While I have gone the completely digital route, I would be highly skeptical of anyone who claimed no real difference between vinyl and digital. They don’t sound the same, though digital can sound very, very good.
The M10 is intriguing - do you want an all in one unit? Really convenient, but probably outperformed by the Lumin and Aurender units. I do like the BluOS system quite a bit though be forewarned of connectivity issues if you run the M10 over WiFi instead of Ethernet (much preferred). If you’re really looking at the M10, you might also stretch a bit and consider the Linn Selekt DSM. Elegant and highly functional too. Lumin and Linn can both interact w/ Roon if that’s important. The Aurender cannot. Auralic will also have unit(s) you should consider, that work with Roon and sound quite good.
It would help if you told us what your priorities are -we could give you better feedback.
I don't think you'll do better than this for even less than your budget...no affiliation.https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649595856-lumin-a1/
I use a Lumin U1 which is solely a streamer and I'm extremely impressed with the SQ. If you're looking mainly for streaming quality versus storage/server (which is often a highlight of the Aurender products) I think Lumin products will check your boxes more completely.
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.
The Aurender Conductor App (free) is very easy to use. It is easy to switch between my stored CD’s, Tidal Streaming, Qobuz and Internet radio (listen to the Radio Paradise station at 320kbps). 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 my Aurender.
I highly recommed the Aurender music servers for their 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 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 the following:
1) What is your price range for a music server? Aurender makes several servers in different price ranges and so do others (i.e., Lumin).
2) What features does your server need? For example, I wanted my CD albums stored in the same box, wanted Tidal, Qobuz Streaming Services and also Internet radio stations. And, also 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 ETERNAL DAC.
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 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. If possible, you should audition the App to ensure it does what you need easily.
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 (whoops, it was my error).
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.
9) If possible, audition different music servers at different price ranges to narrow down the range you can afford and sounds the best (to you). Please do NOT rush this process. Take your time and listen.
I hope the above helps you make a decision. Thanks....
@hgeifman Superb guidance!
very happy w aurender all the way around
I’m pleased overall with my little Aurender N100H. hgeifman
... Aurender Conductor App (free) is very easy to use. It is easy to switch between my stored CD’s, Tidal Streaming, Qobuz and Internet radio (listen to the Radio Paradise station at 320kbps) ...
The Radio Paradise channels are also available on FLAC streams.
Moon by Simaudio 280D Streaming DAC.
Freaking top shelf gear.
@skypunk - what others have you compared it to and where do you feel it was better overall.
Thanks in advance.
I have the Aurender N100H. The thing that most impresses me is that Aurender tech support can log into your player and correct software related issues. That is one reason, and a big reason, I am hesitant to seek out upgrades outside the Aurender product line. Not to mention the build quality is outstanding, which to me means a great deal of attention to everything else.
My vote is for Lumin. I’ve had a T2 for a little over a year and loved it so much I recently purchased an X1. The T2 gets you 80% of the X1 performance for about one-third the cost so there’s a lot of value there. It has an integrated DAC and is within your price range. The Lumin app is my personal favorite too out of the three I have streamers using (Lumin, BluOs, iPeng).
I have an Aurender ACS 100 and an ifi Pro DSD dac and I am very pleased at the overall sound and quality and ease of use with the conductor app.
Roon is a must for me. Therefore Aurender out. It’s a nonstarter. I have a Lumin U1 Mini and it truly is very powerful with great SQ. Plus you can upgrade it with an SBooster LPS. I have also added Noico to the interior to dampen EMI. A nice little DIY project. But if you must have an internal DAC, Lumin has those units too.
I started streaming 5 years ago with a LUMIN D1 - the streamer and DAC ran great - and held there value ( bought the D1 for $2,000 - sold it on Avon 4 months ago for $1,200). Upgraded to the LUMIN T2 - much improved sound stage and vocals vs the D1. The T2 has the Sabre DAC- a real step up. Lumin’s app on my I Pad mini works great. I get any software upgrades automatically from LUMIN. You need an Ethernet connection to get the LUMIN on line. I stream Tidal MQA - retired my turntable - my sound quality is so good.
