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    Arylic S50 Pro+ Pre-amp / Streamer / DAC Review

     

     

     

               A Swiss Chinese Knife for (low-cost) streaming

     

     

    ARYLIC S50 Pro 01.jpg

     

     

     

    The ARYLIC S50 Pro+ Pre-amp / Streamer / DAC
    (190-250 €/$, depending on markets/seller)

    Manufacturer's Page - Arylic S50 Pro+

     

    The company has sent me the Arylic S50 Pro+ Pre-amp / Streamer / DAC in return for giving it a thorough and honest review. I have tested it over a 4-month period in different environments and specific situations at home and during holidays.

     


    Description


    The S50 Pro+ is an audio device from the Arylic brand, which is owned by a company called Rakoit Technology (SZ) Co., Ltd. from Shenzhen/China, which works closely with LINKPLAY, who brought us the WIIM mini streamer you may have already heard of or read about it here, here, and here. In France and Germany, the LINKPLAY’s WIIM Mini is marketed by Arylic Audio EU on the Amazon platform.


    Contrary to the aforementioned WIIM the ARYLIC S50pro+ is not an ultralight modern hi-res audio streamer with the latest Wi-Fi & BT board, but a 2nd iteration of an existing device, the S50Pro from Arylic from 2020. This time Arylic added a subwoofer output and 2 additional Spdif inputs (Coax/Toslink) and a better suiting power supply according to the Arylic forum members.


    It comes in a small form factor box with front display that integrates wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, Ethernet, Digital in & outputs, analog in & outputs including a dedicated subwoofer output and offers the owner its services as a Hi-Res Streamer, Multiroom Master or Endpoint, Pre-amplifier, ADC, DDC or DAC to you. And, a USB port for drives containing up to 2k files plus a trigger out function.


    Arylic offers an app for Android and iOS, called 4STREAM, a basic web interface and a remote control for commanding the device serving your musical needs.


    As the device forwards only CD quality on its digital outputs, we may assume it is to better rely on the digital inputs that allow Hi-Res up to 192/24 files using the internal DAC, an ESS9023 implementation, into the analog outputs as the favored signal path.
      

     

    ARYLIC S50 Pro 02.jpg

     

     

     


     Use cases

     

    The above digital audio path recomendation may not be best if your active speakers resample all incoming analog signals. In that case you may want to use the digital/digital connection – in order to avoid double D-A-D-A conversion. I did so on holidays with my pair of Airpulse A80 desktop speakers and in one of my HP setups, and I could not really complain. In fact, I was much happier with digital out CD-quality than with the analogue signal entering the actives for another round of conversion.


    However, the best use case I had with them was controlling my pair of Airpulse A300 active speakers in balanced mode, where you connect each speaker quite old school with RCA-2-XLR cables. This option allowed the use of a subwoofer (which the A300 doesn’t support) and control comfortably through the pre-amp’s remote (an option as well not applicable for the A300 in balanced mode). The A300 have dedicated amplification in each speaker and an advanced design compared to their smaller siblings.


    The last way I used the A50 pro+, was as a source for my headphone setup, which could either be through a Headphone amp (JDSLabs Atom) or the iFi Micro iDSD BL, where I preferred again the digital signal rather for practical reasons, as the iFi has only a 3.5mm analog in but a full grown Spdif input.

     

     

     

    click for full image gallery

    ARYLIC S50 Pro 03.jpg

     

     

         
    The A50 Pro+ delivered all the services it promised, however, we need to accept that the ESS9023 DAC chip isn’t top of the class in the ESS hierarchy of DAC chips and the underlying A31 Wi-Fi module from LINKPLAY doesn’t perform up to the quality we have seen from the A97 module which is used in the WIIM. This is a very acceptable trade-off in my opinion because the device doesn’t target high end audiophiles in search for a suitable streamer for their DSD, DXD and ATMOS library.


    The A50 Pro+ serves a modest need of adding digital/streaming input to an existing audio chain, as a comfort enhancement without busting the budget. For less than 200 Euro (at time of publication available at Audiophonics.fr for 189 Euros) you’ll get an AIO device which serves these modest expectations in quite a nice way. Period.


