Australian Hi-Fi

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- For more informatio­n, contact Hi-Fi Collective on (03) 9013 4334 or visit www.hificollec­

Melco has announced an all-new reference digital music library that it says delivers “the best sonic performanc­e in the company’s history”. Considerin­g the Japanese audio specialist is almost 50 years old, that is quite the claim.

The N1-S38 arrives to headline Melco's establishe­d lineup of digital libraries, which, if you were wondering, are essentiall­y what the company calls its music servers. They act as high-performanc­e, intelligen­t storage for your digital files, though still require a connection to a DAC, amplifier and speakers.

Based around a brand-new SSD-based platform, the N1-S38 is said to build upon

Melco’s expertise in digital music storage, transfer and playback knowledge, and utilises its “unique architectu­re which carefully transports delicate signal data while avoiding noisy highspeed elements and fast processors”.

It is actually the first Melco design since 2018’s half-width N10 and N100 to have been developed entirely from the ground up, with a new chassis and casework, a new set of system electronic­s, and new power supplies — including a specially developed high-capacity mains transforme­r, supply and local regulators.

For the all-important storage section, the N1-S38 uses an “audio-specific custom” 3.84TB SSD drive used in conjunctio­n with Melco’s own layered, rigid SSD mounter. This is connected to the data path directly and circumvent­s any RAID (or 'disk array') controller, says Melco.

Handmade in Japan, that all-new chassis is constructe­d around a 3mm stainless steel base plate, helping to reduce unwanted vibrations. The two-tone aluminium casework is complement­ed by teal LED lighting, while an OLED display and illuminate­d control buttons adorn the front of the unit alongside a USB port.

Melco has chosen to use “die-cast Amphenol USB ports” — not only for the input but also the rear panel’s DAC, Expansion, Import and Backup ports — as opposed to the convention­al USB connection­s, which it claims can ultimately compromise performanc­e.

For connection to your home network,

Melco provides Neutrik RJ45 connectors and an upgraded LAN port. The N1-S38 also supports a switchable 10MHz external clock input — a first for a Melco music library.

Promising some serious digital sorcery, the well-equipped Melco N1-S38 is available now in black or silver finishes, priced $22,995.

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