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.


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.