Following AURALiC's CES 2014 introduction of its Lightning Streaming technology, a whole-house, high-resolution streaming solution that supports both Double-Rate DSD and DXD, the company has debuted its first product in the Lightning family.
AURALiC's ARIES serves as a "bridge" between music files on network storage or high quality online streaming services and the consumers' DAC.
The ARIES serves as a "bridge" between music files on network storage or high-quality online streaming services and the consumers' DAC, enabling DACs for the first time to stream high-resolution music quickly and wirelessly in virtually any sampling rate, including DSD, Double-Rate DSD, and DXD.
ARIES is powered by AURALiC's proprietary Telsa hardware platform that includes a Quad-Core ARM Coretex-A9 processor running at 1GHz, 1GB DDR3 onboard memory and 4GB internal storage. The Telsa 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.
The inputs of ARIES include Dual-Band high-speed WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, and USB 2.0 port. The outputs are USB audio host buffered by AURALiC's patented ActiveUSB technology; low jitter digital audio outputs: AES/EBU, Coaxial and TOSLINK. The USB audio host can deliver PCM from 44.1 to 384 KHz at 16-, 24- and 32-bit resolutions as well as DSD, Double-Rate DSD for compatible USB DAC. The other digital outputs are limited to 192 KHz at 24-bit in maximum according to S/PDIF standard.
By using OpenHome structure which is adopted by U.K-based streaming solution manufacturer Linn, ARIES as well as all other Lightning based products support several advanced functions such as on-device playlist that allow control software to turn off during play and complete supporting of multi-room, multiple control points—functions that are not part of the legacy standards of the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) and Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA).
ARIES is bundled with AURALiC's Lightning DS App. According to the company, its app has the capability to fully control ARIES to browse music libraries on a network-attached storage (NAS), to steam high-quality music content from service providers like Qobuz and WiMP, to control the playback and to select the hardware settings such as output channel and WiFi network, etc. The app also supports Songcast, a music distribution service that allows users to map computer's sound to any Lightning-equipped system and to map sound between different Lightning systems in the house and streaming sound though Apple AirPlay.
The Lighting DS App is available on the iOS platform now with two dedicated versions optimized for operation on iPad and iPhone, respectively. The Android version of Lightning DS App will be available by September 2014, followed with desktop versions that support both Mac and Windows PC by the end of 2014.
ARIES is also compatible with other OpenHome and uPnP AV based control software such as Linn Kinsky and BubbleDS, although those software do not support most of Lightning DS App's advanced functions such as the online streaming and hardware settings.
ARIES also features a three-inch OLED display to let users view playback status, and an AURALiC RC-1 remote control to control basic operations such as Play, Pause, and Select Track without needing to open the Lightning DS App.
"ARIES will begin a new era in the Hi-Fi industry," said Xuanqian Wang, the President and CEO of AURALIC LIMITED. "We intentionally set the retail price starting at $999, an extremely affordable entry point, to offer everyone an opportunity to get onboard and enjoy the convenience and high quality music that modern technology can bring to all. AURALiC has invested and budgeted more than $1,000,000 to develop the Lightning Streaming system. We are committed to providing continuous, free online upgrades to improve the performance and compatibility for our solution, as well as to add new exciting functions support in the near future such as local storage playback, DSD upsampling, room acoustics correction and multi-channel."
The ARIES Streamer Bridge will be available in two models, with shipments starting in June. The standard model ARIES LE features low-phase noise crystal and standard external PSU for $999 (U.S.) The ARIES set-up model has 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 for $1,599.