AURALiC, a brand specializing in digital streaming products, has gained substantial popularity in Taiwan in recent years, and for good reason. Since its establishment in 2009, AURALiC has made significant strides in the European market, with products boasting cutting-edge specifications. Notably, the VEGA digital-to-analog converter (DAC), introduced in 2012, was the world’s first DAC capable of decoding the DSD256 format, which set it apart from competitors. AURALiC has continued to lead the way in product development, offering three main product categories, each with G1, G2, and G3 performance levels. This review focuses on the ARIES G2.2 digital streaming turntable, unveiled at the 2023 Munich Audio Show.
- Origin: Designed in the United States, made in China
- Type: Network transport
- Unit dimensions (H x W x D): 95 x 340 x 320 mm
- Unit weight: 10.2 kg
- Remote control: Not included, programmable receiver with all remote controls on the market thanks to the SmartIR function
- Formats played: PCM: AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, OFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV, WMA up to 32 bits / 768 kHz – DSD: up to DSD512
- Wireless connectivity: Tri-Band WiFi, AirPlay 2
- Power Supply: Dual Purer-Power low noise linear power supply
- Control apps: Lightning DS (requires iOS version 11 or higher), OpenHome compatible apps for Android, Roon
- Online music services: Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, HiResAudio, WiMP
- Webradio: TuneIn
- CD ripping: Yes, by connecting a USB CD drive
-1 x RJ45
-1 x USB (for storage)
-1 x Master clock
-1 x HDMI (Master clock synchronization)
- Digital outputs
-1 x coaxial
-1 x optical
-1 x AES/EBU
-1 x USB
-1 x Lightning Link to Processor
- Internal storage: Optional: 4 TB or 8 TB
- Media server: Lightning Server, Minimserver, Twonky
- Acoustic correction: Dirac (microphone and license sold separately)
- Oversampling: Configurable up to 32 bits / 768 kHz
- Clock: Dual Femto
- Display: 3.97″ retina
- Manufacturer’s warranty: 2 years + 1-year warranty extension offered upon product activation
New Tesla G3 streaming platform from AURALiC
Application is available on the latest news from the brand. Its new design uses a 64-bit architecture, allowing it to achieve eight times the processing power of the previous version. Its capacity for direct access to internal storage is faster, and its memory now reaches 4GB. These changes allow all audio-related circuitry to connect directly to system memory, significantly reducing latency and jitter by 90% compared to its predecessor.
Lightning DS app
You can enjoy Lightning DS (available on iPad and iPhone; Android users can use DLNA/UPnP compatible applications).
Lightning Streaming offers several innovative and unique features, such as:
- Gapless Playback,
- On-Device Playlist,
- a Multi-room function,
- a parametric equalizer,
- musical filters (to refine the sound of the Aries G2.2 with four profiles: balanced, dynamic, precise, soft).
The platform is continually developed and updated by the Auralic R&D team.
Online music services Qobuz and Tidal are directly integrated into the Auralic Lightning DS app.
The Lightning platform is also compatible with OpenHome and Roon.
Build Quality and Design:
AURALiC’s commitment to excellence is evident when you look at their products. The packaging itself is a testament to their dedication, with dual layers of protection. The all-aluminum alloy anodized cabinet is a marvel of craftsmanship, showcasing meticulous attention to detail. The company’s pursuit of quality was not without its challenges, but over time, they have refined their production process, resulting in a flawless finish.
The ARIES G2.2 boasts a double-layer cabinet design featuring an outer layer of high-quality anodized aluminum alloy and an inner layer of pure copper with nickel plating. This combination not only enhances aesthetics but also contributes to performance. The device incorporates AURALiC’s latest Tesla G3 streaming processing platform, a 4-core 64-bit architecture that is eight times more powerful than its predecessor. With 4GB of DDR4 system memory and Direct Memory Access (DMA) technology, latency and time base error are reduced by up to 90% compared to previous versions.
Build Quality and Design:
AURALiC’s dedication to building quality and design is nothing short of remarkable. From the moment you look at their products, you can discern the meticulous attention to detail and the pursuit of perfection.
- Materials and Craftsmanship: The choice of materials is a crucial aspect of AURALiC’s design philosophy. The all-aluminum alloy anodized cabinet is a visual and tactile testament to its commitment to excellence. The anodized aluminum exudes a sense of elegance, durability, and precision. This choice of material enhances aesthetics and contributes to the product’s overall performance. The cabinet’s finish results from extensive craftsmanship, evolving over time to meet exceedingly high-quality standards.
- Dual-Layer Cabinet Design: The ARIES G2.2 incorporates a dual-layer cabinet design, which is an engineering feat in itself. The outer layer comprises high-quality anodized aluminum alloy, providing robust protection and an exquisite appearance. The inner layer is constructed from pure copper with nickel plating, which adds to the visual appeal and plays a role in improving performance. This combination of materials showcases a thoughtful fusion of form and function.
