AURALiC Aries wireless Music Bridge - link between music files & USB-DAC

AC 02 MS ARIES
NZ$ 2,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
AURALic Audio

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The ARIES serves as a “bridge” between music files on network storage or high quality online streaming services and the consumers’ DAC — enabling DACs for the first time to stream high-resolution music quickly and wirelessly in virtually any sampling rate, including DSD, Double-Rate DSD and DXD.

STEREOPHILE CLASS A COMPONENT - 
The Auralic Aries network player, which supports the UPnP and OpenHome standards, has inputs for WiFi and Ethernet, plus a recently implemented input for a USB Network-Attached Storage (NAS) device. The Aries user must supply his or her own network router and DAC (digital outputs on the Aries include USB, TosLink, coaxial S/PDIF, and AES/EBU), and must also download the Auralic Lightning DS app—at present available only for the iPad, though Android support is said to be coming. Those requirements fulfilled, the Aries, whose curvaceous body conceals an internal WiFi antenna, can wirelessly stream up to double-DSD, and supports lossless streaming from the services Qobuz and WiMP /T idal / Roon ready. As ML wrote, "The Aries presented a seemingly lower noise floor than my MacBook Pro. There was a sense of greater resolution, and an increase in dynamic snap similar to what I'd heard with the [Simaudio] MiND." (Vol.38 No.1 WWW)

ARIES - is the set-up model with two individual FemtoClocks for both USB audio host and digital outputs, low noise internal design to eliminate jitter and AURALiC Purer‐Power™ based 10uV low noise external linear PSU. 

The inputs of ARIES include Dual-Band high-speed WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 port. The outputs are USB audio host buffered by AURALiC’s patented ActiveUSB™ technology; low jitter digital audio outputs: AES/EBU, Coaxial and TOSLINK. The USB audio host can deliver PCM from 44.1 to 384 KHz at 16-, 24- and 32-bit resolutions as well as DSD, Double-Rate DSD for compatible USB DAC. The other digital outputs are limited to 192 KHz at 24-bit in maximum according to S/PDIF standard.

ARIES is bundled with AURALiC’s Lightning DS App. The App has the capability to fully control ARIES to browse your music libraries on your network-attached storage (NAS), to stream high quality music content from service providers like Qobuz and WiMP, to control the playback and to select the hardware settings such as output channel and WiFi network, etc. The App also supports Songcast, a music distribution service that allows users to map computer’s sound to any Lightning-equipped system and to map sound between different Lightning systems in the house and streaming sound though Apple AirPlay. 

The ARIES Streamer Bridge is available in two models:

- ARIES: The set-up model with two individual FemtoClocks for both USB audio host and digital outputs, low noise internal design to eliminate jitter and AURALiC Purer‐Power™ based 10uV low noise external linear PSU. 

- ARIES LE: The standard model with low-phase noise crystal and standard external PSU.

 AURALiC Tesla Platform
ARIES is powered by AURALiC's proprietary Tesla hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core ARM Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB internal storage. The Tesla platform has a calculation ability of 25,000 MIPS, more than enough to decode a vast spectrum of audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA. AURALiC has chose this platform for a long term supporting consideration, the feature planned include DSD upsampling, room acoustic treatment and other acoustic DSP function.

Gapless, Multiple Room Solution
By using OpenHome structure which is adopted by U.K-based streaming solution manufacturer Linn, ARIES as well as all other Lightning based products support several advanced functions such as on-device playlist that allow control software to turn off during play and complete supporting of multi-room, multiple control points — functions that are not part of the legacy standards of the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).

Dual Femto Clock*
The ARIES with two individual Femto clocks for both USB audio host and digital outputs: the clock used for digital outputs are in charge of generate master clock of digital signal to ensure lowest jitter performance for all digital outputs. Accordingly to our measurement, the USB controller's master clock can also effect sound quality as it effect USB interrupt timing when joint use with real time system, to maximum sound quality, ARIES also equipped with another Femto clock for USB controller.

