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Auralic Aries: sonic impressions?


Geardaddy

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Now that we have two separate threads for teeth gnashing about the hardware or software of the Aries, I wanted to poll people on their sonic impressions particularly in comparison to any "computer" server it may have replaced. I recently acquired an Aries (with external PS) and have been quite impressed spitting out both PCM and DSD into a Lampizator L7. It was a notable improvement over an unmodded Mini (with and without a USB convertor). The Aries is relaxed and edge free with a large soundstage and good detail retrieval. With the Mini upstream, I had far less ambient details, and I just assumed it was my tubed dac obscuring things. I was wrong. My hat is off to Auralic.

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I will offer a "non audiophile" perspective. Yes, sound quality is extremely important to me, but I've never owned expensive equipment, and I've only recently started educating myself on quality products and high resolution music. I've enjoyed my Sonos music playing thru in-ceiling speakers, and can get pleasure out of blasting Spotify via Bluetooth in my car.

 

I do have a dedicated "hi fi" listening system in my little cozy study, with an Athem integrated amp, and PSB tower speakers. My real intro into computer audio was through my trusty Squeezebox Touch and Logitech Media Server, which I enjoyed a lot for a long time (several years).

 

Now the game has changed for me. I've upgraded to the Aries, and recently switched to an iFi iDSD Nano. The room sounds wonderfully different now. I constantly find myself focusing on the soundstage. In fact, until recently, I didn't even really "get" what a large soundstage even meant. Or imaging for that matter. Now I find myself getting lost in it. So I can only compare to what I had previously, but for someone not into anything DIY, or into spending a ton of money, I think the Aries is a fantastic way to go.

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What really encouraging is every time I listen I'm more impressed. I'm just thrilled with it...even more than I thought I'd be.

 

ditto. I am honestly surprised how good it actually is. I approached my purchase more from a utilitarian standpoint. Yes, it can stream this and that....but I was taken aback by how good it sounded. NO digititis. I wanted to get others feedback to make sure I was not alone in my "subjective" delusion. Again, my hat is off to Auralic. What I think is lost on the other threads amidst the teeth gnashing on technical difficulties is 1) the enormous amount of WORK that went into creating this thing from a technical standpoint, and 2) it sounds damn good.

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Historically I have been a tweaker. New software versions, different music players, new OS tweaks, various tweaks to power supplies, fuses, solid state drives, NAS drives, what have you. It was fun, but I decided to jump off the bandwagon.

 

I got an Aries. I love it, the system sounds great. It is easier for other people to use. It is easy to turn on and off. It is easier to just sit back and listen to music. The sound quality is great.

 

I am done. I am happy. It sounds great. If I feel the need to tweak, I will find something else to tweak. When I want to listen to music I just turn on the system, pick some tunes and relax. No regrets at all, I had some angst leading up to the release of the Aries, but those are gone. I would recommend to others.

 

Echo all the other comments on this thread.

Silver Circle Audio | Roon | Devialet | Synology | Vivid Audio | Stillpoint Aperture | Auralic | DH Labs

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I will offer a "non audiophile" perspective. Yes, sound quality is extremely important to me, but I've never owned expensive equipment, and I've only recently started educating myself on quality products and high resolution music. I've enjoyed my Sonos music playing thru in-ceiling speakers, and can get pleasure out of blasting Spotify via Bluetooth in my car.

 

I do have a dedicated "hi fi" listening system in my little cozy study, with an Athem integrated amp, and PSB tower speakers. My real intro into computer audio was through my trusty Squeezebox Touch and Logitech Media Server, which I enjoyed a lot for a long time (several years).

 

Now the game has changed for me. I've upgraded to the Aries, and recently switched to an iFi iDSD Nano. The room sounds wonderfully different now. I constantly find myself focusing on the soundstage. In fact, until recently, I didn't even really "get" what a large soundstage even meant. Or imaging for that matter. Now I find myself getting lost in it. So I can only compare to what I had previously, but for someone not into anything DIY, or into spending a ton of money, I think the Aries is a fantastic way to go.

