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Melco Audiophile NAS
13-12-2014, 21:48 (This post was last modified: 13-12-2014 21:52 by DavidHB.)
Post: #11
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
(13-12-2014 20:03)beckphotonik Wrote:  I was considering an SSD loaded Qnap that would have set me back £1100!

... and the Melco SSD device costs £6,200. You can buy a lot of hi-fi for the difference, so the Melco has to be special to stand out to that extent in the market place. Simon is making the point that it is a bit special. I'll go along with that assurance, as we all have reasons to trust Simon's judgement on these issues, but I'd want to understand a bit better what is going on before contemplating a purchase of that kind.

(13-12-2014 20:03)beckphotonik Wrote:  Even so it would not be as elegant as the Melco solution.

I think the point about the Melco solution is not so much that it is elegant (though it is), but that it is different from what has gone before. We have seen a variety of attempts to improve performance by creating a dedicated or isolated network, and by putting the music system on a different subnet. What seems to be happening with the Melco approach is that the NAS (or rather its networking component) is not isolated in that way, but 'cleans up' the part of the network that connects to the player.

Simon's experiments suggest that it doesn't matter so much where the stream originates (which is good news in regard to sources such as internet radio); what matters is that the player is connected to the specially configured and powered network port on the NAS. I cannot think of any other device that takes this approach (though would be glad to be corrected if there is one), and it does seem from the product description and specifications of the Melco that the audio-oriented work on the networking components has been rather thorough. This is what one would expect from a company which (Simon told us) has a respectable history in both audio and networking - a somewhat unusual pedigree, I think.

Be all that as it may, enjoy the QNAP ...

David
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13-12-2014, 22:24 (This post was last modified: 13-12-2014 22:25 by beckphotonik.)
Post: #12
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
I shall enjoy the Qnap David but as a retired electronics engineer, I shall watch this Melco product with great interest. Someone has thought a lot about what is needed for audio and it may well be worth the price (not the top range £6200 version but the HDD £1600 version) for an all streaming high end system like mine.
Donna.
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13-12-2014, 23:35
Post: #13
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
(13-12-2014 22:24)beckphotonik Wrote:  I shall enjoy the Qnap David but as a retired electronics engineer, I shall watch this Melco product with great interest. Someone has thought a lot about what is needed for audio and it may well be worth the price (not the top range £6200 version but the HDD £1600 version) for an all streaming high end system like mine.
Donna.

I'm entirely with you on this. Tantalisingly, the product description of the HDD version seems to claim the same benefits on the networking front as for the SSD model. But that begs the question as to what justifies the massive price difference.

I have been thinking about getting a dedicated music NAS, but this new approach may represent a significant step forward, and I think I'll hold fire on my plans until I understand better what is available at what price.

David
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13-12-2014, 23:48
Post: #14
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
(13-12-2014 19:39)DavidHB Wrote:  ... and costs £6,200. Ouch. How much of the benefit does one get from the £1,600 N1A, I wonder?

I would also be very interested to know the answer to this question. Apart from the SSDs, the main difference seems to be the power supplies (potentially quite significant). The N1Z also has a Linn Klimax-style thick aluminium case.

Quote:Well, the Albert Hall (in any of its acoustic incarnations) is not like St Mark's - where Gardiner was also free to play around with the spacing of the performance - but I know what you mean. There's an interesting account in Gardiner's recent book ("Music in the Castle of Heaven" - it's really about J.S. Bach) of his pioneering performance of the Vespers in Cambridge when he was still an undergraduate there.

There is also a lot of space in the Albert Hall and it was used very effectively by positioning a few musicians (a mixture of vocal and instrumental, different for each piece) in remote locations at varying distances from the main stage. Very effective and an experience I will never forget. It puts the limitations of any hi-fi system in their proper perspective.
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14-12-2014, 17:41 (This post was last modified: 14-12-2014 18:08 by beckphotonik.)
Post: #15
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
(09-12-2014 18:59)simoncn Wrote:  When I connect my player to the network using the dedicated player link of the Melco NAS, there is a very noticeable change in the clarity and transparency of the music. I hear this difference with MinimServer running on the Melco NAS and I hear the same difference with MinimServer running on some other NAS elsewhere in my network, as long as my player is connected to the network via the Melco NAS. This confirms that the benefit is caused by something in the Ethernet connection feeding the player rather than by the hardware running the UPnP server.


If this is correct, a bigger market opportunity for lesser cost would be for Melco to produce a dedicated audiophile 3 port switch to "clean up" the output of any old NAS before presenting it to the streamer.
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14-12-2014, 18:48
Post: #16
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
(14-12-2014 17:41)beckphotonik Wrote:  If this is correct, a bigger market opportunity for lesser cost would be for Melco to produce a dedicated audiophile 3 port switch to "clean up" the output of any old NAS before presenting it to the streamer.