    The A50 Pro+ can be a perfect match for pepping up vintage gear, for upgrading your active speaker from Bluetooth based music feeds in MP3-quality or combine them with your recently bought turntable sporting an integrated phono stage.


    The elephant in the room is its ability to build a budget friendly multiroom system in conjunction with the WIIM mini, where the S50 Pro+ performs as Master and the WIIMs as endpoints to the speakers.


    In case you haven’t got enough active speakers, ARYLIC has a streaming amplifier, the A50, in its affordable consumer Hi-fi product range. The S50pro+ supports up to 12 devices in 8 different zones. Rethink Bluesound Node. Now.


    You may see where these use cases lead to, perhaps not directly into the usual Audiophile Style sacred territories, thus evidently entering the entrance stage of audiophile nirvana. In my book that device pleases a much greater interest group of potential users than most products you may find at your trusted Hi-Fi dealer’s exposition room.


    The product quality itself gives quite a good feel and visual impression, however at that price point, I wouldn’t bet on longevity and successful guarantee claims outside of what’s provided by Amazon. I hope I will be proved wrong. Time will tell.

     


    Setup and APP features

     

    click for full image gallery

    ARYLIC S50 Pro 04.jpg

     

     

          
    On the first start of your new device you’ll have the options to manage your setup by BT, the internal Wi-Fi hotspot or via LAN connection. This is straightforward when you use the 4Stream or the WIIM App, which offers the same functionalities and some.


    Once setup, you can fall back to the use of the remote control or use your computer/ tablet’s browser to control your playlist. Personally I prefer the WIIM app with its comfort and think the web navigation is a nice-to-have gain. You proceed to leave your streaming service credentials with the app to access Qobuz, Amazon, Deezer, whatever. 4Stream offers Pandora functionality, which you will get with the WIIM app only next month or next year, ;-)


    I used the S50 pro+ during July with Deezer (First shot lucky, Deezer updated the API at the end of July which may have given me a terrible experience, I’ve read it’s back to working status now) , in August with Amazon and generally with Qobuz, my go-to service, which always welcomes me back to my personal curated library.


    I tested all the online functions as well briefly on my old IPhone, in combination with Airplay and didn’t stumble on malfunctions or show stoppers.


    Note: I preferred the WIIM app much more than the 4Stream from ARYLIC, because the app works quick, smooth and fluid. The 4STREAM - on the other hand- always gave me the impression to be interrupted already before 4PLAY. Pun intended.

     

    ARYLIC S50 Pro 05.jpg

     


    Internals & manual


    These are the ingredients we find on the Arylic/Rakoit board:

    • ESS Technology ES9023P 24-bit / 192 KHz audio DAC
    • Cirrus Logic CS8422CN 24-bit / 192 KHz ADC Chip
    • MV Silicon BP1064A2 32-bit audio DSP
    • SWAPNET NS681684 for 10/100M Ethernet
    • Linkplay A31 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi module
    • Bluetooth module with Qualcomm QCC3034 chip to support APTX HD audio up to 24-bit / 48 kHz.

     

    Please find the manual HERE. The spec sheet can be found in the Arylic stock photo gallery below

     

     


    click for full image gallery

     

    ARYLIC S50 Pro 06.jpg

     

     


    As described, the S50 pro+ allows reception of Hi-Res audio up to 192kHz/24bit through Wi-Fi, LAN, BT or using its USB-Port and transfers it either analog via RCA and Sub out to your amplifier(s) or digital via Coaxial or Digital SPDIF.


    Our system supports decode up to 192khz/24bits, the audio output is 44.1khz/16bits CD quality. Only Up2stream HD DAC support 192khz/24bits Hi-Res Audio output.


    This message sadly isn’t available in the specs, the product page or the manual, but you can find it in the FAQ. Subsequently, it is the new owner’s task to find out about their preferences for Input/playback in the S50 pro+ matrix, with only 9 lifes options left ...