 

The "non-audiophile" perspective is most valuable IMO. I was baptized into the streaming world via Sonos in 2003 and have not looked back. In fact, I run Sonos in my office and home for ambient music duty and very much enjoy it! By comparison, the Aries does open the veil a little regarding audiophile performance, and that little iFi dac you have is a serious value as well. Congrats and enjoy....

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Historically I have been a tweaker. New software versions, different music players, new OS tweaks, various tweaks to power supplies, fuses, solid state drives, NAS drives, what have you. It was fun, but I decided to jump off the bandwagon.

 

I got an Aries. I love it, the system sounds great. It is easier for other people to use. It is easy to turn on and off. It is easier to just sit back and listen to music. The sound quality is great.

 

I am done. I am happy. It sounds great. If I feel the need to tweak, I will find something else to tweak. When I want to listen to music I just turn on the system, pick some tunes and relax. No regrets at all, I had some angst leading up to the release of the Aries, but those are gone. I would recommend to others.

 

Echo all the other comments on this thread.

 

My sentiments exactly. I have been hacking into computers since the 80s, and have lost all desire to incorporate being an IT boy into audio. The Auralic and things like it are a form of deliverance. Music please....

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Indeed it is. I also play guitar and have tube amps. I got wrapped around collecting the right tubes for those tube amps and lost focus on the real purpose which was to play guitar and have fun.

 

Now I can just enjoy the music I have and not waste time "tweaking" my computer....

 

To each their own....

Silver Circle Audio | Roon | Devialet | Synology | Vivid Audio | Stillpoint Aperture | Auralic | DH Labs

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Same here.

When I see all postings about foobar, JRiver and all the other programs where the setup possibilities are endless and often cause aggrevations for novises, it is nice to just push play from COTS hardware and get music out at the highest quality without any efforts at all.

No regrets here.

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You could also free yourself from those pesky USB cable and DAC decisions with a Sony HAP-Z1ES! ;) Let go, let Sony!

"The main problem with communication is the illusion that it has been achieved"

 

Auralic Aries & Vega / Pass Labs XP-30 / DSPeaker 2.0 / Pass Labs XA160.5 / mbl 101E mk2

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You could also free yourself from those pesky USB cable and DAC decisions with a Sony HAP-Z1ES! ;) Let go, let Sony!

 

We could, but many of us on this "sonic impressions" thread already own the Aries...;)

Not to mention I have zero interest in a spinning HD in my listening room that can't store all my music anyway.

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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You could also free yourself from those pesky USB cable and DAC decisions with a Sony HAP-Z1ES! ;) Let go, let Sony!

 

I briefly looked at that option. It boxes you in a little obviously. People are now modding that unit as I heard that it's SQ stock is average to above-average only. Both Modwright and red wine audio are involved. I talked to both them about adding a digital out to run into a separate DAC, and neither of them could do this.

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I replaced an unmodified Macbook Pro, and I am very happy with the sound. The music just seems a lot more present and detailed. And, I don't have to screw with the different programs and mods. And I did, a little bit. I wasn't going to run a ethernet cable into my living room. But the beauty part is the music: definitely a big improvement.

 

Auralic Aries LE>Antelope Zodiac Silver Dac>CJ MV-60 Tube amp>F and J Om Loudspeakers.

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I am considering purchasing the Aries for a streaming option with my headphone setup but am very intimidated by it still. From reading the threads on here with people talking about upnp and mimiserver and all sorts of other things I don't know anything about my eyes just glaze over and wonder if I would ever be able to even get this thing set up and working properly. Can anyone speak to ease of setup and use for the Aries?

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Anyone compared the Aries to sth like the CAPS v3 Lagoon or better ?

