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GUIDE TO THE AURALIC ARIES WIRELESS NETWORK BRIDGES

A GUIDE TO THE AURALIC ARIES WIRELESS NETWORK BRIDGES

Multiple Room Wireless Streaming system Multiple Room Wireless Streaming system

What is an ARIES Wireless Streaming Bridge?

The ARIES serves as a 'bridge' between music files or lossless streaming 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.

Such system setup is specially suitable for people who already own a High End DAC but want to experience the latest streaming technology. With ARIES, you won't need to replace your existing DAC but just add ARIES in front of it and enable the DAC with streaming function.

What is Lightning Server?

The AURALiC firmware team has developed an uPnP server software named Lightning Server and integrates it into our well-known Lightning Devices: ARIES, ARIES LE, ARIES MINI and ALTAIR.

Lightning Server will monitor not only the USB Drive plugged into an ARIES, scan the disk and create a music library service for Lightning DS, but also Network Share Folders based on your home network, streaming your personal music content directly to Lightning DS.

How does Lightning Server work?

USB Drive:

Lightning Server will monitor the USB drive plugged into a Lightning device and do an initial scan of the USB drive to find all music files it supports. If the USB drive has never been plugged into current Lightning device, it may take a while to finish the scan, as the scan speed depends on how many files are on USB drive.

Network Share Folder:

After you type the network share folder path into the Lightning DS along with the Authorized Account / Password combination, Lightning Server will do the initial scan for the first time as soon as you mount the folder. You will be able to play your Network Share Content when the scan is done.

What music file types/partition formats does Lightning Server support?

Lightning Server can read FAT32, NTFS, exFAT, ext2/3/4 and HFS (no matter if they are non-journaled or journaled) partition formats.

The current version of Lightning Server supports all music files, which are: AAC, AIF, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DFF, DSF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA files.

Does Lightning Server support music in DSD and DXD formats?

Yes, Lightning Server supports DSD music in DSF and DFF format, as well as DXD music in WAV, AIF, AIFF and FLAC formats. It is recommended to keep your DSD music in DSF files as they include metadata information.

Why Lightning Server is superior to other server software?

Lightning Server is designed to provide best compatibility with Lightning DS, which means you won't experience some problems if you were to use 3rd party software.

Because of the many unique functions we have developed, Lightning DS can detect the content change on your Lightning Server and update automatically. Lightning DS will only update the different content, rather than the entire library.

Lightning Server can provide enriched metadata information such as Sampling Rate, File Type, Last Import Date, and Last Modify Date to Lightning DS. This allows you to use more Filter options under Library View. You will also be able to use the metadata as keywords when using Search Function. For example, You may input 'Mile Davis 96KHz' to get all tracks by Mile Davis in 96K sampling rate.

The ability to edit album information through Lightning DS is a function that AURALiC is currently working on. This function will only be used used with Lightning Server.

Latest Features (Firmware version 4.0):

  • Bit-perfect Group Play up to DXD and DSD256. To create a group, open device list on iPad side bar, press and hold the device that you want it to be master, then select 'Create Zone'. Please press '...' icon on iPhone for same operation.
  • Memory Cache. Memory Cache feature will pre-load track into device memory (not SSD!) to achieve better sound quality, it also helps to improve streaming stability. Memory Cache size for ARIES/ARIES LE: 512MB; ARIES MINI: 64MB. Tracks with size bigger than the memory cache will be buffered by several segments automatically. Memory Cache function does not work under Internet Radio, AirPlay, Songcast, Bluetooth and Roon input method because of the data is streamed in real time from host device.
  • Now supports multi-channel PCM and DSD files as well as multi-channel USB DAC. Lightning device can output 5.1 surrounding track into a 6 channel USB DAC or the FL, FR only to a 2 channel device. This feature also resolved the compatibility problem with USB DAC which contains more than 2 output channels, like ARK MX+, NAD M51.
  • Adding 'Buffering' playback status.
  • Report current playing file type in Lightning DS.
  • Add DAC output phase, channel balance andLED brightness adjustment for ARIES MINI.
  • Device can automatically detect and connect to home network if a Ethernet cable is plugged under WiFi AP mode, the real plug and play support.
  • DSD to PCM resampler (disable DSD over PCM option) is now working with DSD64 (convert to 88.2K PCM). Resampling of DSD128 and DSD256 is not supported.
  • Add multiple of protections to prevent user or update procedure from bricking a unit.