     


    Connectivity matrix & Output selection

     

    ARYLIC S50 Pro Input Output Matrix.png

     


    Before I’ve pinned down this table I’ve tested all combinations with the following devices:

     

    • digital in/output from/into the iFi Micro iDSD BL
    • analog in/output from/into the iFi Micro iDSD BL
    • USB pen drive
    • analog output from S50 pro+ to JDSLab HP amp with my old Sennheiser HD650
    • using the WIIM Mini as multiroom receiver of signals with its analog and digital output.

     

    DeeDee Bridgewater’s fulminate version of “Saint James Infirmary” through my headphones greeted me dynamic and forceful along at all options tested.


    I had once to troubleshoot the iFi as I forgot to change its little slider onto PREAMP setting, but that’s it. I am really please to confirm everything worked as announced.


    After all please don’t forget to make your output choice:

     

    • Using the analog outputs to your amplifier (DDA)
    • Using the digital out to your DAC (DD-DA)
    • alternatively using the digital out to your active speaker’s digital amplifier’s inputs in order to avoid multiple conversion stages when using analog input stage (DDA-AD)

     

    Note 1: I did not test the Ethernet port within the Matrix - as I was recently forced to set up my network on Wi-Fi only when my 1200 mbit/s Ethernet wall warts went AWOL after another undesired Microsoft W10 update surprise. I can confirm, that was a shitty weekend ...

     


    click for full image gallery

    ARYLIC S50 Pro 07.jpg

     

     


    Multiroom


    specials.jpgIf you are thinking about deploying a multiroom music installation, you could use this device in conjunction with the cheaper WIIM mini to stream your analog and digital sources through your house or apartment. I used it in a combination of 2 WIIMs plus the UP2Stream HD DAC to fill my home with music, inside and on the deck. I simply loved that idea, however the multiroom streams are in MP3 quality, as LINKPLAY confirmed to me on request. It didn’t hinder me to dance from the bathroom to the deck singing along my personal summer favorite album, namely THE SPECIALS’ interpretation of “Protest Songs 1924-2012”.

     


    Verdict

     

    Personally, I have significantly more friends in real life who would be perfectly happy with that simple enhancement to their old Hi-Fi chain rather than adding a Mola Mola Makua Pre-Amp/DAC (a device I’ve reserved for my pipe dream fantasy system ...), especially given the price points.


    The S50 pro+ isn’t a high end device per se, but quite a functional audio enhancement with high-res support. I love its reliable versatility, but can also see the areas where the device could show better performance.


    For sure, at this price point you can’t expect neither DSD/DXD support nor Hi-Res digital outputs, and you may come to limits with you 5000+ digital library. ROON or Apple music isn’t supported, and it does not offer HDMI-ARC support. Ah yes, this ATMOS is sincerely out of reach. As usual, you can get an advanced DAC, better streaming, better network connection, better APPs ... just not with the same budget and the same ease of use.


    Nonetheless, I would love to see the device receiving upgrades with a more recent Wi-Fi module and a better DAC chip, changes we could already encounter with the UP2Stream HD DAC, which is up next for review in my Sonic Encounters blog here on Audiophile Style. Advancements regarding the App performance might be the sweet cherry on the cake, thus you are free to use the performant WIIM app instead.

     

     

    ARYLIC S50 Pro 08.jpg

     

     


    Equipment used:

     

     

     

     




    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Thanks so much for the review @DuckToller. A few comments really got me. 

     

     

    Quote

    “Our system supports decode up to 192khz/24bits, the audio output is 44.1khz/16bits CD quality. Only Up2stream HD DAC support 192khz/24bits Hi-Res Audio output.”

     

    This message sadly isn’t available in the specs, the product page or the manual, but you can find it in the FAQ. Subsequently, it is the new owner’s task to find out about their preferences for Input/playback in the S50 pro+ matrix, with only 9 lifes options left ...

     

    Quote

    however the multiroom streams are in MP3 quality, as LINKPLAY confirmed to me on request.

     

    As usual, you're research is incredibly thorough, and you've provided information for people, that they would likely have not found. Thank you!

     

     

    Quote

    The A50 Pro+ delivered all the services it promised, however, we need to accept that the ESS9023 DAC chip isn’t top of the class in the ESS hierarchy of DAC chips and the underlying A31 Wi-Fi module from LINKPLAY doesn’t perform up to the quality we have seen from the A97 module which is used in the WIIM. This is a very acceptable trade-off in my opinion because the device doesn’t target high end audiophiles in search for a suitable streamer for their DSD, DXD and ATMOS library.