Trial Roon to see if you like it. I tried it, but didn’t like it. Also did not like having to have a computer running Roon Core on my network. Anyhow, also tried BluOS, LUMIN, m-connect, and Aurender Conductor. Of these Aurender is my favorite. It is very intuitive and easy to use. The pop-up menus are very easy to understand. Metadata is easy to access. File resolution can be browsed without playing the selection. The Aurender N100 series are small form factor and can be paired with a small form factor DAC if space is the reason you want an Integral DAC. I wouldn’t go back to an Integral DAC. Too many great choices out there! Good luck!
Love my Aurender A10. Sounds as good as my PS Audio Directstream (streaming via their “Bridge" network card). But aside from SQ, nothing beats that Conductor app in my book. Can sit and play stuff from my iPad forever, constantly finding new artists, adding to faves, making playlists, etc. And, when I’m using Roon with the Directstream the next day in my home office system, all that Quobuz metadata carries through to Roon.
When I compared streamers, Auralic sounded better than both the Lumin and Aurender, plus their DS Lightning software was far superior. For a while I used the Lumin software against the Auralic. This is when I used the streamer hooked up to the dac by usb. Since then, got rid of the Auralic, and all the usb crap and went with Roon running on a server outside of my audio room and got a dac with a network interface, sounds better and the UI is the best. 2nd best option would be using an endpoint device that had an i2s output to the dac.
+1 on @three_easy_payments. That's not a bad deal. The A1 is a model above the T2. I have the T1 and I've been extremely satisfied. There isn't going to be substantial sq different between the Lumin and the Aurender - they're both great streamers/dacs.
My vote for Lumin. It gives you more options with streaming services. Lumin supports Tidal MQA decoding, Aurender don’t. However, if you live in Russia doesn’t matter...unfortunately Hi Res streaming services does not exist in Russia.
Lumin T2 is awesome. A couple things not mentioned yet - Lumin offers huge flexibility in upsampling and downsampling (not sure about the others in this regard) and a bunch of other settings options that are very useful. Second, I think some might be put off by the fact that you have to have a separate storage somewhere for ripped CDs. If running Roon and using WiFi, get a laptop that meets Roon basic specs (about $400), put it in a closet near your router, rip all your CDs using something like DBpowerAmp (very simple), and now you have a streamer/DAC (Lumin) that has no moving parts ! Arguably moving parts can break, and/or affect sound quality. Roon servers IMO are just expensive computers. Running the Lumin via WiFi is simple, no noise (fans, hard drives, etc.), and foolproof in my experience. Also using this general solution the Lumin U1 mini is a smoking deal if you can forego the DAC/streamer option, then you can continue to upgrade your DAC or play with DAC options as time goes on without having to re-rip music. But again, having owned a bunch of quality DACs, the T2 is really good.
My vote is for the Lumin.I have upgraded from the A1...superb ....to the S1 and will be upgrading to the X1 in the near future. Their support is beyond compare. Peter Li is available via many of the websites to answer and help with any question regarding set up or whatever. Their Lumin app upgrades are great....
I have the NAD M10 and love it. I have zero connectivity issues using Wi-Fi, though I decided to do the wired route because sound quality seemed a bit better, could be just my imagination though!. I’m using Zu Omen Dirty Weekenders for speakers and run Qobuz as a source.
I own the NAD M10 and love it!
I tried a PrimaLuna EVO 400 vs it and heard very minor differences.
I have used the Zu Dirty Weekends, Revel F208's, and Focal Sopra 2's with it.
The NAD is good enough that: each speaker's qualities are revealed.
I have used both Qobuz and Tidal with it; paying for the top services on both. I can hear a difference between the two.
The M10 has enough power that it is too loud at times.
It doesn't get hot; it can get pretty warm.
