Aries G2 vs Vega G2 Streaming SQ


#22

@deuch, yes. That is what I wanted to ask you. Now, one more question: Does your Roon CORE run on the same NAS where your music is stored, or (as usual) on a separate computer? That made the difference for me: First, I had Roon Core running on a PC accessing my music folder on the NAS as a network share. That sounded worse than Lightning DS (with Minim as a server running on the NAS). But then I thought: That is not quite fair since the Minim server runs on the same NAS where my music is stored and therefore can access the music LOCALLY. Thus, the music travels only ONE time through the network: from Minim on the NAS to Lightning DS on the Vega. However, it has to travel TWO times over the network with Roon: First from the NAS to the PC running Roon core and secondly from the PC to Lightning DS on the Vega.

Therefore, I installed the Roon Core on my NAS (which, granted, is a bit fiddly but doable) so the Core running on the NAS now also sees my music as a LOCAL folder (not a network share). In my Roon account I de-activated the core on my PC and activated the core on my NAS and since then the Roon signal path sounds exactly the same as the Lightning DS path.


#23

Yes. I am almost sure that the LEO clock is a much more sensible addition to the Vega if the goal is sound quality while the Aries is more for additional convenience by greatly expanding your streaming alternatives. However, I have no access to the LEO right now. So I have to make do with determining the SQ-increase added by the Aries at this time. I will get the Aries tomorrow and can probably keep it until over the weekend (or forever, of course, should I buy it). I will keep you posted :slight_smile:


#24

My Roon Core ran on a dedicated Mac Mini, not on the NAS.

I’m not sure that it will change so much thing. The NAS and the Mac Mini are on the same ethernet switch and the Aries G2 use wifi.

I can not test at the moment (my NAS is an ARM model not an intel 64).

But at the end, you have the same SQ between Roon and Lightning DS ?


#25

Yes. SQ is the same to my ears.


#26

And with Roon on a PC/Mac and files on a separate NAS, you feel the same thing as me : Lightning DS is superior in SQ than Roon ?


#27

Yes. But that might change with any software update (on either side).


#28

Hi again!

As promised, for the last 5 days I tested the Aries G2 in my system to see if it can increase SQ (sound quality) compared to simply streaming via ethernet directly into the Vega G2. I tested using Roon as well as Lightning Server. Here are the exact signal paths I tested:

Lightning controlled:
1 a) Music-Folder on NAS >> Minim-Server on NAS >> Ethernet >> Vega G2
1 b) Music-Folder on NAS >> Minim-Server on NAS >> Ethernet >> Aries G2 >> Lightning Link >> Vega G2
1 c) Music-Folder on NAS >> Ethernet >> Lightning-Sever on Aries G2 >> Lightning Link >> Vega G2

Roon controlled:
2 a) Music-Folder on NAS >> Roon-Core on NAS >> Ethernet >> Vega G2 as Roon-Endpoint
2 b) Music-Folder on NAS >> Roon-Core on NAS >> Ethernet >> Aries G2 as Roon-Endpoint >> Lightning Link >> Vega G2

Before I reveal my findings let me first state something obvious, even trivial (but I made the experience in my life that pondering over trivialities can yield great insight): The bigger the differences, the easier they are to hear. That also means: The smaller the differences the more difficult it gets. And in continuation: It is MOST difficult to establish that there are no differences at all!

That’s why I had to try really hard … it felt like my ears have grown a few centimeters out of my skull over last few days… but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t hear any difference between four of the five signal paths mentioned above. Specifically:

• Path 1a, 1b, 2a, and 2b all sounded EXACTLY the same to my ears and in my system.

• It also didn’t make any difference if I connected the Aries via Ethernet cable or WiFi.

• Only path 1c sounded different and - amazingly - it sounded a bit worse. The sound stage was a bit more compacted and there was less air and openness compared to the other signal paths.

That last point really baffled me since I expected running everything (including the server) with Auralic’s Lightning Software might be superior since that software is custom made by Auralic for their own hardware. But no. Looks like the additional strain put on the renderer (the Aries G2 in this case) by also running the server part on the renderer has a negative impact on SQ. So, it is always best to run the server software on the server hardware (i.e. the NAS) and not on the renderer. Which kind of makes sense.

So, I brought the Aries G2 back to the dealer since I could not hear any SQ improvements in my system with my ears. That might be different for you. Or maybe you need some of the additional inputs (WiFi, Blutooth, Internal or external hard disk) or outputs (USB, Coax, Toslink) the Aries G2 provides. But I don’t need any of that. So, I wait for the LEO GX external clock. I have high hopes that this might indeed improve SQ significantly…


#29

dear HifiImWald, thanks a lot for those tests. I am happy to hear that the ARIES is not necessary in case you can connect wired ethernet, which is my case, and so I will wait for your finding with the LEO which can be may-be a very good surprise.

Have you also compared listening music stored on the NAS versus stored on a local USB KEY ?


#30

Thank you @bmichels! I might be a while until I get a Leo GX. That might be a project for next year as I am very happy with the sound I have right now with the Vega G2.

As for USB drives: No, I did not bother to test that. I am streaming music since over seven years and tested many things. And I have made the experience over and over again that USB (or Toslink or Coax) is always inferior to streaming over the network. So, I have a simple rule: If it’s data, it has to travel over Ethernet or WiFi (with the exception of special, proprietary connections like Auralic’s Lightning-Link or PS-Audio’s I2S which basically transform the connected devices into a single device). @Xuanqian also recommends network-streaming compared to USB in many of his posts in this forum. If you connect a disk directly to the streamer (internally or externally), the streamer has to feed power to that disk (and also has to run the server software). That puts unnecessary strain on the streamer which is completely gone if the music-data and server-software are on some other device and the streamer simply receives the data over the network.