Low Noise Linear PSU* (not available in ARIES LE version)
Excepting for low noise internal power supply design, ARIES also comes with an external low noise linear power supply unit. This PSU is based on AURALiC Purer‐Power™ technology with advanced AC filter and very low noise circuit design. The actual measurement shows only 10uV cross 20Hz-20KHz range.

Features

Specifications

Reviews

Videos

Features

Streaming Services
Local uPnP/DLNA library content
TIDAL, Qobuz and WiMP online streaming
Internet Radio
AirPlay and Songcast
USB hard drive files
RoonReady

Supported File Types
AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA

Sampling Rates
PCM in 44.1Khz - 384Khz at 16 - 32bits
DSD64, DSD128, DSD256

Control Software
AURALiC Lightning DS
AURALiC RC-1 remote control 
OpenHome compatible software
uPnP AV  compatible software

Media Server Compatibility
Built-in Lightning Server
Minimserver, Twonky, Asset UPnP, JRiver
DLNA/uPNP compatible server software

On-Device 
3” 256*64px OLED

Input
RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
Dual-Band WiFi connection
USB 2.0 High-Speed for external disk

Output
USB 2.0 High-Speed for compatible DAC**
AES/EBU, Coaxial, TOSLINK***

Power Consumption
Standby: <2W
Playback:  15W at max.

Dimension
Appox. 250W x 200D x 70H mm

Weight
0.8kg

** 'compatible DAC' means a DAC do not require a driver for Mac OS X
*** Sampling rate limited to 44.1K - 192K and DSD64 only

All specifications are subject to change without notice.

Specifications

 
 

Reviews

JOHN H. DARKO forum comment on AURALiC Lightning ARIES
JOHN H. DARKO - staff writer for 6Moons and TONEAudio.
Comments
ROB D
This is a contraption I’ve been waiting for. One more of its killer features (at least, in my opinion) is an ability to on-board playlist creation – something that other manufacturers don’t seem to recognize as a must-have function. I couldn’t live without it.
 
JOHN H. DARKO
Right on Rob.
 
GAN SOLO
Finally, and company (and author) who takes gapless seriously!! All my tech-house mixes/podcasts will collectively bro-fist when they get word of this.
 
DAVE
The USB output is definitely interesting. Sonore’s Rendu already does everything else this thing does including DSD (assuming you add a wireless ethernet bridge, anyway) but its output is either S/Pdif or I2S using the HDMI spec which limits it to a tiny handful of DACs.
What will make or break this thing is the software. The other issue with the Rendu is that it relies on third party software, most of which is not very good. If they have endless bugs like PS had with eLyric, it’s not going to turn out well, not when you can build a VortexBox for a few hundred bucks.
 
DAVID HILL
The emergence of these options is making my head hurt. In a good way. Any thoughts on what the trade offs might be between the ‘traditional’ “Mac ‘n DAC” model and the streamer centric topology?
Are these two approaches a question of quality vs convenience ?
Are there benefits in terms of simpler and cheaper systems?
Does this spell the end of the PC based music server?
 
JOHN H. DARKO reply
Absolutely NOT the end of the PC based music server. Traditional “Mac n DAC” (I like that!) model isn’t as good using more specialised music servers. I have an Antipodes DS which really highlights the audio weaknesses of the Apple computer. Review on that to come later this month. You’ve hit the nail on the head though: there’s often a trade off between SQ and usability.
 
ROB D.
Hi, John,
I am not questioning your opinion on the inferiority of the MacMini-based system (including a DAC, of course), but have you tried the MojoAudio modified MacMini, or was that a “plain vanilla” MacMini that you were comparing to the Antipodes DS?
BTW, I am very eager to see your review of the Antipodes box. I’ve been having difficulty to choose between MojoAudio MacMini and the Antipodes DS. Now, with the upcoming Auralic Aries, I am even more undecided…
 
JOHN H. DARKO reply
Alas, not tried the Mojo, sorry. One of the things I like about the Antipodes is its headless Linux o/s. Once you get used to MPD and its clients it’s much faster than MacMini w/ iTunes and Audirvana+. Sound is A LOT better too.

Videos