Aurender N10 and audiophile network devices

I’m new to computer audio but not new to high-end, so far I have been more traditional kind of guy.

I have decent turntable ( modded SME 20/2 ), decent heavily modified Tascam R2R, and heavily modified CDP AudioAero MKII.

My CDP does not sound that good like SME or tape but it is listenable and on good quality recording can sound pretty decent.

But since we have XXI already going for years, I have decided to give computer audio a try.


So after reading too many threads on different computer audio guru sites I have decided on Aurender N10.

It was supposed to be first Aurender which can sound better then CDP (enough for me), I do not expect digital to sound like analog.

I have bought for it Shunyata Zitron Alpha Digital decent SPIDF Tara Labs RS-1 cable to make it happy.


And here comes my surprise, it sounds flat, gray, only hi-res sound better on level with CD. My wife not an audiophile said it sound very boring.

I have invited audio buddies and we did blind tested my CDP and Aurender, nothing to compare CDP wins in spades.

N10  sounds much better when streaming from Tidal (go figure).

Sound from CD is much fuller, stronger has impact, sound from Aurendeer is very resolving but gray , thin sounding. Very uninviting.

To say that I’m disappointed is understatement. My other friend has another media server but it sound even  worse then Aurednder, 

So it is not generic to Aurender but to technology ?

As DAC I’m using internal AudioAero DAC. So basically I’m comparing Aurender transport vs AudioAero Transport. The some music (ripped CD to wav vs CD)


And one of my knowledgeable friends, told me that his acquaintance had the some problem, bought media server and was very disappointed, but instead of falling into despair he started looking for solution.

To control Aurender one need some wifi router. He changed power adapter of that router with some good quality lineal PSU (big change).


I have found on computer audio sites that connecting NAS and media servers to separate switch connected to router helps.

But it will not work for Aurender I have to control it using Aurender app so I need wifi router.


So buying i.e. AQVOX Audiophile High-End Gigabit will not work for AUrender. Does anybody have any advice what would help it make it more alive, sound bigger more colorful.

I’m not used to such thin and gray sound.

I’m cannot get how getting better PSU to some hifi router can help (it is just for controlling app),

How connecting NAS using expensive ethernet cables can help, Aurednder is streaming from internal HDD’s .


But I’m open for suggestions from somebody who owns AUrender or like and had similar problem and contrary to me have found satisfactory solution.

Thank you for reading.


Are your CD's stored on your Aurender in a 100% uncompressed format like AIFF?   If not, what format are you using?   How were they transferred to the Aurender N10?

Are you using the Shunyata Zitron Alpha Digital decent SPIDF Tara Labs RS-1 cable for connecting your Aurender N10 to your AudioAero DAC?  If yes, I suggest you try using an USB Cable and/or an AES/EBU cable instead for better sound quality.  I use the Snake River Audio Boomslang AES/EBU XLR digital cable and the Audience Au24 SE USB Cable for connecting my N10 to my DAC.   In most cases, I prefer the AES/EBU cable for slightly improved sound quality. 

What power cord are you using for the Aurender N10?  Is it connected direct to your wall plug or is it connected to another power switch box?

It is my opinion, based on my use of the Aurender N10, CD's played on your Aurender N10 should sound excellent.   We need to find out what is preventing this from happening.  
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I am not technical but, it seems, Steve’s comments above are similar to my comments about the S/PDIF cable you are using.   I was also told that digital cables should be 1.5 meters in length.  

My Snake River Audio Boomslang AES/EBU XLR digital cable is 1.5 meters in length.
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Also try adding a LAN filter off the router, LPS and the LAN filter will help immensley.

I forgot something.  Please go to your Aurender Settings (software upgrade tab) and update your software, if needed.  I just updated mine to 4.15.19. 

And, go to the Apple App Store and check to see if your Aurender Conductor App needs to be updated.  We need to confirm your Aurender software is current.  

If your Aurender Conductor App is acting strange (not working), delete it and re-install.  You will not lose any favorites or other settings. 
The new version numbers are:

Aurender 4(5).15,19
Aurender Conductor App 2.9.13

The install time is less than 10 minutes.  Do the Aurender N10 first and then the Aurender Conductor App (from the Apple App Store).  

Here is my white-paper on S/PDIF cable length:

Coax cables should always be terminated to RF connectors, like a 75 ohm BNC.  Trying to terminate coax to a RCA connector is a non-starter.  A good cable like my BNC cable will make a difference, but the Synchro-Mesh reclocker is 100 times more effective.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

To make your LAN sound good, I recommend the following:

1) AQVOX switch connected to the server, not a router

2) Wireworld 0.5m Platinum Ethernet cable

3) EMO EN-70e isolator

4) Wireworld 2.0m Platinum Ethernet cable

Connect to your server.

