AURENDER information from speaking to Moon Audio

Digital choices are daunting to me. I’ve given up on Roon ... don’t want to be a network engineer and don’t want a dedicated PC or networked system. I am drowning in information reading about all the choices.

For one box solutions, I keep coming back to Aurender. Every review is excellent, their Conductor app is said to be superb (much like the Roon app), and they offer machines for most budgets. They unpack MQA, so that the first unfold is compatible with DACs that aren’t MQA-rated. They are Tidal, Qobuz capable, and may add Amazon Music soon, it’s hinted.

Moon Audio is a dealer (online and store by appt) and I spoke to the owner DREW ( ). He was very generous in going into some detail explaining the differences between the Aurenders. Any errors are mine, as I had to write furiously to his replies for my questions (and I may have not had a complete list of those).

My notes are here, discussing their machines under $7000. Their Aurender A30 Caching Music Server and CD Ripper, $18,000.00, and W20SE, get a highest rating from people like Robert Harley of Absolute Sound (iirc), but out of my league.

The ACS10 (($5600 and up) is the sweet spot for Drew. Best value and capability, he says. It has a tray-load CD drive for direct ripping of discs. It has a networking switch so it can be the hub for other Aurender devices throughout a home, to daisy-chain devices. Music files resides on each unit but it aggregates the metadata so the whole catalog is available on the Conductor app. It has a linear power supply. It will work directly with a NIMBY ripper machine (no PC needed), which you can use to bulk rip CDs, and they rent that Nimby for $100 for a month with the purchase of an Aurender. It has 8TD x 2 or 12TB x 2 internal HDD drives configured as RAID 1, mirroring. 240GB solid state buffer, which caches ripped files to eliminate jitter during playback

The ACS100 is a budget version of the ACS10. It is $3500, but includes no drives. You can install either 2 SSDs or 2 HDDs. Drew said he doesn’t think that the 2 drives can be set-up as RAID1. It has an external power supply, rather than linear internal like the ACS10 and N100 series. Has a slot-load CD ripper unit (TEAC, iirc).

The N100 series, including the new variant the N100SC. Drew says they are a great value. You will have to rip your discs separately, and the NIMBY ripper machine won’t work directly with them like it does with the ACS10. You’ll need to use a computer. This is one of their older units, but they constantly update firmware and he says they sound as good as the ACS10, or very close. A full-linear power supply provides clean and stable power to the CPU and audio output circuitry. Linear supplies are renowned for their ability to deliver a wide dynamic range capability, deep and powerful low frequency response and a wide and deep soundstage.

* N100H (2 or 4TB versions): USB connection only, with galvanized USB (don’t know what he means) and linear power supply. 120GB solid state buffer, which caches ripped files to eliminate jitter during playback
* N100C: has coaxial connect and USB, so will work with older DACs.
* new N100SC. The N100SC includes a larger 240GB caching drive so this functionality is available if a HDD or SSD is installed, which caches ripped files to eliminate jitter during playback. Has both USB and coax connections. NO internal drives installed, but you can add 2, either SSD or HDD.

Per Drew, a coaxial connection wiill transmit both DSD and PCM files, and USB only xmits PCM files.

Each unit that Moon carries has a detailed information page... won’t cut and paste here. Aurender’s website is good, but their product info isn’t up to the minute, and doesn’t include info on the newest mode ACS100 in the 2019 product guide (PDF). Their lineup also includes many units I don’t mention here.

Thanks, Drew! I hope I didn’t misquote you... my fault for any errors.

I have owned the Aurender N100, N10, and X100.  For reasons of wanting to go to Roon I sold all of them.  I just ordered a new ACS10 to use as a NAS and for ripping hundreds of discs.  I will try the ACS10’s USB into my dCS Debussy DAC but I’m very satisfied with my dCS Network Bridge so will need to compare NB to ACS10 as a source.  If the sound from the ACS10 is equivalent to the dCS combo I will sell the network bridge and just use the ACS10 as a source.

Aurender provides top notch support and great sounding server/streamers.  You can’t go wrong with Aurender.
I got something backwards. Oops! To clarify...

Per Drew, a coaxial connection will transmit only PCM, and USB transmits both DSD and PCM files. You can have the Aurender convert DSD to PCM if you need to use the coaxial connection.

I own the Aurender N10 Music Server and like it very much.  I listen to Qobuz Streaming for their outstanding sound quality.  My stored CD albums also sound excellent.  I cancelled my Tidal streaming service since I was always listening to Qobuz.

