit as good as it sounds with its contemporary aesthetic. Offering features like full galvanic isolation to optimise the sound of today’s highest-resolution formats, the ARIES G2 is the most capable and feature-rich way to introduce streaming to your audio system that we’ve ever created.

Unity Chassis
Designed specifically for the premium lineup of AURALiC G Series devices, the Unity Chassis is machined from a single billet of aluminium that provides the ARIES G2 with superior shielding from EMI noise, so nothing interferes with the quality of your music.

Tesla G2: Platform Made for Sound
In 2014 we developed the original Tesla hardware platform with the goal of creating a high-performance, upgradable platform optimised for audio sound quality. Working hand-in-hand with our control interface and innovative software features, it was the most powerful processing platform available for digital music playback and streaming.

Now there’s Tesla G2. 50% faster, with twice the processing resources, Tesla G2 is the hardware powerhouse behind the sonic excellence of the G2 line.

The Art of High-End Streaming 
Lightning OS is full of cutting-edge innovations that bring your music to life like never before. An extensive memory cache, bit-perfect multi-room functionality and on-device playlists help you seamlessly experience and explore all your high-resolution sources. Take control with user apps like Lightning DS or Roon, and meet true audiophile streaming.

Display Brilliance
A 4.0-inch true colour in-plane switching display with a resolution of over 300ppi provides complete operational feedback: playback status, configuration settings, and a full library view for browsing your collection.

Flexibility to Explore 
The ARIES G2 offers nearly universal connectivity for access to all your digital sources. Tri-band Wi-Fi and Ethernet open your system to UPnP/DLNA media servers, shared network folders, high-resolution Internet Services, and Internet Radio, as well as RoonReady, Bluetooth, AirPlay, and SongCast control.

Features

Specifications

Reviews

Features

An Integrated Family of Devices
Built around cutting-edge transfer protocols, more powerful processing, and enhanced isolation engineering, G2 is a new concept in component integration. Four specialised components, working together to deliver a premium sound experience.

Lightning Link 
Jitter-free to maximise sonic performance, Lightning Link provides single-point control of the entire G2 audio system.

Whisper-Quiet Operation: Dual Galvanic Isolation
To avoid the interference associated with traditional open circuit designs, Galvanic Isolation in the ARIES G2 separates electrical circuits while allowing data to flow between them. We created two special high-speed galvanic isolators and configured them between the ARIES G2’s primary clocking, processing, and transmitting circuits. It’s a new level of protection against EMI that helps eliminate jitter, contributing to an unparalleled level of clarity.

Dual Purer-Power Linear Power Supplies
We’ve given the ARIES G2 two of our ultra-quiet Purer-Power linear power supplies, galvanically isolating them from each other in the obsessive quest to reduce noise for better sonic performance. Processing and display power is completely separated from sensitive audio components that operate on their own dedicated supply. Interference between the separate areas is reduced to zero, so all you’ll hear from the ARIES G2 is the music.

Dual Femto Clocks
Dual Femto Clocks have got you covered no matter how you like to connect. With 2 separate, super-accurate clocks cycling on the order of quadrillionths of a second, you’ll enjoy extremely low jitter and better sound. One clock takes care of digital outputs, and the second regulates USB output, so you can be sure your musical signal is always rock-steady.

Smart-IR Control
Smart-IR Remote Control lets your AURALiC device map its functionality onto any remote you’d like. Just let the device know which remote you prefer, and all of its operations (play/pause, volume control, track select, etc.) can be assigned to buttons just the way you like them.

GalvanicUSB
Like our ActiveUSB feature, GalvanicUSB bypasses the noisy USB power supply to improve sound quality. Precise re-clocking reduces jitter, and brand-new galvanic isolation provides even more protection against EMI noise. It’s the quietest and best-sounding USB connection we've ever offered.

Dual Purer-Power
The first of two Purer-Power supplies feeds the ARIES G2’s processing circuit, LCD display, and storage – whether internal or attached via USB. The second Purer-Power pathway is dedicated to sensitive audio components such as the Femto clock and USB audio output. Both power supplies are galvanically isolated from each other to ensure zero EMI interference between them.

1GB Memory Cache
Open network connections and data fetching are prone to noise that can hurt the quality of your audio signal. The Tesla G2 hardware platform dedicates a whopping 1GB of RAM to the task of caching, lowering the frequency of open circuits and helping your music sound better.