This is what I use. This combination in this order will make a huge difference in the SQ.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Thank you all for your  answers.

AudioAero DAC only accepts SPDIF or AES/EBU connection, no USB, it is 13 years old DAC.

But with all upgrades I have done, it sounds better to me and my audio buddies then AudioNote DAC4 Signature ( I have borrowed it for day for comparison), lesser DAC's we have tried do not even come close..

Additionally I have borrowed Transparent Reference XL Digital 1m (AES/EBU) from a friend ( he claimed that it is one of the best digital cable there are ) but there have been not audible difference to me with AudioAreo DAC, so I have stayed with mine Tara Labs RS-1 SPDIF (1.5m).

I'm storing my CD's in WAV format (uncompressed), they have been ripped using ExactAudioCopy on desktop PC running WIn7 and transfered to N10 internal drives using Windows Explorer.

For both AudioAero and N10 I'm using Shunyata Alpha Zitron DIgital. Both power cords are connected directly to wall the the some Furutech GTX socket, I'm using dedicated line.

So all is the some, just comparing CD transport with Aurender N10. I have compared N10 to some lesser transports like some SONY $1500 and some Philips, N10 was much much better in every sonic department, cheap CD transports do not even come close.

Maybe just CD-Pro2 used in Aero is that good ??? I do not know.

I have heard in some studios Lumina and other media servers $5000-$6000 (price range) and always have been disappointing (gray and thin sounding).

But I was extremely thrilled when auditioning some very expensive CEC transport (spinner), as good as good turntable.

But I do not want to invest money in XX century technology and physical media, I like the idea of storing music in digital files, but not in the expense of quality. 

Not sure what your issue is.  What preamp are you using?  Maybe a setting is off.  I have the Esoteric K-03 and Aurender N10 and the N10 does sound better than the CDP so I know it is capable of besting your CDP.  
@cerrot, above, makes a great suggestion. My Aurender N10 sounds terrific with stored AIFF CD’s and yours should too. 

Please double check all settings in all your devices to confirm everything is set correctly.  As you noted above, your cables and power cords are fine.   Please double check your Aurender Conductor App settings and also your electronics.   

>>. I am thinking about what else could impact the Aurender’s CD sound quality.  Please double check the settings you used when you ripped your CD’s to the N10.  

>> When you play a stored CD on the N10, what format is displayed on the screen?  Please confirm it is the correct uncompressed format. 

You stated above that Tidal streaming sounds great and the stored CD’s are the issue.  Is it possible there is something wrong with the Aurender’s CD playing mechanism?

>> The problem is probably caused by something very simple and we have to find it.  You could always take the N10 another system to help isolate the issue. This might help you figure out what is going on.

>> Another suggestion is to log an Aurender on-line remote support call reporting the CD sound issue (from the Conductor App).   This will enable Aurender Suport to remotely check your N10 to confirm it is working okay.  I did this once and they found the issue very quickly (it was an incorrect setting, and was my fault). 

 hope someone else can suggest something.   Please keep us posted.

It's not fruitful to pursue expensive transports when you can beat all of them using a reclocker costing around $1K with an excellent digital cable included.  Nothing matters from a transport or any other digital source, except jitter.  There is no silver bullet or magical transport behavior.

The Synchro-Mesh and cable have 30-day money-back, less shipping.  I have never stiffed a customer in 22 years.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

@sorlowski, You received many suggestions above regarding the poor sound quality from your Aurender N10 Music Server when playing CD's.   Your exact words are "sound from Aurender is very resolving but gray, thin sounding. Very uninviting".   

I asked this above since I am very interested in knowing when you play a stored CD from the N10, what format is displayed on the screen?  Please confirm it is the correct uncompressed format.

I also suggested you log an Aurender on-line remote support call reporting the CD sound issue (from the Conductor App).  This will enable Aurender Support to remotely check your Aurender N10 to confirm it is working okay.  

Please keep us posted.  
I appreciate your answers.
I especially like the idea to contact Aurender support ( they are very responsive and eager to help ).
I have just assumed that there is nothing they can do for me when N10 actually plays music.

I have just used default settings on Exact Audio Copy when ripping CD’s on Win7 based desktop.
When I play CD’s Track01.waw is displayed on the screen. And 16/44.1 on Audio aero DAC. I’m using uncompressed WAV format only.
Yes Tidal steaming are saturated not gray or thin.
As preamp I’m using Supratek Cortese II (last edition additionally modified by skillful electronic). Solid State Clayton M100 monoblocks and YGA Anat speakers.
So setup is quite resolving and capable of discriminating different sources.

I have been recently on Audio Show and heard Aurender A10 being played by dealer, it did not sound good, very uninvolving.

I will contact Aurender support and will keep you posted.

Follow up:


1) Aurender support.


