Bit-Perfect Playback

The sixth annual Rocky Mountain Audio Fest had already closed when I finally had the time to stop by Reference Recordings’ booth to check out their latest mouth-watering HRx high-resolution master WAV file DVD-Rs. There I encountered Demian Martin, who, together with Ray Burnham, has produced the Auraliti (pronounced Aurality) disc player ($800).

“Right now,” Martin explained, “if you try to play hi-res files, you need to fool around with a computer. Nor does USB support hi-res 176.4- or 192kHz-sampling rate data in standardized format. Our alternative is the Auraliti, a computer specifically modified to play hi-res files.”

Martin claims that the Auraliti plays everything from 16-bit Red Book CD up to 24-bit, 192kHz files in “flawless, bit-perfect form.” With neither internal storage nor moving parts, its solid-state memory is “hard to screw up.” It also emits almost no heat.

The Auraliti, it should be noted, needs a little help from its friends. Users start with their computer, and transfer Red Book or hi-res files onto a separate USB hard drive (approx. $50) or memory drive (approx. $100). Once they use a USB cable to plug the drive into the Auraliti, it reads the data. So I guess you do need to mess with a computer after all to use the Auraliti.

You can also connect an iPod Touch ($200) to the Aurality, and gain access to the iPod Touch’s content through WiFi. Martin believes that any iPod user will be comfortable with the process. He also asserts that the Auraliti will play the content in bit-perfect form. “It doesn’t know how to do anything else,” he said.

The Auraliti does have an internal DAC, but sounds far better if connected to an external, state-of-the-art DAC such as Berkeley Audio Designs’ fabulous Alpha DAC ($5000) that Martin had on display. S/PDIF and optional switchable outputs are supplied.

Ray Burnham's picture

Nice to see a report on our new product. A few points need clarification. The iPod application is used as a remote control over a WiFi connection. We do not play music files off the iPod. Regarding use of a computer to load files. Importing CDs is best accomplished with the aid of a computer. Metadata is often times either incorrect or not in a format the listener prefers. A computer with appropriate Tag editing software allows easy modification of these data. We also believe leaving this functionality out makes for a better experience in the listening room. Our product is focused on providing the best playback of music files, not Ripping activity. Sources for high res files will be up soon at our site: www.aurality.comFinally, all pre-order requests sent via email ( will be at the RMAF show special price of $599 through the end of October 2009.

roscoeiii's picture

Will it be possible to stream to the Auraliti over a wifi connection or will only files from connected hard drives be able to play on this player? Or would I need to use something like an Airport Express or Logitech Transporter to do that? BTW, the webpage link Ray Burnham put up does not seem to be correct.Looking forward to seeing the specs on this unit

Larry's picture

Excuse my ignorance, but if a pre-order request is sent in via email, when does it have to be paid for?Also, if I read this correctly, this will play only discs such as HRx? All other discs(CD's, SACD,etc.) would have to be ripped to a Hard Drive & then exported to the Auraliti? Also, what would this be connected to for playback? Again excuse my ignorance. Thanks!

Ray Burnham's picture

Oops, the weblink should be www.auraliti.comWe will be offering a wireless ethernet option but if you are going to play high res files such as the HRx RR stuff then at this time we recommend the use of either wired ethernet or ethernet over power line to avoid interrupts in the stream that would occur with current wireless ethernet. FYI, we will have a reasonably priced server that will find any Auraliti Player on you network. Until then if you have a server or NAS we can help you get the player working with it. Pre-orders will be invoiced when we are ready to ship your unit to you. We plan to have the first batch ready early in November. The device does not have an optical drive. We are considering making it possible to use an external optical drive for customers that want this option. The Player has both analog and digital SPDIF outputs so would either connect to a line input on your pre-amp or digital input on a D/A converter. The internal D/A has capability for files up to 24BIT/ 192kHz

roscoeiii's picture

Thanks for the quick reply. Great news on streaming capability, as I imagine the unit would surpass my Airport Express as a transport. And yes, point well taken re: streaming large files. But it would be might nice to be able to use the auraliti for smaller files that are on a computer on the wireless network or for, pandora, etc which increasing become important outlets for me to find new music. Amoeba's Airfoil software has been wonderful in that it allows me to stream any computer audio to my Airport Express and DAC. I also like how bombproof this seems.

Nikos's picture

Since your website states that you are using MPoD as the remote for the server then it is safe to assume you are using the open source MPD (music player daemon) software? Were there any modifications to MPD made?

Demian Martin's picture

We are using MPD in its latest released form. We are working to say within accepted standards and support the open source projects as much as possible. Our efforts have been toward integration and stability (a real challenge with open source software) as opposed to writing custom code. We tested numerous solutions before we settled on MPD and the developers have been supportive of the features we felt were important. There is a good discussion of Linux as a music playing platform here: Its quite long and I have contributed some to it. We will also work with other MPD clients of which there are many.

Ashok's picture

Are there any restrictions as to the size of the USB storage device?Thank you.

Demian Martin's picture

We have used up to 1 Terabyte drives with it. There is probably a limit based on file systems. We don't think its a serious issue for now. One Terabyte can hold an enormous catalog. All of Reference Recordings digital content (100 titles) fit into less than 100 Gigabytes using Flac for the CD's, including the high res wave files. You can use several drives at the same time.

lcaramujo's picture

hi, what are the advantages of the Auraliti to the linn ds (sneaky or magic)?. thank you

Demian Martin's picture

The Linn is similar to the Auraliti-Player in broad functionality but quite different in execution and use. The Linn requires a DLNA/UPNP server and control point to work. The Auraliti can be stand alone except for the control interface. You need your content on a networked server to access it with the Linn system, with the Auraliti the content can be connected directly via a USB storage device. You need a UPNP control point software on some device to control the Linn, The Auralitican be controlled from a number of different control platforms and devices, we have had the best results from an iPod app and a Firefox add-in but there are new alternatives all the time. We are exploring ways to make the device completely stand-alone but don't have a reliable solution yet.