I haven't had any connection or lag issues and my internet isn't the best.
I have been reading and reading and listening to reviews and am to the point where most gear is will be fun to listen to and the gains will take significant money to get a consistent noticeable difference.
Yesterday I was listening to Tidal Master Quality Albums and I am honestly not sure how my listening experience can get much better.
I would say try the NAD M10, get used to the fact that you can move it room to room - outside drive-in with it, etc. and run it with any device. It is really quite an incredible device.
I've also seen it for 800 off; I was shocked as I paid full price but if you can get a discount; I wouldn't hold or look back.
Easy. Innous Zen mk3 with Roon+ Matrix dac. Will cost you a grand more but well worth it. Future proof. Best part of Roon is the inbuilt digital eq. possibilities. No need for a pre with the Matrix. The Zen will also rip and store your cd's. Have a look at it.
What's wrong with your Bluesound Node 2i?
I will bet if you do a blind test and compare all three, you might not be able to detect much of a difference. I would be curious if the dealer told you, you were listening to either the Lumin or Aurender but were in fact listening to the Bluesound Node 2i, what you might say? I could be wrong because I was not able to hear either the Lumen or Aurender when I purchased my Bluesound Node 2i. One thing I like about the Bluesound is to be able to listen to the complete unfold of MQA. Can't understand why I can hear the difference when playing MQA? Wish I knew more about this. I certainly do not understand the attraction for vinyl when you can stream hi-res on a streamer and not have to get out of your chair.
I could be wrong
You could be, and most certainly are........
I have a Bluesound Node 2i in one system. I also have an Aurender N100H and an Auralic Aries G2 in other systems. For fun, I compared them directly in the same system using the same cables. While tonally they sound similar, there is a very large difference in spatial perspective and information offered with the better units. The Aurender is significantly better than the Bluesound. And, the Aries G2 is again better than the Aurender N100H. As well they should be for the price differential. For those who believe bits are bits (suggesting little difference in servers/streamers) and that there are DACs that are generally immune to jitter (as mine is supposed to be), I would say you’re really missing out. I am now of the opinion that the server/streamer is at least as important and probably more important to sound quality than is the DAC.
Lumin T2 and Ether Regen will guarantee enjoyment.
And there is a possibility of an aftermarket external power supply with just a little tweaking.
Aurender added Tidal MQA support at least a year ago.
I have been using an Aurender A10 since it launched 3 years ago and love it. I chose this model because it has internal storage, a streamer and DAC and so this unit does it all and I do not need to have a computer running anywhere.
I have just had to use their customer service for a failed screen - and they fixed and shipped it free of charge, even though it is 3 years old.
I think the front end app is a CRITICAL deciding factor. If you do not like the interface your listening pleasure will be impacted. Before I got my Aurender I had a unit from Cary. Their unit itself was great, but their app development effort went into their Android product. The iOS version was extremely poor. I lasted about 4 months before switching to Aurender.
The Conductor app from Aurender is fantastic, but it is ONLY available for iOS devices, specifically the iPad.
I moved from an Aurender X100L to a W20 and the sound quality is a world of improvement - same DAC for both.
@bigkidz. Roon Nucleus, Bluesound 2, Yamaha wxa50, NAD C 658, Bryson, NAIM.....
The folks at Audio Concepts were very patient with me and we auditioned ever brand an all in ones, stand alone’s and found the Moon by Simaudio MiND 2 to fit that bill. Moved from the 340i to the 390/330A and nothing comes close.
That is mistaken. Aurender has a fully functional Android app.
The Conductor app from Aurender is fantastic, but it is ONLY available for iOS devices, specifically the iPad.
+ 1 for Lumin....I own the A1 with upgraded power supply....bought a D2 for a second system. The A1 has a reputation for being one of the most "analog" sounding streamers out there. The app is extremely easy to run, very intuitive. I also run thru the new etherRegen switch and it is very good. Investing in high end ethernet cables pays great dividends as well. Supra CAT8 are extremely good for the money. Best I've found is the SOtM dcbl Cat 7.....very highly regarded and recommended.