I have asked Aurender support to check my unit, they did their best.

After thorough week long investigation I have got answer from Aurender, I'm pasting it below, IMO it might be of some value for audiogon Aurender owners:

"We checked and again did not find anything wrong with your Aurender on the software side.

WIFI Router is used only for controlling app, music is streamed directly from internal drives.

Yes, but noise can still be introduced via the ethernet cable. It may help, but don’t expect a “night and day” difference there.

Your Aurender N10 already has a very fine linear power supply built in. Certainly, a good power cable will make a difference. This will be more easily audible than playing with ethernet cables. Still, temper your expectations here…it makes a very clear difference, but will it completely transform the sound of your system? usually not.


2) Wifi router.

I already have replaced cheap router power adapter with battery based PSU (I did not heard difference as expected , as it is only for controlling app).

I will try better Ethernet cables (Supra 8) and will use better router soon.

Aurender firmware has been upgraded to newest version


3)  Audition

Aurender N10 vs moded AudioAero MKII vs T+A d10 (with expensive NOS tubes)

Me and my audio buddies have gather after Christmas to one more time compare transports and reach some conclusions. Most  guys are season audiophiles except one.

Four guys are digital only.

- To settle in, Aurender has been on for week, AA player for 1 day.

- The some PC cable used for both units Shunyata Alpha Ztron DIgital connected to dedicated line terminated with Furutech GTX socket.

- we have used CD track which has been ripped to 16/44.1 WAV (playlist).

- amplification modded Supratek Chenin mkII (tube) ,Clayton monoblocks (solidstate class A),

- speakers YGA Anat Studio speakers


Our impressions after audition N10 vs AudioAero:

For some reason AudioAero did not sound to his full potential, friends said it never sounded that bad, on the contrary Aurender N10 sounded better then ever (new firmware - who knows):


Summary of our impressions:

Friend K: prefers N10 better hights , velvet mids, AA to much bass (he is not an audiophile).

Friend B: N10 balance is lower, less hights and less sibilants, bad sound stage, AA good sound stage better highs but sound to technical, verdict draw

Friend S: AA goes much deeper, wider sound stage,  harmonically saturated, N10 leaner, grayer , preference for AA but difference is not like night and day

Friend A: AA a little to aggressive, but there is shine in the mids, better attack, N10 has jagged frequency band, garish and lean, prefers by wide margin AA (aggressiveness vanished when AA used with Acrolink 7100)

Friend T: AA to much bass, besides that AA is better in every aspect, N10 has no colors no liquidity,  behind weil.

Friend J: AA more information , mids are withdraw, N10 better mids, but very gray, dummy sound, AA wins


Next contender we have tried was T+A d10 SACD/CD player (we have used only CD's for comparison), unit has not been modded but better then stock tubes has been used: some NOS Siemens, Telefunkens etc.

To our surprise, it has been unanimous (nobody has expected it) T+A was not just better then AA or N10 it was crushing victory, all aspects have been better: highs mids, bass finally has been under control, huge sound stage, liquidity.  Totally different league then N10. Just a few comments: balanced, musical, good controlled bass, saturated, liquid.


Next we has tried standalone DAC's we had Lampizator 4.5 and Cello Music&Film DAC 8.

Cello in character has been similar to AA Cap but much less refined, nobody was impressed, Lampizator was very different, very upfront, good for voices but for nothing else, very flat sound stage, strange mechanical. Integrated DAC's of AA or T+A have been much better.

Additionally we have compared Shunyata Alpha Zitron Digital Power Cord with Acrolink 7100 Power Cord, again unanimously Acrolink won when used with AA or T+A.


When everybody got cozy about T+A sound , digital we could have leave with, I decided to put analog on: SME 20/2 + SME V + Kisseki Purple heart (SME with small mods: VanDenHul wire has been replaced with Kondo wire, cheap DIN socket with silver WBT RCA socket).

If there has been 1mile difference between N10 and T+A, now between T+A and SME there has been 10 miles difference. Nobody has any doubts there is a long, long way for digital to reach that kind of musicality if ever .... My vocabulary is not rich enough to describe it, just music with sound coherent, liquid, natural, with finally saturated colors, huge sound stage.


Happy T+A owner just asked me how much does it cost to start adventure with analog. Illusion time is over for some of us.


4) Future plans

It is not surprise for me that analog still is king of the hill and will be at least for decade or longer. Even knowing that, I'm not going to give up on it. One of my friends is very experience and knowledgeable electronics engineer, and he is going to look at my N10 to see what can be done to make it fuller more colorful. It will take considerable time and some money but I hope that he will be able to much AA musicality. or maybe even T+A (I know I'm letting myself t to be carried away :)


Will update thread when N10 will be back with all mods.


 Thank you for reading, hope that has any value.








Not unexpected given the software, servers and DACs you tried.

