Jump to content
IGNORED

Article: Review | AURALiC ARIES G2.1


Recommended Posts

2 minutes ago, audiobomber said:

But no mention of sound quality vs. the Bryston. I believe that is the objection. Slick operation is available at much lower price points.

As I said, there’s no pleasing people. There’s always something more to be compared etc...

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, thotdoc said:

I thought and still think, perhaps incorrectly, that it's a transporter, more SCG's sonic transporter with ripper, not Sonore's Rendus. Chris, you have to appreciate that your readers have built fairly sophisticated digital systems and within the group different people think this product is different things. I think it's pretty funny.

The issue is that the industry has no standard vocabulary. "Streamer" means just a transport to some and is used that way by manufacturers; to others it means a transport with a DAC, for example.  This one is even more complex b/c it has optional features which essentially have it move to a different category.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer to use the term "Renderer" for devices like this Auralic, rather than "streamer".  To me the word streamer connotes content coming from the Internet (Qobuz/Tidal), but what these types of devices actually do is to Render audio file data for delivery to a DAC via typical DAC inputs (USB, AES/SPDIF).  The content can come from  an Internet based source (over Ethernet), or home based files from a NAS, server, or other attached storage medium (also Ethernet, or a directly attached local storage drive).

The benefits of Renderers, is that they can be built to deliver digital audio data to a DAC in the most perfect way, with the least amount of associated noise, and with the most perfect signal integrity (or not).  By having a well designed Renderer, one can achieve the best possible sound quality, without some of the limitations presented by commercial computer gear (hard drives, commercial MoBos, compromised power supply designs and clocking elements, etc).

ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, barrows said:

I prefer to use the term "Renderer" for devices like this Auralic, rather than "streamer".  To me the word streamer connotes content coming from the Internet (Qobuz/Tidal), but what these types of devices actually do is to Render audio file data for delivery to a DAC via typical DAC inputs (USB, AES/SPDIF).  The content can come from  an Internet based source (over Ethernet), or home based files from a NAS, server, or other attached storage medium (also Ethernet, or a directly attached local storage drive).

 

Thanks Barrows. My other point still stands; it's pretty amazing that some/many of us don't know what this is without someone more deeply immersed in the hobby at a professional level tells us.

Main: sonicTransporter I5>etherRegen>opticalRendu/ghent/UltraCap 1.2> WireWorld Platinum>YGGY Atma-sphere MP-1 3.1> Hegel 30> Maggie 1.7, REL SE 212: Zero Autoformers, Interconnects , Analysis Plus Silver Oval-In, Nordost Heimdall, Power Cables: Synergistic./Shunyata>Chang Litespeed 

HT:Dish>OPPO>Marantz>Hegel> 3-Maggies/2-Quads>REL Gibraltar>Custom Wire loom>APS>Samsung Plasma 55"

Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, thotdoc said:

Thanks Barrows. My other point still stands; it's pretty amazing that some/many of us don't know what this is without someone more deeply immersed in the hobby at a professional level tells us.

If you look at the connections on a component, you can get a pretty good sense of what it does. But not the sound quality of course.

“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, barrows said:

I prefer to use the term "Renderer" for devices like this Auralic, rather than "streamer".  To me the word streamer connotes content coming from the Internet (Qobuz/Tidal), but what these types of devices actually do is to Render audio file data for delivery to a DAC via typical DAC inputs (USB, AES/SPDIF).  The content can come from  an Internet based source (over Ethernet), or home based files from a NAS, server, or other attached storage medium (also Ethernet, or a directly attached local storage drive).

The benefits of Renderers, is that they can be built to deliver digital audio data to a DAC in the most perfect way, with the least amount of associated noise, and with the most perfect signal integrity (or not).  By having a well designed Renderer, one can achieve the best possible sound quality, without some of the limitations presented by commercial computer gear (hard drives, commercial MoBos, compromised power supply designs and clocking elements, etc).

