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Aurender A15 Ultra High Performance Caching Music Server / Streamer / Player

It's fair to say that the Aurender A15, the latest device from Aurender, is an extremely versatile solution. The manufacturer calls it an ultra-high performance caching music server, but it also functions as a streamer and DAC, and can also take over the task of a preamplifier.

With the new Aurender A15, the Korean specialist for streaming systems Aurender Inc. presents an extremely versatile solution that can without a doubt be called a “digital control center”. Not only is it a music server, but it can also act as a streamer at the same time, this solution also has an integrated D/A converter and can also perform the task of a preamplifier. All it needs for a complete hi-fi chain is either a power amplifier with corresponding speaker systems, or simply a pair of active speaker systems.

Aurender A15 – One for all…

Aurender states that the developer’s paradigm changed when they introduced the Aurender A10 to the market. For the first time they presented a solution that was not only a music server or streaming transport, but also had an integrated D/A converter.

The Aurender A15 is the next generation of this product group, equipped with many new functions as well as audible improvements, and should prove to be a true high-end solution with a particularly high degree of flexibility. The declared goal is to provide audiophile hi-fi enthusiasts with a product that, as already mentioned, acts as a central interface and requires only a few playing partners to realize a complete high-end hi-fi chain of the most modern design.

Adaptive File Library Storage

To function as a music server, the Aurender A15 has two storage bays that are directly accessible to the user from the back and can accommodate either SSD or 2.5 inch HDD. The Aurender A15 can thus be upgraded with a storage capacity of up to 16 TBytes, which should easily be enough even for very, very extensive media libraries.

However, if you want to use the Aurender A15 solely as a streamer, you do without this upgrade option, but you can of course always decide differently and install a hard drive or SSD. In any case, the help of a service technician isn’t necessary, and you don’t even need tools for this.

Cache-based playback

Aurender uses an internal solid state cache for the entire playback, as the manufacturer describes it. As soon as a title, album or playlist is added to the queue, the content is immediately downloaded to the internal cache memory with 240 GB and only played back over it. By caching tracks on the solid-state drive, the company says it will completely eliminate electrical and acoustic noise caused by rotating hard drives, moving heads and motors. This technology also results in less strain on overall system resources and the power supply, less wear and tear on internal storage drives, increased reliability and, most importantly, better audio performance, it adds.

Foto © Aurender Inc. | Aurender A15 Ultra High Performance Caching Music Server / Streamer / Player
Foto © Aurender Inc. | Aurender A15 Ultra High Performance Caching Music Server / Streamer / Player

Dual-Mono MQA Full-decode DAC and FPGA-based Precison Clock

A particularly powerful CPU serves as the basis for the signal processing. The manufacturer doesn’t give any exact data here, but only speaks of an Intel Low Power Quadcore CPU. The system memory is equipped with 8 GBytes. Signal conversion is done by converters from the specialist Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation, specifically an AKM4490 DAC chipset, whereby the DAC is supplied by its own discrete, linear power supply for best channel separation, high dynamics and low noise.

The signal conversion is driven by a precise FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Arrays) clock that relies on a so-called TCXO-based Precision Jitter Reducing Clock to eliminate any sound-damaging jitter.

Aurender especially emphasizes that MQA encoded content is fully unfolded here, furthermore the DAC of the Aurender A15 supports signals encoded in Linear PCM with up to 32 bit and 768 kHz, furthermore also DSD with up to DSD512.

Open to external sources

As already mentioned, the Aurender A15 can also be used for external sources and thus act as a D/A converter. A coaxial as well as an optical S/PDIF interface are available for this purpose.

The Aurender A15 also has two USB 3.0 ports for external media as well as a USB Audio Class 2.0 output. It should also be mentioned at this point that the system is integrated into the network via a Gigabit Ethernet interface, which is double-isolated.

Foto © Aurender Inc. | Aurender A15 Ultra High Performance Caching Music Server / Streamer / Player
Foto © Aurender Inc. | Aurender A15 Ultra High Performance Caching Music Server / Streamer / Player

Use as a preamplifier

The Aurender A15 has analog outputs in the form of a pair of RCA and a pair of XLR connectors, so it is designed for unbalanced as well as balanced connections. Optionally, the output can be used with fixed or variable level, so this solution, as promised by the manufacturer, can also be used directly as a preamplifier in conjunction with a power amplifier or active speaker systems.

Sophisticated power supply

With sensitive digital source components, the power supply plays a crucial role in the overall sonic performance, Aurender claims, stating that the new Aurender A15 uses four toroidal transformers with elaborate shielding and isolation, as well as separate linear power supplies for all relevant sections.

Simple operation

The Aurender A15 can of course be operated directly on the unit, which is why it offers a very, very generously sized display with a 6.9 inch screen diagonal. In addition, there are a few buttons and a rotary encoder. A remote control is also included.

Of course, the operation is even more convenient via the Aurender Conductor app, which the company provides for Apple iOS and Google Android to guarantee intuitive control via smartphones and tablets.

Access to TIDAL, Qobuz, Spotify and Internet Radio is also possible via the app. It should also be mentioned that the Aurender A15 supports Spotify Connect.

The Aurender A15 measures 430mm in width, 96mm in height and 355mm in depth, bringing it to 11.9kg. The case is made of aluminum and comes in a choice of black or silver.

Prices and availability

According to the manufacturer, the new Aurender A15 should be on the market as early as September 2022. The recommended retail price is listed at €8,890, which of course does not include storage drives. Included, however, as already mentioned, is a high-quality remote control.

Getting to the point

Truly, one can speak of the new Aurender A15 as a very, very universal, very flexible solution, this is already clearly stated by the full name of this new system from Aurender Inc. Aurender A15 Ultra High Performance Caching Music Server / Streamer / Player, that’s how you would have to call this system, in short, it offers pretty much everything you need for a modern HiFi system around digital content. And since the Aurender A15 can also act as a preamp, in the simplest case a power amp plus a couple of speakers, or even a pair of active speaker systems alone, is all that’s needed.

Price€ 8.890,-
ManufacturerAurender Inc.
DistributionAudio Components Vertriebs GmbH
More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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