Best since 1975
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.