Auralic Aries as endpoint versus existing setup?

I have a headless small HTPC running RoonServer connected via USB to my DAC, the music is in FLAC lossless and resides on a Synology NAS device. I control the playback via a Surface Pro 3 tablet running Windows 10 (Roon in client mode) Everything works great.

I am curious, what would an Auralic Aries add to the equation in terms of quality of sound?, what would I gain when eventually the Auralic Aries shows up as an Endpoint?


It basically depends on how good your HTPC is in terms of noise and jitter going to your DAC. The Aries’ design is more or less a small HTPC optimized for low noise and low jitter audio only. I do have an Aries because I do not want to tweak and optimize my PC only for audio, I need the PC for other things as well.

This might help you or not, unfortunately there is no yes or no, it depends as always. What I can say it’s definitely worth to give the Aries a try.

Happy listening

I am not sure that Aries today has the capability to show as a Roon endpoint. How would that work if it was to happen? I would need the Aries to feed into my DAC but how do I connect Roon to the Aries?

Today you can use the Aries via AirPlay. It is limited to 44/16 (Roon will downsample any hi-res files automatically when you set ‘Aries Airplay’ as your Audio Zone) but works quite well. You need to enable AirPlay at the Aries and it will show up as an Audio Zone in Roon.

As Roon speakers is not there already I can only guess that the Aries will show up as an endpoint / Audio Zone similar as above but not limited to 44/16. AFAIK the advantage in sound apart from not being limited to redbook is that the Aries will pull the data as he needs it whereas with AirPlay it’s pushed to the Aries.

Roon (the Core or Server) on your PC and the Aries will talk over your router/network either wired or wireless depending how you connect them.

Hope this helps.

It is a starting point… Thanks… I was under the impression that the Aries would connect to the roon client via Wi-Fi and then appear as an endpoint therefore allowing me to bypass the HTPC all together… But since the Aries is connected to the DAC via optical, I am not sure this setup will yield meaningful advantages over the current USB connection of the HTPC with the DAC

Roon is always a push. If the Aries shows up as an endpoint natively, the Roon core will process the audio and PUSH the stream to the Aries.

Thanks for clarification.

Aries has an USB output as well…

This may be one of those questions that can only be answered by trying it when RoonSpeakers becomes available. There are potential pros and cons either way:

No galvanic connection between HTPC and DAC. That removes the possibility of noise from the HTPC over the power wires of the USB. If the HTPC is not noisy then the improvement may not be great. It may also be that an Uptone Regen or similar device is as effective and much less expensive than an Aries.

Shorter USB connection required between Aries and DAC. Depending on how close you have your HTPC to your DAC that may not be an issue.

The audio stream will look like this:

NAS > Router > HTPC > Router > Aries > DAC

If the NAS and HTPC are connected to the Router by full duplex 1 GB/s wired Ethernet (or better) then that ought not be a problem.

If the HTPC is wireless, however, then you may get network congestion streaming audio to the HTPC, from the HTPC and to the Aries, all in real time. I am on ‘n’ rather than ‘ac’ network but my router got a bad case of the hiccups when I hung a USB off the Aries and asked it to stream from the Aries to a PC running Roon and then back to the Aries in real time.

Thanks, very interesting, I have the HTPC connected to my DAC via a short USB cable from Audioquest… I guess it is one of those things that need to be tested to determine the true impact/benefit if any…

I am curious which one of these would introduce more noise:
Option1: NAS—(Router)—HTPC—(short USB)—DAC
Option 2: NAS—(Router)—HTPC—(Router/Wifi)—(Auralic)—(USB)–DAC


Just wondering… is push from Roon also used when using Wasapi Event Style?

I personally feel wireless should never be part of an audio chain unless it is just as a control point.

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As far as I know, yes, but I dont know for sure. That would be a good question to have a device specifically answer,

The second option would have the potential to be noisier. An Ares is redundant and not needed if you have an htpc, why put another htpc in the signal chain, more points of failure.

Regarding push/pull:

I just reviewed fewer posts and Danny was explaining that with RoonSpeakers the source will own the clock while with AirPlay Roon owns the clock. The latter is what I ment with PUSH and the former with PULL. I maybe wrong, but Danny can explain fur sure.

I am curious if the setup would work without the HTPC in the chain, I suppose then I would be able to run the following architecture:

Option 2: NAS—Roon client (PC/Tablet)—(Router/Wifi)—(Auralic)—(USB)–DAC

Are you assuming the roon core is running on the NAS? If so then yes. If not then
you still need a roon core somewhere in the chain.

That chain would not work because

  1. you need a robust PC to run the Roon Core Server and
  2. you need a PC or an approved network endpoint (of which there is only Meridian and Apple TV).

Sometime in the future that chain could work, depending on how RoonSpeakers function and on future partnering deals with other manufacturers. And in the case of the latter, the team cannot speak or give hints due to NDAs. I am tagging a dev so they can double check what I’m saying and correct me if I am in error. @mike.

There is no chain at the current time in which you can rid of an HTPC at the DAC end unless you have a Meridian Endpoint ( or Apple Airplay) which is itself a DAC. So your current chain as described by you would have to look like this for music requests to work:

Roon Client (Remote - Tablet) > Router/Wifi> Roon Core – NAS > Roon Client (Endpoint) > Auralic/USB > DAC

My Chain looks like this
Roon Client (Remote - Tablet) > Router/Wifi> Roon Core – NAS > Roon Client (Endpoint) S/PDIF > DAC

Tablet sends play request to Roon Core via Wifi, Roon Core pulls music from NAS and then processes the audio, Roon Core then streams the audio feed to the Roon Client that outputs it on Coax S/PDIF to the DAC. Except for the Roon Remote, all other pieces of the chain are on gigabyte Ethernet with the Roon Core and NAS being on a separate switch.