Newport 2014: Brooks Berdan making things simple with Auralic, Spendor


hiresnewportlogoforwebLike most show goers, I have a problem keeping rooms straight. It’s either “that big Magico room” or that “little Channel Islands room.” It’s never, until I look at my never-complete-enough notes, that I remember that every room has credit split about seventeen ways.

This room was presented by Brooks Berdan, but I, of course, kept calling it the “Auralic Room.” You’ll have to forgive me for that, but there was a full stack of Auralic gear in the middle and Auralic’s mastermind, Xuanqian Wang, hanging around to answer any questions about his new Aries streamer.

The Aries ($999 to start, $1599 with the extra beefy power supply and Femto clocks for both the input and output) turns out to be fiendishly difficult to photograph. It’s small enough to hide behind some audiophile speaker cables, it’s made of curvy plastic (to not block the WiFi signals), and its bright, readable screen washes out at the first hint of a flash bulb. Fortunately, the Part Time Audiophile himself was in the room, so I begged off the Peter Parker duties for a quick listen.

With the Aries fronting a stack made of a Vega dac (about $3500), a Taurus Pre (about $2100), and a pair of Merak monos (about $5000 for the pair), the sound through the Spendor D7 speakers ($6500) was stable and refined. The Spendor’s tweeter betrayed a hint that we were listening to Class D amps, but no real symptoms of the digititis or dropouts that occasionally haunt so many transports when they get plugged into a show hotel’s evil, evil electricity.

I’ve been DIYing my own music servers for fifteen years. At first blush, the Aries makes a pretty good case for my not dealing with any of that crap anymore.








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  1. Brooks Berdan as usual, always forward thinking. With the expansive range and cost of equipment at T.H.E. Show, that system is surprisingly affordable, sounds fantastic and challenges many systems costing much more!

    • We were in the Brooks Berdan room on Sunday afternoon. I was so beat that I wouldn’t have cared if they were using pure mink hair cables for everything.

      In all honesty, though, I barely pay any attention to cables in show circumstances. While they can have a transformative effect on a system — a fact that I resent in my soul — the effects are often more subtle. Since a hotel room isn’t the kind of environment that lets you come to any real conclusion about whether an amplifier is any good, I wouldn’t want to form any serious opinion about the cables in use. Nor would I be doing anyone a service unless I noted more about the sound quality than I did in this writeup.

      For you, Greg, I’ll try to pay more attention in the future.

      • “resent in my soul” Wow. I can see why you skip even mentioning the manufacturer’s name then. lol

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