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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