     

    Agree 100%. Every product isn't made to meet every need. Finding the market position / consumer that each product serves is key. 

     

     

    Quote

    In case you haven’t got enough active speakers, ARYLIC has a streaming amplifier, the A50, in its affordable consumer Hi-fi product range. The S50pro+ supports up to 12 devices in 8 different zones. Rethink Bluesound Node. Now.

     

    That's a BOLD statement. I think keeping your following statement in context of this, is helpful...

     

    Quote

    The product quality itself gives quite a good feel and visual impression, however at that price point, I wouldn’t bet on longevity and successful guarantee claims outside of what’s provided by Amazon. I hope I will be proved wrong. Time will tell.

     

     

    Last, but not least,

     

    Quote

    You may see where these use cases lead to, perhaps not directly into the usual Audiophile Style sacred territories, thus evidently entering the entrance stage of audiophile nirvana. In my book that device pleases a much greater interest group of potential users than most products you may find at your trusted Hi-Fi dealer’s exposition room.

     

    Quote

    Personally, I have significantly more friends in real life who would be perfectly happy with that simple enhancement to their old Hi-Fi chain rather than adding a Mola Mola Makua Pre-Amp/DAC (a device I’ve reserved for my pipe dream fantasy system ...), especially given the price points.

     

    I'm with you on this one as well. I have very few friends in the market for a 12 channel Wilson Atmos system, but I have severl who could use a system like the one described in your review. Well done. 

     

     

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    4 hours ago, bluesman said:

    yes indeedy!!  I've now tried half a dozen sub-$200 devices like this and all have been amazingly listenable.  And I've been using the $33 100W Pyle "receiver" I reviewed in my recent article on class D as a guitar amplifier on gigs.  It sounds so good that both my bandmates and the audience don't believe that the little box is my amp.

     

    Interestingly enough, I'm using a pair of fascinating speakers with it (a pair because I don't know if it'll tolerate running without a load and there's no channel balance control).  Some of you may find the Toob speakers interesting. 

     

    very interesting... what front end are using to feed the Pyle? I'm assuming you don't plug your guitar directly into it

     

    is there a link to a USA dealer for the Toobs where we can see prices?

     

    thanks

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    1 hour ago, bbosler said:

     

    very interesting... what front end are using to feed the Pyle? I'm assuming you don't plug your guitar directly into it

     

    is there a link to a USA dealer for the Toobs where we can see prices?

     

    thanks

    The main reason I chose that Pyle is that it has an embedded preamp with a high impedance mic input. I plug the guitar directly into it and get great jazz tone from my archtop guitars.  I’ve tried my Wampler Tumnus Deluxe pedal into it with a Telecaster, and it’s pretty good for blues - but it’ll never displace my blackface Fender amps for that.

     

    There is no Toob distributor or reseller in the US.  The website has USD prices on it, and shipping to us from Finland was so fast that it blew my mind.  It took DHL 72 hours to get my 3 Toobs to me from the time they were delivered to the shipping station.

     

    I thought about becoming the US importer / distributor for the line.  But we’d have to build enough of a market to justify maintaining a decent stock, and I’d have to buy that inventory for resale.  So until US demand grows enough, they’ll have to be purchased directly.  
     

    The 4 pound 6.5” Metros are about $225 USD right now, and the 7 pound 10” versions are about $350.  They’re very light, durable, efficient, and make a lot of great sound from guitars, basses, keyboards etc.  I love mine - they’re seriously loud even with my 25 watt Quilter Superblock.  With my 250W DV Mark EG250, they’re as loud as my Mesa Boogie Mk 1 was.

     

    I have no business connecting with the company.  I love them so much I became friendly with the owner / founder / designer.  He’s a jazz guitarist like me.

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    No mention of the cheap tactic to almost copy the name of an established brand (Auralic)?

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    1 hour ago, extracampine said:

    No mention of the cheap tactic to almost copy the name of an established brand (Auralic)?

