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Getting music into Auralic Aries Mini

Discussion in 'audio' started by kevinrt, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. kevinrt

    kevinrt pfm Member

    I have been looking at the Aries Mini as an alternative to an Airport Express, which has died, to feed wireless music into my dac-amp-speakers. I’ve read around a bit and still have a few questions on how it all works.

    1. I currently have my CD collection loaded into iTunes on a Mac Mini. This feeds into my DAC via USB. Can the Aries Mini access these files on my Mac Mini? How?

    2. If not, I can put them on an external USB drive and plug that into the Aries Mini. Which files do I drag onto the USB drive from the Mac Mini to make this work?

    These are approaches I can achieve with the he kit I already have in the house (plus the Aries Mini of course).

    3. A simpler long-term solution may be to fit an SSD inside of the Aries. Auralic recommends Intel, Samsung, Crucial and Plextor. Are there any other reliable makes to consider?
    Samsung seem to be widely available. Is there any reason to buy a ‘PRO’ model for this sort of usage? The PRO version seems to be twice the cost of the standard one.

    4. From what I can see the Lightning app can control Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz. Can it also control Apple Music or would I just use the Aries as an Airplay device from within the Apple Music app on my iPad?

  2. Knipester

    Knipester pfm Member

    Hi Kevin,

    I sold my auralic mini just recently. I don’t think it can search an apple account instead you can either install a drive inside it or as I did just connect up a drive via usb to the back. Personally once you get a streaming service linked to it your own catalogue becomes borderline redundant as most stuff is easily found via tidal/qobuz.

    If you buy further auralic streaming products in the future they will all ready the drive too even from other rooms as long as you have them all on the same network.

    Check out my sbooster linear power supply on eBay at the moment as that really lifted the performance of my mini (sorry for the plug!).
  3. kevinrt

    kevinrt pfm Member

    I had noticed a number of alternative power supplies offered. I wondered if they mainly improved the SQ of the internal DAC (which I probably won’t use) or if there is a gain to be had on the streaming side as well.

  4. Knipester

    Knipester pfm Member

    I only used the mini as a transport into my chord mojo dac. The wall wart in the mini is cheap but noisy
  5. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    Hi Kevin,
    To answer your questions...

    1. Yes it can. There are a couple of options here. You can install a simple UPnP/DLNA media server like Asset UPnP on your Mac Mini and point that at your iTunes Media folder. Alternatively, you can share the iTunes Media folder using Windows File Sharing (aka SMB). The Aries Mini can connect to either of these. However, depending on your exact requirements, a better option may be to install some storage inside the Aries Mini and point iTunes at that instead.
    2. Yes, you can do that. The default location for your iTunes music files is ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music.
    3. I recommend Samsung EVO 850 and 860 drives. They are not the cheapest option but they are fast, reliable and there are no compatibility issues. These are the drives which I fit inside Auralic products sold with preinstalled storage. The Samsung PRO models are not suitable for use with the Aries Mini as their peak current requirements are too high.
    4. Lightning DS integrates with TIDAL and Qobuz. Spotify integration is via Spotify Connect, which you control with Spotify's own app. You can use AirPlay (or at a pinch Bluetooth) to send music from Apple's Music app or third party apps to the Aries Mini.


  6. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    It depends on your DAC and specifically how well it handles noise on whichever input you choose to use. Certainly, the Auralic linear PSU and the better third party options (like Sbooster) lift the performance of the built-in DAC, but they actually lower the noise floor of the entire system, including the digital outputs.
    Cereal Killer likes this.
  7. kevinrt

    kevinrt pfm Member

    Hi Lee

    thanks for your comprehensive answers. A pity they haven't managed to integrate Apple Music into Lightning, but it seems Apple do not tend to enter into these sort of arrangements (similar to the Naim Superuniti which a friend has).

    I would probably feed the output of the Aries into the USB input of my Rega DAC-R


  8. Iceman16

    Iceman16 pfm Member

    I’m quite happy with the Aries mini with Swagman lab psu using Chord Qutest dac powered by Ifi Ipower.
  9. kevinrt

    kevinrt pfm Member


    Do you have any recommendations for where to buy these?

  10. beammeup

    beammeup pfm Member

    The DAC inside the Mini is no slouch... with a really decent power supply hooked up to the Mini are we really looking at vast improvements compared to using an external high-end DAC of sorts?

    If using the internal DAC, you also get the convenience of the Mini's built-in analogue volume control which steps up and down 10 at a time if you can live with that. How and what analogue volume control do they have built inside I wonder? it's incredible how feature rich the Mini is!

    If you really want to simplify, you could connect the Mini to a very good quality PSU to up its performance, enabling the use of the internal ESS Sabre DAC and use of its analogue volume control, meaning you could plumb it directly into a Power Amp!
  11. lazycat

    lazycat pfm Member

    Got mine from Amazon.
  12. Dougie2404

    Dougie2404 pfm Member

    I don't have my Aries mini on at the moment but if you put you files on an external drive and connect it to the mini you can direct it to use the external drive as the library, or, you can import the files into the drive that you have ( presumably) in the mini. It takes time to do this depending on the amount of files there are.

    It's not really complicated but it has to be done in the proper order, if nobody posts tonight on the order I'll have a look tomorrow and post again.
  13. kevinrt

    kevinrt pfm Member

    I remember past advice not to fill a hard drive too full as it affected it’s performance.

    Does this advice still hold with an SSD?

    I have approx. 350 GB of music on my Mac and although I may buy some more it probably won’t be much. l’m wondering if I could manage with a 500 GB SSD instead of 1TB.

  14. johncee

    johncee pfm Member

    I found plugging my Mini into an external DAC (Ciunas ISO-DAC) gave a very worthwhile improvement.
  15. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

    Not in the slightest for SSD.

    (I'd argue it makes absolutely no difference for audio use on spinning disks either, it used to be a thing for very low latency applications like databases where the fastest retrieval time was on the inner part of the platter so the more data you put on the disk the more it filled to the outer and therefore retrieval slowed)
  16. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    Yes. Strictly Stereo of course.
  17. kevinrt

    kevinrt pfm Member

    I meant the SSD. Do you sell those?

  18. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    Only when it is bundled with an Aries Mini or another Auralic product, sorry.
  19. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

  20. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    It is hard to argue with the quality of the output at this price point, but you can certainly upgrade its performance with an improved power supply or a better external DAC.

    The Aries Mini has software volume control. I believe it uses the ESS on-chip attenuation. You have fine grained control over the volume level (0-100) using the slider in Lightning DS or the buttons on the front panel.

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