Specifications

Streaming File Formats: 
Lossless: AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, OGG, WAV and WV
Lossy: AAC, MP3, MQA and WMA

Sampling Rates
PCM: 44.1KHz to 384KHz in 32Bit*
DSD: DSD64(2.8224MHz), DSD128(5.6448MHz), DSD256(11.2896MHz), DD512(22.57892MHz)**

Control Software
AURALiC Lightning DS for iOS
AURALiC Lightning DS for web browser (device settings only)
OpenHome compatible control software (BubbleUPnP, Kazoo)
Roon (Roon Core required separately)

Streaming Inputs
Network shared folder, USB Drive, Internal Music Storage***,
UPnP/DLNA Media Server, native TIDAL and Qobuz Sublime+ streaming, Internet Radio, AirPlay, Bluetooth, Songcast, RoonReady

Audio Outputs
AURALiC Lightning Link

Digital Outputs:
AES/EBU, Coaxial, Toslink, 
USB Output: USB Host to compatible DAC ****

Network
Wired: Gigabit Ethernet
Wireless: 802.11b/g/n/ac Tri-Band WiFi

Power Consumption
Sleep: <10W
Playback: 50W at max.

Dimensions - 340W x 320D x 80H mm
Weight: 7.2kg

Product Finishing
Anodised precision-machined extrusion aluminium case in matte black

Contents
AURALiC ARIES G2 Wireless Streaming Transporter
2*External WiFi antenna (2pcs)
Power cord
User's guide

*352.8KS/s and 384KS/s and 32bit are supported through Lightning Link and USB Output only
** By 'DoP V1.1' or native DSD protocol
*** With internal SSD/HDD installed
**** 'Compatible DAC' means a DAC not requiring a driver for Linux system

Reviews

it sounds relaxed, dynamic and sophisticated. ……they bring a breath of fresh air into any system.
Carsten Barnbeck

ARIES G2 & VEGA G2
Sparkling, lively and dynamic: Auralic‘s new G2 ‘streaming bridge’ and DAC components score with excellent sound – and technically they bring a breath of fresh air into any system.

SOUND QUALITY -96% 
PRICE / PERFORMANCE - 4 STARS - EXCELLENT

Complex functionality combined with manageable complexity – those are the decisive components of a successful network player. And in case you think that means we’re overlooking the sound in that consideration, it’s only because that’s a given: we expect as much from high-end devices, especially those from Auralic, which has never disappointed us in that respect. With the innovative “Aries”, the Chinese company launched the first real “streaming bridge” a few years ago – effectively a network player without D/A converter. And in doing that, Auralic flew in the face of the then-current trend: at the time it seemed that even carrots from the health food store had S/PDIF inputs. Well, almost… 

Aries G2 vs Aries 

The fact that two components are shown in our lead photo may already reveal that the new Aries G2 has retained this same two-box concept. Like the original Aries, it’s designed as a pure “transporter”, G, BUT THEY’RE GOOD! Sparkling, lively and dynamic: Auralic‘s new G2 ‘streaming bridge’ and DAC components score with excellent sound – and technically they bring a breath of fresh air into any system. which is why we’re testing it with the Vega G2 D/A converter, which is also new. However, while the G2 suffix might be interpreted as “Generation 2”, that’s not the case: the original Aries isn’t being discarded, but the new model ranks in a different league.

But there’s a further reason to consider the new Aries and Vega models “en bloc”: Auralic has come up with a number of exclusive technologies for its G2 series, including the ultra-fast Lightning Link. This interface uses HDMI connections, but is audio only, transmitting potentially enormous bandwidths (in the gigabit regions) between connected devices. And Lightning is more than just a replacement for the S/PDIF interface: since HDMI is designed to work bi-directionally, the devices communicate in a master/slave network in which the DAC plays the leading role. Its high-precision dual clocks – one of which is reserved for the asynchronous USB connection – control the Aries G2’s digital operations, resulting in extremely low-jitter synchronous data transfer between the two. 

Master of time 

Compared to the original Aries and Vega, the new G2 models have significantly increased data-processing performance: what the company calls its Tesla G1 platform uses a quad-core Cortex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, with 1GB DDR3 RAM and 4GB of storage, as is designed for automatic update downloads for future performance enhancements. That he system memory is more than doubled, as data-caching – or buffering – plays a decisive role in the Vega G2. 

Incoming signals – including those from the analog input and its associated A/D converter – are stored in a digital buffer, then clocked out to the converter chip, thus filtering out digital signal distortion and jitter components from the source or from the home network. This process requires a signal delay of about 100 milliseconds – not a problem when listening to music, the already strictly two-channel Vega G2 fails when it comes as means of listening to TV sound, for example, where synchronisation with video is required. 

The converter chip is no off-the-shelf IC, but rather a modified version of the respected Sabre DAC, manufactured by ESS in small quantities for Auralic. It handles all relevant sound formats up to DSD 512, along with DXD and MQA ,and offers a choice of four digital filters, each of which brings its own character to the music. 

