pl | en

Streaming player


Wireless Streaming Bridge

Manufacturer: AURALiC LIMITED
Price: 6299 PLN

Contact: 1F, Building No.7, 1A Chaoqian Road
Beijing, 102200 | China

Country of origin: HONG KONG

Provided courtesy of: JPLAY

Many people wonder what will we do next. As you can see the only thing we lack in our portfolio is a signal source. And, to be honest, we have been working on our own streamer's platform for years now (yes, platform, not streamer itself) and we should finalize our project very soon. You can't even imagine how many features will this product offer. We will present it next year in Munich during HighEnd Show. It will be another cutting edge product that will change audio industry.
Wang Xuanqian | President & CEO

A few simple words…, see HERE

t's hard not to notice how proud Mr Xuanqian was telling me that. When I spoke to him in Munich in 2014 he told me the same thing and when listening to him I already knew that he was right.
Aries is a files player – that's probably the best description for it. Audio manufacturers still haven't decided which word should be a universal one describing this sort of device, which leads to usage of many words among which „streamer” seems to be the most popular one. This particular name suggest device's function – receiving data from a data carrying medium (HDD, SSD, FLASH drive) and forwarding it to a D/A converter.

I think that the name Auralic came up with - „Wireless Streaming Bridge” - describes their device in an even more precise way. A files player not only transfers audio files from medium to DAC but it also decodes them translating WAV, FLAC, ALAC, DIFF, DSF and other files to a signal that is understood by DAC, to PCM or DSD to be exact. That proves that usage of a word: bridge, makes sense, as this device is a bridge between either local data storage or Internet (it does not really matter as that is only a detail describing where the read data are stored) and DAC.

That's more or less what all files player do, even very basic ones. Aries offers much more. It is able to decode even the 32 bit 384 kHz (DXD) files. It will also play DSD 2,8224 MHz and 5,6448 MHz (respectively: DSD64 and DSD128) signal. Well, there are few D/A Converters capable of processing even Octuple DSD (DSD512, 22,5792 MHz) and 768 kHz PCM signals but... there are no recordings in neither of these formats, or maybe there are two or three, meaning nobody has to worry about being able to play them.

I believe that for many Readers another feature might be particularly interesting – Aries can work as wireless Bridge playing not only Red Book CD files but also Hi-Res, even DXD and DSD128. Manufacturer invested a lot of money to develop this feature believing that it was one of the keys to Customers' hearts.
ARIES is powered by AURALiC's proprietary Tesla hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core ARMCoretex-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 chosen this platform for a long term supporting consideration, the feature planned include DSD up-sampling, room acoustic treatment and other acoustic DSP function.

The device is quite small and looks quite differently from previous Auralic's products. Because of it's wireless functions and lack of external antennas manufacturer has decided to use casing made of plastic, not metal. The design is very nice though, it looks a bit like oyster's shell. Front hosts a small OLED display that allows user to read the track number, time, plus a graphic representation of a play time. I haven't found an option to force it to display title of album nor track.

One can control it via a plastic remote control, that works also for Vega DAC but unfortunately both devices react to remote commands at the same time. The truth is that if you want to have a full control you need to use a tablet with Lightning DS App. I have to admit – I don't like iOS, or to be exact I don't like to be force to use devices with this system. That's why I waited a long time with this review hoping that an app for Android would be released. It is still not out and I couldn't wait any longer. Knowing my luck Android app will come out very soon. So I decided to borrow an iPad from Polish distributor and used it to control Aries. At the time of the review using USB external HDD wasn't still an option so a signal was delivered from Synology NAS.

There are two versions of the Aries. I reviewed the more expensive one that sports two FemtoClocks, for USB input and digital inputs, and also a more advanced linear power supply that is based on a proprietary Auralic's

This device is able to send out a signal in few different formats. I was interested in two of them: S/PDIF via electric RCA and USB. The former delivered signal to AURALiC Vega D/A converter, and the latter to a special version that we received for „High Fidelity's” 10th anniversary of a DAC/headphone amplifier Gemini 2000 (basic version's price is: 8000 PLN). During this test Aries was placed on Acoustic Revive TB-38H platform, which rested on Finite Elemente Pagode Edition.

I used two cables for S/PDIF connection: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6100 and KBL Sound Red Eye. Both are very good performers but offering very different sonic signature which gave me a better idea about Auralic's capabilities. Signal to Gemini was sent via Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SPS with separate runs for audio signal and power. Power was delivered from external battery PS.

