Melco Arrives At Hi-Fi Corner
“A hi-fi box you probably think you don’t need, but very likely do.”
Most people know I love hi-fi equipment. I grew up in a house where my dad brought home literally hundreds of different bits of kit, and when he wasn’t looking I spent my time tinkering, listening, and then “borrowing” bits to use in my bedroom system. So when Melco came to see me with their new music servers with unmissable extras. I entered 'child mode' and started to tinker.
Huge numbers of serious audiophiles are streaming music now. It's well publicised that vinyl has made a massive comeback, but streaming music is more accessible than ever thanks to connected devices, and the format disappearing in the middle is what I grew up with; my beloved CDs. And this is where Melco comes in.
As many of my regular clients will know, historically, I’ve not been a big fan of dedicated music servers. If I could build it out of computer components myself for half the price, not only will I not buy it, but think about building one of my own. I would never get around to it, and ultimately end up with nothing.
However, when you look at what Melco have done with this new range of music servers, that thought doesn’t even enter my mind.
Inside the Melco box are components, which include: a high performance capacitor bank, noise suppression units all with excellent grounding isolation. This, along with the well engineered chassis all work towards reducing mechanical vibration, which is ideal for improved sound! I asked Melco why they didn’t just go for SSD drives instead, “wouldn’t that make things easier from a mechanical noise perspective?” but for technical reasons I did not understand, nor really want to, it appears SSD drives have their own drawbacks for sound quality.
I love my silver disc collection. I spent years building it up, and despite the fact I now subscribe to Tidal and have stopped purchasing CDs, I’ll never throw them out, nor give them away. So for me, a unit that will store my cherished collection without losing any of the quality is essential. But Melco does a lot more than that.
So what’s a Melco?
Put it simply, it’s a box which allows you to:
- Easy rip CDs onto its internal hard drive (technical stuff - Bit perfect transfer with detailed metadata. Uncompressed FLAC is default for best quality, use any USB CD loader, or Melco’s own CD ripper)
- Play stored or streamed music through hi-fi system (technical stuff - USB output into hi fi DAC)
- Download 24bit studio master files directly to the unit (technical stuff - HiResAudio.com or other Melco partner websites comparable).
If you already have a quality streamer it can also be used to sit in-between your network connection and the streamer, to reduce the network “noise” and improve signal quality. This comes in the way of a dedicated ‘player’ output port, offering low jitter and software filtering to keep away unwanted crosstalk which damaged the sound quality.
A typical system might look like this. Melco as the source, providing 3TB or hard drive storage for all those silver discs, and spitting out Tidal/Qobuz for anything you want to stream. Connected into an amplifier, in today’s listening it was the fantastic ATC SIA2-100 100w per channel integrated amplifier, powering some ATC SCM11 loudspeakers and solid steel speaker stands.
At the moment on demonstration we have the Melco N100 and N10, but all Melco models are available to order. The N100 (pictured) offers Melco technology at a very good value price point, and the N100 offers the same features but with much higher performance.
N1ZS20/2A - 2TB SSD & premium power supply x 2 RRP £8,750
N1ZH60/2 - 6TB SFF HDD & high quality power supply x 2 RRP £4,750
N1AH60/2 - 6TB HDD & high quality power supply RRP £2,399
N10 - 3TB HDD & separated liner power supply unit RRP £6,750
N100 - 2TB HDD & AC power supply RRP £1800
They also make an optional CD loader, the D100 for £999, and a 3TB expansion storage unit for £999.
We at Hi-Fi Corner are thrilled about Melco. The reviews are fantastic, the brand has a great audiophile history, and with these price points and feature list I really think just everyone should own one. The N100 is a true audiophile bargain from my testing, offering mush more realism and transparency than I’ve heard in our own Listening Room 5. Also aided by this wee ATC pocket rocket system, which transports you right out of your own listening room and into the studio just by closing your eyes.
I’m really excited about tinkering more, but in the meantime, drop in to one of our showrooms or give us a call/email if you would like to have a listen. Trust me you won’t regret it.
Brief History from www.melco-audio.com
Melco was established by Makoto Maki in 1975 in Japan. Maki, an enthusiastic audiophile, established the company to design and manufacture the finest audio components of the time - the undoubted masterpiece of the Melco line being the turntable, introduced into the UK in 1980, which set new standards in music reproduction. From those early beginnings Melco developed into the largest computer peripherals manufacturer in Japan, offering advanced products based on rigorous R&D, including Wireless routers, Ethernet Data Switches and storage devices such as NAS drives. Now the Company is proud to revive the highly-respected Melco brand, offering discerning audiophiles high technology networked audio components in the spirit of those much revered early Melco products, while incorporating the very latest research into reliable high performance networked devices and storage. 'Melco' stands for Maki Engineering Laboratory Company.