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Article: Auralic Aries Review

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Very nice job Chris.

 

One thing that I'd like to add about USB or any type of network storage. This device is nice as it allows someone to purchase the ARIES first and use their current USB Drive and then purchase a NAS should they decide they want or need to. I think this is a great selling point of the ARIES. It's literally switching out your current computer or whatever you use and you're ready to go or buy this and a small HD. Simple.


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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Very nice job Chris.

 

One thing that I'd like to add about USB or any type of network storage. This device is nice as it allows someone to purchase the ARIES first and use their current USB Drive and then purchase a NAS should they decide they want or need to. I think this is a great selling point of the ARIES. It's literally switching out your current computer or whatever you use and you're ready to go or buy this and a small HD. Simple.

Thanks for the kind words. You make a very good point.


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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Great review, Chris. Auralic has come out with a great product at a respectable price.

 

Thanks

Kenreau

Edited by kenreau

Synology NAS> Aurender W20> AQ Wel AES/XLR> Devialet 200> AQ Castle Rock Bi-Wire> Vandersteen 5As.

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Interesting review from you Chris. I was wondering if you would review this. As always I appreciate your no-nonsense style. My main criticism of this review is that the main dac used to review the device is limited to SPDIF/AES source. The single biggest feature that sets the Aries apart is the optimized USB output with support for DSD and resolutions beyond 192. Using the AlphaRS for your review really doesn't allow you to evaluate these capabilities which are the Aries's most compelling features.

 

From the Audiostream review I was (perhaps mistakenly) under the impression that the AES output of the Aries might not be quite on par with its USB output or the AES outputs of some other streamers. Obviously this could be system dependent and zillions of variable could be at play. But you noted that the Alpha USB worked with the Aries. Did you compare Aries->(AES)->AlphaRS vs Aries->(USB)->Alpha USB->(AES)->AlphaRS?

 

An interesting comparison for the Aries in your setup with the AlphaRS would be the NAD M50 streamer because the AlphaRS is limited to 192 and SPDIF/AES inputs. The M50/Bluesound is a different, closed non-DLNA ecosystem with its own dedicated app, but it works exceptionally well and you can mix the playlists from your local library and your online streaming services seamlessly.


Roon ->allo Sparky-USBridge w/ SBooster 5V LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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A that is a homerun for Chris again! Thanks.

 

I will come back for more question but most importantly, for now:

You said "My XMOS based Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB works without issue while connected to the Aries".

 

Does it means you used your Alpha USB most of the time, or you just tested it ok, and used mostly the direct connection Aries to DAC?

 

It would be so interesting to know if you compared the SPDIF and USB outputs of the Aries, but that would mean to

According to some, USB is more "rolled off" or soft sounding...

 

Thanks!

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A that is a homerun for Chris again! Thanks.

 

I will come back for more question but most importantly, for now:

You said "My XMOS based Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB works without issue while connected to the Aries".

 

Does it means you used your Alpha USB most of the time, or you just tested it ok, and used mostly the direct connection Aries to DAC?

 

It would be so interesting to know if you compared the SPDIF and USB outputs of the Aries, but that would mean to

According to some, USB is more "rolled off" or soft sounding...

 

Thanks!

I used a direct AES connection most of the time because the Alpha USB costs more than the Aries and I don't think it's a practical option for most Aries customers. Don't get me wrong, I recommend it for Aries customers, but the cost is likely prohibitive at close to $2,000.

 

Using the Alpha USB in the chain does sound a bit better, but it should because it's the best USB to AES converter i've ever used.

 

I used the Alpha DAC RS in this review because it's the best DAC i've ever heard and it enables me to get the clearest picture of what the other components are doing. Yes the RS price is $16,000, but as a review tool it can't be beat.


Founder of Audiophile Style and Superphonica

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Here is Lake Street Dive for download - Fun Machine | Lake Street Dive

 

Thanks!

 

image.jpg


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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My XMOS Stello U2 unit works great with the Aries. The AES did not play well with my AudioNoteKits DAC 4.1, with a lot of stuttering. I recently got the 1.11 update, so I'll give it another go sometime.

 

I do like the Aries, the sound beats my 3-4 year old fanless PC I was using to feed the DAC. I figure it to be a nice upgrade. I use a win8.1 server with Minimserver. I'm still playing with PC based control programs (Kinsky mainly), until Auralic releases a Lightning DS program for PC and or Mac.


[Home Digital] Bricasti M12 > McIntosh MC60 > Zu Druid V + Undertone (BHSE + Voce)

[Home Analog] Technics SL-1200G > K&K Audio Phono Amp (Zu DL-103/Benz Glider-SL/Denon DL-301 II)

[Office] Laptop > Kitsune R2R lvl3 > Violectric V281 > Focal Utopia Headphones (balanced)

[beach/Travel] Laptop > DragonFly Red > Ether Headphones

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Very nice job Chris.

 

One thing that I'd like to add about USB or any type of network storage. This device is nice as it allows someone to purchase the ARIES first and use their current USB Drive and then purchase a NAS should they decide they want or need to. I think this is a great selling point of the ARIES. It's literally switching out your current computer or whatever you use and you're ready to go or buy this and a small HD. Simple.