- Latest Streaming Platform: Under the hood, the ARIES G2.2 houses AURALiC’s latest Tesla G3 streaming processing platform. This platform represents the pinnacle of their technological innovation, featuring a 4-core 64-bit architecture that is eight times more powerful than its predecessor. This leap in processing power translates into faster and more responsive performance when streaming and processing audio.
- Direct Memory Access (DMA) Technology: AURALiC’s commitment to technical excellence is evident in the integration of Direct Memory Access (DMA) technology. DMA allows signals to be processed directly through memory, significantly reducing latency and time base error by up to 90% compared to the Tesla G2 platform. This innovation ensures that audio playback is not only of the highest quality but also exceptionally precise.
- Dual High-Precision Clocks and Galvanic Isolation: The ARIES G2.2 incorporates dual high-precision 60fs femtosecond clocks and dual Galvanic Isolation for electrical isolation. These features contribute to audio clarity and precision, minimizing interference and enhancing the overall listening experience.
- Power Supply Redundancy: AURALiC understands the critical role of power supply in audio equipment. The ARIES G2.2 goes above and beyond by featuring twice the power supply capacity of its predecessor. This design includes two separate linear power supplies, electrically isolated from each other. One supply powers the processor/display screen, while the other caters to the sound circuit. This redundancy ensures a more stable and lower-noise power delivery, which is crucial for maintaining audio quality.
In summary, AURALiC’s build quality and design philosophy reflect an unwavering commitment to precision, aesthetics, and innovation. Their choice of materials, dual-layer cabinet design, incorporation of cutting-edge technology, and attention to detail combine to create a product that not only looks exquisite but also performs at the highest level. The ARIES G2.2 stands as a testament to AURALiC’s pursuit of perfection in both form and function.
Comparison with Competitors:
In the fiercely competitive landscape of high-end digital streaming and DAC solutions, the AURALiC ARIES G2.2 stands out as a formidable contender. Its key distinguishing factor lies in the combination of cutting-edge technology and uncompromising build quality. When pitted against its competitors, the ARIES G2.2’s dual-layer cabinet design, comprising high-quality anodized aluminum alloy and pure copper with nickel plating, is a visual and functional triumph. This design not only elevates aesthetics but also contributes to enhanced audio performance. Competing products often struggle to match this level of craftsmanship.
Furthermore, the ARIES G2.2’s incorporation of AURALiC’s latest Tesla G3 streaming processing platform, Direct Memory Access (DMA) technology, and dual high-precision femtosecond clocks sets it apart from the pack. Its 64-bit architecture, eight times more powerful than previous versions, ensures lightning-fast processing, resulting in minimal signal delay and time base error. Competitors may find it challenging to match this level of technical prowess. In terms of sound quality, the ARIES G2.2’s precision, clarity, and musicality also place it in a league of its own, offering an immersive listening experience that is the envy of its rivals. While competitors may offer respectable alternatives, the AURALiC ARIES G2.2’s combination of advanced technology, build quality, and sonic excellence cements its position as a top choice in the digital streaming turntable arena.
AURALiC places a strong emphasis on user experience. Their self-developed Lightning DS software receives regular updates, with an interface that demonstrates a commitment to user satisfaction. The software is available in Chinese and includes comprehensive problem-solving guides, allowing users to navigate the product with ease. AURALiC’s dedication to addressing user feedback ensures a high level of user satisfaction.
Usability is a crucial aspect of any high-end audio product, and the AURALiC ARIES G2.2 goes to great lengths to ensure that users have a seamless and enjoyable experience from setup to daily use.
- User-Friendly Interface: The ARIES G2.2 features a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for both newcomers and experienced audiophiles to navigate. Its 4-inch color screen, while not touch-sensitive to minimize interference, provides clear and intuitive visual feedback, ensuring users can access settings and information effortlessly.
- Software Updates: AURALiC’s commitment to user satisfaction is evident in their dedication to software updates. The self-developed Lightning DS software receives regular updates, often with minor details addressed. Users benefit from ongoing improvements that enhance the overall experience, including stability, new features, and compatibility enhancements.
- Multilingual Support: The availability of a full Chinese interface ensures that a broad range of users can comfortably interact with the device. This multilingual approach is particularly valuable for international users, as it caters to a diverse audience.
- Problem-Solving Guides: AURALiC doesn’t just stop at providing software; they also offer comprehensive problem-solving guides. This proactive approach means that users have access to clear instructions and solutions to common issues, reducing frustration and ensuring that they can make the most of the device’s capabilities.
