High End 2014: DSD made simple, the Auralic ARIES

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.