 

 

I enjoyed this review but am still confused as to whether or not I would even be able to use this product. I had wanted to purchase it some time ago when it was first released but never quite understood how it would work in my setup. Perhaps someone could help me decide if this product would work for me. I plan to use it as part of a headphone setup in my den, but I don't have access to an ethernet port in that room. My internet speeds are pretty slow due to an old router (802.11b) so I don't think wireless would be an option either. I've considered using a Hard Drive, but as I download a lot of music, I wouldn't want to have to keep transfering new music to it everytime I downloaded something. Are there any other options or is there a way to make it work with what I've got. Also, I don't have an iPad, but I do own an iPhone, will that work with the Aries too?

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As I'm not very computer literate. I very much appreciate Auralic decision to include USB drive support. It's so very easy to add music files or delete a song or whole album from your flash drive where as deleting a song or album on a NAS can get very complicated quickly. Great review.


2 Ch stereo

Auralic Aries>Wireworld AES>Kitsune Holo Spring DAC L3>Van Den Hul-The Second balance cable>Sonic Euphoria (fully balance autoformer)>Van Den Hul-The Second balance cable>D-Sonic M3-1200S-A (Anaview AMS1000-2600)>Synergistic Tesla Accelerator cable>Ohm 3000 speakers plus Omni Harmonizer super tweeter

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Thanks for a great review, Chris!

 

I'd like to say my own findings regarding Aries largely match yours.

 

Over the past couple of months I've had the opportunity to demo an Aries/Vega combination to a few audiophile friends at their homes, and the comments were always very favorable, even from those who've had a strong preference for analog gear. Aries apparently can make some DACs sound better than being driven by other sources, especially over USB, and the Aries/Vega combo sounds neither like analog or digital, but better, with a stronger "live" feel, realistic instrument & vocal sizing and deep yet accurate soundstage. Aries and Vega are each very good, but the combination is just awesome. I set the Vega DAC to linear phase filter and "Exact" clocking mode and wait 1+ hour for the unit to settle down before starting auditions, and the results are always very satisfying. Vega power is run through a balanced transformer which seems to help also. I've been listening to Aries/Vega a lot with HD 800 headphones in balanced mode driven by a Bryston BHA-1 headphone amp, but I just bought an Auralic Taurus MkII headphone amp and can't wait to add it to the Auralic stack. 16/44.1 content playing through Aries/Vega sounds so good it led me to believe high resolution audio being largely unnecessary, and I frankly could not tell any difference between 16/44.1 and 24/96 (or 24/192) of the same content, even with careful and extended listening. Auralic is that good. I also found a USB flash drive that delivers slightly better sound from Aries than it streaming from a WS2012R2/Minimserver-based fanless x86 box over either wireless or Ethernet, but the difference there is quite small. Aries has such a killer combination of great sound quality and ease of use I'm contemplating getting a second unit.

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Chris-

 

Thanks for the review.

 

You just published a review of the Sonore Signature Rendu. Do you have a preference of one over the other in terms of SQ?


Main listening (small home office):

Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS >SOtM Lan Isolator>Bricasti M5 Network Player >Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: CAPS Pipeline>IFi iOne DAC>Schiit Freya>Kii Three . Also an SBT and a RB Pi 3B+ running piCorePlayer as an SBT emulator. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Great review Chris and worth the wait.

 

I'm sure there are others like me that have been following every Aries thread to gather information before purchase. This review definitely helps with my decision. This piece will be in my system next month. I can't wait!

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I gather that most of your listening was done using Aries over AES to the Alpha DAC RS. Did you get a chance to listen to DSD? Any opinions?


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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The Bareilles albums, this live one you point to as well as "The Blessed Unrest" are available on HDTracks at higher res. Not sure how much diff this makes in these particular recordings (Blessed Unrest sounds good but I think I hear some compression) but just FYI...


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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The Bareilles albums, this live one you point to as well as "The Blessed Unrest" are available on HDTracks at higher res. Not sure how much diff this makes in these particular recordings (Blessed Unrest sounds good but I think I hear some compression) but just FYI...

 

Thanks! Downloading now. ;-)


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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Jason,

 

What kinda difference do you think it will make throwing a soon to come REGEN device on the end of the USB output here. Speculation welcome.

 

I have no idea but I'm willing to try. ;-)


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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The Bareilles albums, this live one you point to as well as "The Blessed Unrest" are available on HDTracks at higher res. Not sure how much diff this makes in these particular recordings (Blessed Unrest sounds good but I think I hear some compression) but just FYI...

And BTW I also recommend her album "Little Voice" (CD only AFAIK). The song Gravity is gorgeous in this album. Pretty nice recording too.


mini+Roon > dCS Rossini DAC + Rossini Master Clock >

Audio Note Kondo Ongaku > Avantgarde Duo Mezzo G2

system pics

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And BTW I also recommend her album "Little Voice" (CD only AFAIK). The song Gravity is gorgeous in this album. Pretty nice recording too.

 

That I do have. Great!


2 ch Setup:

Motorola Modem sb6141> Emo Systems EN-70HD > (5) eero > Synology 1813+ (DSM 6.2), 4TB Seagate NAS Drives, 4GB RAM & Zero Surge & APC XS BX1000G/backup to Synology DX513) > Emo Systems EN-60KDS  > Roon > Mola Mola Tambaqui > BSS BLU 50 > (2) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference

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