Melco intros first audiophile grade music servers for custom install

posted on Wednesday, 17th December 2014 by Steve May

Streaming  High-end  High Res Audio  Hi-fi 

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Melco, the audio division of Japanese computer peripheral company Buffalo Technology, has introduced a line of network audio products with the custom installer, and enthusiast user, uppermost in mind. Its new Music Library range comprise the N1A and N1Z, a pair of audiophile grade dedicated music server solutions. UK Distribution is by Kog Audio.

Melco Music Libraries are being positioned as an alternative to IT-centric NAS solutions which are commonly used to feed UPnP DLNA streamers of wireless audio systems. Melco suggests that such NAS drives are “unsatisfactory and unreliable” when it comes to CI deployment, as they’re unsuitable for long term installation without regular maintenance.

The N1Z (pictured below) tops the range and offers 1TB of fast SSD storage. Beneath the lid are two separate power supplies housed in an H frame reinforced aluminium enclosure. Isolation is provided by TOAC branded isolation feet. The sibling N1A comes with a conventional HDD offering 4TB capacity.

“Having been in and around computer audio music since it started, the weak link has always been the storage of valuable music files and the fact that one has had to access this sensitive data via generic flaky and noisy LAN networks,” says Alan Ainslie, General Manager at Melco EU. “There was always an unsatisfactory risk of losing music in the event of HDD or hardware failure or during power outages. The Melco range offers installers and users the reliable digital music source that is required for long-term, high quality and easy access of music files across a whole-home network music system, as well as a specialist high-end audio room.”

N 1z _rear Crop

The Melo (Maki Engineering Laboratory Company) approach is to introduce CE-style build and reliability. The devices utilise a 43cm form factor, with a metal case and integrated power supply, and offers internal (RAID1) or external backup requiring minimal configuration. Connectivity includes Dual Gigabit Ethernet connections, for general LAN and dedicated audio. The idea is that the storage device has a dedicated RJ 45 connection with the system player, negating any need to negotiate switches. This approach reduces the possibility of interference and also allows the use of precision Ethernet cables if required. Of course the player is still on the LAN and can be controlled by, and interact with, other network devices. There’s also support for storage expansion.

Functionality includes simple options to transfer and load music; tracks can be imported into the device via USB drive, over USB3, or via the network. Alternatively, they can be downloaded directly from embedded High Res audio music services. Both MMLs also boasts an innovative custom user interface that offers a detailed navigation tree, with Folders at the top level, and Formats and Sample Rate as display fields if required.

“As distributors of high-end audiophile equipment, we have been awaiting the solution to integrating computer audio into audio systems without compromised sound quality or complicated and unreliable operation,” says Mark Standbridge, Director at Kog Audio. “The Melco MML is a genuine audiophile component rather than an IT peripheral, with foolproof operation and a unique feature set, and is audibly superior to any other digital file server. We are delighted to offer the MML as an essential component of any networked music system, and the first digital source for computer audio able to satisfy critical listeners at the highest level.”

Ha -n 1z Inside Crop

The N1Z and N1A retail for £6,200 and £1600 respectively.

Also read:
Technics makes triumphant return at IFA 2014
Meridian outs high resolution high efficiency MQA codec
Systemline S7 promises multiroom audio made easy

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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