After conversion, the analog output passes through a complex level control system: while Auralic is an advocate of digital virtues, it recognises that, due to the mandatory bit reduction during digital volume control, even the highest resolution digital attenuator doesn’t come close to a good analog one. The Auralic solution was a passive network of resistors and relays, each arranged in groups of eight on sub-boards, and with the two channels handled separately, under the control of a digital encoder which also ‘drives’ input selection and accesses the units menus. You can hear the calming clicking and switching of the relays deep inside the device as you turn the front panel knob, and it’s worth noting that the relays are so designed that they draw no power when they are not in use, so once a level adjustment has been made, they switch off and are silent. 

Directly downstream of this relay/resistor network is a pair of Class A output stages, also shielded to minimise interference, which the manufacturer designates “ORFEO”. By the way, the idea of separate boards for each channel is primarily for maintenance purposes: for optimum channel uniformity, resistors, relays and output stage components are selected within narrow tolerances, so should something go awry at some point due to ageing, an entire channel can be replaced with a new matched set. That kind of forward thinking for ease of repair is rarely found in devices so highly integrated devices. 

The developers also used galvanic decoupling between all relevant modules, and each section – the DAC, DSP, output stages and S/PDIF input section – has an individual power supply, reducing interference and mains distortion to an absolute minimum. 

The electronics are in housings larger and more massive than anything previously seen from Auralic: milled from solid aluminium, the ‘Unity Chassis’ enclosure rests on specially-developed sprung-loaded feet, and is fronted with colourful and razor-sharp liquid crystal displays at the front, showing information such as the selected input and level (Vega G2) or the cover of the album currently being played back (Aries G2). 

Built-in redundancy? 

After connecting up Aries or Vega, you first have to decide which server you want to use, via Auralic’s own “Lightning DS” iOS app, of which more in a moment. Any UPnP or DLNA compliant NAS or computer in the home network can be used, and thanks to RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport) support, the music can also be controlled and supplied with data from Roon (see page 18). Finally, Auralic’s own Lightning OS server can be activated, which indexes any external data sources and displays titles according to advanced sorting criteria such as sound format and quality (kilohertz/bit rate). 

In a way, using both G2 components is a bit redundant, since the Vega also has streaming onboard – although this is a slimmed-down implement, for example missing wireless networking. In addition, the Aries G2 can be turned into a full-fledged music server via an optional internal hard drive or a USB drive plugged into it – another attractive trick the Vega does without. 

An (almost) perfect app 

The screens on the two units are pretty to look at, but you don’t really need them: all control is provided by Auralic’s ‘Lightning DS’ app, which has always been one of the most powerful and fluid network music remote solutions. However since the product range is now quite extensive, the manufacturer has had to change the logic of that app a little bit: previously, all component and playback requirements could be reached directly, but now there is a link in the device settings to “further options. This leads to a firmware-dependent subpage with device-specific menu items such as the digital filters or the active output –somewhat more long-winded, but unavoidable in view of the expanded portfolio. 

In this submenu, the Aries G2 allows deep interventions in re-sampling in order to adapt its high-bit audio capabilities to any lower-resolution DAC you may choose to use with it, and you can also disable its built-in digital volume control. However, when used with the Vega G2, the DAC takes full control of such matters via the Lightning connection and forbids the Aries to level anything. 

The remote app also benefits from the increased RAM of the two G2 models, making control even smoother and more fluid than with previous Auralic designs. This is particularly noticeable when using the supported web streaming services from Qobuz, Tidal or Spotify: Lightning DS imports your personal favourites and playlists into the device running the app, loading them into memory at startup, a trick the somewhat lame web apps of rivals can’t match. You can also create Tidal or Qobuz favourites and playlists directly from the remote app. 

However, the super remote app has to take a little criticism: Auralic could be a little bolder in supporting and displaying ID metatags, which at the moment are limited to the usual performer/album/ genre trio. After all, Lightning DS is already able to display the signal’s data rate in the playback view, even during web streaming via Qobuz and co. 

New life for music

In the listening room, we were instantly struck by the same transparent, dynamic and extremely musical nature we had enjoyed from previous Auralic devices such as the Altair. However, the G2 team takes these traits further, breathing new life into the music and projecting a large, three-dimensional – but never overstated – soundstage into the room. Above all this is a wealth of detail, which draws out even the subtlest nuances of performances like Adele’s “Lovesong”: we especially liked the way the sound is always silky-fine and balanced despite its incredible resolution and bandwidth. Despite its attention to detail, the G2 combination invites you to enjoy hours of relaxed music. 

As expected, the performance combination seemed a bit more confident and relaxed than the Vega G2’s internal network player, so if you want to tickle out the last ounce of emotion and fine delineation of detail, you should definitely consider the two-box solution. However, even on its own the DAC, which once again proves Auralic’s intuition for innovative technology, can rival such as Esoteric’s K-07X. 

Conclusion: 

Exclusive high-bit DAC with integrated preamplifier, complex network player and velvety-fine Class A output stage. In combination with the Aries G2 network transport it sounds relaxed, dynamic and sophisticated.

………Carsten Barnbeck