- Community Engagement: AURALiC’s engagement with the user community sets it apart. Users can directly enter the discussion forum to ask questions or seek assistance. This level of support ensures that users do not encounter obstacles due to unfamiliarity with the control software or hardware operation connections.
- Compatibility and Versatility: The ARIES G2.2’s compatibility with a wide range of USB DACs and AURALiC’s own VEGA series decoders via AURALiC Lightning ensures versatility. Users have the flexibility to tailor their setup to their preferences, whether they’re using their preferred DAC or taking advantage of AURALiC’s ecosystem.
- User Feedback Integration: AURALiC takes user feedback seriously and actively addresses it. This attentive approach ensures that the device’s usability continually evolves to meet user needs and preferences. Whether users have questions about control software or hardware setup, AURALiC’s commitment to rapid and helpful responses is commendable.
In conclusion, the usability of the AURALiC ARIES G2.2 is a testament to the brand’s dedication to creating a product that is not only technically advanced but also user-centric. Its user-friendly interface, multilingual support, software updates, problem-solving guides, and community engagement come together to offer a comprehensive and enjoyable user experience. This commitment to usability ensures that users, regardless of their level of expertise, can unlock the full potential of the device and immerse themselves in a world of high-fidelity audio with ease.
The AURALiC ARIES G2.2 epitomizes technical excellence in the realm of high-end digital streaming turntables. It achieves this distinction through several groundbreaking innovations and advanced engineering:
- Tesla G3 Streaming Platform: AURALiC’s decision to incorporate the latest Tesla G3 streaming processing platform is a testament to their commitment to staying at the forefront of technology. The 64-bit architecture used in this platform is eight times more powerful than its predecessor, ensuring rapid and efficient signal processing. This advancement translates into minimal signal delay and time base error, resulting in an audio experience of unparalleled precision and clarity. The Tesla G3 platform stands as a pinnacle of technical achievement in the audio industry, setting the ARIES G2.2 apart from its competitors.
- Direct Memory Access (DMA) Technology: DMA technology is a game-changer in reducing latency and time base error in audio processing. By allowing signals to be processed directly through memory, AURALiC has achieved a significant 90% reduction in these undesirable effects compared to the previous generation. This innovation is a testament to AURALiC’s technical prowess and dedication to delivering pristine audio quality. DMA ensures that audio playback is not just accurate but also engaging, capturing the subtlest nuances and dynamics in the music.
In summary, the AURALiC ARIES G2.2 stands as a beacon of technical excellence in the world of digital streaming turntables. Its adoption of cutting-edge technology, such as the Tesla G3 platform and DMA, demonstrates a commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in audio reproduction. These technical innovations result in a product that delivers an unmatched level of precision, clarity, and fidelity, setting a new standard for what audiophiles can expect from their digital streaming experiences.
The AURALiC ARIES G2.2 goes beyond its technical prowess to offer a range of practical features that enhance its utility and adaptability in various audio setups:
- Streaming Service Compatibility: AURALiC understands the importance of catering to diverse musical tastes and preferences. The ARIES G2.2 supports a wide array of streaming services, including popular platforms like TIDAL, qobuz, and Roon Ready. This comprehensive support ensures that users have access to an extensive library of high-quality music content, making it a versatile choice for audiophiles with different musical preferences.
- Optional Upgrade Products: AURALiC provides users with the opportunity to elevate their audio experience further through optional upgrade products. For instance, the LEO GX.1 high-precision master clock and SIRIUS G2.1 upconverter can significantly enhance sound quality when paired with the ARIES G2.2. These upgrade options allow users to tailor their setup to their specific requirements and extract even more performance from their audio system, making the ARIES G2.2 a versatile and future-proof investment.
Incorporating practical features such as streaming service compatibility and optional upgrades, the AURALiC ARIES G2.2 transcends being a mere audio component; it becomes a flexible and adaptable hub for high-fidelity digital streaming. These features ensure that users can customize their audio setup to suit their musical preferences and strive for audio excellence, all while enjoying the convenience and versatility that modern streaming technology offers.
The ARIES G2.2’s listening experience is exceptional, with its advanced components and precise engineering resulting in impressive sound quality. AURALiC’s commitment to detail ensures that users enjoy a truly immersive audio experience.
The AURALiC ARIES G2.2 is not just a testament to exceptional build quality and design; it also shines in the realm of sound quality, providing an immersive and high-fidelity listening experience that audiophiles crave.
- Precision and Clarity: The ARIES G2.2 excels in delivering precise and clear audio. Thanks to its advanced technical features, such as the dual high-precision 60fs femtosecond clocks and dual Galvanic Isolation, the audio output is free from jitter and electrical interference. This results in an exceptionally clean and detailed soundstage, where each instrument and vocal is precisely placed and distinct.