Signal from Synology DS410j/8 TB was delivered to Linksys WAG320N router with Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA cable with RLI-1 filter (server-router), and next with Reference LAN Cable by JCAT (router-player).

AURALiC in „High Fidelity”
• TEST: Auralic VEGA Digital Audio Processor – D/A converter, see HERE | Awards RED Fingerprint/BLUE Fingerprint
• TEST: Auralic ARK MX+ – D/A converter, see HERE

Recordings used during test (a selection)

  • Miralula. Medieval Music for Saint Nicholas, wyk. Ensemble Peregrina, Agnieszka Budzińska-Bennet, Tacet 213, CD (2014).
  • Vinyl Magic for High Fidelity, sampler, DVD-R,, 16-24-32/44,1, WAV, ripy z DVD-R.
  • Zapach psiej sierści, soundtrack, muz. Włodzimierz Nahorny, GAD Records GAD CD 019, „Limited Edition 500 Copies”, CD (2014).
  • Al Di Meola, Flesh on Flesh, Telarc, 24/96, źródło: HDTracks, FLAC.
  • Billie Holiday, Billie Holiday, Clef/UMG Recordings UCCV-9470, „David Stone Martin 10 inch Collector’s Selection”, CD (1954/2013).
  • Cream, Disraeli Gears, Polydor/Universal Music LLC UICY-40023, Platinum SHM-CD (1967/2013).
  • Dead Can Dance, Anastasis, [PIAS] Entertainment Group, PIASR311CDX, "Special Edition Hardbound Box Set", CD+USB drive 24/44,1 WAV (2012);
  • Depeche Mode, Ultra, Mute/Sony Music Labels, Blu-spec CD2, (2007/2014).
  • Dick Hyman, From The Age of Swing, Reference Recordings HR-59, HRx: WAV 176,4/24, DVD-R (1994/2001).
  • Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, Rhino, FLAC 24/96.
  • Jerzy Milian Trio, Bazaar, Polskie Nagrania “Muza”/GAD Records GAD CD 017, „Polish Jazz vol 17”, CD (1069/2014).
  • Kankawa, Organist, T-TOC Records, UMVD-0001-0004, "Ultimate Master Vinyl", 4 x 45 rpm 180 g LP + CD-RIIα + 24/192 WAV;
  • Leonard Cohen, Popular Problems, Sony Music Labels SICP-4329, CD (2014).
  • Mikołaj Bugajak, Strange Sounds and Inconceivable Deeds, Nowe Nagrania 001, 45 rpm LP+CD+WAV 24/44,1;
  • Robert Kanaan, Continuum, Soliton SL 383-2, CD + pliki WAV 24/44,1 (2014).
Japanese issues available at

Performance of digital sources based on mini-computers gets better and better. Aurender X100L, that we reviewed in June (No. 122) turned out to be a solid and very well sounding device, very easy to use too.
Comparing looks and functionality of Aurender and AURALiC proves that “digital source” is quite a complicated subject despite the fact that these are just transports so we can take out of this equation players with their own DACs, or PC computers. So even when we deal with such a narrow definition of a digital source there are still numerous possibilities, functions, some not related in any way to the music itself, and manufacturer has to make his choices regarding all these aspects. It so happens that the sound of Mr Wang's transport is so different from what Aurender and Ayon Audio NW-T have to offer that it is easy to make a choice basing on personal preferences/priorities.

The sound of this transport (what I really mean are changes it introduces to the sound) is very pure and it lack something that often irritates me a lot when listening to any computer-based source: indefiniteness. It takes a lot of effort, hardware and software tweaking, choosing the right software player and proper USB cable to finally arrive at quality sound delivered by PC or MAC. And it is still, in my opinion, something that is just OK and nothing more.

Aries is a proof, that a specialized computer with precise clocks and advanced power supply can deliver proper performance. The “indefiniteness” I mentioned before I understand as lack of definition and precision in imaging which results in me not “seeing” instruments in their 3D form occupying particular place in space. The transport under review doesn't act this way like most computers do. I'd rather compare it to classic disc players, say like high end Blu-ray player. That puts it in my definition among high quality sources rather than just another digital player.