Digital can rival and beat analog, but only with the right equipment and software. Just one bad cable, like Ethernet can kill the joy.

If you want Ethernet to sound really good, get these things:

1) AQVOX Switch

2) 0.5m Wireworld Platinum Ethernet cable

3) EMO EN-70e isolator

4) 1.5 or 2.0m Wireworld Platinum Ethernet cable

Drive your server with this. It should make a big difference.

Rip CD’s using either DBpoweramp on PC or XLD on Mac to .wav files. Make sure it compares to other peoples rips on the web.

If you are using USB to drive the DAC from the server, use Wireworld Platinum USB cables and put one of these in-line:

Without this regenerator, USB is much worse than Ethernet to S/PDIF coax.

BTW, I'm also a EE with 42 years digital design experience.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Steve thank you for your comment.

 I'm newbie when it comes to digital, so 
First question: how expensive Ethernet cables can help in case of Aurender N10 (even Aurender support doubt that)  playing from internal drives ? INO only SPIDF cable can matter.
Yes, I believe Ethernet cables could help when streaming from Tidal (we have not tested it).

Second question, to use Aurender controlling app one have to use wifi router hence there is no use case for  AQVOX Switch ?

Stereophile Dec 2018

ATC CDA2 MK2 review Ken Micallef

"Going from physical CD to ripped files is like switching vinyl out for digital, but with edges polished and dynamics truncated. The sound was very good overall, including from DSD files, but it lacked the visceral grip of CDs through the ATC's transport. I did't stay here long."

Seems that I not the only one who have noticed that good CD transport can beat easily ripped files.

For me the biggest loss was of colors, palpability dynamics. 
My friend electronics engineer is working on N10, in month or so, I should have it back with first mod. He says that it is going to be more alive but will not much AudioAero.
First question: how expensive Ethernet cables can help in case of Aurender N10 (even Aurender support doubt that) playing from internal drives ? INO only SPIDF cable can matter.
Yes, I believe Ethernet cables could help when streaming from Tidal (we have not tested it).

If you are primarily using S/PDIF coax from the Aurender, then I recommend trying a Synchro-Mesh reclocker and my Reference cable.  Drive the SM with your digital cable.  The issue is jitter.  Even a SONOs with the Synchro-Mesh reclocking the S/PDIF output is impossible to beat.  Money-Back, less shipping on the SM.

Second question, to use Aurender controlling app one have to use wifi router hence there is no use case for  AQVOX Switch ?

True, not if you are using WIFI.  Also, it sounds like you are only controlling the playback using WIFI, not streaming the data over the network.  All you need to do is solve the S/PDIF jitter issue.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
FYI, every transport I have heard is not as good as my computer audio playback.  That's why there is no longer a CD transport in my rack and why I never use them at shows.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
interesting thread. my n10 with my two dacs sounds spectacular and a total joy to use. i disagree that ripped cd’s sound inferior to the hard cd. i don’t think anyone would be disappointed with my basic(but expensive) digital setup. i never miss vinyl. ever.
also aurender assistance is incredible. 
> i disagree that ripped cd’s sound inferior to the hard cd
This is prevalent message, that is why I have decided to try media server. I was literally shocked that my experience do not jive with experience of so many experienced audiophiles. Hence that thread.
In 2018 I have attended 2 audio shows, all media servers have been disappointment to me (some where really bad), with one exception I did like newest Lampizator Golden Gate DAC, but generally IMHO analogs wins hands down.
The some impression had my teenage daughter, she did not like even one digital demo, she feels that only analog is sound real, and she is not an audiophile.
I agree that Aurender support is incredible, though :)
I don't attend shows anymore or you would have had a different experience.  It demonstrates how poorly most servers and USB interfaces are implemented.  Way too much jitter.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I have also found that playing ripped cd's on my N10 does not sound as good as playing the original cd through my Esoteric K-01x. If I really want to listen I always put on the CD but for ease of use I use the N10. For me, where I really find the N10 to shine is playing Tidal MQA files through my MQA DAC or playing purchased hi-res files. I use the N10 all the time for that.

It took long time, but finally my Aurender N10 is back home from upgrade.
In summary more body, more dynamic, more colors, it is no longer flesh out, hollow grayish sound.
Is it better then my benchmark: CD AudioAero Capitole mkII, hard to say, very, very close, I still have impression that Capitolle is fuller but darker, which is better, now it depend on your taste. Planning to gather my audio buddies and again run blind tests like before. I have impression that now it is not going to be crashing CD victory but close call.
I attended Audio Show in Warsaw November 2018 (second biggest in Europe), and A10 has been demonstrated by dealer with some expensive speakers and electronic. I would say, it was two level below N10 , very artificial mid hifi sound, huge disappointment for me (I have read great reviews).