I own both a Lumin D1 with linear outboard power supply and an Aurender N100 feeding a Brooklyn dac. They are in two separate systems. Sound is about the same, since I’ve swapped them in each system. Both are bested, however, by a Pro-ject Signature 10 with an AT ART9 cartridge, which is slightly more expensive, to be fair.
You can’t go wrong with either brand though. I prefer the Aurender app by a slight amount. A nice Aurender feature is a gradual fade-out on mute.
Absolutely love my Aurender N10 it's a joy to use and listen.
I have about 6TB of music on a external hard drive. Can this hard drive be utilized with any of the Aurender or Lumin units?
We are Lumin specialist and sell Lumin now over 5 years of time. We are now even successful in many other countries. In one week of time, we had 3 new clients from Germany. As we more and more get clients from the US as well.
They read our reviews and read about the way we work. The money will never give you more success. But the right skills and knowledge can bring you so much further. We have done a lot of research in digital audio together with the help of different specialists. What makes us able to create new levels in digital audio.
We do audio by Tru-Fi what stands for True Fidelity. True Fidelity means in our world all the different aspects that sound is founded on. Audio is all about sound and music. When you judge sound and music on the aspects it is built on, you will understand that you need all those aspects of sound.
All the different aspects of sound can independently influence human emotion when you are listening to music, You will find them on the recording you use. We have done a lot of research and comparisons with many different DACS and network players.
The facts show unfortunately that many DACS and network players are often limited in the (layering) diversity of sound. We are talking about just 1 aspect of sound that is even limited. The reason for that is often based on ignorance. Most people who even work in audio know very little about sound and music. The harmonics of each recording are essential to experience the full emotion of each individual song you play.
When you do not understand sound and music, it is impossible to understand audio just even a little. The fact that most people in audio do audio by trial&error is proof that people make choices even without a real foundation.
Lumin makes good network players but not ultimate ones. What we do together with the best specialists regarding modifications, electro-smog, high-frequency noise, and magnetism creating new standards that are in result superior to anything you can buy at many different price ranges.
The thing I love most about audio is the fact that each individual person will always choose for that particular audio product or even system that creates the highest level of emotion. This can only be reached when you have access to all aspects of sound. And that all the aspects that negative influence sound and stage are being limited.
But this is not for sale. You can not buy a source or DAC that can reveal all aspects of sound. And are free from negative influences by electro-smog, high-frequency noise, and magnetism. So we create it ourselves. This creates new levels which exceed all the levels you know and auditioned.
Even a Lumin D2+modified Sboosrer outperforms the Lumin T2 for 4498 euros. This combination is just 2698 euros. But when you add a modified Sbooster to the T2 it becomes a different level and much more layered compared to the standard Lumin T2.
We have a Pro modification for the D1, D2, T2, and even for the U1 and U12 mini. I wanted to bring them all to a superior level compared to the standard versions. For example, the capacitors Lumin uses in the D1, D2, T2, and Ui mini are only a few dollars apiece. We use capacitors even from 60 euros apiece.
By using parts during our modifications to reduce the influence of electro-smog, high-frequency noise, and magnetism we get access to a much more dynamic range, more layers, and even more resolution. Due to research, we can bring many different audio products to a superior level that was not possible before.
Our modified The Silent Bonn N8 and modified AudioFacts Sbooster 5v brought us even further in digital audio. It improved all aspects of sound individual. And proved how much more dynamic range, layers, and details you can create for digital audio.
Read the review over here: https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/review-modified-silent-angel-bonn-n8
@bo1972 that was a 1/2 paragraph away from being a shameless sales pitch ;-)
I love facts and the truth. I can always prove the words I have written!