It offers very pure but also deep sound, also relaxed and unforced. If there are any limitations to dynamics they emerge only when playing 16/44 material and are insignificant. This is another case when hi-res files offer significantly better dynamics, resolution and definition.
But leaving that aside for a moment I would say that Aries delivers large shifts of dynamics in an impressive way, clearly differentiating characters of such different instruments like grand piano, electric over-driven guitar, percussion but also a quiet baroque harp.

Another important feature of Aries sound is tonality coherence. That is something that brings presentation together, makes it sound smooth and well defined. This device seems very “colorful”, it doesn't always sound the same. Sound changes not only between one recording and the other but also inside particular track if that was an intention of its creators.

There is slight emphasis in the midrange, somewhere near 1 kHz rather than 600 Hz. This gives most instruments more clarity and better definition. Resolution is good, same goes for selectivity. That gives each instrument proper depth, and I mean both – in tonality and in physical dimension. SO what we get is a believable, “friendly” presentation that attracts and keeps our attention.

I enjoyed also the way Aries delivers bass. It is a part of dynamics and this ease of presenting any music and that's what makes Auralic such a good, valuable source. There is a very good extension, bass goes really deep and has a lot of power. Hi-res files added some more smoothness and density to it. Such material also allow a better insight into recordings, better differentiation even on subtleties level, smallest dynamic and tone changes and so on. That goes hand in hand with another property of this player – the foreground is shown a bit closer than usually and it's bit bigger too. I think most people will like it as it sounds really good and the sound stays on the line between speakers, doesn't come closer to listener so it's is not at all aggressive. The fact is that the foreground is large and intense. Everything that goes on behind that also seems bit closer to listener so there is this impression of a large, dense, rich sound.

This is particularly impressive with Hi-Res files. And since I have repeated this already few times I should finally compare the sound of 16/44 files ripped from a CD and the same CD player directly by CD Player. Since AURALiC Vega DAC has two coaxial input I was able to perform a very direct comparison switching sources with a remote control.
A result of this test wasn't really surprising to me. It was the same as in many other cases before and the conclusion was still the same – there was still a lot to do before computer audio could sound as well as a CD. Same music played from CD seems more spacious, less focused on foreground and more resolving. Differences were pretty clear to me despite the fact that Aries played files in such a coherent, friendly way that I would hardly call it's presentation flawed. I'd say it is a characteristic feature of computer audio for today. The advantage of computer based source is their upgradability – every now and then manufacturer releases new software which usually improves also Aries' sonic so it is possible that even the next release will bring some improvement. But today CD still sounds better directly from disc then from a ripped files, and it sound more like analogue master-tapes and LPs – these two are my personal references.


I wouldn't make much of a problem of it. Without direct comparison to high-end CD drive differences are almost unnoticeable. Simple multi-format drives used in Blu-ray players when playing a CD sound surely worse then Aries playing rip from same CD. There is less focus, sound is smeared, and there is some sort of sound “diffusion”. The device under review does a much better job at it, and I think today it simply has no competition on the market that I know of.

The fact is that you will get most of its performance when playing Hi-Res files. Listening to them is simply comfortable and pleasant. Modifications I mentions also here apply. But we have to remember that there are no perfect audio devices, so when choosing one you have to consider your needs and available option and forget about wishful thinking of some ideal, non-existent devices. It is a well balanced, “mature” sound. It is not as smooth and rich as the sound of Lumin, nor has it such a deep base of the sound of Aurender and Ayon, but these are much more expensive devices. But it is surely as clear, dynamic sounding as them. It is a small, well equipped device. It can easily be used even in quite expensive audio systems. RED Fingerprint.


What makes company a quality manufacturer is not only consistence and reliability of its products, but also how innovative it is. It takes only a short read of technical specification of Auralic devices to realize the this is surely on of the innovative firms. You can see that also just by looking at their products. You can enjoy simplicity and elegance of their designs that remind me some projects of Nordic designers. The looks of Aries only confirm that. And yet, no matter what Mr Wang will come out with in future I think that Gemini 2000 (and less expensive Gemini 1000) will remain sort of reference for a long, long time.

The idea was ingenious in its simplicity: it was about building a DAC and a headphone amplifier into Klutz Design headphone stand. I have five of these at home and I have to admit that they are simply perfect in every way.
AURALiC managed to do something that seemed impossible: all the electronics necessary for this project was built into stands flat foot or plinth, if you will. The input and power socket were placed on the back of the stand, and headphone outputs on front (unbalanced) and the back (balanced). The 1000 version offers lower power output and only unbalanced output.