The Aurender Conductor App (free) is very easy to use.  It is easy to switch between my stored CD’s, Qobuz and Internet radio (listen to the Radio Paradise station using FLAC.   The Aurender Conductor App "turns the iPad into a versatile user interface for Aurender Music Server/Players".  All settings and functions of the Aurender Server/Music Player can be easily accessed through the Settings menu, and the Aurender Conductor App comes with extensive features to make managing, viewing and playing high resolution music collections a breeze".

Aurender Customer Support is excellent.  I have contacted them with requests and also questions on the operation of the Aurender.   Aurender also updates their software with new features, streaming services, etc.

I highly recommend the Aurender N10 music server for its excellent sound quality, build quality and an easy to use interface that makes finding your music simple.   The Aurender Conductor App enables me to quickly find the album I want and play it.  The Aurender has a 240G solid-state drive that is used to cache music for playback for the very best sound quality.

As you can see from above posts, the selection of a music server is not an easy decision or process.  It seems, everyone has a DIFFERENT server recommendation.  I suggest you make a list of the important features your music server needs and your questions.  For example, please review:

1) What is your price range for a music server?

2)  What features does your server need?   For example, I wanted my CD albums stored in the same box, wanted Qobuz Streaming Services and also Internet radio stations. And, also wanted the ability to add more additional streaming services when they become available.

3)  Do you want a DAC built into the streamer or a separate DAC?   For maximum flexibility, I decided on an external DAC.  I prefer the DAC to be separate from the music Server for possible future upgrades.   This may, or may not, be important to you.

4)  What digital outputs do you need?  I decided on a Music streamer with BOTH USB and AES/EBU digital outputs to my DAC.  In most cases, I prefer the AEB/EBU connection (a high priority for me).  Some servers offer an Ethernet audio connection for output.

5)  Is a Roon interface important to you?  If needed, you need a Roon enabled server.  I decided that Roon is not required.  In my case, the Aurender Conductor App DOES exactly what I need.  However, several of my friends purchased a Roon enabled server and likes it very much. Another friend purchased the Roonlabs Nucleus by Roon Music Server and recommends it.

6)  Your server needs a controlling App that runs on an iPad or something similar.  You need to review the App to ensure it supports your needs to easily find and manage your music selections.

7) Does your server offer Remote Internet Technical Support?  The Aurender does.  I used this once and they solved my user operational issue very quickly (my error).  This is a very easy to use feature and is implemented on the settings screen using the remote technical support screen.  

8)  Sound quality is the MOST important.  In my case, I asked many questions, talked to many people, read many reviews and auditioned various servers to help me make the right decision.   I selected the Aurender N10 Music Server for its sound quality.

I hope the above helps you make a decision.  Thanks....

I own the Aurender N10 Music Server and like it very much.
Great post, hgeifman! How do you rip your CDs? I do like all the connection choices your unit has.
I hate ripping CD’s and use the Analog to Digital service below. Please see their web site for pricing, options, etc.

"Analog to Digital has been in the digitization business in one form or another since 1998, when we first started transferring records for family and friends. As the word spread, and requests from friends of friends started to come in, we learned that there was a real demand for professional quality transfers of analog materials to various digital formats.

Now family-owned and operated from our office in Oakland, California, Analog to Digital has emerged as a leading provider of digitization services in the Bay Area. With over 30 years of combined digital imaging and audio/video engineering experience, we have been able to produce consistently excellent results at a reasonable price - making us hands down the best choice for all of your digitization needs".

Analog to digital can rip CDs to the AIFF format, no problem; CD rips go for $1.50 per disc. If the artwork is available on the online databases, it would be included in the cost of the rip and we can name them as needed. The Aurender Conductor App REQUIRES the album cover art to be named folder.JPG. If you use an outside ripping service, please ensure they understand how to handle the album cover art.

The good news is using the above information, my album cover art is now displayed perfectly on my iPad.  My Aurender N10 Music Server is a welcomed addition to my audio system. The ability to switch back and forth between Qobuz and my stored albums in the Conductor App is very easy to use. The Aurender iPAD app is much easier to use than my MAC Book Pro computer.  It was also very easy to install and setup. My system sounds more open, more natural, clearer, better bass and I am happy I purchased the Aurender N10 server.

Another satisfied owner of N10 for 5 years! As far as ripping CD’s, I end up buying the Bluesound Vault 2 last year. So far I have burned 310 CD’s (sorry I wasn’t going to pay someone to copy my music). Transferring music from Vault 2 to N10 is a snap since N10 recognizes Vault as NAS.

I don’t see myself switching to another streamer anytime soon 😊