Melco has announced updated versions of its range of network storage and playback servers. The three new models build on the performance, flexibility and ease of use offered by the original N1 series, and reflects both technical improvements and feedback from owners to not only further improve sound quality but also to add new functionality previously not possible with this type of source component. All three remain commited to Melco’s computer free streaming ethos.
The three new models directly replace the existing product line up and benefit from key improvements in connectivity, software, component specification and functionality. In particular, Melco has worked hard to enhance playback performance when used as a source for USB DACs, with all three models now featuring a dedicated Neutrik USB 2.0 DAC port.
They also support the direct playback of content connected via USB without having to import to the internal drives. Whether it is content stored on a USB drive or a CD played on an optical drive, users can choose to import to the internal storage or play directly, using the front panel display. Direct play is aided by a simple CD player-type interface on the Melco front panel.
Melco Music Libraries support 11.3MHz QUAD DSD. Now they have advanced DSD playback by providing an alternative to DoP (DSD over packet). Melco Markerless DSD is a DSD transport which “does not burden the data stream with the DSD Markers that are inserted into the data in the case of DoP. This represents a processing overhead for both the N1 and the player. So Melco Markerless DSD is a pure DSD data transport that is compatible with an increasing number of DACs that support ASIO DSD drivers”. A list is on the Melco website.
N1 Mk2 line-up
The flagship N1ZS20/2 (£7,700, top and below) has two 2nd Generation 1TB Audio Grade SSDs, built for the application by the Buffalo memory division and mounted on a non-magnetic, anti-vibration platform. These are supported with a dedicated power supply, with additional capacitor banks using audiophile grade Film capacitors.
The N1ZH60/2 (£4,299, top and above) takes the highly rigid vibration damping casework of the flagship and pairs it with two 3TB SFF HDD drives, which are configured by default to give a 6TB internal library. With a dedicated HDD power supply this has the same casework as the flagship model.
The N1AH60/2 (£2,099, above) adds a Neutrik Dedicated USB port and the improvements to the playback and control software common to all three models, the internal capacity has grown to 6TB (with the same options for adding external drives on the EXPANSION). For the first time, a capacitor bank derived from the N1ZS20/2 is used to ensure that the feed from the power supply is as quiet and stable as possible.
All Melco models will have new operating firmware, giving flexible user control of the internal DAC player directly from the front panel, removing the need for any network connected controllers or Apps.