Munich HIGH END Show Report 2017
AURALiC, a company that always impresses during shows, brought four G Series products: the ARIES G2 Streaming Transporter, SIRIUS G2 Upsampling Processor, VEGA G2 Streaming DAC, and their LEO G2 Femto Reference Clock. There is no doubt that AURALiC is marching a modern path in high-end audio with their G Series premium audio components. They are finely built around AURALiC's Lightning Streaming framework and the company's new Lightning Link. This new link is an advanced proprietary communications protocol within the G Series family of digital audio devices.
The ARIES G2 Streaming Transporter wirelessly connects your home audio system to all your diverse sources of digital music, from networked and USB-attached storage to lossless Internet streaming services and Internet radio. Install any 2.5" solid-state or hard drive and the ARIES G2 becomes a fully functional music server in its own right with on-device hosting of your digital library. Feature-rich and lightning fast, the ARIES G2 incorporates cutting-edge galvanic isolation engineering and ultra-clean power control for impeccable care of the digital signals it handles. Dual Femto Clocks and an EMI-shielding chassis machined from a single billet of aluminum are among the features that make the ARIES G2 destined to set a new standard of quality in digital audio streaming.
At its core the ARIES G2 is a device that unites disparate sources of today's highest resolution music files and delivers that source material to your DAC, reliably and precisely, via output options including AURALiC Lightning Link, High-Speed USB Audio 2.0, AES/EBU, digital coaxial, and TOSLINK. The processor at the heart of the ARIES G2 is 50% faster than the original ARIES Streaming Bridge, with twice the system memory and data storage of its predecessor. That means even easier handling of resolutions up to DSD512 and PCM 32-bit/384kHz, and increased protection against dropouts.
The use of AURALiC's Lightning Streaming infrastructure lets the ARIES G2 make those connections with your music files possible over your existing Wi-Fi network, and brings with it added features like On-Device Playlists, Memory Caching, Gapless Playback and Bit-Perfect Multi-Room functionality. It's all controlled via the AURALiC custom iOS app, Lightning DS – or access Lightning setup through the new web interface on any smart device at all. In addition to compatibility with AirPlay, the ARIES G2 is a certified Roon Ready endpoint for seamless integration with Roon software, making it one of the most flexible streamers available in hi-fi.
The ARIES G2 Streaming Transporter retails for $3899 (€4199/£3899 in Europe, local VAT included) without internal storage. Customers may install any 2.5" solid-state or hard drive or order the ARIES G2 with a pre-installed solid-state drive for on-device music storage.
VEGA G2 Streaming DAC
At the heart of the VEGA G2 is the AURALiC Tesla Platform, sporting a Quad-Core A9 chip, 1GB DDR3 memory and 4GB of storage for calculation speeds 25 times faster than its predecessor. Add brand-new Galvanic Isolation that permits data transmission between primary circuits that are entirely separated physically and ultra-clean power from Dual Low-Noise Linear Purer-Power units, and it's clear this DAC strives for an analog signal that's as pure as it is loyal to the music.
Incorporating AURALiC's Lightning Streaming technology, the VEGA G2 takes on all the streaming functionality and connectivity of a dedicated streamer. When connected over Ethernet to a home network, all of Lightning Streaming's features become available. User control is at provided via the AURALiC custom iOS control app Lightning DS, and Lightning Server setup for the VEGA G2 is made easy with universal access to the new web interface from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. The VEGA G2 Streaming DAC is a certified Roon Ready endpoint too, for seamless integration with Roon software. The VEGA G2 Streaming DAC retails at $5699 (€6299/£5499 in Europe, local VAT included.)
An Integrated Family of Products
G Series components are designed not only to provide standout performance individually, but to play vital roles in the most tightly integrated series of components ever offered by AURALiC. The true potential of each piece is met when they are joined using the new AURALiC Lightning Link communications protocol, maximizing the benefits of each component's technologies and creating the ultimate digital audio system.
The ARIES G2 Streaming Transporter and the VEGA G2 Streaming DAC will be available through the AURALiC dealer network by September 2017. The SIRIUS G2 Upsampling Processor and the LEO G2 Femto Reference Clock are targeted to ship by the end of 2017.
About Lightning Link
Different from the other HDMI-based I2S connection, the bi-directional Lightning Link opens the door to jitter-free operation of all the devices in your system connected via Lightning Link. For example, clocking information from destination devices such as the VEGA G2 can drive the ARIES G2 timing for perfect data synchronization. Lightning Link also carries system control data for everything from volume control to processor engine setup, allowing all linked AURALiC devices to appear in a single, unified control interface.
The system consisted of the AURALiC ARIES G2 streaming transporter, AURALiC VEGA G2 streaming DAC, AURALiC MERAK monoblock power amplifiers and Ryan Speaker Tempus III. As for how the system sounded, oh my gosh the room seemed to always be jam packed with people! Don't get me wrong, this is a great 'problem' to have, yet as a reviewer it makes it nearly impossible to hear the system in a quiet atmosphere. It did sound very good off-axis, yet i never quite got to the sweet spot seat. And no, i try to never play that whole 'self-important reviewer' thing at shows. In fact, as appropriate, i tend to apologize for being a small interruption to those attendees who probably only make it to one show a year. Since i travel to many events, yearly, i look forward to hearing AURALiC's new G Series, perhaps at the LAAS 2017 event, in a week or so. Also of note is that Enjoy the Music.com reviewed the AURALiC VEGA digital audio processor and MERAK monoblock power amplifier. There is no doubt AURALiC is bringing edge-of-the-art high-end audio tech to music lovers worldwide. Bravo!