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AURALiC formally launch Aries digital audio streamers

  • AURALiC claims to have invested a cool $1m into developing the Lightning Streaming technology that saw a soft announcement last October and then a more formal launch at this year’s CES. AURALiC is now set to launch the first Lightning Streaming device(s): the Aries and Aries LE.

    The Aries’ aesthetics strike the bullseye of this reviewer’s desire for crisply-defined minimalism. Each unit measures 25cm x 20cm x 7cm. The three inch OLED display, similar to the one found in AURALiC’s Vega DAC, doesn’t hurt either.


    But what does the Aries actually do? It’s designed to act as a bridge between your digital music collection and your DAC. This includes both network attached storage (of local files) as well as streaming services such as Spotify and Qobuz. (I can already see this streamer filling some of the void left by Logitech’s discontinuation of its Squeezebox Touch). The Aries’ network connectivity comes courtesy of high-speed wi-fi and gigabit ethernet.

    According to AURALiC CEO Xuanqian Wang, “[The music] must be on a uPnP server, either a NAS drive or a computer with server software installed. uPnP server recognition is the same over wi-fi and ethernet.”

    In its engine room we find AURALiC’s proprietary Tesla hardware platform: Quad-Core ARM Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB internal storage — capable of crunching 25 billion instructions per second Tesla has more than enough processing power to handle a whole range of popular audio formats such as AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA.


    On the rear of the unit, outputs. The Aries’ USB is buffered by AURALiC’s patented ActiveUSB™ technology and can deliver PCM up to 32bit/384kHz (DXD), DSD and 2xDSD. AES/EBU, coaxial and optical outputs each top out at 24bit/192kHz in accordance with the S/PDIF standard.

    Device control comes from the bundled remote control but more advanced functionality will undoubtedly come from the Lightning smartphone/tablet app. Dedicated versions for both iPhone and iPad will be available upon Aries’ formal launch at the Munich Hi-end show next month but the Android port won’t surface until September this year. Desktop applications for Windows and OS X are scheduled to arrive before the end of 2014.


    Future firmware updates put local storage playback, DSD up-sampling, room acoustics correction and multi-channel playback on the Aries’ development roadmap.

    The Aries will come in two versions: standard and LE. They won’t run you an arm and a leg but European pricing promises to be a little stiffer than in the USA:

    • ARIES LE (with low-phase noise crystal and standard external PSU) will sell for US$999/€999.

    • ARIES (with two individual Femto clocks 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) ramps the RRP up to US$1599/€1499.

    Further information: AURALiC | Addicted To Audio

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram


    1. Seriously like the oled display and UI design on this. They look like they use the New Haven graphic oled displays.

    2. If it sounds as good as it looks, it will be an out of the park home run!

    3. Looks like no display for album art. And no remote control – you have to use your iPad or smart phone (that’s a non-starter for me right there). And is there an ethernet plug for network connection or just for NAS?

      Why can’t anyone just make a Logitech Squeezebox Touch and not discontinue it?

      If streaming and PC sourced music is really the future the hi-fi industry needs to GET ITS ACT TOGETHER and make it usable for people other than ‘sitting down at your PC’.

      • As per the article, there IS a basic wand remote for playback control but yes, more advanced features must be tapped from one’s phablet.

        I don’t see this a sitting down at one’s PC at all. Besides, *some* display screens can raise the level of internal electrical noise, the Squeezebox Touch being a solid example. Far from ideal when trying to optimise sound quality. Isn’t this one of the reasons why the Wandboard and other dedicated music servers run headless?

        I pinged AURALiC about how the Aries recognises music on the local network. The reply: “[The music] must be on a uPnP server, either a NAS drive or a computer with server software installed. uPnP server recognition is the same over wi-fi and ethernet.” I’ve rolled this info into the main article.

    4. Yep, Logitech really dropped the ball on the best streamer there was. The Touch was a fifth of the LE Auralic, and you could get seven for the price of the other one.

    5. John, I hope you will review this device (the more advanced one) very soon. I’ve been waiting for it to come to the market since the first announcement in the fall last year. This thing will be the last component of my newest setup… I have been comparing features, sound quality and prices of many servers/streamers and my mind is almost made. I just need a confirmation from you… 🙂

      • Yeah, I’ll be teeing up a review unit when I meet with the AURALiC guys in Munich the weekend after next.

    6. When to stream and when to serve.
      I have a very ordinary PC attached to a NAS drive and I am wondering which direction I should go when I soon replace the PC.

      Let me see if I have this straight. In order to feed ones DAC one can either;
      A/ buy or build a server a la Antipodes which seems to differentiate itself from streamers mainly by having internal storage or
      B/ you can use something like this Auralic Aries streamer and use that to access files on your NAS (or similar uPnP enabled server).

      Option B (NAS>Streamer>DAC) is presumably cheaper because the streamer has no storage requirement but is it any better or at least as good as (SVR>Streamer>DAC)?
      Are there any obvious drawbacks for option B that might ‘cripple’ its potential as an audio device?

      regards David

      • Whether or not you need an interceding streamer depends on the digital audio output quality of your server. Some are noisy with a high jitter output, some aren’t (hello Antipodes). The acid test for the Aries for many will be: does it sound better than a MacMini w/ USB reclocker?

        Streamers also obviate the need to have one’s music server within USB cable’s reach of the DAC. I’ve said it many times before: not everyone wants a PC in their lounge room.

    7. Does the system actually benefit from having a femto clock on the streamer side? If running async usb, would the streamer’s clock be a “slave” to the clock on the DAC?

      • I hit up Xuanqian Wang with your question. His reply: “The ARIES support async USB mode but it can still benefit from higher precision clock as we are running a high INT priority on USB.”

    8. Do you know what other streaming services are anticipated?
      I have a pioneer n50 which is pretty good for my needs except the app interface is the worst ever (specially coming from a SONOS and squeezebox touch preceding it).

      • I’m seeing AURALiC again this weekend in Newport Beach so I’ll endeavour to find out. Failing that, a review unit is slated to come my way once back in Sydney so plenty of time for more in-depth digging.

    9. I would lose the use of JREMOTE and the extra 12TB in my PC (besides Synology NAS). It has to support DLNA right? Then you could keep using JRIVER.

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