Can I use ARIES without Lightning DS?

ARIES is compatible with other UPnP/OpenHome control software such as Kinsky, Kazoo, BubbleUPnP.

If you choose not to use Lightning DS, you will not have access to the ARIES extra features such as Streaming, Internet Radio, Songcast, and Airplay.

For the ARIES hardware setup, such as network connection, output channel, those functions can only be set up by Lightning DS.

Auralic Aries circuitry Auralic Aries circuitry
What are the differences between AURALIC ARIES, ARIES LE and ARIES MINI?
 

The Auralic ARIES, ARIES LE and ARIES MINI are designed for different applications with different prices. The ARIES is the step-up model featuring with two individual FemtoClocks for both USB audio host and digital outputs, low noise internal design to eliminate jitter and AURALiC's Purer‐Power™ based 10uV low noise external linear PSU. It is best for adding to your existing High-End audio system.

ARIES LE is the standard model with low-phase noise crystal and standard external PSU. It offers exactly the same software function with ARIES but at a much affordable price. You also have the option to purchase the Purer‐Power™ PSU coming with ARIES as an upgrade in the future.

ARIES MINI is designed in a much smaller box with most software functions from ARIES and ARIES LE, and with its substantially more affordable price, is intended for the more general user. The main difference between ARIES MINI and its brothers is that ARIES MINI has a built-in DAC with a pair of analog output. It also allows you to install a 2.5' HDD/SSD storage inside the device. With the two features above, you do not need to purchase a separate DSD DAC or an NAS drive.

Both ARIES and ARIES LE,  sharing exactly same software structure with same DSP engine, will accommodate future software upgrades such as DSD upsampling and Room Correction functions available in the future. The ARIES MINI, due to hardware limitation, will not be upgradable with those audiophile features.

Auralic has published the following quick start guide to help you get started with the Aries Wireless Streaming Bridge:

What do I need to prepare before buying an ARIES?

We have made a Check list for you to make sure ARIES will work smoothly in your system:

  • The First Thing: You need to have DAC as ARIES is just a bridge between usic files and your DAC. It does not have an analog output.
  • You dont need to be an network expert, but some basic network knowledge will be with great help when you setup the ARIES in your home network.
  • Make sure your home network is ready for streaming audio. You may refer to this articleto check if your existing home network is OK or not.
  • Now you need to have a device that can install Lightning DS, the software that controls ARIES. Lightning DS is currently available on iPad (with iOS 8 and above) or iPhone.
  • If most of your music collection is still on CD, you may need to rip them into digital files and tag the file properly. If you are new to this, please spend some time reading 'Manage My Music' in our knowledge base.

We have also included some information to help you learn about the Aries’ USB functionality, as well as Auralic's Lightning Server FAQ.  Please refer here for further details.

What makes ARIES different from other streaming product?

ARIES is a software-driven product. You are not just buying for the hardware but the entire Lightning platform solution and the possibility to do anything in the future.

AURALiC's substantial in-house software design team is continuously working on the ARIES firmware as well as Lightning DS and the control software, and deliver updates every month behind the scene.

AURALiC has created several 'Industry' Firsts when launching ARIES in January 2014. It is the first streaming device that:

  1. Supports streaming DSD, double-rate DSD through WiFi network.
  2. Rather than a computer that can the output audio signal to a DAC through USB, ARIES enables those DACs to play DSD and high resolution PCM music beyond 24Bit/192KHz without need of using a computer.
  3. Has own native Control App with native integration of both Qobuz and WiMP lossless streaming function at the same time.
  4. Can do all these fantastic things at an amazing entry price at $999.

From July 2014 to May 2015, AURALiC has added the following new features through automatically firmware updates to existing ARIES customers:

  1. October 2014: We delivered TIDAL lossless streaming integration;
  2. November 2014: Added USB playback function;
  3. February 2015: Sound quality improvement;
  4. May 2015: Added wireless streaming quad-rate DSD;
  5. July 2015: Significant Lightning Server integration
  6. January 2016: Roon Endpoint support

And this is not the end. There is a long feature list in Auralic's internal Roadmap that well extend into 2017, the things that coming soon include Group playback, DSD upsampling, room correction and more...

Auralic Aries Mini Auralic Aries Mini
Auralic Aries LE Auralic Aries