Melco Audio has upgraded its two flagship Japanese-engineered digital music libraries, the HA-N1Z/2EX-H50 (HDD) and the HA-N1Z/2EX-S40 (SSD), to include new, improved power supplies and new, higher-performance single-drive storage for the best-ever Melco sound quality.

The flagship N1Z series machines offer audio connoisseurs the choice of either solid-state or hard disc storage, both specifically engineered for audio. The SSD-based HA-N1Z/2EX-S40 now benefits from a new, high-performance 4 TB storage drive and the HDD-based HA-N1Z/2EX-H50 is supplied with a new 5 TB unit; both models feature the new single drives.

Melco’s implementation of the new single drives means its engineers no longer have to incorporate a RAID system (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) in the operating software, giving an immediate sound quality upgrade by using higher quality single drives. 

Sound performance is extended further by the new and improved power supplies, making the current-generation Melco N1Z series the best it has ever been. Despite the upgrades, the pricing remains unchanged: the HA-N1Z/2EX-H50 is priced at £5,249 and HA-N1Z/2EX-S40 is £9,999.

The new N1Z machines also feature the latest EX upgrades, plus the new February-launched firmware (v. 4.10), which adds Roon playback, plus a number of additional features, including markerless DSD compatibility for a greater number of devices, Twonky server stability improvements, and web page stability improvements.

Melco Audio’s General Manager Dan Raggett says, “The upgraded N1Z series offers discerning music lovers the option of either a HDD or SSD drive and both now make use of our new, high-quality single drives, instead of the previous RAID-based dual-drive system. 

“By removing RAID architecture in the new models, we can give customers a sound quality upgrade, bolstered by our new and improved power supplies. These key updates really do take two already class-leading digital music libraries to a new performance level, further cementing Melco’s reputation in offering the gold standard of digital library playback.”

About the N1Z series

The N1Z series is Melco’s flagship range of audiophile source components, designed to complement Ethernet-connected devices (streamers) or USB-connected DACs.

The N1Z models benefit from heavy, anodised aluminium chassis sections, with a rigid internal H-frame to both isolate the unit from vibration and to isolate the hardware sections. The chassis is then bead-blasted to a high-quality finish.

Each drive is mounted on a massive, non-magnetic foundation plate and the N1ZS (SSD) benefits from highly stable, thick base plates and a shielded top-cover. The N1ZH (HDD) has a HDD drive which has much less electrical noise than a conventional 3.5in HDD.

Twin power supplies, featuring additional capacitor banks with audio-grade film capacitors, isolate the drives from the data processing. Multiple stages of noise reduction and isolation ensure the quietest possible environment for the sensitive electronics.

A high-precision, low-jitter clock manages the data flow to either the USB DAC or the Ethernet-equipped streamer.

Operation of the N1Z is simple, with a dedicated Neutrik USB 2.0 port for external DACs, plus 3x USB 3.0 ports for Easy Backup, Easy Expansion and Easy Import from CDs. The USB ports also support connection to USB drives for Easy Play (without importing) so that legacy CD collections can benefit from the latest DAC technology.

The N1Z allows audiophile-grade music-listening without PC or IT-type hardware devices in the system.

N1Z range key features

·         Heavy aluminium extrusions, bead-blasted and anodised

·         High stability, noise-eliminating H cross-frame construction for mechanical integrity

·         Single-press power button and front-panel buttons with a positive ‘click’ for easy operation

·         OLED display to reduce internal noise

·         Rear USB 3.0 ports: back-up, expansion, USB DAC or easy import from flash drive, CD drive or HDD

·         Three-pole IEC mains inlet with electrical ground to define the source component as ground point,

·         TAOC vibration-isolating feet

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