Adam

 

PC: Hot rodded CAPS v4 Pipeline: Teradak ATX linear PSU, MojoAudio super regulator, Pink Faun Ultra OCXO USB card

Digital: Lampizator Pacific DAC

Amp: Dan D'Agostino Momentum Stereo

Speakers: Magcio M3

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I am considering purchasing the Aries for a streaming option with my headphone setup but am very intimidated by it still. From reading the threads on here with people talking about upnp and mimiserver and all sorts of other things I don't know anything about my eyes just glaze over and wonder if I would ever be able to even get this thing set up and working properly. Can anyone speak to ease of setup and use for the Aries?

Once everything is setup (NAS) it's super easy. The DS app is the easiest app you'll ever use. It's silly really.

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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Are there any measurements to back up why the Aries would outperform a Mac Mini server ( :-) )? Has anyone A/B'ed the basic Aries with the more expensive version with the better PSU and clocks, etc. ? Thanks.

Mac Mini / Pure Music > Firewire & USB > Metric Halo LIO-8 > Hypex NCORE 400 > Geddes Abbey Speakers > Rythmik Servo & Geddes Band Pass Subs // DH Labs Cables, HRS MXR Isolation Rack, PurePower 2000, Elgar 6006B

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I am considering purchasing the Aries for a streaming option with my headphone setup but am very intimidated by it still. From reading the threads on here with people talking about upnp and mimiserver and all sorts of other things I don't know anything about my eyes just glaze over and wonder if I would ever be able to even get this thing set up and working properly. Can anyone speak to ease of setup and use for the Aries?

 

I'm not that tech savvy at all. But as jtwrace said, it's easier than you think. As of right now, I have my music library in a folder on my laptop. In my case, it's a MacBook Pro. I downloaded Minimserver very easily from their website. I told Minimserver which folder my music is in. Minimserver basically just finds your music library if you point the way and "indexes" it, so it can be accessed by a device like Aries. With a couple of hours of fiddling around, I had it somewhat figured out. I have done ZERO tweaking to the settings.

 

UPnP is also less complex than you might think. Just think of it a little bit (but not really) like "Bluetooth enabled". If any 2 devices are Bluetooth, no matter who makes them, they are supposed to work together and connect. UPnP is basically the same thing. If the Aries is UPnP enabled, if your server software is UPnP compatible, and if your app is also UPnP compatible, then they are designed to be able to work together. I really wouldn't think about it any more than that unless you WANT to!

 

The Aries was easy to get up and running. The app is crazy simple. And if your wifi network is working properly, then the Aries device will show up in the iPad app, and so will your music library. In simple terms, that's really all that Minimserver is for. It scans your music library and is there to communicate to a device like Aries and an app like Lightning DS. You can get fancier from there but you don't have to.

 

You could also keep your music stored on a storage device like a NAS. a NAS is simply a set of hard drives that are designed to be connected to a network like a home wifi network. Then your music can be stored there and you wouldn't need a computer running to play your music. It can be plugged into your network away from your listening space and accessed from anywhere in the network. The NAS is like a little computer, so Minimserver can be loaded on it just like it can be put on your laptop. The other advantage of the NAS is that it can backup your music on a different drive automatically.

 

The only other thing I can think of now is that if you are downloading music or ripping your own CDs to go onto your NAS, you might find that some of the info, album art, or metadata as its called, might need to be modified or edited. There are quite a few very easy to use third party apps, most are free, that you can easily use to edit your metadata. PC users use dBPoweramp ($) to rip CD's and it does a pretty good job of getting the metadata right.

 

Once you're up and running it should be very slick, elegant, easy. And the Aries sounds really great paired with a decent DAC. I'm using a $200 iFi iDSD Nano DAC and very happy with the sound!

 

Hope that helps a little.

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Looking forward to the review in DAR.

 

(Excerpt from DS Review comment section):

 

JOHN H. DARKOAugust 29, 2014 at 8:05 pm |Reply

Hey Assisi. The Aries only arrived a week or so ago and I’ve not had any time to play with it yet (due to writing this here DS coverage!) so I can’t really say yet how it compares to the Antipodes units. Yes, I’ve upgraded to the DXe and it really is something very special – by far the most relaxed, effortless sounding digital transport that I’ve heard to date and, in that sense, the Aries is up against some super-stiff competition.

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