No sooner were things working with the Auralic ARIES Mini that I registered for Beta updates and received firmware 5.0. I was listening to a remastered recording of Gossec’s Symphonies, settling into the recording never having hear it before, when the unit notfied me on the iPad of a beta update. Within a couple of minute I was able to hear back-to-back firmware 4.1/5.0 with the same track.
Immediately apparent was an improvment in instrument focus, stereo depth and separation. Just like finding that last degree of focus in a lens and getting the right depth of field – everything pops into place. Checking this wasn’t some change to the sophisticated digital filtering settings available on the Auralic units I soon worked out I was still using the Precise setting with Beta 5 as I had been before. (Beta 5.0 now allows all filter setting to be deselected – previous you had the choice between Precise / Dynamic / Balance / Smooth.) I’ve now opted for no filtering and with the handful of albums I’ve now auditioned with the updated unit I’m delighted with the ease, intelligibility and musicality to the sound.
Beta 5.0 also provides Lightning DS Web Admin which means you can log into your Auralic unit using Apple Safari or Google Chrome with its IP address. Web Admin has four main panels for Library, Streamer, Processor and Hardware setup. A column explaining the concepts and setting is to the right of the main window – an excellent idea.
Some users will welcome the Roon Ready support for the ARIES Mini and I was amused to see Auralic offer MQA decoding support with the cheeky note: ‘the MQA decoding method integrated by all AURALiC streaming devices has been developed solely by AURALiC using AURALiC’s proprietary resampling and de-blurring method. This process is not an MQA-created or MQA-licensed process.’