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Auralic Aries Mini compared to Majik DS

jas0_0

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2015
17
0
4,520
Hi all,

Has anyone compared the sound of an Auralic Aries Mini to that of a Majik DS (Dynamik)? I'm really interested in the differences when both are used as digital transports with an external DAC.

Is the Linn a major step up? If so, in what respects?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

Many thanks,

James
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
jas0_0 said:
Hi all,

Has anyone compared the sound of an Auralic Aries Mini to that of a Majik DS (Dynamik)?  I'm really interested in the differences when both are used as digital transports with an external DAC.

Is the Linn a major step up? If so, in what respects?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

Many thanks,

James
But think about it for a second.. if the aries and majik are only being used as transports how different can they sound being fed into specified dac? I bet on blind test no one would be able to tell which one was being used.

Some people use cheap bluray players as transport into their dac.

Imo its the same principle.

Someone today made a good point that hifi streamers are massive over priced for what they do.
 

muljao

New member
Jul 18, 2016
154
0
0
Andrewjvt said:
jas0_0 said:
Hi all,

Has anyone compared the sound of an Auralic Aries Mini to that of a Majik DS (Dynamik)?  I'm really interested in the differences when both are used as digital transports with an external DAC.

Is the Linn a major step up? If so, in what respects?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

Many thanks,

James
But think about it for a second.. if the aries and majik are only being used as transports how different can they sound being fed into specified dac? I bet on blind test no one would be able to tell which one was being used.

Some people use cheap bluray players as transport into their dac.

Imo its the same principle.

Someone today made a good point that hifi streamers are massive over priced for what they do.
+1
 

Paulq

Well-known member
Dec 2, 2007
310
10
18,895
Andrewjvt said:
But think about it for a second.. if the aries and majik are only being used as transports how different can they sound being fed into specified dac? I bet on blind test no one would be able to tell which one was being used.

Some people use cheap bluray players as transport into their dac.

Imo its the same principle.

Someone today made a good point that hifi streamers are massive over priced for what they do
I've been pondering this very thought (and made a couple of posts) for a while now. I have been a Linn user for many years and made the step up from Majik to Akurate last year. There's no doubt, with my ears, that the difference between these is tangible.

However, there is a body of opinion that I've wasted my money and that, had I invested in a decent amp and DAC then feeding it through a MacBook would have provided similarly good results.

I haven't managed to test this theory but do wonder whether decent budget kit with decent DACs are equally as good at a fraction of the cost.

I'm just not (yet) brave enough to try :)
 

muljao

New member
Jul 18, 2016
154
0
0
I read a post here recently where someone had disassembled a 3000 pound CD player and there was a very inexpensive transport inside. I can't remember the model but by all accounts the sound off this player is superb. The money went into the build quality and the processor/ DAC.

The may be tiny difference due jitter and all that but the DAC be it internal or external should be the sounds deciding factor once the digital fed to it is the same
 

jas0_0

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2015
17
0
4,520
Thanks everyone - really helpful input. Based on this I just did a quick experiment. I set the same song (Dave Brubeck - Take Five - 16/44.1 AIFF) going on my laptop (connected to the Cyrus 8XPD QX via USB) and on the Linn Majik DSi (used as a transport - connected to the Cyrus via digital coax). The song on the laptop was 10 seconds ahead of the Linn so I could switch back and forth and hear the same section repeated on both sources, one straight after the other.

I may be cloth eared, but I really couldn't hear a difference. Neither could my (eye rolling, "This again?!") girlfriend. Others may hear something between digital sources, but Andrew I think you're right.

Paul - is it possible you were hearing the difference between the Majik's and Akurate's pre amp and DAC sections?

A week or so ago my long-suffering girlfriend and I did another test (her blind) between the Cyrus and the Linn, isolating elements to compare the pre, power and DAC sections of each (always using the Linn as the digital source). The difference then was huge, which is why the Cyrus is back in the system - really glad I never got round to selling it when I bought the Linn.

Based on this I think I'll be getting an Aries Mini (I now much prefer the convenience of streaming to computer-based music).

Would anyone like to buy a Linn Majik DSi?!
 

Paulq

Well-known member
Dec 2, 2007
310
10
18,895
jas0_0 said:
Paul - is it possible you were hearing the difference between the Majik's and Akurate's pre amp and DAC sections?
Entirely possible that I did. To be honest there's an additional component with Linn that I think makes it worthwhile for me and that's the user interface and control points. Qobuz, Tidal and TuneIn are integrated into Kazoo which is available on every device I use whilst updates and Space Optimisation (love it or hate it) are integral within Konfig.

