Auralic Aries Lightning Media Streaming Device Preview
Auralic debuted something it calls “Lightning Streaming” at CES 2014 earlier this year. Billed as the industry’s first whole-house, high-resolution streaming solution, the Auralic Aries supports both Double-Rate DSD as well as DXD. Now, after much fanfare, the company is debuting the Aries—the first actual product in the Lightning family.
The Auralic Aries Lightning Media streaming device works as a bridge between high resolution music files on server or other network storage device (it also works with high-resolution online streaming services) and your DAC. That means your DAC can stream high-resolution music quickly and wirelessly at virtually any sampling rate—including DSD, Double-Rate DSD and DXD.
Auralic Aries Overview and Features
The media streaming device has a 3″ OLED display that lets users view playback status, and the included RC-1 remote control lets you Play, Pause and Select Tracks without needing to open the Lightning DS App (see below).
Under the Hood
The Auralic Aries is powered by a Quad-Core ARM Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz with 1GB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB internal storage. It has a calculation ability of 25,000 MIPS and supports nearly all known audio formats, including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA.
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The inputs of the Auralic Aries include Dual-Band high-speed WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet and also a USB 2.0 port. The USB outputs are buffered by Auralic’s patented ActiveUSB technology. There are also low jitter digital audio outputs, including XLR (AES/EBU), coaxial S/PDIF and TOSlink. The USB audio host can deliver 44.1 to 384 KHz PCM from @ 16-, 24- and 32-bit resolutions as well as DSD, Double-Rate DSD with a compatible USB DAC. The other digital outputs are limited to 192 KHz at 24-bit per the S/PDIF standard.
The Auralic Aries also uses the UK-centric OpenHome structure which supports an on-device playlist that allows control software to turn off during play. It also supports multi-room, multiple control points—all functions that are not natively included in the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and DLNA standards.
Auralic Aries Lightning DS App
The Aries comes with the Lightning DS App which lets you browse and stream from music libraries and even access high quality music content from service providers like Qobuz and WiMP. You can also control playback and even change the output channel and WiFi network. The App also supports Songcast, a music distribution service that allows users to map computer’s sound to any Lightning-equipped system and which also works in conjunction with Apple’s AirPlay. The Lighting DS App is available now on iOS for iPad and iPhone. The Android version will be available by September 2014, and desktop versions for Mac and Windows PC’s will arrive by the end of 2014.
Auralic claims to have budgeted (though not necessarily spent) more than $1,000,000 to develop the Auralic Aries Lightning Streaming system. That may be why this little device will set you back $999 or $1599 depending upon whether you get the Auralic Aries LE or the premium version with two individual Femto Clocks for both USB audio host and digital outputs and the 10uV low noise external linear PSU.
The two models, in handsomely designed enclosures as futuristic as the technology inside, are identical in computing calculation ability; software function and upgrade support plan in the future. The dimensions of both are: 9.8″x 7.9″x 2.75″W/D/H (25cm x 20cm x 7cm). Weight: 1.77 lb. (0.8kg) without external PSU.
Auralic Aries Specifications
For more information please check out the Auralic Aries website.