Melco Audio has significantly upgraded its highly acclaimed entry-level N100-H20 digital music library, creating a new high-capacity HDD variant, the N100-H50, which more than doubles the original device’s music storage capability.

The new N100-H50 benefits from a 150 per cent capacity increase over the standard 2 TB N100-H20 (which stays in the range), to a whopping 5 TB. The upgraded 5 TB HDD is no ordinary drive, either: it is the same audio-specific model featured in the N100-H50’s upmarket sibling, the £7,499 N10 45th anniversary limited edition digital music library.

The dedicated drives are hand-picked by the factory to provide exceptional audio performance. The new N100-H50 directly benefits from Melco’s trickle-down drive technology, making the new N100-H50 Melco’s best ever entry-level music library.

Melco Audio’s UK General Manager, Dan Raggett says, “The 2 TB N100-H20 digital music library has been a fantastic entry-level addition to the Melco Audio product family over its two-and-a-half-year lifespan. It has allowed many new customers to access the fantastic sound quality Melco Audio is driven to deliver. 

“The option of a higher-capacity 5 TB version, allows customers with larger music collections to take advantage of Melco Audio’s no-compromise sound quality and unique approach to audio engineering.”

About the new N100-H50

The half-width, compact chassis N100-H50 builds on the class-leading N1Z series and introduces Melco sound quality, versatility and ease of use, at an entry-level price.

The N100-H50 is based on an easy-to-place 215 mm-wide chassis, which is half the width of most full-size hi-fi products. It uses the same extreme-low-noise, high-precision digital music dataflow in the existing Melco series and, crucially, is designed from the ground-up as an audio-specific device: Melco famously eschews standard IT components or PC parts.

A low-profile mainboard uses the exact same RISC processor and architecture as the flagship N1Z series, ensuring very low noise with precise data management. The device benefits from twin Ethernet ports: a dedicated Ethernet ‘player’ port connects directly to network streamers without an intervening data switch, ensuring timing is maintained.

The N100-H50 can also be used as a self-contained local hi-res digital music player when connected via a USB DAC; data rates of up to 32 bit/384 kHz and Octo DSD are supported, along with gapless and Melco markerless DSD.

Control is via the Melco Music HD app, from the front panel, or from approved third-party RF remote handsets; the N100 will operate with both USB DACs and also Ethernet-connected players even without connection to a data network in standalone Isolated Mode. When connected to a network, popular UPnP control point apps can be used for control. The N100-H50 is also Roon Ready following a recent firmware upgrade.

Despite the generous new 5 TB internal drive, storage is easily expandable, either with a standard USB HDD or to maintain sound quality, the Melco E100 2 TB expansion drive.

CD importing is also easy, with either the Melco D100 external CD loader or an IT-grade optical drive. (Melco does not put IT-grade loaders inside the N100 as it both compromises sound quality and also reduces reliability, due to the disposable nature of IT drives).

Finally, music backup is as easy as plugging in a USB HDD and pressing a button. Direct Hi-Res downloads from HighresAudio.com and other vendors (with more to follow in 2021), is supported for error-free downloading.

A front panel USB offers convenient importing from USB sources as well as direct playback from USB drives without importing.

Price and availability

The N100-H50 will be available at the beginning of July priced at £2,499. The existing N100-H20 is available now priced at £1,999. Both are available in black or silver.

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