Melco's flagship N1 digital music library promises "previously unreached performance level"

Friesiansam

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For the all-important storage section, it has an "audio-specific custom" 3.84TB SSD drive that's used in conjunction with Melco's own layered, rigid SSD mounter. This is connected to the data path directly and circumvents any RAID controller, says Melco.
What makes the SSD "audio-specific custom" and, why would a music server with only a single storage device, have a RAID controller to need circumventing anyway?
 

DougM

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What makes the SSD "audio-specific custom" and, why would a music server with only a single storage device, have a RAID controller to need circumventing anyway?

A lot of the claims on this device are obvious audiophile nonsense. The bottom line is that what arrives at your DAC is going to be bit for bit identical regardless of whether you use this device or another. Nothing before the DAC can possibly have any impact on the audio quality because none of the transports involved allow bit errors.
 
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Hifiman

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I too would be interested to know how this hugely expensive server can deliver ones and zeros any differently to a much more affordable option. If my laptop‘s SSD delivered even a single bit incorrectly it would crash continually so I find it difficult to comprehend how components such as these can provide any music more accurately.
Maybe there is something in these devices but I remember when AV publications waxed lyrical about how expensive HDMI cables improved television picture quality. That was until it was disproved unequivocally.
 

DougM

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I too would be interested to know how this hugely expensive server can deliver ones and zeros any differently to a much more affordable option. If my laptop‘s SSD delivered even a single bit incorrectly it would crash continually so I find it difficult to comprehend how components such as these can provide any music more accurately.
Maybe there is something in these devices but I remember when AV publications waxed lyrical about how expensive HDMI cables improved television picture quality. That was until it was disproved unequivocally.

From their review:
"There will always be those that think digital things like servers make no difference to sound quality, but that isn’t the case in our experience. While noting that the Melco comes in at more than four times the cost of our Uniti Core, there is no denying that we hear way more in terms of subtle detail and authority when listening to a range of files off the N10/2."

And that's how you know the reviewer is either getting paid or just wants to believe.
 

Hifiman

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If a new medicine wishes to reach market it first has to prove it is superior to existing alternatives or at least equivalent while being less costly. This Is done by well conducted blinded trials. It can be difficult to take a similar approach with many hifi components but it certainly must be possible for servers such as these and less costly alternatives. Then we would find out where is best to spend our budget.
 
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SL 75

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What makes the SSD "audio-specific custom" and, why would a music server with only a single storage device, have a RAID controller to need circumventing anyway?

I really want to respect Melco, being the progenitor of Buffalo, which I do like and respect very much, but this description is all rather disingenuous. For over 9 grand, they need a better description of audio-specific custom (for what it's worth, I've seen a pic of the innards of another Melco device and it had a bog standard Western Digital Blue HDD in it, and all Buffalo NAS boxes I've seen also use WD). As for connecting directly to the data path, what kind of nonsense is that, totally vague and meaningless. A storage device needs some sort of I/O chip to interface to the main board (and there will be address and control lines alongside the data path lines), typically these days that may well include RAID functionality, but it's all out of context and mumbo jumbo here. Preserving delicate music signals... All computer components these days operate on very low voltages and hence are delicate signals. Again just playing with words and I would like to see a more technical assessment of such claims in WHF.

By all means design and manufacture with fanatical attention to detail, as many Japanese companies do, but some better explanation is needed in place of the flowery language. For example with the SSD unit, they could have used a professional grade SSD (these do exist, for extremely demanding video acquisition and production - they are rated for more read/write operations), and that would be a legitimate, marketable feature.
 
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SL 75

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If a new medicine wishes to reach market it first has to prove it is superior to existing alternatives or at least equivalent while being less costly. This Is done by well conducted blinded trials. It can be difficult to take a similar approach with many hifi components but it certainly must be possible for servers such as these and less costly alternatives. Then we would find out where is best to spend our budget.
Exactly. Some basic oscilloscope screenshots would go a long way to making any of this more credible.
 

DougM

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If you have any evidence of the former, please produce it. Otherwise keep the comments appropriate please. Unsubstantiated accusations of payola will not be tolerated by the magazine on its own website.

It works the other way. A website wants to be a credible authority on the quality of products. They achieve this by not saying things that suggest they might be falling prey to payola.
 
It works the other way. A website wants to be a credible authority on the quality of products. They achieve this by not saying things that suggest they might be falling prey to payola.
Sorry, but on their own website that's not the case - it's their choice what to include and visitors can assess what's said themselves. You will be expected to adhere to forum rules if you wish to post here.

I'm sceptical about the claims myself, but that's another matter.
 

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