Comparisons of microRendu and Aries

How does the microRendu compare to the Auralic Aries, which essentially performs the same tasks (RoonReady streamer with USB output to DAC) but is 2.5x the cost of the rendu? Has anyone done comparisons? CA Chris raves about the Aries, and he raves about the rendu. So…? :slight_smile:


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I’ve got both a microRendu and an Aries. I’ll group them in Roon, A/B them and report back. The microRendu is on a USB input to my Vega DAC and the Aries on AEC so that may be a point of distinction.

Why not ask him on CA which rave he finds most mind blowing?

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“…I will say the Aries is as good as or better than all other sources I’ve had in my system.”

“…I can unequivocally say that with the microRendu in place, my audio system has never sounded better than right now.”

It’s like that epic line from Deep Purple’s “Made In Japan”, when Ian Gillan repeats “Yeah, can he have everything louder than everything else.”

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Classic! :laughing:

Quoting out of context - sort of unfair. The Aries review preceeded the microRendu review. So the quotes shouldn’t be read the way you imply.

You’re right. I’ve edited my post to switch the order. :grinning:

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You’re on a roll this morning :joy:

If it wasn’t for CA, you guys probably would never have heard of the MicroRendu, or even perhaps, the Aries. Cracks me up when people feel they need to comment when they, perhaps, have not listened to both or even either.

I enjoy reading parts of CA, but was really commenting more on Chris’ review style, which tends to summarize with something similar to the above for much of what is reviewed.

You are probably right about the mR, with CA telling us all we need to know; but, for the Aries, we have Darko to keep us up to speed on all things AURALiC.

Well he may well be the ‘next best thing’ type of guy, but the Aries preceded the MR by quite a margin, and although fairly ground-breaking at the time, it may be the case that the MR has now over-taken it, in his estimation. I can only talk about the MR, I am not going to say it is not quirky, but it does an excellent job in what it purports to do. The Aries has never really been on my radar.

As for reviewing styles, I would say that at least Chris tries to be thorough, not only in the way he goes about his reviews but also his writing. Whereas, Darko … meh!

like most reviewers, whatever they review is the best thing since sliced bread.

Hmmm, I have only found that with Naim reviewers. And the mags, when they were printing. Nowadays, almost anyone can set themselves up as a reviewer or tester on the internet, but they still have to procure the equipment to test. Hard to slate a piece if it has been given to you to test, it only makes it to ‘print’ if the outcome is good or fair.

Most reviewers and magazines will only give fairly positive reviews - if something is substandard, they send it back and don’t review it. I don’t exactly agree with that, but I get the approach.

Chris mostly reviews very expensive or very inexpensive stuff. So most of the expensive stuff is obviously very good - it’s then a question of is it worth the money, not how good it is. So that stuff gets good reviews. With the inexpensive stuff it’s the opposite - the review centers on whether the device works well and if it is a good value. No one expects the $300 item to sound as good as a $3000 item of the same type.

Darko directly compares components when he can - I find that very useful; Chris as a matter of approach doesn’t do that. So he won’t write A is better than B - he will write about how good the item sounds to him. In this case, when he’s previously reviewed the Aries and Aurender components and then reviews the mR - saying it’s the best he’s heard - then in context I think the meaning is clear. Don’t forget he also had the mR plugged into the $1300 Sonore LPS specifically designed for the mR. YMMV.

Personally I’ve never relied on reviewers to inform my audio equipment purchases and I doubt that’ll ever change. There’s little to no transparency and too many self appointed experts, many of whom have time and again demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of fundamental basics for them to be taken seriously.

Ok. I grouped the Aries (Roon Ready) and microRendu (Roon Ready). The Aries connects by AES and the microRendu by USB to the Vega. The Aries was powered by its own Auralic linear power supply, the microRendu by the iFi switched supply.

I then listened to a number of tracks stopping and starting through Roon when changing inputs (had to do this because the USB Zone disappears when it’s not selected in the DAC).

I can’t say whether any differences were attributable to the devices or the connections, the differences were in accordance with my preconceptions about the connections so there is every possibility of confirmation bias.

The differences were subtle. I would have zero confidence in my doing better than chance in a blind test.

With the Aries/AES my attention gravitated to the midrange; grunt and body.

With the microRendu/USB my attention gravitated to the higher frequencies; air and decay. I thought there was a very marginally bigger soundstage image with the microRendu.

I could live very happily with either, which makes the microRendu much better value if you just want a Roon Ready device and don’t need Wi-Fi or any of the Lighntning DS stuff. Not as good value of course as a low cost ARM device solution.

I may have to turn in my audiophile nerd badge as I couldn’t hear enough of a difference to persuade myself I could pick it blind. Personally I’ll go back to HQP and microRendu (NAA) upsampling to DSD128 as I find my system and the Vega slightly hard in the upper frequencies and HQP is a more natural sound there for me.


Thank you for doing this!!! So it sounds like you’re putting your Aries out on the curb. Let me know when you do and I’ll come by and pick it up :slight_smile: :wink:

When you say that the microRendu is “Not as good value of course as a low cost ARM device solution” is that because it’s $600 and for low-cost ARM devices that’s really expensive? Now that I think about it, I could get a MacMini for the same price (albeit with much higher system management requirements).

Thanks again!

No worries Mike. I really should sell the Aries, but my usual style is lending my unused gear to friends. On the other hand I could get a new turntable and cartridge, so that could work…

The ARM devices I’m thinking of are Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, BeagleBone Black or CuBox-i. All worthy of consideration as Roon endpoints and available for under $200. The mR is better than the CuBox I had been using and is heaps more convenient with the app changing software. It’s worth the extra $ to me but I could well understand someone deciding otherwise or spending the difference on hi res downloads.

[quote=“Mike_Pinkerton, post:17, topic:12732, full:true”]
When you say that the microRendu is “Not as good value of course as a low cost ARM device solution” is that because it’s $600 and for low-cost ARM devices that’s really expensive? [/quote]
It’s also whether you can hear the difference. I don’t have golden ears, and I can’t.

[quote=“andybob, post:18, topic:12732”]
The ARM devices I’m thinking of are Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, BeagleBone Black or CuBox-i. All worthy of consideration as Roon endpoints and available for under $200.
[/quote]An Odroid is $40, with an enclosure and power supply you’re in for $50.

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