There are some really nice things to like about the Aries G1. However, there are also many things about the Aries G1 that need improvement.
The sound quality for Tidal, my main means of use for the G1, is great. Upscaling makes noticeable improvements, to a point. I’ve had good success doubling the FLAC bit rates, anything more just doesn’t work for me/my set up.
Spotify, I’m guessing using Spotify Connect, is terrible. the sound level is maybe 25% of Tidal. It’s lower than my phone stage. This is unacceptable. This alone is leading me to think about returning the device. A $35 CCA will out perform streaming Spotify on the Aries G1.
The USB DAC is the best connect I have. It’s much better in my system vs optical, the only other connection I’ve tried. With that said, the G1 wired via optical in my system plays on par, sound quality wise, with the Chromecast. I did repeated A/B testing. Thank goodness the USB improved the sound quality.
Build quality is also great. WiFi antennae are a bit old school tho. This device should come with a remote for the price and with the amount of bugs it needs one! Sorry but my McIntosh and DAC both came with remotes, I’m not buying one. If you want to play with the big boys then you have to show the same class.
I’m not huge on the finish. I like it and then I hate it. How do you wipe this down without leaving lint or streaks?
I have my concerns about the screen. Is it going to suffer from burn-in? The auto shut off happens way too quick – just turn off when no music is playing, after a few minutes. Not while it’s playing. Although, this can be convenient late night. Regardless, there needs to be a smarter method, you have the App so just build it in. I would have put a power indicator LED on this for when the display is powered off you can tell it’s on.
With the amount of bugs this device has, I suggest Auralic to start reading up on the Spotify Development model. There should be no reason you cannot turn out FW updates within a week or two max from a bug report.
WiFi streaming, as this device is billed, is close to unusable. I have good bandwidth, clear signal, all coming from a router listed in the recommenced list. Yet, this Aries G1 drops signal nonstop. And what this does, is starts the song over. I could maybe deal with it, prolly not for long tho, if it at least started playing from where it dropped. I was making some food, and I had to skip to the next song after it started it over about 6 times after drops from random spots during the stream.
I like and dislike the Lighting App. Personally I think it should just be hardware control app. Upscale, settings, etc. Mobile apps should always have a main nav in the corner. But the LDS isn’t like most single page applications. You have to close this window, back out of the last 3 you where just in, and if you have searched for a bunch of music, forget it, you’ll be hitting cancel for a while. Therefore, both Spotify and Tidal apps are better UX/UI and I would rather use those.
LDS does give access to Masters, thats a plus over the Tidal app. Again upscaling is useful and helps. But it is clear the full API support isn’t there and this will always make LDS one step behind the streaming app’s you nest inside of it. LDS is fast and responsive, so a plus there.
Dark Mode, LDS keeps my phone awake, and because it’s white, it drains my battery quickly. Again, poor development design.
I’m obviously not in what a user of a G2 is in, but I’m still in some money here. I think this product has some potential but it’s just not there. I can’t help but feel the software team needs a new Product Manager, development model, or something. I know I read about room correction, which has yet to how up(?), so I don’t know if that is bogging down the team, but a good developer can bust out a bug fix and FW release in 2-3 weeks max. FYI I have experience here.
Again, I like the device, I’m getting good ‘analog’ quality sound and “blacks” I think most people call it. I can enjoy this device, but only if and for the time it plays without issue.
Oh and please stop asking me to log into the app every time I open it! ; )