Here's why Melco's £7k digital music library could actually be a bargain

Here's why Melco's £7k digital music library could actually be a bargain
(Image credit: Melco)

In March, Melco launched the flagship N1-S38, and now it's followed it up with a cheaper model with the same audiophile credentials. The N5-H50 digital music library has the same ground-up design, platform, chassis, casework and mainboard as the £12,000 flagship, but costs over £4000 less. Bargain.

The N5-H50 has an extreme grade of low-jitter system clock made by NDK, industrial-quality RJ45 connectors for the LAN port and dedicated player port, and SFP Fibre (Small Form Factor Pluggable) connectivity, allowing the use of noise-isolating optical connectivity with SFP-ready devices.

The rear USB ports are industrial-quality Amphenol connectors, while there's a front USB port for convenience, too. USB 2.0 and 3.0 are included, with the latter ideal for higher-speed data transfers like ripping CDs to the built-in hard drive.

The high-performance power connection uses an EMC-filtered IEC connector for true system ground reference. And its power supply boasts multistage linear regulation as well as a high-specification audio-grade toroidal transformer on a special vibration-cushion mount device.

Like other Melco devices, it's handmade in Japan. Its precision-machined two-tone metalwork takes inspiration from the N1-S38 – and for our money, looks very similar – while the chassis is centred around a 3mm stainless steel base plate to minimise vibrations. The OLED display promises to be easy to read, and to offer cool features like concealed shadow lighting which changes colour depending on machine status.

The N5-H50 is available now in black or silver for £7499 (US and Australian pricing is TBC).

If you're new to Melco, it has hi-fi chops at both ends of the price scale. We recently reviewed the N10/2-S38 (£9399/ $12,200 approx / AU$15,495) and the cheaper N100 (£1999 / $1999), and both are five-star performers.


Read our Melco N10/2-S38 review

And our Melco N100 review

2023 is going to be a great year for hi-fi separates, and I couldn’t be more excited

Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.