That, for me at least, equates to 'simple' - I have the ability to stream from multiple sources, Airplay if I need it, plus Songcast where I can send music from any PC straight to the Akurate. I am sure there are other ways to do the same thing but I wanted simple.

That, of course, dosesn't address the question of whether the price premium is 'worth it' or whether the componentry is as good as Linn would have you believe. However, my initial decision was based on a combination of these factors where I consider I have excellent sound quality coupled with a well inegrated, flexible control point that makes the whole thing 'easy' to listen to music. I think that's the bit too many people miss in choosing a system - the kit becomes more important than its purpose.

So I think DACs and the other stuff are just part of the equation when deciding what to buy. That's why, I guess, I have tended to stick with Linn streamers - I think they are good plus Linn have the user offering sussed.

Good luck with whatever you choose - let us know what you decide and, more importantly, how it sounds. *pleasantry*
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
jas0_0 said:
Thanks everyone - really helpful input.  Based on this I just did a quick experiment.  I set the same song (Dave Brubeck - Take Five - 16/44.1 AIFF) going on my laptop (connected to the Cyrus 8XPD QX via USB) and on the Linn Majik DSi (used as a transport - connected to the Cyrus via digital coax).   The song on the laptop was 10 seconds ahead of the Linn so I could switch back and forth and hear the same section repeated on both sources, one straight after the other.

I may be cloth eared, but I really couldn't hear a difference.  Neither could my (eye rolling, "This again?!") girlfriend.  Others may hear something between digital sources, but Andrew I think you're right.  

Paul - is it possible you were hearing the difference between the Majik's and Akurate's pre amp and DAC sections? 

A week or so ago my long-suffering girlfriend and I did another test (her blind) between the Cyrus and the Linn, isolating elements to compare the pre, power and DAC sections of each (always using the Linn as the digital source).  The difference then was huge, which is why the Cyrus is back in the system - really glad I never got round to selling it when I bought the Linn.

Based on this I think I'll be getting an Aries Mini (I now much prefer the convenience of streaming to computer-based music).

Would anyone like to buy a Linn Majik DSi?!
Im also interested in this so once you up and running please give us your thoughts.
That would be appreciated.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
589
62
18,970
Andrewjvt said:
jas0_0 said:
Hi all,

Has anyone compared the sound of an Auralic Aries Mini to that of a Majik DS (Dynamik)? I'm really interested in the differences when both are used as digital transports with an external DAC.

Is the Linn a major step up? If so, in what respects?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

Many thanks,

James
But think about it for a second.. if the aries and majik are only being used as transports how different can they sound being fed into specified dac? I bet on blind test no one would be able to tell which one was being used.

Some people use cheap bluray players as transport into their dac.

Imo its the same principle.

Someone today made a good point that hifi streamers are massive over priced for what they do.
I would say in mid-level and higher components the transports are very important. As Linn is on topic, no-one would dispute that the previous Klimax was superior to the Akurate - yet they shared the same specific Wolfson DAC.

Marantz has also gone through huge time and expense in developing their own transport for their new flagship SA-10 disc player/DAC.

Linn, again, stopped producing their flagship CD12 player because Philips stopped producing that specific transport.
 

jas0_0

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2015
17
0
4,520
Thanks everyone, will definitely come back with experiences of Aries vs Majik.

I'm sure there are differences in transports, e.g clock and circuitry quality, though I just wonder if at my price level the differences are that discernible.
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
manicm said:
Andrewjvt said:
jas0_0 said:
Hi all,

Has anyone compared the sound of an Auralic Aries Mini to that of a Majik DS (Dynamik)?  I'm really interested in the differences when both are used as digital transports with an external DAC.

Is the Linn a major step up? If so, in what respects?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

Many thanks,

James
But think about it for a second.. if the aries and majik are only being used as transports how different can they sound being fed into specified dac? I bet on blind test no one would be able to tell which one was being used.

Some people use cheap bluray players as transport into their dac.

Imo its the same principle.

Someone today made a good point that hifi streamers are massive over priced for what they do.
I would say in mid-level and higher components the transports are very important. As Linn is on topic, no-one would dispute that the previous Klimax was superior to the Akurate - yet they shared the same specific Wolfson DAC.

Marantz has also gone through huge time and expense in developing their own transport for their new flagship SA-10 disc player/DAC.

