I read another reviewer saying that he thought CD sounded so much better than streaming audio that he couldn’t see the point. I think the problem is that doing streaming well is as hard as building a great turntable, arm, cartridge and phono stage combo and we have had decades to figure that out. To make streaming sound convincing, engaging and even thrilling, you need to get all the pieces of the puzzle sorted; this includes the network switch, the music server, the streamer and the DAC. AURALiC’s work on the G2.1 series shows that if you focus on addressing the many problems that afflict this still-evolving technology, it is possible to produce results that can compete with any other format.
Having got to this point the listening continued with Patricia Barber’s take on ‘Summertime’ [A Distortion of Love,Antilles], an evergreen standard if ever there was. Her voice at the start is positively ethereal, expanding into depths way behind the speakers and forcing your eyes closed to experience the sublime. The darkness of the background and the subtle percussion work that builds so slowly giving the piece a mesmerising quality that contrasts violently with the following track, ‘Subway Station #5’. Here, the drums’ energy forces your hands to attempt to emulate its activities, and you realise it’s a good thing that listening is a solitary pursuit. The ARIES G2.1 is an exceptional streamer with an excellent feature range and an increasingly sophisticated control app that gives instant access to those streaming services that are worth buying. If you get the components that surround it up to the same standard, you will have digital audio the likes of which few have enjoyed.
Type: Solid-state network streamer
Analogue Inputs: none
Streaming Inputs: Network shared folder (via Ethernet), USB Storage, USB CD Drive (via USB), Internal Music Storage
DAC Resolution/Supported Digital Formats: FLAC/WAV/MP3, etc. Sampling rate for D/A conversion up to 384kHz/32 bit, DSD512
Music services/Wi-Fi inputs: Qobuz, Tidal, Bluetooth, Airplay
Analogue Outputs: N/A
Digital Outputs: Lightning Link, one coaxial S/PDIF (via RCA jack), one TOSLink, one AES/EBU, one USB (to compatible DAC)
Frequency Response: Not specified
Distortion (THD + Noise): Not specified
User Interface: 4.3inch display (on main unit), Lightning DS application software for iOS
Dimensions (H×W×D): 96 × 340 × 320mm
UK Distributor: AURALiC Europe
Tel: +44 (0)7590 106105
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