Auralic, Pass Labs, YG Acoustics, Ryan Speakers – AXPONA 2019

Auralic, YG Acoustics, Ryan Speakers - AXPONA 2019

Auralic takes over one of the larger rooms at AXPONA 2019 with a formidable pair of high-end stereo systems in each corner. Each delivers the punches at every note, rumble, and snap of the musical demonstration. Taking advantage of the large venue space, I was able to experience two towering systems with Auralic being the constant star of the main event.

Most interesting to me — and beautifully shown — were the museum quality installations of Auralic’s discrete inner-components on display. The overall mood of the exhibition was that of a celebration of the companies craftsmanship throughout the design and build process.

Auralic G2 Series top cover.
The CNC-milled, one-piece top of the Auralic G2 Series.

Auralic marketing director Alex Brinkman spoke with me in further detail about what they were showcasing in AXPONA. He notes that Munich (which starts soon after AXPONA) was to be the global launching point for this year’s newest Auralic product releases. With that, a lot of planning went into the design of this year’s AXPONA exhibit as it was not going to showcase new product, instead it would be a testament to the unseen qualities that make existing Auralic products unique in both genesis and fruition.

Still, the relatively new high-value products released from Auralic just last year were putting on a masterclass in how to do digitally derived wireless streaming and conversion. The ARIES G1 series Wireless Streaming Transporter was at the helm of a very stout system, feeding Auralic’s own VEGA G1 series Streaming DAC (which was reviewed by AudioHead in Feburary of 2019). For amplification duties, a massive stereo amplifier from Pass Labs, the Class-AB topology of a Pass Labs X250.8, pushing along a reference-quality pair of Ryan Speakers own S840 tower loudspeakers.

The VEGA name should be considered a classic moniker for most Auralic fans, but to the uninitiated, let me explain a few things. At Auralic the VEGA name means state-of-the-art. The VEGA series has been consistently a favourite sub-badge for Auralic with many press writers for some time, and has swept up it’s fair share of awards along the way.

Ryan Speakers, pass labs and Auralic
Ryan Speakers, PASS Labs and Auralic VEGA & Aries.

As for the VEGA G1, to simply call it DAC doesn’t do it full justice. Streamer capabilities abound, be them from local drives, servers, or the web cloud source — the VEGA G1 handles them all. With the lineage of the VEGA name being as potent as it is, the VEGA G1 carries improved design technologies that have evolved to surpass former VEGA devices, and borrow from the reference class Auralic G2 series.

The Auralic/Ryan/Pass system as it were, was demonstrating just how much of the ultra-high-end sound could be had for not ultra-high-end money. The heart of the system, the VEGA G1 Streaming DAC retails for only $3,999 USD, and the ARIES G1 Streaming Transport at only $2,499 USD help rewrite the rulebook on performance and value, as dictated by the Pass Labs and Ryan Speakers system.

Full Rack of Auralic Components Plus Mystery Amplifiers.

In the opposite corner, stood a massive pair of YG Acoustics, Sonja 2.2 loudspeakers, and a rack full of Auralic G2 series electronics sprawled out for show. The elephant in the room would be on the bottom shelf, and that is an encore appearance by Auralic’s own non-production, non-prototype, “pretend you didn’t see them” monoblock amplifiers. It is confirmed, they are for show demonstration purposes only, and if something like “new amplifiers” were in the crosshairs of Auralic’s founders Xuanqian Wang and Yuan Wang, then they would surely be in stereo configuration and of slightly less power output. That’s not gossip, and you didn’t hear that from me.

Speaking of the founders, the Auralic story is a vivid one. AURALiC was founded in 2009 by Xuanqian Wang and Yuan Wang, who met in 2008 at the Waldbühne Berlin Festival. Their shared appreciation of music and their perfectly complementary skill sets were the foundation for an inevitable collaboration. Auralic was built around the idea that true hi-fi should be accessible to everyone. Combining progressive technologies that deliver on the promise of modern digital formats with revitalized analog circuitry and hardware rooted in classic designs, Auralic stays at the forefront of their place in the market, while maintaining their grasp on the roots of what made hi-fi what it is today.

VEGA and ARIES on Display at AXPONA 2019.

Around the room on static displays were segments of the Auralic story, as told by it’s machining process and manufacturing artisanship. Several inner components, held-high on pedestals and lit from all sides, one could really put the Auralic internals to the ultimate eye-test. It is obvious that Xuanqian and Yuan have designed Auralic components, that derive from a place of passion and care. With the upcoming Munich 2019 show just around the corner, I can’t wait to see what comes next from the team at Auralic.

by Eric Shook