Aries Cerat

Who? I thought as I walked the halls of the 35th floor of the Venetian tower. It turns out Aries Cerat was founded in 2010 on the isle of Cyprus, a location that doesn't exactly scream out convenience for a hi-fi manufacturer, and this was their US debut. Nonetheless, Aries Cerat manufacture a full line of audio gear including those pictured above; Kassandra Reference PCM DAC ($35,000), Impera Signature Edition Preamp ($82,500), the Concero 65 SET Class A Monoblocks ($35,000/pair), and the Symphonia Aries Limited Edition speakers ($125,000).

The Kassandra Reference PCM DAC is R2R DAC using 16 AD1865N-K chips per channel which eventually feed a triode output stage (using the E280F tube. 5:1 step down transformer, double choke filtered supply). The single USB input processes PCM files up to 24/384kHz and the output is via single-ended RCAs, balanced XLRs are optional.

Timing. Many of our experiences boil down to the luck of the draw. When I entered the Aries Cerat room, they were in between music and explaining the next track and what to expect, and listen for, sonically. It was only seconds after they hit play that I realized my off-center seat found that ribbon tweeter's aim aimed directly into my left ear. Like an arrow. Or a knife. Volume levels bordered on painful but I managed to remain unharmed. After the track finished I got up to take some photos, looking forward to hearing some other music. As I returned to my seat, I heard one the people running the room say, "Play the organ track again" which was my cue to make a hurried exit.

Stereophile's Jason Victor Serinus had a much more positive experience which you can read about on Stereophile.