To Vade Forrester,
I read with great interest your review of the Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2. Very well done. My interest in writing is to get your opinion and experience with the Auraliti unit. I have been on the fence on moving toward a server. I have toyed with the idea of a Mac Mini, read up on the Sound Science Music Vault and a number of other possibilities. I have my library stored on an external hard drive tied to iTunes through a Mac. I am looking for a reasonably straightforward solution and have also thought about and read up on other devices like Wavelength Audio's WaveLink, the hiFace Evo, and others. Thus, my interest in your take on the Auraliti. My intent is to use the DAC in my Wadia 781 and/or Bryston DAC that I have in a second system we have in our family room. In fact, I understand that Bryston's new BDP-1 is based, to a degree, on the Auraliti. Many thanks for your time.
Thanks for the kind words on the Wyred 4 Sound DAC-2. It’s fun to review good gear.
I’m in the process of reviewing the Auraliti, so I don’t want to go into too much detail. The Auraliti actually plays your music files, so it’s not really comparable to a WaveLink or Evo, which are USB-to-S/PDIF adapters. The Auraliti has a built-in DAC, but I suspect your Wadia and Bryston DACs would be better. The Auraliti has an S/PDIF output, so it should work with most DACs. For highest-resolution playback such as 24/176.4 and 24/192, the DAC must be able to support those sampling rates.
The Auraliti plays WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and (maybe) MP3 -- I’m trying to get a reading on that. They don’t claim to play Apple Lossless-encoded files. If you’re using those, you would have to convert them to AIFF or FLAC. Most hi-rez downloads are in FLAC format, and the Auraliti plays those with no trouble.
I’m pleased with the sound of the Auraliti, but the Bryston BDP-1 might be even better. At its price one would hope so; but the Auraliti claims to have a bit-perfect, low-jitter output, which should make it sound as good as just about anything. The Bryston and the Auraliti are the only players I’ve seen that will play 176.4 and 192kHz sampling rates; others I’ve seen are limited to 96kHz. The Auraliti is small and plain, so is well suited for being placed on your equipment rack and operated remotely by the device of your choice. I use an iPod Touch as my remote, but I’ll bet a netbook computer would work great too.
I’m not familiar with the Music Vault, and I can’t seem to find much detail about it on Sound Science’s website, so I can’t tell exactly what it does. It may be a worthwhile choice. I like the idea of a built-in optical drive, though I’m not sure exactly how it’s used. . . . Vade Forrester