Most people have no idea that the differences in playing songs by streaming by Tidal or Qobuz, a Synology Nas, or our modified Lumin L1 music server are huge. Even the distributor of Lumin was so amazed. And had no idea how huge these differences are.
What we do for many new clients is letting them hear the same song at the same bit rate between; Streaming by Qobuz, Synology Nas, and our modified Lumin L1 music server. They are all every single time blown away by the modified Lumin L1 music server.
The differences in dynamic range, layering, and details is so big that it was so easy to sell many Lumin music servers. Most of our clients now stream by Qobuz and some by Tidal. But the good thing is that more and more people buy their own music.
In audio people will always choose what is the best. People will seldom say no to something that is far superior. Most people have no idea that even if you play a song in 24-bit Hi-Res, the data is still compressed. The amount of data from an album you bought is so much bigger.
But when you connect a modified power supply to a music server the differences become even bigger. In audio, it will always be about what is the best possible, This what all different people will choose. The great thing about the time we live in is that there are so many more options to change and adapt sound and stage!
So, I ask again.
I have about 6TB of music on a external hard drive. Can this hard drive be accessed/ utilized with any of the Aurender or Lumin units?
I Google searched your question and found the following from the Aurender Support page:
"Can I use an external USB hard drive?
Yes! You can play the contents of a USB hard drive, or, for best performance, you can copy files from an external hard drive to the Aurender local/internal storage. There are a few ways to do this:
If you do not need to see metadata tags like album cover art, you can just connect a USB HDD or Flash Drive to one of the USB data ports on the back of the Aurender. You can then use the "Folder" menu option to browse and play files from the USB device by folder view.
If you would like to see the metadata tags of the music files on an attached USB drive, you can run AMM while the drive is attached to the Mac/PC. After AMM finishes, you can detach the USB drive from the MAC/PC and attach it to the Aurender. You will see all the metadata tags from the drive as if it were an extension of the internal hard drive of the Aurender.
*Note that we have found a few DACs are not compatible with Aurender when used with an external USB device (playing from internal storage or a NAS drive does work). The following devices have known issues when music is played from a USB drive- Ayre QB-9 USB DAC, Grace Design m903, Berkeley Alpha USB(USB to SPDIF converter).
*Also note that Aurender music servers can only address USB drives with a single partition. If the drive has multiple partitions, then it will not work and will need to be formatted for one partition".
I hope this helps.
You can use different drives to both Aurender and Lumin network players. But Lumin, unfortunately, gives you access to some features you do not have when you use another brand. When you use a Lumin L1, it gives you a better overview of the songs, artists’ and genres, etc.
The thing that most people have no idea of, is the fact how different even external drives are in sound and stage. Even the differences between HDD and SSD are huge. In audio, there are so many aspects where companies don’t talk about.
We tested the Samsung Pro SSD in the Lumin L1. The speed was awesome, but the layering in sound became very limited. As the individual focus of voices and instruments became less tangible and less free from each other.
When you do audio by trial&error it becomes impossible to trace back what the exact influence if of each individual part in any audio-system. Each part of your system owns its own DNA. It will have a footprint on the end result of your system at home.
For me, it is difficult to understand why so many people know so little about sound and music. Audio is all about sound and music. Differences between external drives are huge. But when you have little insight and knowledge about sound and music, you will never understand what you need to advise and buy.
The sad thing regarding audio can be found in the fact that most audio products are not able to reveal all aspects of sound. This will always have a limited effect on each system where you will put them in. Because emotion is the only key to success in audio.
This is why even an external drive can be successful or work out as a limitation. Many people who work in audio know very little about sound and music. This makes it very difficult to give people who buy audio products the best advice.
I am surprised how little is changed in the last years regarding digital audio. Because there are far too many network players and DACs who are limited in layering in sound. This is why so many people describe them often as dead sounding, no emotion, impossible to become one with the music.
The reason why so many people don’t like these products has 100% nothing to do with any silly kind of personal taste. Because your emotion is telling you the truth. Each audio product and audio system that lacks one or more different aspects of sound, will never be able to create a high level of emotion for any human being.
