AURALiC ARIES G2 Streaming Transporter
AURALiC appears to be on another roll with its newest G Series of components. Four new pieces, including the ARIES G2 Streaming Transporter, VEGA G2 Streaming DAC, SIRIUS G2 Upsampling Processor, and LEO G2 Femto Reference Clock have been announced. The G Series is a considerable step up into a very premium category, compared to some previous Auralic products such as the ARIES MINI. In addition to hardware, Auralic also announced its Lightning Link communications protocol. As one can expect, the G Series components are designed to work optimally together, but nothing precludes consumers from mixing and matching hardware and software from other manufacturers.
The ARIES G2 is similar to its predecessor in that it's a digital to digital converter taking Ethernet input and outputting digital audio. The G2 has both wired and wireless network connectivity. In addition to network input, the G2 can access a directly connected USB hard drive and an internal 2.5" hard drive (capacity selected by the user or installed at home). The usual lossless streaming services and internet radio are of course featured as well. The 2.5" internal storage capacity is enough to house most people's' entire music collection, given that most people don't have over 2 terabytes worth of local music. With an entire collection stored on the ARIES G2, there is no need for a NAS or general purpose computer in the audio system. Have no doubt though, the ARIES G2 is full of computing power.
The Linux operating system runs on Auralic's Tesla G2 hardware platform. This platform is 50% faster than the previous version and houses twice the memory and internal storage for caching and the OS. This G2 platform has plenty of power for advanced DSP functionality such as upsampling. The ARIES G2 will handle music up through DSD512 and PCM 32bit / 384 kHz. The streaming transporter also features dual femto clocks and an EMI shielding chassis machined from a block of aluminum. This is vastly different from the plastic chassis of the incredibly popular original ARIES and ARIES MINI. The dual femto clocks are used in a way that I didn't expect. I assumed one clock was used for each sample rate family (44.1 and 48). However, according to Auralic, one clock is used to reduce jitter on the AES/EBU, coaxial, and Toslink outputs, while the other clock is dedicated to the USB controller.
In announcing the ARIES G2, Auralic is also focusing on its improved Purer-Power technology and galvanic isolation. The G2 features improved galvanic isolation compared to the original ARIES because of its dual high speed galvanic isolators configured between three primary circuits (femto clocks, digital transmitter systems, and CPU circuit). The Dual Linear Purer-Power in the ARIES G2 is a step beyond previous Auralic components because of its dual architecture. The G2 has two linear power supplies to separate the processing circuit, LCD display, and internal and USB storage from the femot clocks and USB audio output. Of course these power supplies are galvanically isolated from each other to reduce EMI between them.
In addition to the new Lightning Link digital output, the ARIES G2 features USB, AES, coaxial S/PDIF, and Toslink. More about Lightning Link a bit later. Like all Auralic network capable products, the ARIES G2 Streaming Transporter works very well with Auralic's custom built Lightning infrastructure with LIghtning DS (iOS), Lightning Server, and a new options web interface for system setup. Auralic's Lightning infrastructure shouldn't be underestimated. The company built it from the ground up and controls 100% of its design and owns 100% of the support responsibility.
Using one manufacturer's products for both software and hardware can really streamline the resolution of customer issues in the home. Auralic is not foolish though, it has designed the new ARIES G2 as a RoonReady endpoint, should customers want to use Roon full time or simply test out its features. As usual, AirPlay, on-device playlists, memory caching, gapless playback, multi-room high resolution, and many other features are available on the Lightning platform for all Auralic products. When purchasing an Auralic product, one is buying into an ecosystem that works great in a homogeneous environment, but unlike Apple products, Auralic doesn't lock one into its ecosystem only. The aesthetic design of the new ARIES G2 is call Auralic's Unity Chassis. This housing is completely redesigned and much more elegant than the previous ARIES components. This chassis was not only designed for looks, but also for shielding, damping, and absorption with mass balancing and special foot spikes.
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