 

So....in short....you're saying a "renderer" like, for example a Sonore product or this Auralic, produces better sound quality than a streamer?  Just making sure I got that....

Tidal / Qobuz--> Roon--> Fios Gigabit--> Netgear Prosafe GS105 --> Supra 8-->EtherRegen --> AQCinnamon --> microRendu 1.4 / CI Audio LPS --> Curious Evolved Link --> Chord Qutest--> AQ Water --> Belles Aria Integrated--> AQ Robin Hood--> Kudos Super 20's

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, OldBigEars said:

 

So....in short....you're saying a "renderer" like, for example a Sonore product or this Auralic, produces better sound quality than a streamer?  Just making sure I got that....

I do not like to use the term "streamer" for the aforementioned reasons.  So, no, to me a "streamer" is not actually a thing.  Products like this Auralic are Renderers.  The reason to use a really good Renderer is to achieve the best possible sound quality, whether the actual source of the files is the Internet (like Tidal and Qobuz) or a server loaded with your own music files, or a NAS loaded with your music files.  The Renderer connects to the local (home based) Network via Ethernet (or perhaps WiFi, but I generally recommend against that).  So the files can come from any device, or the Internet, which is attached somewhere on the Network, typically, for best performance, I prefer the commercial computer gear to be located somewhere else in the home from the audio system, as this isolates the noisy commercial computer from the audio system itself.

It might look like this:

In the audio system you have:

A Renderer, attached to a DAC via USB or AES/SPDIF, and an amplifier connected to the DAC, and a pair of speakers.

Somewhere else in the home, like a utility or work room you might have your Network gear, and some sort of device for storing and serving files over the Network (a NAS, a typical computer, or a custom server of some type).

 

By this approach, the Renderer, like this Auralic reviewed here, can be a high end product specifically designed for audio, using superb linear power supplies, careful attention paid to PCB layout and all the details like precision clocking, etc.  The renderer becomes the contemporary high end source, serving a nearly perfect digital data stream to the DAC in order to achieve the highest possible sound quality.  While all the noisy, built to relatively low standards, commercial computer gear is elsewhere in the home where its inherent noise has virtually no effect on the high end audio system.  Think of the Renderer as the new version of a high end CD transport, a purpose built for audio device, designed to get the best possible performance out of high end DACs.

 

This would be opposed to say, just attaching a noisy, cheaply constructed, commercial computer directly to a DAC via USB and expecting high end sound.

ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, barrows said:

I prefer to use the term "Renderer" for devices like this Auralic, rather than "streamer".

 

To render means to assemble , to cause to become. In this case take the digital information from any number of sources (internet, NAS, USB drive, internal storage, etc.) and assemble into a form that the DAC can use whether that be over USB, toslink, etc. Despite your preference for the term, and even though it does render, using that term fails to describe what all it does.

 

It is, as someone described earlier, a $5000 computer. It is functionally the same as my Mac Mini albeit with a wider variety of outputs, better power supply, the inability to be a Roon server, and other differences, but a computer none the less. They both gather digital files from a variety of sources under the control of software that interfaces with the user  and output it in a form that a DAC can use. To pigeonhole the Auralic  as only a renderer fails to adequately describe what it is capable of doing.. 

 

 

Tidal/Qobuz >> Roon >> Mac Mini >> USB >> Antelope Eclipse 384  DAC and headphone amps >> Avantgarde Duo Omega with DIY 16 foot bass horns

 

ZYX Optimum - Moerch DP8 arm - Merrill Williams >> Esoteric E-02 >>> either Antelope as above or  Placette Passive >> DIY 300B amp

 

 

IMG_0974 2.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Classifying products was easy when we had physical media. CD player, or CD transport and DAC. Now that we have everything under the sun, it’s much harder to classify components. 
 

