This is my look at the Auralic Aries Mini, it is really only a look as it has been and gone from these pastures. The reason is it was dropped off just before Christmas but has now had to go elsewhere. I’ve listened to it a fair bit over these few weeks and such has been my enjoyment I’ve written very little about it, mainly because I just ended up listening to music every-time and got very little done.
Auralic Aries Mini – What is it?
The Auralic Aries Mini is simply a high resolution wireless streaming hub for your hifi system. It is driven by the excellent Lightning DS App that is available on Apple OS but not Android or other. It is really excellent. Apple TV sized, it is a pocket wonder connecting to an amplifier through Phono leads from the back. Although wireless, you can plug in an ethernet cable as I did. There is scope to output to a compatible DAC through USB if preferred. There is even a slot in here for inserting a 2.5″ hard drive, preferably a solid state drive says Auralic. The Lightning DS App will draw in your files from other network storage. Although Tidal and Qobuz are very well supported in the App, Spotify is not supported but I guess you could use Airplay from the iPad if Spotify was that important to your streaming decisions. MQA is not supported here either.
Feb 2018 Update: Auralic is announcing a firmware update to support Spotify Connect with the Auralic Aries Mini.
From the Auralic site
Local uPnP/DLNA library content
TIDAL, Qobuz and WiMP online streaming
AirPlay, Songcast and Bluetooth
USB hard drive files
Optional internal HDD/SSD
Supported File Types
AAC, AIFF, ALAC, APE, DIFF, DSF, FLAC,
MP3, OGG, WAV, WV and WMA
PCM in 44.1Khz – 384Khz at 16 – 32bits
DSD64, DSD128, DSD256
AURALiC Lightning DS
OpenHome compatible software
Media Server Compatibility
Built-in Lightning Server
Minimserver, Twonky, Asset UPnP, JRiver
DLNA/uPNP compatible server software
RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet
Dual-Band WiFi connection
USB 2.0 High-Speed for external disk
USB 2.0 High-Speed for compatible DAC
Coaxial, TOSLINK (44.1 to 192kHz)
Playback: 10W at max.
Appox. 5.3″W x 5.3″D x 1.1″H (13.5cm x 13.5cm x 2.8cm)
I’m bound to say, out of the box and plugged in and streaming was a matter of minutes, although I did have my iPad set-up for the Lightning DS App having recently reviewed the Auralic Polaris. Quality wise, the Mini is heavyish but the build feels great, with a soft touch, fingerprint friendly case that is solidly designed with no hint of compromise. There are a couple of buttons on the front, volume I think, but I didn’t touch them, preferring to use the iOS App for track and volume management!
The Auralic Aries Mini is supported by the excellent Lightning DS App. I have had no issues with connectivity with this Aries Mini, the Polaris or the Altair Streaming DAC in the few months I’ve had exposure to this excellently conceived set of Chinese electronics.
my Auralic experience….has been been one of excellent, reliable, high quality performance without drama
I was running my Aries Mini with Atlas phono cables into a T+A AMP 8 which was output to QED Supremus cables connected to my trusty KEF R700 floor-standing speakers. Overall, a very complementary system for the Aries Mini. My principal source was Tidal, and occasionally my NAS Drive with a 24 bit library on it. I was using the Lightning DS App on a first generation iPad that now does nothing but control music on my Naim system, and other such streaming services, because it is so defunct and slow, but it is still fine in this situation.
I have found the Auralic Aries Mini to be an outstanding piece of high performance equipment. Performance which I have not seen since the…. Polaris. Really, my Auralic experience of the last year or so has been been one of excellent, reliable, high quality performance without drama, glitches or other such headaches.
Because I’ve not still got the Auralic Aries Mini, I won’t wax on about sound-stages and the like, suffice to say my overall experience has been excellent. My KEFs have been singing beautifully for the last few weeks now and the Mini contributes hugely to a very high end presentation. My stock hi resolution performances, such as Radiohead’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Alien’ and ‘Style’ by Taylor Swift have come across with bags of detail and drive, respectively. Not for the first time with these Auralic products and Lightning DS App, I have repeatedly found myself lost in music purely because the music choice through the App is simple to get involved with you just forget what you are doing and scan for new music and old favourites as hours just fall away.
New music discovered through the Aries Mini include Sleepwalkers by Omar Klein, a very beautiful, wistful piano and Jonny Greenwood’s (now Oscar nominated) soundtrack to the ‘Phantom Thread’, wonderful.
Lightning DS App
Price (Hi Res Value for money)
The App was on Android too