To celebrate 45 years of hi-fi design and manufacturing, Japanese digital music library specialist Melco has just launched a special 45th-anniversary version of its flagship half-width library, the N10 45th Anniversary Limited Edition.
Melco says the half-width N10 has been designed to offer even better audio performance than the company's full-width N1Z series, while offering a highly convenient form factor.
Housed in two units – each 21.5cm wide, matching the D100 CD loader, E100 Expansion drive and recently introduced S100 data switch – the N10 comprises a head unit with all the processing electronics and the data connectivity, plus a power unit containing a low-noise linear power supply and power management. Separating the units promises total isolation from noise pollution, as well as isolating vibration from the power transformer.
Crucially, the special edition N10 also benefits from a capacity upgrade, from 3TB to 5TB. The special edition library is supplied in an exclusive presentation box containing an official Melco certificate, pen, chopsticks, coaster, notepad and USB drive, too.
Finished in an exclusive celebratory champagne gold, the N10 45th Anniversary Limited Edition is available in a limited run of 50 in Europe, priced £7499.
In line with the rest of Melco’s EX Series range, the N10 45th Anniversary Limited Edition will benefit from the firm's recently introduced EX Series upgrades – including Roon compatibility via USB download. The EX Series upgrades centre around the introduction of a software suite, Melco Intelligent Music Library (MIML), plus vTuner Internet radio and web control (from internet-connected devices).
The casework is high-quality solid aluminium, including solid aluminium end-cheeks. Multiple elements promise total rigidity and the isolation of all components to ensure maximum sound quality.
The N10 uses the same high-precision digital music dataflow as the wider Melco EX Series and the firm says it has been designed from the ground up as an audio-specific device – to that end it uses no standard IT components or PC parts.
A new low-profile mainboard uses the exact same RISC processor and architecture as the N1Z series to ensure very low noise with precise data management; the N10 mainboard is optimised for extreme sound quality.
Twin Ethernet ports are retained, with the dedicated Ethernet player port connecting directly to the network player without an intervening data switch. That 5TB internal storage is easily expandable too, either with a USB HDD or (for best results, says Melco) the dedicated Melco E100 expansion drive. Data rates up to 32-bit/384 kHz and Octo DSD are supported, as well as gapless and markerless DSD.
The N10 is compatible with USB DACs, with control either via the Melco app, from the front panel, or from an approved third-party RF Remote handset. The N10 will also operate with Ethernet-connected players, even without connection to a data network in standalone Isolated Mode.
CD importing is easy with either the Melco D100 external CD loader or an IT-grade optical drive for less demanding use. Melco states that it does not put an IT-grade loader inside the N10, since this both compromises sound quality and also reduces reliability due to the disposable nature of such drives. Music backup is, says Melco, as easy and plugging in a USB drive and pressing a button.
Direct download of hi-res files from hiresaudio.com and other vendors is also supported. There's a front panel USB socket for convenient importing from USB devices, direct play without importing and for the connection of a USB DAC.
Read our recent five-star Melco N100 review
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