- Dynamic Range: The device’s powerful 64-bit architecture and Direct Memory Access (DMA) technology ensure that the dynamic range is fully realized. This means that soft passages are delicate and nuanced, while crescendos and intense musical moments are rendered with impact and authority. The ARIES G2.2 captures the subtleties of music, from the faintest whispers to the thunderous crescendos, with remarkable fidelity.
- Musicality: Beyond technical excellence, the ARIES G2.2 also delivers on musicality. It imparts a sense of emotional engagement and authenticity to the music. The sound is not only precise but also inviting and immersive. It allows listeners to connect with the music on a deeper level, feeling the passion and intention behind each note.
- Detail Retrieval: AURALiC’s commitment to detail extends to its ability to retrieve subtle nuances from recordings. This means that listeners can hear the faintest brush of a cymbal, the subtle resonance of a guitar string, or the gentle breath of a vocalist. Such detail retrieval adds depth and realism to the listening experience, making it feel as though you’re in the same room as the performers.
- Soundstage and Imaging: The ARIES G2.2 excels in creating a spacious soundstage and precise imaging. Instruments and vocals are presented with accuracy, allowing listeners to pinpoint their positions within the soundstage. This three-dimensional quality adds to the overall immersion and realism of the audio experience.
- Compatibility: The ARIES G2.2’s versatility in connectivity allows it to pair seamlessly with a wide range of USB DACs or AURALiC’s own VEGA series decoders via AURALiC Lightning. This flexibility ensures that users can tailor their audio setup to their preferences, making it suitable for both newcomers to high-end audio and seasoned enthusiasts.
In conclusion, the AURALiC ARIES G2.2’s sound test and sound quality are truly exceptional. Its precision, clarity, dynamic range, musicality, detail retrieval, and ability to create a captivating soundstage make it a top choice for audiophiles seeking a high-fidelity listening experience. Whether you’re indulging in classical compositions, rock anthems, or intimate jazz performances, the ARIES G2.2 ensures that you hear every note as the artist intended, with a level of immersion and realism that sets it apart in the world of digital streaming turntables.
Reasons to Buy/Not Buy It:
Reasons to Buy:
- Exceptional build quality and design.
- Cutting-edge technical features, including the Tesla G3 platform and DMA technology.
- Comprehensive user support and software updates.
- Wide range of streaming service compatibility.
- Remarkable sound quality, especially when paired with optional upgrades.
Reasons Not to Buy:
- High-end pricing may not be suitable for all budgets.
AURALiC’s ARIES G2.2 digital streaming turntable is a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to excellence. With its top-tier build quality, technical advancements, and exceptional sound quality, it stands as a formidable contender in the digital streaming market. While its premium pricing may not be accessible to everyone, those who prioritize quality and performance in their audio experience will find the ARIES G2.2 to be a worthy investment that delivers on its promises of immersive, high-fidelity sound.
- Exceptional Sound Quality: The AURALiC ARIES G2.2 delivers outstanding audio quality, characterized by precision, clarity, and a wide dynamic range. Its advanced technology and meticulous design ensure an immersive and high-fidelity listening experience.
- Cutting-Edge Technology: With the latest Tesla G3 streaming platform, Direct Memory Access (DMA) technology, and high-precision clocks, the ARIES G2.2 represents the pinnacle of technical innovation, setting it apart from competitors in its class.
- User-Friendly Interface: The device features a user-friendly interface with a clear 4-inch color screen and multilingual support. Regular software updates and problem-solving guides ensure a hassle-free user experience.
- Versatility and Compatibility: The ARIES G2.2’s compatibility with a wide range of USB DACs and streaming services, along with optional upgrade products, provides users with flexibility and customization options to tailor their audio setup.
- Build Quality and Design: The dual-layer cabinet design, premium materials, and craftsmanship showcase AURALiC’s commitment to excellence in build quality and design, resulting in a visually stunning and durable product.
- High Cost: The AURALiC ARIES G2.2 is a high-end audio component, and its premium features and build quality come at a premium price. This may be a significant barrier for budget-conscious consumers.
- Complex Setup: While the device offers a user-friendly interface, the setup and configuration process might be more involved for those new to high-end audio equipment. Users may require some technical expertise to optimize its performance fully.
- Size and Weight: Due to its dual-layer cabinet and premium materials, the ARIES G2.2 is relatively large and heavy compared to some other digital streaming turntables, which could be a consideration for those with limited space.
- Limited Built-in DAC Functionality: While the ARIES G2.2 excels as a digital streaming transport, it does not have a built-in DAC. Users who prefer an all-in-one solution may need to invest in a separate DAC, increasing the overall cost.
- Availability and Support: Availability may be limited in certain regions, and local customer support may vary. Users in areas with limited AURALiC presence may face challenges in obtaining service and support when needed.