Auralic Aries

Since getting my DAC I’ve been using Tidal via my laptop as my primary source, but the noise from the PC usb connection has gotten to be insufferable. So I’ve been looking at some dedicated streamers. The Aurender and Lumin gear seemed to be pretty much out of my budget, so I turned my eye to the Auralic Aries, Cambridge CXN, and Pro-ject Streambox. The onboard DAC and automatic upsampling on the Cambridge didn’t appeal to me, and I had I hard time seeing myself paying over $800 for Pro-ject’s suped up rPi, whereas I’ve read nothing but good things about Auralic. So today I won an auction for a pre-owned Aries with linear power supply for $695 including shipping. How’d I do? Seemed like a reasonable price to me...

Anyone know of any known issues to look out for on a pre-owned unit?

I’d like to restate that others have a very different experience with the Auralic Aries G2 series.  My own experience (and in direct A/B comparison with other units from Aurender, Lumin and Simaudio) indicates that it does not have a high noise floor - but a low noise floor.  Feel free to seek out the very thorough review by Hans B on YouTube as he’s far more impartial than most.  If @ghdprentice experienced otherwise, I can only suspect something was wrong with his unit.  It happens. Or, perhaps he/she had more noise coming into the Auralic than it was able to handle.  That too I can easily imagine.  Why?

I have the ENO Network filter and an upgraded network switch.  When I inserted these into the system, the the noise floor dropped  considerably - frankly I was shocked.  Regardless, this indicated that any noise was upstream of the streaming transport - not within it.  I get that part of the reason to go to a unit like this is to avoid needing tweaks.  It doesn’t need the tweaks.  But, it turns out that the best of units reveal the benefits of such efforts whereas lessor units do not.

Lastly, I actually compared the streaming transport function of the G2 against one very well respected unit costing close to $40k.  Was it better? No.  Was it a big difference?  No - surprisingly minor as a matter of fact.  

I mention all of this not to defend a brand I purchased but to remind people that experiences are both subjective and situational.
Well, my Aries arrived today. Was actually kind of a pain in the nuts to get up and running. Phone wouldn’t connect to the unit’s network, then set it up with Ethernet in the other room, brought it into the listening room, settings gone, wash rinse repeat. Scary moment when after finally getting it on the network, I was getting no audio. I thought  maybe  my DAC wasn’t compatible. Tweaking some settings fixed that.

Now that I have it squared away and driving my Black Ice Glass FX DAC... HOLY CRAP! This thing sounds amazing! Night and day difference moving to the Aries from PC/USB connection. What was grainy before is now almost liquid, way more low level detail, rock solid center image, at one point I actually thought the sound was coming from BEHIND me 😄. I really couldn’t be happier; Although, I’m thinking a quality USB cable might be in order. The DH Labs Mirage currently has my attention.
Congrats on your purchase @rfnoise!  

A couple of observations/user experiences that might be helpful to you:

It’s likely (but not assured) that you would be rewarded by improving the quality of your USB cable.  Though i can’t explain why, the differences in digital cables are quite easy for me to hear in my system, but they’re system dependent. 

Are you connected via WiFi or Ethernet?  The latter likely will sound better though others have noted less difference.

Though you didn’t mention an interest in Roon, it would seem that most Auralic users have noted that Lightning DS (Auralic’s native library management and operating system) sounds significantly better than Roon. Roon has the better interface.  LDS has the better sonics.  

There are other network “tweaks” that are beneficial, but also would cost you more $.  Let me know if you’re interested in exploring those.  For now - enjoy the music!

Congradulations. That streamer showed me there was a whole new world of music out there to explore when I removed the MacBook.
Nice thread.  I'm looking at the Vega G2.1 DAC and the Aries G2.1 based on everything I've been told by folks I trust who know the line well.  I still need to audition to see if I go that route or just use the streamer in the Vega (but I have about 20-30T of music (much of it 32 bit and well recorded) that I dont' want to lose, so that's why I'll most probably get the Aries with it.

I like using the same companies digital as they are designed to work together and I'm a bit challenged at times.  I'm using The Memory Player by Laufer (he installed a DAC and analog preamp for me), but it's Window's based and hard for me to work.  It's the best sever I've ever heard and I've heard many high end servers, but I'll be fine changing as it will be easier for me and I know the Auralic app is so easy to use.  

Glad you guys are enjoying your gear.