The new Aurender N30SA High Definition Caching Music Server ans Streamer, which the specialist Aurender Inc. is now presenting, should prove to be a clear flagship. It continues where the Aurender N20 ended.
With the Aurender N30SA High Definition Caching Music Server and Streamer, specialist Aurender Inc. presents its new flagship, a solution aimed at proven audiophile high-end hi-fi enthusiasts who are looking for a top-class music server or streamer for their streaming solution.
The manufacturer states that the new Aurender N30SA High Definition Caching Music Server and Streamer continues the innovative concept first introduced with the Aurender N20.
Aurender N30SA – Making two out of one…
It is immediately noticeable that the new Aurender N30SA High Definition Caching Music Server and Streamer consists of not one, but two components. The developers have consistently separated essential components so that the highly sensitive signal processing is not impaired in any way that could damage the sound. As is often the case, a music server or streamer is ultimately a “PC”, so some components should be kept as separate as possible from others.
In the case of the Aurender N30SA High Definition Caching Music Server and Streamer, this means that the power supply is housed in a single enclosure, as are large parts of the pure “IT”, if you want to put it that way, i.e. everything needed for control, but also the data carriers as the basis for the operating system and the caching of the audio data carried out here for accurate signal processing. The data carriers that can be used as storage space for your own content are also located here.
Of course, this component is the one without controls and display, which the manufacturer calls the power box.
The second component of the system contains all the delicate components, in principle the engine for the streamer, but also the so-called OCXO clock (Oven Controlled Crystal Oscillator), which works particularly precisely and serves as the basis for the system clock. The so-called audio box also contains the filtered and isolated USB audio output and the S/PDIF audio card with all digital output protocols.
Here, on the front, you will also find the generous display (full-colour 8.8-inch IPS LCD with 1,920 x 480 pixels) as well as the control elements, which should not be forgotten either.
Both the Powerbox and the Audiobox are supposed to have a particularly solid aluminium housing, whereby the cover plates with a wall thickness of 10 mm are supposed to offer particularly effective EMF shielding and prevent sound-damaging resonances.
The connecting cables between the power box and the audio box are designed in such a way that the two components can actually be placed up to 1.5 m apart from each other, thus preventing any negative interference. In addition to a 0.5 m system cable, a 1.5 m version is also included in the delivery.
The basis for high system performance is an Intel low-power quad-core processor with 8 GBytes of system memory and a 480 GByte SSD, which is used for the operating system but also as a cache for audio data.
By the way, the new Aurender N30SA High Definition Caching Music Server and Streamer is equipped ex works with an additional 8 TByte SSD, which is available for the user’s audio data. The system also offers space for a second 2.5-inch SSD or HDD.
Integration into the network is achieved via a double-isolated Gigabit Ethernet interface, and two USB 3.0 ports are available for the integration of additional data media.
Pure streaming bridge
With the new Aurender N30SA High Definition Caching Music Server and Streamer, the developers also decided to do without an integrated D/A converter. This solution must therefore be described as a so-called streaming bridge, which leaves the signal conversion from digital to analogue to an external converter.
The new Aurender N30SA can be synchronised with this converter via a word clock input in the form of a BNC interface, whereby 10 MHz or 12.8 MHz are output depending on the signal. The basis for this is, as already mentioned, a particularly precise master clock. This is based on a so-called FPGA-based fully digital phase-locked loop system. This ADPLL system (All-Digital Phase-Locked Loop) with Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) and OCXO clock generators provides the promised precise timing of digital audio data transmissions and minimises jitter to a negligible level.
Audio signals in digital form are primarily output via a USB port with USB Audio 2.0, and an AES/EBU, coaxial and optical S/PDIF interface are also available.
The system supports audio data in Linear PCM with up to 32 bits and 384 kHz, and also DSD up to DSD512. The data can be available as DSD (DSF, DFF), WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, M4A and APE.
DSD-to-PCM conversion and upsampling possible
By the way, the manufacturer particularly points out the possibility of signal conversion from DSD to PCM, namely for the S/PDIF interfaces. An FPGA is also used for this. Upsampling is also possible, with three options: 44.1 or 48kHz, 88.2 or 96kHz, and 176.4 or 192kHz. The manufacturer states that one should definitely experiment here, because the results can vary depending on the server and DAC combinations.
However, upsampling can only be used if the DAC is connected via the S/PDIF interfaces. The USB audio output is always bit-perfect and therefore does not use a DSP.
Critical Listening Mode
Interestingly, a so-called Critical Listening Mode allows the user to disable all unimportant overhead computer activities that are not necessary for music to always sound its best. By turning off the display lighting and other background functions, system resources are reduced to achieve the best possible sound quality.
Uninterruptible power supply
Not only does the new Aurender N30SA have a high quality linear power supply, but the manufacturer also refers to it as having an integrated UPS. UPS refers to an uninterruptible power supply, and this is intended to ensure that, in the event of a power failure, there is still enough capacity available via capacitors to shut down the system safely. This prevents the system and the hard drives from being damaged by the mains power failure.
Control via Aurender Conductor App
To control all functions of the Aurender N200, the Aurender Conductor App for Apple iOS and Google Android is available, as is familiar for the manufacturer. This app not only allows you to configure the Aurender N200, but also to play back your own content intuitively. The TIDAL and Qobuz services are also accessible via this app.
MQA Core Decoder
As an optional in-app purchase, Aurender Inc. offers an MQA Core Decoder. This enables so-called First Unfold, which means that MQA files can be played back at up to 88.2 kHz or 96 kHz even via a non-MQA-certified D/A converter. The MQA Core Decode Upgrade can also deliver the First Unfold to MQA-certified D/A converters, which need this in order for the DAC to perform the final rendering, according to Aurender Inc.
Incidentally, each of the two components measures 430 x 106 x 353 mm and tips the scales at 22 kg. The system can be ordered in either black or silver and is expected to be available from retailers in the near future.
The recommended retail price for the new Aurender N30SA High Definition Caching Music Server and Streamer is listed at 24,900.
Getting to the point
The new Aurender N30SA High Definition Caching Music Server and Streamer is the flagship of the specialist Aurender Inc., a music server and streaming bridge that requires no compromises, according to the manufacturer. The focus is on the most modern equipment features, but also on a design in which all sensitive components are separated from the pure “IT” and the sophisticated power supply in the best possible way.