AURALiC Aries G1 Anyone?


#1

I saw in a post a few days ago someone mentioned they were using the Aries G1 streamer. It was an aside and not the topic so I cannot find it now.

Does anyone have any experience with this unit? I am looking to update my Cambridge Audio CXN original model. The CXN does everything I need it to do but it is the weak link in my otherwise all PS Audio kit.

I did read on the AURALiC website that WiFi may be a better connection than Ethernet. This would be ideal for me. Also read that their Lightning Link (on the G2) is proprietary and not I2S compatible.

Thanks in advance community.


#2

To find the earlier references, enter Aries G1 in the search box which appears after clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper right.


#3

I’m one guy who bought a G1 last week, and I’m loving it. It’s a match made in heaven with the DSD.

I have been using various Macs and Android tablets for a couple of years, with BubbleUPnP and Roon. SQ was always good, but not great.

The G1 was a great surprise to me, and has delivered striking sound - far better than any of the any general-purpose-computer stuff I’ve heard. It is as transparent as any source I’ve ever heard - even sounds better than CDs on my heavily-modified Oppo.

I’ve been using BubbleDS with it, and it works like Auralic’s Lightning DS player app - it sends the playlist to the G1, and the G1 takes over from there - retrieving the music and playing it back through a 1gB buffer for best sound - Bubble or Lightning is only the real-time control and visualization app. The significant shortcoming with Bubble is that it doesn’t offer any Internet radio that I could get working, and Lightning DS does support it well.

By contrast, the Roon support works like Roon on a PC - it sends the music to the Aries in realtime, with the issues which that brings. That’s OK for Internet radio streaming, but Roon has a bad habit of taking over a device and being unwilling to allow other devices to take over even after Roon is terminated, thus, switching between Roon for radio and anything else afterward requires power-cycling the Aries. Roon also goes away when I have to reboot my Mac - another annoyance.

I also dropped Tidal for pitiful content in the music I love (jazz), and MQA is just another lossy codec AFAIC, so I’m now using Qobuz, which I highly recommend as far better sounding and having a huge catalog of my music.

My G1 is connected with Ethernet in and USB to the DSD, which I find less frustrating than the Bridge can be at times. I’ve also read that the G1 wifi works well and sounds good.

My only serious gripe about the G1 is that Auralic’s Lightning app is only available for iOS, not for Android, so I had to order an iPad for a full-function remote control.

(PS - I have read that the Aries’ xlr output can work with i2s, but IIRC, only the USB input on the DSD supports the maximum datarate)


#4

I just got my Aries G1 last week and have been listening to it almost non-stop! I’ve got an SGCD and S300 hooked up to some older B&W DM602 S3’s and the sound is terrific. It’s very detailed without being overbearing or clinical. I’m using the USB connection (just a simple AudioQuest Forest USB cable) and it really sings to my fairly easy-to-please ears.

I ran into a few issues with my music collection that might bear pointing out. Initially, I was using a WD Passport USB drive (2TB) directly connected to the G1 and noticed that it would freeze up and refuse to play after a few hours. This happened whether I was playing music or not and whether I put the G1 to sleep or not and could only be fixed with a restart (powering the unit off completely). I read on the Auralic forums of some similar issues and decided to move the drive to another device and stream across my network. Alas, this did not solve the problem. I got the impression that the issue was the way the drive used power from USB. Luckily I had another USB drive that had a separate power supply (powered by a wall wart, not USB), moved my music collection to it and shared it using another laptop I had lying around. This solved the freezing issues and I haven’t looked back.

Totally worth the price of admission if you ask me. I stream Tidal (going to try Qobuz once it’s live in the US) as well as some Spotify and the sound is very engaging. As with everything, your mileage may vary but I’m a happy camper!


#5

+1 for the annoying only-being-able-to-use-iOS ‘feature’. Sure wish they had an Android app but I also had a iPad to use and the Lightning DS app is pretty good. I’ve used BubbleUPNP as well, just to see how well it worked, and it was serviceable but not quite as full-featured as the Lighting DS app (no Internet radio as was pointed out)


#6

The DS’s I2S supports 352.8k and DSD128. (It has to, internally the USB chip communicates via I2S to the FPGA :slight_smile: ) However some sources have misshapen high speed I2S signals and if they are too bad the DS can’t decode them.


#7

I’ve used the Cambridge CXN for 3 years now, playing my own CD and SACD rips from a NAS drive and streaming from Spotify and Tidal.

I would not have upgraded if their app wasn’t so poorly featured (no search function and no ability to save playlists) and I wasn’t offered a good deal on a used Direcstream DAC with Bridge II card.

I got my DS + Bridge II yesterday and A/B’d it against my CXN. Not much difference in the first 3 hours but after that, holy cow! It sounds as if the CXN clumps everything together in the middle, with very little space between the individual performers. Not with the DS + Bridge II, which clearly delineated the space between artists. It easily sounded a whole lot more “live” and as someone who owns a Clearaudio turntable, much like good vinyl. Very enjoyable to listen to for hours on end.

I’m curious to read about your experiences with the Auralic Aries G1, as I was about to get the Vega G2 streamer with built in DAC. Looking forward to your review. :slight_smile:


#8

Have a read on the Auralic Forum, at http://community.auralic.com/ They have a small forum with good support from the company.


#9

Thanks for the Search instructions Elk, very helpful. And thanks to all for replying.

Are you able to pre-set or bookmark any streaming services? Like soma.fm or even Pandora?

I see on the AURALiC site they recommend a powered USB drive for best performance if directly connected. I wonder if a non-powered SSD into the Aries will have issues?


#10

That’s not Roon…it’s Tidal. Qobuz integration is coming to Roon.


#11

Corrected - a slip of the fingers…
Thanks


#12

And here’s a reason to use USB instead of AES with the Aries G1/G2 - from the specs:
“* 352.8KS/s and 384KS/s and 32bit are supported through USB Output only”


#13

OTOH, after considering that I have no source material of more than 192k, I’m comparing a Wireworld Gold 110ohm AES/XLR cable with a WW Platinum USB, and so far the AES sounds better to me - subtly less electronic.


#14

I haven’t heard the Aires, although I’ve heard nothing but good things about their gear. I’m using an Aurender N100H. It’s $400 or so more than the Aries, and has fewer bells and whistles (and no Roon support), any/all of which which may disqualify it from consideration for you.

But on my system, CD rips to the Aurender’s hard drive are indistinguishable from the same CD played on the DMP. Can’t ask for more than that. Their Conductor control app is quite nice. Streaming Tidal sounds very good, but will most likely be switching to Qobuz when it comes online in the US.