I was surprised by how easy to use Arylic S50 Pro+ is, especially for its affordable price. An updated version of the S50 Pro, the Arylic S50 Pro+, works as a connection between your hi-fi system and the network, allowing you to access music from your local network as well as the internet. It sports a new DAC chip which should provide better performance than that offered by the previous version. With a simple setup and surprisingly sound, the Arylic S50 Pro+ is a very attractive package, but poor software prevents it from being something truly remarkable.
The Arylic S50 Pro+ comes with everything you need to get up and running. In addition to the device itself and two antennas, you’ll find a manual, power supply unit, remote, RCA to RCA cable, and RCA to 3.5 mm jack cable. This last one is useful if you want to, for example, connect a phone or another similar device to the Arylic S50 Pro+.
The Arylic S50 Pro+ is designed with simplicity and functionality in mind. The entire chassis is made out of a single piece of aluminum, giving it a sleek and minimalistic look. The front is covered with black plastic, while the back is made of aluminum, adding to the austere aesthetic of the device. Its small size (12 x 11.3 x 3.7 cm) makes it easy to fit on any desk or shelf, and its unobtrusive design means that it can blend in with any existing setup.
The front of the Arylic S50 Pro+ has a small display and a status LED, which is always on, even when the power is off. The text on the front is white and displays the Arylic logo as well as the model number. The back of the product is more interesting, hosting two connectors for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas, a trigger output port, a reset button, two RCA line in connectors, a sub out RCA, an optical in port, two line out RCAs, a coaxial out, an optical out, an Ethernet port (up to 100 Mbps only), a USB port and a barrel connector for power. And if you’re worried about accidentally turning it off, don’t be—you can only use the remote to power it on and off.
“The Arylic S50 Pro+’s remote is small but offers up all the controls you will need.”
The output through RCAs is best described as a “line out,” but it actually works as a preamplifier. This allows you to use the S50 Pro+’s remote to control the volume without needing to adjust it on the speaker amplifier.
The Arylic S50 Pro+’s remote is small but offers up all the controls you will need. It has buttons to power on and off the device, to turn the display dark, to mute any playing music, to select input (USB, aux in, optical in, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth), to change the volume, to manage playback (previous track, play/pause, next track), to adjust the sound (more or less bass and treble, as well as returning the sound to a balanced state and using the d.bass preset which supercharges the bass), as well as six numbered buttons you can customize through the application.
The Arylic S50 Pro+ boasts Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility and support for the aptX-HD codec. It also has Ethernet (up to 100 Mbps) and Wi-Fi. However, it should be noted that the device only supports Wi-Fi up to the 2.4 GHz part of the spectrum, so you will need to ensure your Wi-Fi router supports that, or you could be in for a stressful time.
The USB port only works with storage devices like pen drives and hard drives, so you will not be able to connect external devices. The list of supported ones in file formats is pretty long and includes MP3, AAC, AAC+, ALAC, FLAC, APE and WAV.
“…the S50 Pro+ could easily become a must-own audio product to bring the internet to all your current audio hardware.”
To control your new Arylic S50 Pro+, you must download an app called 4STREAM. This application is available for both Android and iOS and allows you to set up and manage all of Arylic’s devices. With 4STREAM, you can easily customize your Arylic experience to suit your needs. For me, this is where the Arylic S50 Pro+ has the most problems. While the hardware is very well-thought-out and feels very modern, the app leaves a lot to be desired.
Setting up the Arylic S50 Pro+ was one of the device’s most complex parts. You need to enable both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your device, scan for any Arylic devices on the network and then connect to the new device’s own Wi-Fi network. Once you’re connected, you can play music from your device, from any compatible sources on your local network and from various online sources, Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, Napster, Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn to name a few.
As I mentioned before, the 4STREAM app is rather basic, but even in its rudimentary format it still provides a few options: a sleep timer, an alarm clock, and the ability to specify what happens when you press the number buttons on the remote. These are nice additions, but while using the Arylic S50 Pro+ I found them, for the most part, superfluous. When apps like Sonos or Amazon Alexa are so incredibly feature-rich, the 4STREAM offering frankly pales in comparison. Combine this with an incredibly unintuitive interface and clunky controls, and the less time I need to spend in the 4STREAM app, the better.
During my testing of the Arylic S50 Pro+, I have to say I was impressed by the overall quality and sound the little box can deliver. Transients have the right impact and decay, and instrument separation is excellent. The S50 Pro+ is a great DAC for its affordable price range. It’s able to deliver everything it’s expected to acoustically, and it performs well in my subjective listening tests.
Listening to some Metallica or Motörhead, the Arylic S50 Pro+ managed to deliver the needed power and impact of the sound, with it fairing just as well with jazz, classical and a selection of folk songs. Despite its price and size, this little box produced some great audio, provided you have the speakers or system to bring that sound to life.
The Arylic S50 Pro+ is a very capable device that’s held back by its software. It can work as the centrepiece of a sound system and provides many connectivity options, from simple Bluetooth to Ethernet and Wi-Fi. It sounds good on its own but can also act as a transport for more capable DACs with the included optical and coaxial output. If it were not for the software troubles, I would honestly be surprised by how well it stacks up, especially for its $244 price tag.
Software issues aside, I feel there is a lot worth recommending in the S50 Pro+. It’s a very good device that provides a lot of value for its price. The software is functional, and it provides everything you need. If Arylic can smooth out the software issues, the S50 Pro+ could easily become a must-own audio product to bring the internet to all your current audio hardware.