High End 2014: DSD made simple, the Auralic ARIES

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By Dr. Panagiotis Karavitis

Up till now, a typical system for DSD playback would require a DAC, a computer, a NAS or hard disc and naturally amps and speakers. Auralic is about to change all this — actually they just did here in Munich by presenting their new ARIES streamer device.

ARIES is capable of streaming PCM, DXD and up to Double-Rate DSD, which means just about every available audiophile format in the market. Based on an ARM-A9 core, it will decode most audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV and WMA.

What does all this mean to you? That you no longer need a computer and cables running across the living room. You plug the ARIES to your DAC through the USB port and after installing the proprietary app for iPad/iPhone and you are ready to rock! Other ports are available (namely AES/EBU, coaxial and Tolink but will go only up to 24bit/192KHz).

During the show, Auralic used a completely in-house built system which included the Vega DAC, Taurus pre, and Merak monos. Speakers were Beethoven Concert Grand by Vienna Acoustics while cables were provided by Kubala Sosna.

Mr. Wang of Auralic gave me a small demonstration which lasted only a few minutes. ARIES is so simple to use that made me wonder why nobody else has a DSD wifi streamer on the market. We listened to a track from “Audiophile Jazz Prologue III” (24/96) selected directly from the iPad and the ARIES worked flawlessly. SRP of $999 seems like a bargain to me.

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13 comments

  • Pingback: High End 2014: What a show! Wrap up and best sound | Confessions of a Part-Time Audiophile

  • Panagiotis Karavitis

    @James: I wish i could help but your last post here arrived a few hours after the end of the show, so i guess we’ll have to wait in order to know about RT.
    I’m afraid the press release wont help either, you can read it here under “press room”

    http://www.auralic.com/en/

  • Why is this better than using the free Volumio software (http://volumio.org) and a $49 Raspberry Pi (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00D2CN730/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?qid=1400497542&sr=8-4&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70)?

    I haven’t tried either, but $50 seems a bit cheaper than $1,000 for the same advertised functionality. Am I missing something? The Volumio implementation also seems to work with your NAS and with iTunes, Audirvana, at whatever you currently use for playback.

    • Panagiotis Karavitis

      I was not aware that Volumio could handle DSD streaming but I don’t think the Pi can be considered a plug n play solution. Besides that I spoke with a tux friend who told me that the Pi will choke on many hi res files. Still the suggested combo remains an excellent solution for standard res digital playback

      • According to their website they can do DSD, but like I said I haven’t tried it yet. And you’re absolutely right about it not being quite plug n play. It does sound pretty easy though. Anyway, for $50 I’ll try it and see if I can save myself a grand.

  • How about windows support? And that includes windows RT and windows phone too! Some of us don’t use iOS or Android and neither of these platforms are bigger than windows users anyway.

    It would be great if you can get an answer from Mr. Wang if they intend to build a universal app for windows that work on the Pro, RT, and Phone versions….something that is now possible with the latest release of Visual Studio.

    Thanks!

    • Panagiotis Karavitis

      There will be a Windows version later on this year (towards the end of 2014). Hope this helps

      • It helps a bit, but I still need to know if this will be work with my phone or a Surface 2 tablet (Windows RT) so If you get a chance to ask Mr. Wang later in the show or shoot him an email, I’ll be very grateful.

  • Pingback: Auralic Aries DAC: Double DSD Over Wi-Fi - Page 24

  • .ISO support?

    • Panagiotis Karavitis and Xuanqian Wang

      responding live from the show, with mr Wang, designer of the Aries. mr Wang just explained me that the .ISO format is not uPnP friendly, therefor for now it is not possible to stream through a NAS.

  • You said ‘selected directly from the iPad’ ….pls explain what you mean, ie, what was the source of the music ? I understood a computer or NAS was needed too for the music files.

    • Part-Time Audiophile

      I think you can use an App to map the Aries back into a NAS. So, no computer per se, but some kind of iDevice (or Android device) would probably be helpful.