I usually start with either D to A or D to D categorization. Then add stuff like streaming if it can accept audio from a streaming service, server if it can act as a server, etc... However, some servers have local storage while others don’t and some are hybrid. It’s really endless. 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, OldBigEars said:

 

So....in short....you're saying a "renderer" like, for example a Sonore product or this Auralic, produces better sound quality than a streamer?  Just making sure I got that....

 

A friend of mine has been testing streaming services (Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, etc.) all summer and has simply used his iPhone and Dragonfly Red to his integrated amp. He listens mainly to classical and folk and popular classic rock. He reports enough of a sonic difference to pay for one (Qobuz) over the others.

 

He just got a renderer a few weeks ago (per Barrows' definition) by Pro-Ject. He thinks it's much better than the iPhone app with a greater sense of ease and timbre and PRAT. He's shopping for a better DAC now (which the Dragonfly makes difficult because he reports it being quite good; better than older DACs $100s more expensive).

 

I prefer local files rendered to my DAC instead of streaming, but of course Spotify is super convenient. So I've tried sending the signal the iPhone app and also streaming from my Macbook server using Rogue Amobea's AirFoil software. The latter is clearly better sounding–again more ease of dynamics and flow, more sonic contrast overall between, well, everything, instruments and vocals. And this is almost as good as Spotify streaming into a Lumin renderer which I bought to try out.

 

So in short, in my experience, a quality renderer provides better sound because of things like better power supplies, better digital reclocking, or better USB receiver chips or SPDIF, etc. We have also found that the qualities of better digital upstream components are clearly audible thru even modest amplification and speakers.

 

Is it worth paying much much much (and even much) more than an iPhone? Only you can decide. Have fun deciding; enjoy the journey!

 

 

Sum>Frankenstein: Schiit Yggdrasil A2+SR Tesla/PS Audio P3 Regenerator+AVOptions Tibia, W4S Remedy/Uptone LPS-1.2, Linn LP12/Hercules II/Ittok/Denon DL-103R, Naim 250 DR, PSB, Elac, Uptone Audio ISO & EtherREGEN, Witch Hat/Audience/Silnote/ZenWave/Mapleshade/Transparent Audio cables, and a nice room.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, audiobomber said:

What about "ethernet to USB bridge" instead of renderer?

Auralic gave it a name. Streaming Transporter. 

We all understand what a CD transporter is. Maybe not so easy with Digital to Digital Converters, as they can have different interfaces. And SW capabilities. 
 

 

50759D5F-3E6C-462D-870E-E05AB60D2E18.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, R1200CL said:

Auralic gave it a name. Streaming Transporter. 

We all understand what a CD transporter is. Maybe not so easy with Digital to Digital Converters, as they can have different interfaces. And SW capabilities. 
 

 

50759D5F-3E6C-462D-870E-E05AB60D2E18.jpeg

Yes, the Auralic name is more accurate than what I proposed. However, I believe "streaming transporter" will mostly be abbreviated to "streamer". Some (e.g. Allo) use the term "digital transport", which I think is very good.

“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/7/2020 at 10:24 AM, OldBigEars said:

 

So....in short....you're saying a "renderer" like, for example a Sonore product or this Auralic, produces better sound quality than a streamer?  Just making sure I got that....

deleted

ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

Link to post
Share on other sites

How did the happen (above), sorry!

 

Anyway, my aversion to the term "streamer" comes from dealing with many customers, who when they hear the term they almost always assume that the content is coming from the Internet (Tidal, Qobuz, etc).  Then it is required to explain to the customer that the content really could be coming from anywhere on the home Network, and that one does not have to subscribe to streaming services to take advantage of the better sound quality which is offered by the better Renderers.  I hear: "I do not use streaming services, so I do not need (a Sonore Renderer in this case)" at audio shows quite often, which then requires an explanation of the benefits (sound quality) of using Ethernet to distribute audio versus a music server in the audio system.  This is why I try and not use the term streamer, because it appears to add to the confusion about these types of products, to audiophiles who may not be well versed in the ins and outs of Ethernet distributed for high end audio.

ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great Review Chris.

I bought this simply as a dedicated computer CAS, streamer, renderer, etc was a constant moving goalpost and just too difficult to be happy with.

 

I also used this with my AudioGD DD converter and this was useless. Implying that the digital section of the Aries was very good and could not be bettered. Mind you the DD section has external clock feeding this.

 

So it would be interesting to see the changes when the Version 3 comes out. Perhaps a real run for the money for many, many high end computer CAS?

Synology NAS (LPS) >UA ETHER REGEN (BG7TBL Master Clock) > MACMINI (Uptone MMK JS-2) > Auralic Aries 2.1 > (LPS-2) > AUDIO-GD DI20HE (BG7TBL Master Clock) (I2S OUT)LampizatOr GG /Meridian 808.3> Wavac PRT1 / Wavac EC300B >Tannoy Canterbury SE

 

HP Rig ++ >Woo WES/ > Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD2

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • I had 4 of these network bridges, or renderers, or DACless streamers or whatever they are called, in my high end system, from an Auralic Aries G1 down to a home made raspberry pi.   There was virtually no difference in sound quality other than the home made pi which was a bit 'grainier'. The other two sub £1k models sounded identical to the Auralic.  So in my view the differences are all about the features, the interface and the look of the box.  If you use Roon then it’s really just about the box, what looks better for you. 
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, bbosler said:

I have explored this area pretty extensively. I've had a DCS Rossini and tried the DCS external clock and others. I've re-clocked my USB with the Uptone box and the Innous Phoenix. I tried the EtherRegen with Mutec 10MHz reference clock, tried feeding my DAC with  AES/EBU from a Mutec MC-3+ clocked with the Mutec REF10 and tried an Antelope 10M to clock various devices including my DAC which is the Antelope Eclipse 384. For a server I've used my Mac Mini, SMG i5 transporter, Pi, Innuous Zenith MK3, and a Roon Nucleus. Also a variety of cabling.

 

so with all of the servers, clocks, re-clocks etc I've come to the same conclusion ....  "virtually" no difference. I would sit and listen and think maybe I hear a little more of this or that, a little smoother here, a little wider soundstage there, but for me, if I can't tell a clear a difference I'm not keeping it.

 

Maybe I have a tin ear, maybe something about us makes one person more or less susceptible to whatever these clocks do to the digital stream, and just maybe a whole lot of people hear what they want to hear. My DAC also has what is considered a studio reference clock built in so maybe it is immune?

 

I do find it interesting that the more they cost the more highly they get rated. When I see reviews here and clock components are ranked good to best the ranking  always follows the dollars. I also find it interesting that we get reports of "profound differences" and my favorite... "my wife commented from the other room" when I hear pretty much no difference. I'm actually quite happy about it. I have a system that sounds spectacular (at least to me and that's all that matters to me)  and I've saved many $1000s 

 

Good points!

Usually I buy new gear only when I get more involved in the music and it is more fun to listen to.

Pure audiophile criteria do not make sense to me.

 

Matt

Link to post
Share on other sites

As of midweek my rig is 

 

Qobuz

Auralic Aries G1

Mutec MC3+USB - Mutec SF10 SE120 

Grace Designs M903

 

Via the MC3+USB status switches I have done a/b tests with and without. (switching between takes less than 5 seconds) 

 

I found the Mutec SF10 SE120 adds 'height'. Reverbs, concert halls, church ambience and spatial mix effects all have an increased 'size' plus an additional, eerie (magical?)  "bloom". Percussion has a 'crisper' precision (perhaps high frequency extension). I like what it's doing.

 

 

 

 

Jules

Qobuz - Roon - Weiss 501 DAC - ADAM Audio Speakers & Meze Empyrean headphones

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...