In my opinion, all these USB-streaming attempts are just work-arounds for people to scared to set up a decent network with a NAS in it. I am not one of them :wink:


#31

Thanks from me also. I run a Synology NAS with Roon core installed, controlled with tablet, by ethernet (with fiber media converters to eliminate router/network noise) directly to VEGA G2. Absolutely no DSP with Roon. Sound is terrific. Nice validation that adding an ARIES G2 might add some convenience but not SQ. Leo seems like the next possible improvement, but the cost!!! Maybe someday.


#32

Sometines, things are funny.

I’ve the complete opposite results in my home.

This is my setup :

Aries Femto
Aries G2
Dac Totaldac d1-core
Preamplifier Parasound JC-2 BP
Amplifier Parasound A-21
Sonus Faber Venere S

I did those tests :

  1. Files on NAS --> Aries Femto (Wifi) / Lightning DS
  2. Files on NAS --> Aries G2 (Wifi) / Lightning DS
  3. Files on NAS --> Mac Mini Roon --> Aries Femto (Wifi)
  4. Files on NAS --> Mac Mini Roon --> Aries G2 (Wifi)
  5. Files on Mac Mini + Roon --> Aries Femto (Wifi)
  6. Files on Mac Mini + Roon --> Aries G2 (Wifi)

To make it simple : Best sound 1 and 2. Everything with Roon (file on NAS or mac mini) is flatter and boring
Lightning DS full solution is warmer, more soundstage, dynamic and micro-details.

Of course, no DSP, no up/down sampling, no filter or other things.

So i think it depends really about setup and system.

I’ve tested Audirvana on the Mac Mini and the Aries Femto (not the G2 because it doesn’t support upnp) and it’s the worst. Too bright, very cold and a lot of listening fatigue …


#33

Interestingly, I’ve found the same as deuch. I upgraded my Aries Femto (wired) feeding into a Vega with the new G2 version of both. Using the recommended wireless connection for the Aries G2, I found that the Lightning DS consistently sounded more “beautiful” than the Roon sourced version.
I don’t know if this is due to the G2 upgrade or whether this was the case before the upgrade. The upgrade of the Lightning Link also seems to be a significant improvement, though not as much as the Lightning DS vs Roon.
I still love the convenience of Roon for consolidation of my Tidal and NAS libraries.
Go figure!


#34

The sound quality of using Roon Ready will get improved in 6.x firmware for all devices except for VEGA G2. VEGA G2 already use integrated Roon code into our own playback engine so it can benefit from our processing technology.

The integration is a bit complicated on ARIES as it support more input channels (AirPlay, Songcast, Bluetooth) so we will need extra time to test it out. The sound quality gap should be smaller in 6.x firmware.


#35

Try AudioQuest Diamond HDMI cable (1 meter or shorter) as Lightning Link cable, you will have big surprise.


#36

Does your comments here also apply to the Aries G1? Also, when can we start expecting firmware 6.x?
Regards
/Mike


#37

Hi All
I’m new here so I hope this an appropriate question for this thread.
I to have the Aries G2 & Vega G2
Currently my music is stored on a Asustor 5002T NAS Wi-Fi connected to the Aries G2 then LL into the Vega.
I’m thinking of using an Innous Zenith Mk3 for music storage
Given the discussion here about the Aries G2 sounding better than direct connection to the Vega I would really appreciate opinions on how to connect the Zenith for maximum SQ
I will value all and any contributions on answering my question and would particularly appreciate if Xuanqian opinion if he was so kind as to share it with me.
Thanks in advance
Jerry1


#38

Hi:

If the NAS does not have physical connection to the ARIES G2 (both ARIES G2 and NAS use Ethernet) then the sound quality difference by adding Innous can be very small or can even be considered to be zero. if you use Lightning Server as music library to scan the NAS, I actually recommend you to try use Ethernet on NAS and WiFi on ARIES G2, you can also compare if you can actually here any sound quality difference between WiFi and Ethernet (for NAS). Hope this will help a bit.


#39

I agreed. If the NAS or Innuos or whatever network storage solution is isolated from the Auralic Aries, the sound quality difference will virtually be zero. Sound quality between NAS used as SMB/CIFS share is something vert strange … The only thing that can change is the power supply …


#40

I tried connecting my NAS directly to the Vega G2 via usb using a supra usb 1m cord and it sounded awful
Flat and rough. No liquid sound staging. It lost completely that hi end sound that we so enjoy with Auralic.
I have just ordered a Innous Mk3. I still have the Aries G2. What is the best way to integrate it into the Auralic system?
1- connect the Zenith to my TP-Link router via ethernet - then wireless from the router to the Aries G2 - Lighting Link to the Vega G2
2- connect the Zenith, one ethernet to the router and a the second ethernet cable to the stream input on the Vega G2
3- connect the Zenith via ethernet to the router for control. Connect the usb from the Zenith to the Vega G2 for sound
Or any other permutations?
solution 2 or 3 would allow me to leave the Aries G2 completely out of the system.
The highest SQ is my goal
Thanks


#41

The best solution is to have the Aries G2 connected with Lightning Link to the Vega G2. Put a NAS in your system, connect Aries G2 with Wifi to your network and use LDS to configure the Aries G2 to mount a SMB share with your music. With a good wifi it works like a charm. No issue with ethernet or noise pollution etc …

Again, the innuos as simply NAS system will not give you a improvement.

Your NAS must never be connected with USB to something like a Vega G2. I can imagine that it sounds awfull.

The only thing you can compare is the streaming part (for SQ) between the Aries G2 and the Innuos.