Clever caching from Korea

News

Clever caching from Korea
Thursday, January 8, 2015

Aurender has long been at the forefront of computer audio innovation so it’s no surprise to see the Korean company coming up with an interesting new idea that could solve a lot of problems for streaming enthusiasts. The N100 is a network music server/player that caches any incoming data prior to sending it out from an SSD drive. This means you can use computer grade NAS to store as much music as you like but benefit from the low noise advantages of solid state drive prior to conversion to analogue.

It is also integrated with the Tidal streaming service and does the same thing with its lossless material, caches it and reads it off the SSD. Output is via linear regulated USB and it supports DSD in both DSF and DFF forms, no mention is made of double DSD or above, nor of maximum sample rate so presumably it’s limited to 192kHz. Control is via the Aurender app which also runs Tidal’s service. Price for an N100 with 120GB SSD is $2,499, there will also be a 1TB version.

Aurender is also reaching out to the streaming audio newcomer with two new ‘plug’n’play’ combos dubbed X-PAC (above) and N-PAC. The X-PAC combines an X-100 music server with up to 12TB of onboard storage, the same SSD caching system for playback, with an X725 DAC/stereo amplifier. The N-PAC combines the N100 caching streamer with the same DAC/amplifier, the latter offering conversion of signals up to 24/192 and native up to DSD128. In both cases you are encouraged to “add a pair of high-quality stereo speakers to bring audiophile sound to your home, office, RV or boat”. Where did I put the boat? Both systems offer access to Tidal streaming and app control. The X-PAC starts at $5,999 with 6TB of storage while the N-PAC comes in at $4,999.

Aurender has also launched a portable DAC and headphone amp in the form of the Flow. This is unusual in having a mSATA slot for up to a terabyte of SSD storage, making it a full hi-res player that is claimed can power even the most hard-to-drive headphones. As if to reinforce that claim it has a full quarter inch headphone jack and is good for 32-bit/384kHz and double DSD. At 450g (1lb) it’s only just portable but the $1,295 looks very tempting. www.aurender.com

Jason Kennedy