Linn, again, stopped producing their flagship CD12 player because Philips stopped producing that specific transport.
So then if the transport is so important to sound quality, why not cut out the transport all together then? Just send the music files to the dac. Problem solved
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
88
0
0
Andrewjvt said:
jas0_0 said:
Hi all,

Has anyone compared the sound of an Auralic Aries Mini to that of a Majik DS (Dynamik)? I'm really interested in the differences when both are used as digital transports with an external DAC.

Is the Linn a major step up? If so, in what respects?

I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

Many thanks,

James
But think about it for a second.. if the aries and majik are only being used as transports how different can they sound being fed into specified dac? I bet on blind test no one would be able to tell which one was being used.

Some people use cheap bluray players as transport into their dac.

Imo its the same principle.

Someone today made a good point that hifi streamers are massive over priced for what they do.
I think if you consider streamers on the basis of the computing task they complete then yes they are overpriced. Just look at the Raspberry Pi for the evidence. However, when you invest in an expensive streamer you will usually get a good choice of digital inputs and outputs (including balanced), bespoke user interface (UI) software (in my opinion the most important part of streaming/playing your files), quality reclocking, improved power supply, a repeat UI screen on the unit itself, interference isolation and filtering, a robust case and great customer support.

All that said I did away with the hardware streamer and just went for a fancy "hifi" NAS which streams my music directly in the software domain via USB. If I did all of this again I think I would do the same thing but build my own PC solution to act as a NAS instead of buying the Innuos.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
589
62
18,970
Andrewjvt said:
So then if the transport is so important to sound quality, why not cut out the transport all together then? Just send the music files to the dac. Problem solved
You still need to transfer the data to the DAC - and that is a transport in whatever shape or form. Or commonly, from a PC using USB/optical whatever.

The corollary is Marantz claims their SA-10 player is 'DAC less'. *shok*Queue SpinyNorman [/b]for explanation.
 

Al ears

Moderator
manicm said:
Andrewjvt said:
So then if the transport is so important to sound quality, why not cut out the transport all together then? Just send the music files to the dac. Problem solved
You still need to transfer the data to the DAC - and that is a transport in whatever shape or form. Or commonly, from a PC using USB/optical whatever.

The corollary is Marantz claims their SA-10 player is 'DAC less'. *shok*Queue SpinyNorman for explanation.
Now that's a neat trick Marantz..... I wonder if I will hear the difference.... or indeed, will I hear anything at all?? :)
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
manicm said:
Andrewjvt said:
So then if the transport is so important to sound quality, why not cut out the transport all together then? Just send the music files to the dac. Problem solved
You still need to transfer the data to the DAC - and that is a transport in whatever shape or form. Or commonly, from a PC using USB/optical whatever.

The corollary is Marantz claims their SA-10 player is 'DAC less'. *shok*Queue SpinyNorman for explanation.
I thought we were talking about the importance of a good mechanical transport.

As for asking spiny norman for advice id rather get bit by a boomslang than expect a clear answer.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
589
62
18,970
Andrewjvt said:
I thought we were talking about the importance of a good mechanical transport.

As for asking spiny norman for advice id rather get bit by a boomslang than expect a clear answer.
The SA-10 is a disc player with DAC functionality i.e. has digital inputs.
 

jas0_0

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2015
17
0
4,520
Hi everyone, I just bought a second hand Auralic Aries Mini (with an iFi noise cancelling power supply) and have been comparing it to the Linn Majik DSi as a digital transport.

Both were wired to the dac via their coaxial outputs with identical cables. My cynical, long-suffering girlfriend and I tried a few different tracks - her listening blind. Each time we set both units to play the same song, one 5 seconds ahead of the other so we could hear the same section repeated on each.

It was a really close run thing, and took careful listening to establish the differences. I really wanted the Auralic to win as I was hoping for a bargain... but we both preferred the Linn.

The Aries Mini sounded colder - slightly more compressed and digital. The soundstage was smaller and less 3D. As my girlfriend put it, the sound projected less into the room. There was also less separation between instruments.

The Linn sounded warmer, more fluid, emotional, analogue and musical. There was greater tonal variation within notes. Each had a beginning, middle and end; where the Aries Mini gave a flatter, less nuanced rendition. The Linn was also more detailed, catching the gravel in Johnny Cash's throat, the resin on the bow of The Oscar Peterson Trio's bass, and greater emotion from the Berlin Philharmonic's violins.

This might be an odd metaphor, but if the Linn's sound was well used oak and leather, the Auralic's was steel, glass and concrete. Both have their place, but I've always preferred the lived-in look.

