Another one (server) bites the dust! Aurender N10 vs. N200


Well, my Musicvault that has served me SO well for a long, long time has begun to serve up errors. My needs and desires for a new server/streamer seem to be met by Aurender's N series and I'm curious if anyone can comment on the sonic differences between the N10 and the N200 for serving and streaming....They're both in my budget.

Mostly, it looks like the N200 has better power isolation and the N10 has a better clock. I imagine that doesn't tell the whole story, though. 

Can you serve up some sensible subjective sonic experiences (please and thank you)?

budburma

@budburma I am an authorized Aurender dealer and can tell you that despite the N10 having a higher retail price, the N200 is sonically superior. Aurender admits they surprised themselves with the performance demonstrated by this unit. Some people will even admit that the N200 will come close to the N20, but I can still hear an audible improvement in the N20 over the N200.

You are somewhat right in your thinking - the N10 “might” have a better clock, and it does support AES, where you would be limited to coax with the N200. But the implementation of the N200 in terms of power supply robustness, isolation, and overall circuit design is a step above. The differences result in a lower noise floor, improved detail and separation, along with slightly more body/tonal density with added texture. The N10 is all but declared discontinued at this point, so I highly recommend going with the N200.

Thanks for that. I think we have a shared audio friend who  I bought my Modwright KWA 150SE from Which, I believe, May have been yours? I have a diagnosable audio sweet tooth and tender shy away from “more detail“ as it Can sound angular and etched. Tonal density, though, is my wheel house.

Just knowing that between the two units that the N 200 has the superior power supply would make if preferable for me. Power supply quality is paramount to achieving good sound quality. I've yet to encounter any audio component where power supply robustness and design/execution is not a major contributor to the overall sound. This is often where cheaper component builders cut corners for cost savings. You’ll hear the difference.

Charles

@fuzztone @charles1dad I agree! Good clean power feeding good clean power supplies is the best place to start. I rewired for my audio system w/extensive thought out arrangements of 3 dedicated lines to separate digital from power (with one for analog for good measure) based on all sorts of obsessive research and a white paper from Vince Galbo with a separate subpanel/copper busses, high silver content contact grease, isolators/ground scrubbers, and a large in-line noise suppressing conditioner between the main and sub panel along w/the nicest sound outlets I listened to and Alan Kafton's last box of cryo'ed Diamond Handiwire). Phewy!

Isolation and power supply do seem critical, especially for digital gear. I'm curious if you've heard the Aurenders? The last 12-18mos of N10's had upgrades on their power supplies and might tip the scale towards them...

Enjoy the tunes,

Art

@budburma

Based on your efforts, you definitely take power concerns seriously. I would give attention and heed the guidance of @blisshifi given his in depth familiarity of the Aurrender components.

Charles

@budburma If you bought the KWA from CY, then yes, that would have been mine. He used it only very lightly as he was evaluating amp roulette style. Given your tastes, I would certainly recommend the N200 over the N10. Happy to discuss options if you want to PM me. Also happy to answer any questions on the KWA since it was in possession for a number of years.

Speaking of which, CY also purchased an N200 from me a few weeks ago. He was able to compare it to his Modwright-modded Cambridge CXN V2 and was sold within a minute or so of listening to the quality of the N200 streamer going into the CXN’s DAC. 

Thanks, @charles1dad. Hearing is believing!

@blisshifi CY it was! Well, the 200 is inviting. I've got my thinking cap on. I know CY has a lot of faith in your insights. My automatic suspicion of dealers and their products may be misfiring. I appreciate the opportunity for a side conversation. One member here whose owned both, listened extensively and owns the W20SE is more enamored of the N10 - in particular, the later power supply upgraded unit. Not that it matters, but 'all but discontinued' is no big deal to me as a long time "previous generation" buyer.

@budburma Two other things to consinder with the N10.

1. It is a seven-year old model, vs the N200 which is only a year old. There has been a significant jump in streaming and serving technology hardware design in the last two years alone.

2. The internal drives of an N10 used for storage are leveraging spinning drives. Despite the unit caching music for playback, the spinning disks possibly still introduce noise/jitter into the equation. The N200 requires users to purchase drives and install them, but quality solid state drives can be had for approximately $100/TB.

I love my Aurender N200.   It’s an awesome machine !Support is excellent, super responsive.  A factor that is just as important as the hardware and software that runs it 

Occasionally disconnects with my Android Tab.  I can almost forgive that,  being a networked product.    I was told a newer version of conductor 3 is on the works 

It sounds better than any CD player drive I have ever used.   Using it with two different DACs through both types of connections delivered excellent sound.  
 

Money well spent in my set up.  

@oddiofyl thanks for the insight, support definitely counts. money well spent indeed!

@blisshifi i hear (read) you. i'm stuck a little on the oven clock, too. everything making a difference, i'm not intuitive or educated enough to know how to weight one piece of the the path/what step makes the most difference. that said, all things to reduce jitter and isolate the signal makes some sense to me, but Isn't it odd that a needle scritching across plastic sounds so good! Anyway, not to argue/open that can of worms - I like both (it's a floor wax, it's a dessert topping...).

Seriously, straight dope, there's so much attention to clocks and reclocking - it seems so basic that a significant amount of sonic attention be paid there - the OXCO doesn't offer a significant difference in coherence and delivery over the TXCO? Maybe that another can of worms with all the attendant pathway tech talk that will cloud my eyes and mind over and make a wishlist of the ineffable musical which is all the gravity pulling our individual audiolove.

Your website is easy enough to find. I'll ring you up.

@budburma Sure, happy to chat. I have some time later this morning. I have some good stuff to share on clocking that may help you make your decision. 

Update. Aurender has made some updates and the connection between the N200 and Android Tab is rock solid