We have our own personal taste in music and artists. But......regarding our emotion, it works almost the same for each human being. The emotion you will find on the music you play. So you need a source and even a drive that can reveal and give you access to all those aspects of sound.
We had to adapt many things to create a superior level than what is available with products out of a box. In the past, I owned the best and most expensive CD-players in the world. But due to research and modifications, we are so much further now with our modified Lumin network players than we ever were with CD-players.
The dynamic range is far superior and the same counts for the level of details. As the amount of distortion is so much lower. The most difficult part that we faced regarding digital audio is the level in the layering of sound. This is something you can not buy. You need to understand sound and music before you can adapt audio products to improve this particular aspect.
We increase the level of diversity in sound by modifications to the Lumin network players. We even modify the Lumin L1 music server. As we use modified power supplies. But it goes even further than that. By adding a modified Bonn N8 switch you increase the level in layering as well.
We even use different accessories to reduce the amount of electro-smog, high-frequency noise, and magnetism. This improves all different aspects of sound. As it improves the harmonics of each song you play. The complexity of sound makes it so difficult to understand audio. But it is needed to reveal and experience the emotion of all your beloved music.
Thanks for the help.
I am currently using a Bryston BDP-2 with my Hard drive attached to it.
The Dac currently is the PS Audio Direct Stream Dac. Everything works great and with the Bryston app I can select and play everything just fine.
I have been thinking of getting a Lumin X1 or an
but never could find much info as to how an attached hard drive would function.
When we sell a modified Lumin X1. Together with the modified Lumin L1 music server+modified Sbooster and the modified Bonn N8+modified Sbooster you can easily outperform network players+DAC far over 50k. The reason for that is insight and knowledge.
We have a client who lives in Austria and he bought in August 2019 a LuminD2+Pro modification+modified Sbooster for 3798 euros. He is a member of an audio club in Austria. There were 2 of his audio friends with a networkplayer+DAC combo of 13000 and 14000 euros. They were seen as the reference digital sources of his audio club.
But when he did a shootout with his 3798 euros combination he outperformed them both. And now they see his combination as the reference digital source in his audio club. The money will never help you at all in audio. This is due to the fact that over 99,99% of all produced audio products are incomplete.
Our modified Lumin X1 outperformed the Aurender W20 with many different DAC combinations. We create many new standards in both sound&vision. For us, audio is like Formula One. All our research creates new ideas over and over again. Because for a born perfectionist it needs to be better all the time.
The 3rd of July 2020 will be the date that I work in the world of sound&vision for 22 years. When I see what my insight and knowledge are compared to when I started in 1998 it is planets away from that time. Only insight and knowledge can make you understand sound and music. This is needed to be able to understand audio.
Audio is a real profession, this needs to be done with full dedication, commitment, and most of all with all the love you feel and have for music. Even a Lumin X1
out of a box is still not an ultimate source. Because you need the skills to use the DNA of each product. I can read the full DNA of each individual product.
But when you do audio by trial&error you can never read and understand the DNA of that particular product. This is why you can only use a limited level of the full potential of each audio product when you do audio by trial&error. When you do audio by all the different aspects of sound, it gives you access to a totally different world!
@ozzy, I am happy I was able to help. I hope everything is working okay. I own the Aurender N10 Music Server and like it very much. As I stated above, Aurender Customer Support is excellent, their Conductor App is easy to use and Aurender offers Remote Internet Technical Support, if needed. Of course, its sound quality is excellent (my opinion).
I am not familiar with Lumin products and cannot comment. Some people above posted they like the Lumin unit very much. I also have no comments or experience with the modified products that @bo1972 mentioned above.
I suggest you audition both the Lumin and Aurender products in your local store and see what unit sounds best to you. Please use my server check list above to help you make a decision.
Please do NOT rush this process. Take your time and listen.
I hope the above helps you make a decision. Thanks....