I plan to buy a linear power supply for the Aries Mini in a last ditch attempt to grab a bargain, but right now, our hearts are with the Linn.

I didn't really think anything upstream of a DAC would make a difference, but now I'm a believer.
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
jas0_0 said:
Hi everyone,  I just bought a second hand Auralic Aries Mini (with an iFi noise cancelling power supply) and have been comparing it to the Linn Majik DSi as a digital transport.

Both were wired to the dac via their coaxial outputs with identical cables.  My cynical, long-suffering girlfriend and I tried a few different tracks - her listening blind.  Each time we set both units to play the same song, one 5 seconds ahead of the other so we could hear the same section repeated on each.

It was a really close run thing, and took careful listening to establish the differences.  I really wanted the Auralic to win as I was hoping for a bargain... but we both preferred the Linn.

The Aries Mini sounded colder - slightly more compressed and digital.  The soundstage was smaller and less 3D.  As my girlfriend put it, the sound projected less into the room.  There was also less separation between instruments.  

The Linn sounded warmer, more fluid, emotional, analogue and musical.  There was greater tonal variation within notes.  Each had a beginning, middle and end; where the Aries Mini gave a flatter, less nuanced rendition. The Linn was also more detailed, catching the gravel in Johnny Cash's throat, the resin on the bow of The Oscar Peterson Trio's bass, and greater emotion from the Berlin Philharmonic's violins.

This might be an odd metaphor, but if the Linn's sound was well used oak and leather, the Auralic's was steel, glass and concrete.  Both have their place, but I've always preferred the lived-in look.

I plan to buy a linear power supply for the Aries Mini in a last ditch attempt to grab a bargain, but right now, our hearts are with the Linn.

I didn't really think anything upstream of a DAC would make a difference, but now I'm a believer.  
Using the same dac?
Please confirm
 

jas0_0

Well-known member
Jul 15, 2015
17
0
4,520
Hi, yes using the same dac - Cyrus 8XPD QX - and the same coaxial cables. I also tried the Aries Mini into the dac with an optical cable and the sound differences between it and the Linn were the same.
 

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
42
0
18,540
jas0_0 said:
I really wanted the Auralic to win as I was hoping for a bargain... but we both preferred the Linn.

The Aries Mini sounded colder - slightly more compressed and digital. The soundstage was smaller and less 3D. As my girlfriend put it, the sound projected less into the room. There was also less separation between instruments.

The Linn sounded warmer, more fluid, emotional, analogue and musical. There was greater tonal variation within notes. Each had a beginning, middle and end; where the Aries Mini gave a flatter, less nuanced rendition. The Linn was also more detailed, catching the gravel in Johnny Cash's throat, the resin on the bow of The Oscar Peterson Trio's bass, and greater emotion from the Berlin Philharmonic's violins.

This might be an odd metaphor, but if the Linn's sound was well used oak and leather, the Auralic's was steel, glass and concrete. Both have their place, but I've always preferred the lived-in look.

I plan to buy a linear power supply for the Aries Mini in a last ditch attempt to grab a bargain, but right now, our hearts are with the Linn.

I didn't really think anything upstream of a DAC would make a difference, but now I'm a believer.
This finding almost mirrors our own (me + better half). It was over 5 years ago now when we bought the first Linn streamer. The Linn Majik DSM was relatively new and we visited a dealer in Nottingham with the intention of buying a new power amp for a passive pre+Logitech Squeezebox Touch streamer. Neadless to say, the new Linn Majik with it's transport, DAC, power amp and extensive functionality won the day. It also won on sound quality. We were fortunate to be able to compare with Naim streamers and the Linn was preferred. Please don't get me wrong as the Naim's sounded very good too. It's just that the Linn sound seemed 'more musical' (see findings above).

Cno, who I've not seen on here recently, used to comment about the 'analogue' quality of Linn streamers and I agree. The further up the Linn DS/DSM chain, the more this quality emerges unitl you arrive at the latest Klimax incarnation that reviewers are currently drooling over. Only one problem here of course; cost. Linn kit ain't cheap and you could argue that any incremental improvements in sound quality are matched by a disproportionate rise in cost! I think I would agree but only because I would like to buy the stuff myself without the need for a lottery win.

Finally, as PaulQ has commented, Linn functionality with Tidal, Qubuz, HDMI pass through (DSM models), and the ability to alter settings for room acoustics (Linn Space) are all so useful.
 

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