I would be reluctant to use a word like "correct" given the limited testing I have done (with only one player) and the uncertainty about what is causing the sonic difference. With other configurations, there could be other factors that affect the observed results.
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14-12-2014, 19:34
Post: #17
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
(13-12-2014 23:48)simoncn Wrote:  I would also be very interested to know the answer to this question. Apart from the SSDs, the main difference seems to be the power supplies (potentially quite significant). The N1Z also has a Linn Klimax-style thick aluminium case.

Yes, I finally got round to identifying these differences when I re-read the product descriptions. I agree with you about the power supplies (the advertised difference is in the capacitors); these certainly have an effect in analogue systems, but the question remains as to why they should be significant in a digital context. I'm not sure whether the solid case has any effect on the sound, or is just engineering bling. But you have a Klimax, I believe, so you are a better judge of that than I am ...

(13-12-2014 23:48)simoncn Wrote:  There is also a lot of space in the Albert Hall and it was used very effectively by positioning a few musicians (a mixture of vocal and instrumental, different for each piece) in remote locations at varying distances from the main stage. Very effective and an experience I will never forget. It puts the limitations of any hi-fi system in their proper perspective.

I certainly agree with you about that last. There is no way that any hi-fi system will ever be able to re-create the psychological impact of a live performance. What it can sometimes do is enable one to recall that impact. I attend a fair number of services in our cathedral, which has a particular (no, let's be honest, peculiar) acoustic. Recordings made in the cathedral, when played on decent equipment, immediately 'take me back' to that particular space. If I didn't know the place, I suspect that the acoustic would just seem weird.

David
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08-01-2015, 09:44
Post: #18
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
(09-12-2014 18:59)simoncn Wrote:  I'm currently listening to MinimServer running on this device.

As we all know, it's impossible for the NAS hardware to make any difference to how the music sounds because the audio is transmitted as a bit-perfect stream of data across a bit-perfect Ethernet connection. This has been true for every NAS or computer that I've used to run MinimServer (12 at the last count).

This NAS is a bit different, though. It has a dedicated opto-isolated Ethernet port for direct connection to my player (a Linn Klimax DS/1) together with other high-quality componentry such as a low-jitter clock and a better-quality power supply.

When I connect my player to the network using the dedicated player link of the Melco NAS, there is a very noticeable change in the clarity and transparency of the music. I hear this difference with MinimServer running on the Melco NAS and I hear the same difference with MinimServer running on some other NAS elsewhere in my network, as long as my player is connected to the network via the Melco NAS. This confirms that the benefit is caused by something in the Ethernet connection feeding the player rather than by the hardware running the UPnP server.

I can't explain this scientifically and I know that most people reading this will think I'm imagining things. This would have been my reaction as well until very recently.

Hi Simon

I would like to understand a little more as to how the melco connects to your player.Does it connect directly to your player? Not through a router? How then is your player connected to the network? Isnt it necessary to connect to the network to use an application like bubble from an android tablet, where your player shows up as a renderer?

In my setup I have had positive results by using a lan isolator as well as a linear power supply for the router.

best
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08-01-2015, 11:41
Post: #19
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
(08-01-2015 09:44)best Wrote:  Hi Simon

I would like to understand a little more as to how the melco connects to your player.Does it connect directly to your player? Not through a router? How then is your player connected to the network? Isnt it necessary to connect to the network to use an application like bubble from an android tablet, where your player shows up as a renderer?

In my setup I have had positive results by using a lan isolator as well as a linear power supply for the router.

best

The player connects to a port on the Melco and there is another port on the Melco to connect to the rest of the LAN. Effectively, the Melco is acting as a switch.

It's also possible to use the Melco standalone with only the connection to the player. In this mode, the Melco runs a DHCP server and the player must have built-in controls (front panel or IR remote) for selecting music. I haven't tried this.

Which LAN isolator and linear power supply are you using?
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08-01-2015, 12:04
Post: #20
RE: Melco Audiophile NAS
(08-01-2015 11:41)simoncn Wrote:  
(08-01-2015 09:44)best Wrote:  Hi Simon

I would like to understand a little more as to how the melco connects to your player.Does it connect directly to your player? Not through a router? How then is your player connected to the network? Isnt it necessary to connect to the network to use an application like bubble from an android tablet, where your player shows up as a renderer?

In my setup I have had positive results by using a lan isolator as well as a linear power supply for the router.

best

The player connects to a port on the Melco and there is another port on the Melco to connect to the rest of the LAN. Effectively, the Melco is acting as a switch.

It's also possible to use the Melco standalone with only the connection to the player. In this mode, the Melco runs a DHCP server and the player must have built-in controls (front panel or IR remote) for selecting music. I haven't tried this.

Which LAN isolator and linear power supply are you using?

Giso lan isolator from acousence. Also tried the lan isolator from acoustic revive, but preferred this one. It is connected between pc and router. Linear power supply from teradak.

Will you get a chance to compare the two models? Main difference seems to be in the separate power supply and the drives?
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