Melco recently announced the Melco EX series platform – this finally solves the problems caused by trying to Browse and Search music collections which have incomplete or inconstant metadata and permits browsing by any tag in any order, rather than the conventional (and very restrictive) ‘browse by Artist, Album, Song’.
We have created other documents highlighting the benefits of this advanced and unique technology (including the blog post here), but the purpose of this short post is to clarify the EX situation for existing Melco owners.
Melco EX upgrade on existing N1 Mk1 & Mk2
The current Melco N1 platform must be upgraded to the EX platform in order to accept the EX firmware. This is not a hardware change and can be applied to both Mk1 and Mk2 N1 machines. It is all software, but because the HDDs will need a total rebuild, the update can only be carried out by Melco or approved service points.
We will issue full details shortly, but the plan is to be able to offer upgrades from March 2020 - possibly sooner, dependant on the availability of some software tools.
All Melco dealers and distributors will have full details of how the service will be offered in each market in December, at the time of the EX hardware launch, so please speak to your dealer at that time.
Melco N1 EX machines released in December will be a higher price than current Mk2 machines, because of all the extra software licenses etc. So the EX upgrade will also carry a charge - this will be nominal for machines purchased after the EX announcement at Munich this year (May 2019) and for older Mk2 will be comparable to the price difference between Mk2 and EX.
Mk1 machines can also be upgraded - the costs will be confirmed in December and all Melco dealers will be aware of these.
The new Melco EX Platform includes both Melco Intelligent Music Library (MIML) and VTuner for Internet Radio when using USB-DAC and Melco Music HD app. The Melco Music HD app has recently been updated to include the VTuner capability when used with EX platform machines and this is visible to all users - but any Melco not running firmware V4.xx cannot use VTuner.
Melco N1 Mk1 and Mk2 without EX upgrade
N1 Mk1 and Mk2 that are not updated to EX platform V4.xx will continue to receive support updates to FW V3.xx.
For example, there will be a firmware release V3.92 which will include an Installer for MinimServer2 Starter Edition and SongKong Lite. Although these two installations do not match the functionality of EX, both can be upgraded by payment of license fees to the full versions. (You can purchase the MinimServer upgrade here. The SongKong full license can be purchased from here).
V3.92 will therefore allow for SongKong Lite and MinimServer Lite to be installed, but EX upgrade is necessary to give full EX functionality including front panel OLED control and Internet Radio.
We hope this helps clarify how to benefit from the EX platform – please do contact your dealer with further questions and as noted above, they can help with upgrades when the time comes.