Melco N1A: REVIEW | AudioStream

Michael Lavorgna of AudioStream reviews the Melco N1A, and gives it the 2015 Greatest Bits Award for Media Servers

Computer based music can be frustrating. Especially for the uninitiated. The Melco N1A is designed to rid your life of frustrating computers so that you can do what you enjoy most: listen to music. This quiet box sits with your stereo system and gives you access to your music collection. Sets up fast, too. Without the need for pesky laptops or confusing network drives. Best of all, it makes your music sound better than you've ever heard it before. Works with network players and USB DACs, so it can easily find a home in your stereo system. 4TB of built in storage, too. Just $1999, a real bargain. Find a Retailer near you to experience Melco.

Melco N1A audiophile server
Melco N1A audiophile server

Excerpts from the review:

Setting up the N1A and getting music into it was a breeze.

Melco has also gone to some lengths to keep noise out of the data path. These include a separate and isolated power supply for the light-piped LAN ports, which offer complete electrical isolation (ALT Series Pulse Transformers from TDK are employed). The N1A also re-clocks all incoming data (using NDK's ultra-low-jitter clock) before sending it on its way.

In order of sonic preference, I'd say the Melco nudged out the Antipodes DS, which is quite a feat seeing as the Antipodes is no slouch in terms of sound. With the Melco, music was that much more crisp, refined, and natural sounding. While the Antipodes does things the Melco doesn't (it has an on on board DAC for one), which we'll talk about in more detail in the upcoming Antipodes review, the Melco comes in at $1,500 less than the DS' price tag. Can you spell Buffalo Inc.? How about Melco Holdings Inc.

Let's get the easy part out of the way. The Melco N1A buffaloed my MacBook Pro + Synology NAS. It destroyed them, embarrassed them, and gave them a good schooling to boot. Music sounded frighteningly obviously comparatively more refined, more spacious, and more natural. End of story. I cannot imagine anyone in this universe who listens to music as an activity unto itself making the same comparison and not hearing the difference.

If it was me, and it is for now, and I had the Melco N1A, I'd rid myself of all NAS and hook the N1A up to my DAC of choice via USB... if I was looking for a server with 4TB of internal storage, or a similarly equipped NAS to feed my favorite network player, or all of the above, I'd move the Melco N1A to my must audition list, pronto. In my experience, its price-performance one-two punch makes it hard to beat.

Read the full review.

AudioStream Greatest Bits Award
AudioStream Greatest Bits Award