Step-up Version – "A Master of All Trades"
The Aries serves as a "bridge" between music files on network storage or high quality online streaming services and the consumers' DAC — enabling DACs for the first time to stream high-resolution music quickly and wirelessly in virtually any sampling rate, including DSD, Double-Rate DSD and DXD.
Compared to the standard model Aries LE, the Aries is the step-up model, featuring two individual FemtoClocks for both USB audio host and digital outputs, low noise internal design to eliminate jitter, and AURALiC Purer Power™ based 10uV low noise external linear PSU.
"A Unique and Terrific Product"
"Auralic has delivered on its promise of a unique and terrific product. The Aries plethora of capabilities such as OpenHome / DLNA rendering, AirPlay, SongCast, WiFi, USB playback, USB disk, and terrific Tidal HiFi integration make it a sure leader in this market segment," reports Chris Connaker, "The Computer Audiophile," in his ComputerAudiophile.comreview for January 22, 2015. "It’s incredibly tough to be a jack of all trades and a master of all trades, but the Aries comes as close as any component I’ve yet heard."
The inputs of Aries include Dual-Band high-speed WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 port. The outputs are USB audio host buffered by AURALiC's patented ActiveUSB™ technology; low jitter digital audio outputs: AES/EBU, Coaxial and TOSLINK. The USB audio host can deliver PCM from 44.1 to 384 KHz at 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit resolutions as well as DSD, Double-Rate DSD for compatible USB DAC. The other digital outputs are limited to 192 KHz at 24-bit in maximum according to S/PDIF standard.
AURALiC Tesla Platform
Aries is powered by AURALiC's proprietary Tesla hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core ARM Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 onboard memory, and 4GB internal storage. The Tesla platform has a calculation ability of 25,000 MIPS, more than enough to decode a vast spectrum of audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA. AURALiC has chose this platform for a long term supporting consideration, the feature planned include DSD upsampling, room acoustic treatment and other acoustic DSP function.
Dual Femto Clock
The Aries has two individual Femto clocks for both USB audio host and digital outputs. The clock used for the digital outputs is linked to the master clock to ensure a vanishingly low amount of jitter. Accordingly to measurements, the USB controller's master clock can degrade sound quality, as it can interrupt USB timing when jointly uses with real time system. To maximum sound quality, Aries is also equipped with a second Femto clock for USB control.
Low Noise Linear PSU
Aries comes with an external low noise linear power supply unit. This PSU is based on AURALiC Purer‐Power™ technology with advanced AC filter and very low noise circuit design. The actual measurement shows only 10uV cross 20Hz-20KHz range.
Gapless, Multiple Room Solution
By using the OpenHome structure – which has been adopted by UK-based streaming solution manufacturer Linn – the Aries as well as all other Lightning-based products support several advanced functions. These include an on-device playlist that allow control software to turn off during play and complete supporting of multi-room, multiple control points. These functions are not part of the legacy standards of the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).
Lightning DS App for iPad
Aries is bundled with AURALiC's Lightning DS App. The App has the capability to fully control Aries to browse your music libraries on your network-attached storage (NAS), to stream high quality music content from service providers like Qobuz and WiMP, to control the playback and to select the hardware settings such as output channel and WiFi network, etc. The App also supports Songcast, a music distribution service that allows users to map computer's sound to any Lightning-equipped system and to map sound between different Lightning systems in the house and streaming sound though Apple AirPlay.
AURALiC Lightning DS is the official control software for all Lightning series hardware. The App is currently available for iPad with iOS 8.0 and above system only.
Note: AC power cord not included.
Step-up Features (compared to Aries LE)
*** Sampling rate limited to 44.1K - 192K and DSD64 only
Note: AC power cord not included.
"Auralic has delivered on its promise of a unique and terrific product. The Aries plethora of capabilities such as OpenHome / DLNA rendering, AirPlay, SongCast, WiFi, USB playback, USB disk, and terrific Tidal HiFi integration make it a sure leader in this market segment. Adding to this its super sound quality make it THE leader and should place it on top of readers’ audition considerations. No matter what I listened to during the review I believe I heard what I was supposed to hear through the Aries. I couldn’t identify a sonic signature of noise even when the WiFi was enabled."
"I won’t say the Aries was completely transparent because no component can escape imprinting some sonic signature on the audio. I will say the Aries is as good as or better than all other sources I’ve had in my system. Whether it was a CAPS or a turnkey music server, the Aries was equal or better in all sonic respects. It’s incredibly tough to be a jack of all trades and a master of all trades, but the Aries comes as close as any component I’ve yet heard."
- Chris Connaker, "The Computer Audiophile," ComputerAudiophile.com, January 22, 2015