Me & My Melco
Jason Kennedy - Editor, The Ear.net
I reviewed the N1A shortly after it was launched and was so impressed that I decided to keep it. Since then, it has become a reference point for all the servers that have followed, including new models from Melco themselves.
In the four years that it has been in my system, it has proved to be entirely reliable and trouble-free. The introduction of the Melco Music HD control App has been a real boon: in the early days, I used various third-party Apps that worked with varying degrees of success when using the Melco as a USB source for a large range of DACs.
I use my N1A as an archive for my vast digital music collection which consists of FLAC, WAV and AIFF files with a few examples in DSD and a smattering of MP3s of material that can’t be had in other forms. I find that the Melco approach both sounds better than most CD players but more obviously, makes accessing my music quick and easy; there’s no need to hunt for discs, of course, and very little reason to leave the sofa, or there wouldn’t be if I had remote volume control, the life of a purist is never easy!
I like the Melco build quality and reliability, and the ease with which you can put music onto them is a major bonus: the software enables you to add music via the front panel interface, too.
I generally prefer the sound via a streamer of some kind and have had fabulous results with devices from Naim, Auralic, Lindemann and Aurender, among others. That said, I have had some pretty spectacular results with USB-connected DACs as well and it’s safe to say that the Melco has decent USB output.
I like the fact that the N1A has a dedicated ethernet output which provides a degree of isolation for the connected streamer and means that you don’t really need a network switch in normal system set up. This is doubly beneficial because it eliminates a noisy power supply from the system as well, and noise is the enemy of digital audio. I have to say that I am a convert to streaming audio and rarely use CD for serious listening; Melco is a big part of my musical picture.