I have an Aries Mini with internal SSD which feeds a Qutest DAC and acts as a server for other systems. It works very well especially using toslink but I think the Qutest would benefit from a better streamer. I can’t justify spending nearly £2K on an Aries G1. Are there any plans for a more affordable range or should I just look elsewhere (e.g. SOTM)?
Can’t comment on the possibility of a cheaper G range but if you haven’t already upgraded the power supply to the Mini, that might be worth considering.
Auralic’s own unit is about £450 and third party ones range from £100 to £350, depending on type and manufacturer.
I used to be a dedicated follower of my two Aries Minis. But last month the upgrade bug bit me and I purchased an Aries G1; now it replaces my Mini in my stereo setting and feeds a pair of Kii Three Loudspeakers. The improvement in SQ and, even more important, emotionality is mind-blowing. Therefore yesterday I called my dealer and asked for a second G1 (hoping for a good price). Now I’m in eager anticipation of his offer; because I really need the G1 for my HeadFi setting to feed my Qutest DAC. To cut a dull story short: If your budget allows it, get rid of the Mini and step up to a G1. It’s worth the money and it will consort perfectly with your Qutest.
I already use a very high quality linear power supply (CHC DC3 - modified which would cost over £1K today) to power the Mini and with toslink the quality is very good. This is part of my problem in upgrading given the rest of the system is fairly modest (certainly not Kii level).
What would be ideal for me is something in a plain case without an internal power supply and front display, hopefully with most of the sound quality of an Aries G1 when used with a good linear power supply but with basic facilities. I realise Auralic didn’t make a lot of money from the Mini at £449. I’d certanly be prepared to pay in the region of £1K.
I can understand you very well. This is what I wrote in September last year:
However, G1made me change my mind
Like Robin, and now yourself, I was also looking for a Mini Mk2 or similar, I simply appreciated the fact it was a small black box that could contain an SSD so no NAS required, easily stowed away, had great sound quality and good functionality.
But I was prepared to go a little higher cost wise and luckily the Altair was about to be released, one listen and I had one of the first in the UK back at home.
The reports and reviews are not wrong, the Altair G1 really is a very good unit, and although I haven’t personally compared, one German magazine has now scored it’s performance just one or two points down from the Vega G1.
Not withstanding the comparisons, I love the device, and it works in exactly the same way as the old Mini so didn’t tax my brain too much with regards to getting up to speed.
I personally don’t see Auralic doing a revised Mini because I believe there G1 range will now be the “starter” level, but in my opinion, what a starter.
The other difficulty, like the Mini, the Altair G1 punches above it’s pay grade, not sure what else is out there at less than £3k that would appreciably better it.
Given the lack of any response from Xuanqian do I take it that the answer to my question is No!
Take it as a sign he is still thinking about the answer.
I hope are right about @Xuanqian but I’m not holding my breath. Auralic sold a lot of Minis but didn’t make much money. It did establish the brand, though and they have successfully moved upmarket. The lower end streaming market has been filled by Bluesound and Allo/Pi versions. I still think there is a gap in the £1000 range and with their hardware/firmware/software expertise Auralic are well placed to fill it. Why not maximise that that past investment and ongoing cost?
What sold me on the Mini was the internal hard drive facility. it avoids the need for a NAS and means that once the music is copied it drives the Qutest without touching the network. The sound quality using optical is so good that I’d think carefully about upgrading.
That said I’ll be interested to see what Chord announce at Canjam in New York next month. The 2Go for the Hugo 2 is a given but I suspect there might be a desktop streamer to match the Qutest and possibly an upmarket version incorporating mScaler. Chord put a lot of work in making Poly work and must want capitalise on that in other products. That might give Auralic food for thought!
Maybe X doesn’t want to Auralicify every product group and I don’t blame him.
The actual cost of a product is not just the hardware itself. For any software relating product, you need to count for support labor cost. And you also need to consider that people buying a used product on the market with zero knowledge come to you for help, they do not contribute money to us but we need to pay our labor to help them. A product that won’t go over a particular price will make our company lose money.
Thanks for the response which was what I expected. I did refer to ongoing costs in my original post.
With CD’s and LP’s hifi companies just did hardware. Streaming involves a whole extra range of complexity (software, firmware, networks, streaming services, control apps, Roon etc) which results in ongoing maintenance costs in a rapidly changing environment. This explains why some companies like Rega don’t want to get involved. I think Chord underestimated the task when introducing the Poly. Anyone thinking of buying some expensive kit which includes streaming needs to consider the prospects of the supplier being able to maintain the firmware and software for the life of the equipment.
Maybe for people helping on this forum, they can have some discount from Auralic