Every Gemini system sports a FLASH 4GB SDXC card with Windows drivers on it. In the future this card will hold also a special software that will change Gemini into a flash card player which will allow to play music directly from flash cards. This is not the first project of that kind – let me mention the abandoned SDMusA system by Ancient Audio (see HERE) or another project, that is still work in progress - the Laminar Streamer by LessLoss. So it is possible that Gemini will be the first commonly used player of that type that is based not on microprocessor but on different type of chips. I hope we will get back to that project once it is ready.

The D/A converter used here used scaled down technology from VEGA. It accepts PCM signals up to DXD resolution, as well as DSD and Double DSD (DSD128).
The headphone amplifier on the other hand is a scaled down version of Taurus II. It operates in class A offering both balanced and outbalanced outputs. Unfortunately since only a very limited space was available inside stand manufacturer had not to use Tesla modules. The device looks fantastic and it is delivered in a beautiful, functional box. Additional this particular unit has a laser-engraved logo that says:„High Fidelity 10th Anniversary”. A wonderful present.

It wouldn't be fair to expect that Gemini 2000's performance will match the one of Vega and Taurus II. Different size and different price level. You have to be reasonable and realize that what you get is so beautiful that it lets you forget about other things. This is incredibly discrete and fine looking design.
It delivers a very good sound too, rich and pure. There is a good resolution, large tonality scale from the top treble to deep bass. Larger systems are able to deliver better resolution and large scale of sound, which translates into more realistic instruments size and more realistic sound. Gemini 2000 with Audeze LCD-3 delivered slightly dark sound, but together they created a rich and forgiving system. Due to that even strongly compressed (even though 24 bit) files with Delta Machine by Depeche Mode were quite enjoyable. Differentiation is strongest feature of this system – one has to be aware of that.
Regardless of all of that what we have here is a unique system that will look great on the desk of Lotos CEO, or chief editor of „Dom & Wnętrze” magazine, but also in any room of any of us.

Cena: 8000 PLN

I believe that creating this design took a lot of considering of many factors and was done by professionals. It looks damn good but all these round shapes serve their practical purposes too.
The enclosure is made of plastic and there are three parts: silver upper and lower part and the middle part placed between them that is black. On the front there is an OLED display that gives use most important information, but no album/track titles. On the back there is a set of digital inputs. Signal might be delivered via: USB, RCA and Toslink. The DXD and DSD might be delivered only via the first two. There is also another USB input that in near future will be used for external storage devices (not active during this test). Signal to the device might be delivered by a LAN cable from NAS, or wirelessly over WiFi connection. The latter is worth noticing at it allows also for transmission of DXD and DSD signals. During the test I used cable connection.
Aries is powered up by external power supply. It is a solid, metal box with two sockets: IEC on the back (with mechanical on/off switch) and and another socket on the front with a screw-on cable that delivers power to Aries.

Technical specification (according to manufacturer)

Streaming Services
Local uPnP/DLNA library content; Qobuz and WiMP online streaming; Internet Radio; AirPlay and Songcast;
USB hard drive files

Supported File Types

Sampling Rates
PCM in 44.1Khz – 384Khz at 16 - 32bits
DSD 2.8224MHz and 5.6448MHz

Control Software
AURALiC Lightning DS
AURALiC RC-1 remote control
OpenHome compatible software
uPnP AV compatible software

Media Server Compatibility
Minimserver, Twonky, Asset UpnP, JRiver
DLNA/uPNP compatible server software

3” 256*64px OLED

RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
Dual-Band WiFi connection
USB 2.0 High-Speed for external disk

USB 2.0 High-Speed for compatible DAC

Power Consumption
Standby: <2W
Playback: 15W at max.

Dimensions: 250 x 200 x 70 mm
Weight 0,8 kg



- Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
- Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
- Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

- Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
- Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
- Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
- Power amplifier: Soulution 710
- Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

- Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
- Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
- Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
- Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
- Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
- Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

- Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
- USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
- LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
- Router: Liksys WAG320N
- NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
System I
- Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
- Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
System II
- Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
- Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

System I
- Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
- Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
- Power Line: fuse &#8211; power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) &#8211; wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
System II
- Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
- Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
- Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
- Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
- Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
- Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
- Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

- FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One