    That may be important to you, and I  am sorry to read you've missed that point.

    Honestly, it didn't occur to me as such, and I cannot remember a single time I stumbled on that comparison in my background research.

    I would as well not see any overlay between  both companies product portfolios and customer base.

    YMMV.

     

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    20 hours ago, DuckToller said:

    Thank you, Chris!
    A little bit of provocation should be allowed as entertainment ;-)
    AFAIK, most wireless device connections for music (especially for multiroom) transfer are less than hi-res quality, and lossless only when you already arrive in the upper echelon of devices.
     

    Considering the content of my respected colleagues  @bobfa & @bluesman,

    you can get a decent system at quite interesting prices now, even new.
    Combine this device with Douk Audio ST-1 pro or the Aiyima A8  plus some budget Q-Audio bookshelfs, or for the almost same price the KALI AUDIO IN-5 / 8 actives, all you need is a subscription for your streaming source - and you're all set.
    Adding digital and analog sources of your gusto or multiroom could be the next chapter ...

    @DuckToller thank you for the shoutout!.

     

    Just a couple of years ago we would have had to DIY up a computing system for a lot more money vs the WiiM Mini today that can fulfill a very nice range of needs.  I do not need a box full of RaspberryPi parts any more or microSD Cards and command line work.  

     

    One of the systems I have been using a lot is the WiiM to a SMSL DAC with balanced outputs to the Kali Audio IN-5 speakers.  It is stunning how good that sounds.  

     

    Bob

     

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    That's a lot of bang for the buck, especially considering the current DIY cost for anything comparable (in whole or in part), namely RPi-based devices running RoPiee/XL or Volumio.

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    I see streamers as mostly about the software.  They may have a DAC, but its not really the main point as most of us have our own.  So if it can get the signal out cleanly, then my decision rests on the degree I like the software.  It is why I find testing based on it being a ROON endpoint only relevant to those who subscribe to ROON.

     

    The questions I have are will this software be maintained, upgraded and be around in 5 years?  Is it stable or does it crash in use?  Is it gapless?  And, does it easily connect to most of the major music services, including Apple, Amazon and Deezer, as well as Tidal, Spotify and Qobuz?

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    23 hours ago, MikePM said:

    I see streamers as mostly about the software.  They may have a DAC, but its not really the main point as most of us have our own.  So if it can get the signal out cleanly, then my decision rests on the degree I like the software.  It is why I find testing based on it being a ROON endpoint only relevant to those who subscribe to ROON.

     

    The questions I have are will this software be maintained, upgraded and be around in 5 years?  Is it stable or does it crash in use?  Is it gapless?  And, does it easily connect to most of the major music services, including Apple, Amazon and Deezer, as well as Tidal, Spotify and Qobuz?

    As noted, the control software, which is a generic Linkplay software related to the A31 chipset, isn't up to date in terms of my Android mobile phone policy. That is why I used the WIIM software which is very well maintained.
    Apple Music isn't supported, but Airplay and UPnP/DLNA, connecting to the streaming service with the WIIM app is very straightforward. Thus, I tested only Qobuz, Amazon and Deezer. Note: The device is as far as I have noticed not fully gapless, but I found it pita to check out that functioniality with all connection options available, so it wasn't a priority for me.

    About maintenance, I see this as a general problem for budget devices that are dependend from software, their own piece and all the API's to the streaming services. However, the linkplay strategy we have seen this year shows high maintenance potential and the will use the knowledge base they acquire through this for their next generation products with better wifi modules and more powerful arm chips.
    Today and in the past, linkplay custormer base for their turnkey solutions are quite impressive.

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    Impressive little product, however......

     

    image.thumb.png.406ef8bfb4325c76b712e331c9753a13.png

     

    For Me that's a BIG dealbreaker

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    5 minutes ago, yahooboy said:

    Impressive little product, however......

     

    image.thumb.png.406ef8bfb4325c76b712e331c9753a13.png

     

    For Me that's a BIG dealbreaker

    Can someone translate to English?

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    2 minutes ago, NikosTsaf said:

    Very nice review Tom

    Merci, mon ami !

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