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Melco's N10/2 is its 'best-performing' digital music library yet

Melco N10/2
(Image credit: Melco)

Japanese high-end specialist Melco (short for Maki Engineering Laboratory Company) has just launched a new flagship digital music library, the N10/2. Having released its most affordable music library, the N50, last October, Melco now turns its attentions to the other end of its offering. The new two-box flagship is, says the firm, the "best-performing Melco music library in the company’s history".

The N10/2 is available in two storage types: an HDD version named the N10/2-H50, and an SSD version called the N10/2-S38. The HDD version is a direct replacement for the firm's original N10, while the SSD version replaces its previous SSD flagship, the N1Z/2EX.

The upgraded libraries centre around new HDD and SSD drives at their core: a 5TB one in the N10/2-H50 and a 3.84TB one in the N10/2-S38. The dedicated drives are hand-picked by the factory to boast exceptional audio performance.

In addition, the N10/2 benefits from a new high-performance PCB, first seen in the limited-edition N10 45th Anniversary Limited Edition (now sold out).

Melco N10/2

(Image credit: Melco)

The N10/2 comprises twin half-width (215 mm) chassis, thus enabling Melco’s engineers to separate the signal-processing electronics from the power supply. The ‘head’ unit contains the processing electronics and data connectivity, while the power unit contains a linear power supply with a toroidal transformer.

The head unit uses the same digital music dataflow as the existing Melco series and, crucially, is designed from the ground up as an audio-specific device (Melco famously eschews standard IT components or PC parts).

The N10/2 also benefits from several familiar Melco USPs. The head unit’s rear panel boasts twin Ethernet ports. There are also LAN and PLAYER ports, the latter being a dedicated socket designed to connect directly to network streamers without the need for an intervening data switch.

Two USB 2.0 ports are also available (plus a further front-panel USB port): a dedicated USB DAC output ready for connection to USB DACs, USB DAC-equipped amplifiers or active speakers, and a port that allows USB devices such as HDD/SSD drives, CD drives (CD ‘rippers’) or Melco’s E100 (or other) storage drives to be connected. 

In addition to Melco’s software architecture, the N10/2 includes Melco’s Intelligent Music Library suite comprising MinimServer and SongKong software. The device is also Roon Ready, DSD compatible and offers app control via DLNA/UPnP (in USB DAC mode) with support for Tidal, Qobuz and vTuner streaming with the Melco Music HD app. 

Melco is also quick to tell customers that the N10/2 can be used as a self-contained local hi-res digital music player when connected via a USB DAC, supporting data rates of up to 32-bit/384 kHz and Octo DSD, along with gapless and Melco markerless DSD.

You can control it either via the Melco Music HD app, from the front panel, or from approved third-party RF remote handsets and for network playback, UPnP control point apps.

The Melco N10/2 is available now in HDD or SSD versions. N10/2-H50 (HDD) is priced £6999 / AU$10,499 (roughly $9500), while the N10/2-S38 (SSD) costs £8999 / AU$12,599 (around $12,200). Both are available in black or silver.

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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds.