MAC Book Pro Computer vs Aurender N100h vs Aurender N10 Music Servers


I am considering replacing my MAC Book Pro Computer with the Aurender N100h music server. The N100h has received great reviews, has quality construction, provides Tidal support and offers the convenience of using an iPad. My local dealer "highly recommends" I consider the Aurender N10 music server OVER the Aurender N100h server. He feels the N10 would sound much better than my current MAC Book Pro Commuter or the N100h. He said the N100h would only be marginal better than my MAC Book Pro. To be honest, I was really considering the N100h because of its sound quality, construction and my budget.

However, based on the reviews, etc., I am sure the Aurender N10 sounds great but it costs $8,000 (expensive). I found one N100h review that said “ ….Not one single combination of Mac Mini & peripheral devices has so far bested the sound of Aurender’s N100H; a digital audio streamer/server that comes pre-loaded with: 1) audiophile-approved 120Gb solid state hard drive (for cached playback); 2) custom 35 Watt linear power supply; 3) low noise USB output. Check one, check two, check three”.

This is probably not a fair comparison since the N10 cost is $8k and the N100h cost is $3k. What are your comments about replacing my MAC Book Pro Computer with either the N10 or the N100h? Has anyone replaced their MAC Book Pro with one of these Aurender servers?

And, yes, I plan on visiting my local store shortly to hear both the N10 and the N100h. My current MAC Book Pro computer is connected to my Bricasti M1 DAC connected to my Hypex NCore NC400 Bridged mono blocks class D power amplifiers and my Sonus Faber Olympic II Speakers.   The 4 NC400 power amplifiers (2 amps per side) were modified (4 R141 chips removed) to match to the volume control in the Bricasti M1 DAC (running DAC direct to amp, no pre-amplifier).   Thanks.

hgeifman
My Aurender N100h and Aurender N10 Music Servers demo is scheduled for Monday, December 28th.   Does anyone have any common on either the Aurender N100h or Aurender N10 Music Servers?   Any comments are appreciated.  
I have heard none of them, but have been looking at all three of Aurender's models on Audio Advisor on paper I like the N10 the best. And if I was in the market for one, that would be on the top of my list. It looks to me like a very well made and though out product, at present I am using the Bryston BDP-1 which works very well for me. But like I stated if I had the money.....
I brought 3 albums to my dealer and listened on the Aurender N100h Music Server.  After 20 minutes of listening, I felt it sounded compressed, not natural and I did not like it (my opinion).

I then played the same 3 albums on the Aurender N10 for 30 minutes. The sound quality was amazing. The music was clearer, had more bass, had more air and sounded fuller. It sounded more like music to my ears than the N00h. I ordered the Aurender N10 and plan on connecting it on Tuesday.  

In addition, I replaced my Netgear 1200 Ethernet over power line connection with a Cat 6 Ethernet cable running direct to my Apple Extreme router. I added the Luxul XGS-1008 switch box (8 Gigabit ports) in my family room and ran a Cat 6 Ethernet cable to my living room.
My Aurender N10 Music Server is a welcomed addition to my audio system.  My audio system sounds more open, more natural, clearer, better bass and I am very happy I purchased the unit. The ability to switch back and forth between Tidal music streaming and my stored albums in the App is now a very easy process (one mouse click).  The Aurender iPAD app is much easier to use than my MAC Book Pro computer.  Album selection is also excellent with several different album selection choices available.  The Aurender N10 Music Sever is highly recommended for its great sound quality and ease of use.


And, yes, the addition of a music sever in a system is a little more complicated but the instructions I provided below should get you started.  Actually, it is not that difficult to transfer the music to the Aurender.  You attach your external hard drive to the Aurender and it copies everything over (and please keep reading for the details).

NOTE-1:  Please note that iTunes does NOT STORE the album cover art within the song folder but "HIDES" it in another encrypted and hidden folder.  This means the Aurender setup coming from iTunes requires you to run Doug Scripts to extract the album cover art in your transfer (http://dougscripts.com/itunes/scripts/ss.php?sp=savealbumartjpeg).

NOTE-2: If you are using iTunes, you have to download the Extract to Folder.jpg Script from Doug Scripts (cost is $1.99). The Script run process is vey easy but it takes time depending on the number of albums.   This script is required since it stores the album cover art image in the correct location and includes the correct name (Folder.jpg) for handling by the Aurender.  Please check the Script for any updates.

NOTE-3:  Please read the "Save Album Art as folder.jpg v3.4" instructions carefully. You have to set up a new folder named Scripts (within the iTunes library) so the script can run from within iTunes.  iTunes will NOT let this script run for a large number of albums.  I suggest you test with 4-8 albums at a time and see what happens (adjust as needed). The Script runs very fast.

NOTE-4:  You can easily connect your computer to the Aurender file structure using the Finder Go Connect to Server tab. The iPad settings menus provide the necessary information (IP address, user name & password). This is very easy to do. This is how you delete files on the Aurender and also add or correct the Folder.JPG images files.

NOTE-5: If some of your albums do NOT have cover art, you have to manually add the album metadata (other automated options may be available).  You Google the album name plus “CD Image”, find the image, move it to the Desktop, change its name to Folder.jpg and move it to the Aurender song folder (be careful to place it in the right location after the last song).  The Aurender iPAD app is much easier to use if your albums have cover art.  This process is not hard but take some time depending on the number of albums. A good estimate is 2-4 minutes per album (my times).

NOTE-6:  You might need to ask your dealer (or friends) for help with the album transfer process to the Aurender.  Unfortunately, I had to determine most of these instructions myself to compete my album transfer including the album cover art (my dealer was not very helpful).  If you are unclear, please ask for help (if needed).   I had to delete my transferred albums on the Aurender TWICE before I got it right.  My instructions above should ensure you get it right the first time.

When I finished transferring my albums to the Aurender, I immediately backed up my Aurender files to my LaCie hard drive & also to my Seagate hard drive.  I spent too much time building my album database so I backed it up twice.

As a test, I ripped 5 CD’s to a USB Flash drive, ran the “Extract to Folder.JPG” Script in iTunes to extract the missing album cover art for these albums.  Two of these albums were missing album cover art so I used Google search to find the album cover art as I described above.   The album transfers to the Aurender worked perfectly.  

In summary, I like the Aurender N10 Music Server very much and highly recommend you give it an audition.  The combination of its sound quality and its ease of use using the iPad makes it an amazing piece.

 



On Sunday, my Aurender N10 was working fine but, on Monday, my Tidal favorites were missing. In addition, the screen was displaying the words Aurender or Tidal and now the iPad display is showing the letter “A” and there is a small box to the right used to switch to Tidal. My playlists are under favorites and I cannot find them. When I select an album and make it a favorite, I cannot find it. I am using the current updated version that was working fine before but not now.

Aurender Customer Support reports “you can just switch back to your local contents by touching the icon with “A” (stands for Aurender) which is next to the TIDAL logo”. The missing favorites is caused by app bug (see below for the solution).

You can see your favorites by reinstalling the Aurender App from the App Store AFTER you delete it. You have to delete the stored copy in the iPad, delete it from the screen and then re-install it. My Aurender is now working fine. Aurender Customer Support reports there was a problem when the Aurender app was updated from the old one.

Aurender Customer Support is excellent and their products are highly recommended. Thanks.
This morning I started the iPad and my favorites are not displayed. When I hit the playlist favorites, my favorites should be there but they are not. Instead my 8 playlist favorites are shown. When I hit the playlist tab, nothing is shown.

I deleted the Aurender app, powered down and re-installed the app. There is no change. I did it again with the same result.

Previously, the albums I made favorites were displayed using the favorites tab and my 8 favorite playlists were under the playlist tab.

I searched for an album and made it a favorite.  I cannot find it under favorites. I emailed Aurender customer support for assistance. I verified that I am using the current software.  Is anyone else having this problem?

I have been using an Autonomic MMS-5A server for a while now and my audio dealer is trying to get me interested in the Aurender N10 as a replacement.

The Autonomic has some really good features, the iPad app works pretty well, it integrates with my iTunes library (app copies the content to the internal hard drive), and they recently added a feature to automatically back up content to my Google Drive account.  But the sound quality of the Aurender appears to possibly be superior.

Please keep this thread going, I'm enjoying the exchange, would possibly do the upgrade, if I know what challenges I'd be in for.

I'd probably take the coax or optical output into my DAC, USB is in use from my laptop.
Aurender Customer Support solved the missing album favorites problem with their 2nd email today.  I did NOT know that Aurender CHANGED the INTERFACE to use a STAR and not the word favorites like it was before.

In other words, regarding the albums selected as favorites, there is a NOW a star and this is how you select your favorite albums.  Aurender changed Favorites to star in case there are many
sections.

Note that the iPad display is showing the letter “A” for Aurender (CD's) and there is a small box to the right used to switch to Tidal Streaming.

Aurender Customer Support is very prompt and is excellent. Thanks.
Following the posts, the sound from the Aurender n10 was preferred over the n100h.  Was the n10 using spdif and the n100 using usb?
Hi Cerrot,  I listened to the Aurender N100h using the USB cable and manually switched to the Aurender N10 Music Server using the same USB cable.   I did not test using the spdif connections (USB only).   In my opinion, the Aurender N100h was good but the Aurender N10 sound quality was much better.  I immediately heard the sound differences between the two units.

I used my own music and switched back and forth several times to ensure I was hearing correctly.  I purchased the Aurender N10 for its sound quality over the N100h.   As I stated above, I like my Aurender N10 very much and highly recommend it for its excellent sound quality and Aurender's outstanding customer service.  They were very helpful solving all the problems I discussed above.  Okay? 


I visited the Aurender room at THE Show and was told a new software release is expected in the next 30 days (estimated date, could be earlier or later). The new release will fix bugs, eliminate the stand by option (unit will be on or off), add additional sort sequences (?) to Tidal albums, provide features needed for South Korea and various other items.   Aurender is also working to improve their documentation to better describe its products.

Please note that Philip O’Hanlon from On Higher Note (premier distributor of high-end audio components in the United States & Canada) publishes some of his demo playlists on Tidal.  His playlists are recommended and I especially like "Box of Fun" listed below (one example). The link below is the list of his playlists:

https://onahighernote.com/blog/category/philips-music-talk/philips-playlist/

The link below is an example of his 'Box of Fun” playlist on Tidal. Box Of Fun on TIDAL, 2006 is inspired by Randy Cribb of Audio Advice.

http://listen.tidal.com/playlist/abaa9218-3262-4fd6-86c0-5a7c97697436


I continued to enjoy my Aurender N10 Music Server and recommend you audition it if you are interested in a high quality easy to use music server.   
In my above post, I explained that Philip O’Hanlon from On Higher Note publishes some of his demo playlists on Tidal.  All of his playlists are highly recommended.

Some people have asked me "How do I play this "Box of Fun" from Philip's playlist posted on his On Higher Note website?"  In summary, the steps below explains how to find the playlist on the On Higher Note website, documents how you link to Tidal on your computer, displays the Box of Fun playlist, instructs you to log into Tidal and then SAVE this album as a favorite in your playlist section of the app.  The steps are:

THESE STEPS MUST BE DONE ON YOUR COMPUTER:

1) Go to this link:

https://onahighernote.com/blog/2015/07/17/box-of-fun-playlist/

2) Scroll toward the end of the text and look for the “listen on Tidal box”. Click this box and Box of Fun will be displayed.  I suggest you listen to the album before you proceed to ensure you like it (for fun, turn volume down, play the 2nd song named Norbu by Bruno Coulais and turn volume up as needed).

3) Immediately login into Tidal (on your computer) and make Box of Fun your favorite by clicking on the star button. This saves it to your Tidal playlist. Pease VERFIFY that you made Box of Fun a favorite by looking for it on the Tidal menu. DO NOT LEAVE this step until you CONFIRM Box of Fun is STORED as a favorite. Box of Fun must be stored as a favorite.

4) Log OUT of Tidal on your computer (you are done with Tidal on your computer).

5) Go to your Aurender iPad app, start the Aurender application and look for favorite album playlist. The album may, or may not, be easy to find so keep looking.  If you saved it correctly in step #3 above, its got to be there.


There are several other highly recommended playlists on the On Higher Note website. All of them can be stored on your Aurender app by following the above instructions.   I agree the above steps are not the easiest but the ability to make these terrific playlists available on your Aurender app using Tidal Streaming is well worth the effort.   Any questions, please ask.

 



Aurender announced a new software upgrade labeled the Aurender App 2.7.27 Released on June 30 2016. See link below for a list of the bug fixes & improvements:

http://www.aurender.com/blog/new-software-release-note-4/post/app-2-7-27-136

It took me about five minutes to complete the install. Please make sure the install is 100% completed before you start using the iPad App (look at the display for status information).  After I completed the upgrade, my albums were not displayed on my iPad but my Tidal albums were.  I closed the iPad App, removed it from memory and started the App again.  All my albums appeared perfectly.  Aurender Customer Support reports "If the App did not display your local content correctly after the update, it is possible the App had not quite downloaded the database from the Aurender yet and so when you relaunched it, it reinitiated the download and now your albums appear.  This may be due to old data not being replaced with new data when the app is updated from the app store.  We have found that often, deleting the App and reinstalling it can repair some issues after a software upgrade".

Aurender reports "they are working on email integration for software release notes as well as a new support site, but no estimated dates are available (future).  Also, email reminders will likely be something you will need to sign up for, so it won’t be automatic".

At the moment, Aurender "decided not to implement notices about software updates from the App. They may make it a feature that can be turned on or off in the future, but no information regarding the time frame for this feature is available (Future, maybe)".

"The Standby button still appears on the App, but it no longer works. Aurender left it there with a note that we removed it so customers did not get confused. Either way, it does not work anymore if you try to select it”.  

"Aurender has received some reports of the App crashing more than usual (when multitasking or when selecting the App after the iPad wakes from sleep), and they are working on duplicating the problems and hope to fix them with a new update. For the time being, just a warning that you may need to relaunch the App from time to time”.  This problem has never happened to me.

Aurender also added a Tidal sort by artist option.

After the software upgrade, my Aurender N10 is working fine.  
The N10 is a nice unit, sounds great, marginally better sounding than a Macbook. But be aware that having to use an Ipad to control a device is a mixed blessing. If your internet or network is down, your music will be inaccessible. That is the current state of the art for music servers.
That is an excellent point. Aurender has solved this problem by providing a Wi-Fi dongle as an access point. I saw this in a demo at THE Show.   

When you have difficulty in connecting or controlling Aurender Music Servers, attaching Wi-Fi dongle to the back of the unit can solve the problem because it enhances communication between your iPad and Aurender music server. Aurender music server needs more robust and faster connection to the Wi-Fi router than surfing the internet.

You can use a Wi-Fi dongle to connect your iPad to the Aurender. This method will provide file playback only as there is no connection to the internet.  The Wi-Fi dingle allies you to play music from your 

If you want to use streaming services like TIDAL or Qobuz you need to connect Aurender to the internet using the wired connection.


Sent from my iPhone 6s

More details on the Aurender Wi-Fi dongle are on this link. 

http://www.aurender.com/page/appguide-wifidongle

I asked Aurender Customer Support about MQA availability on the music servers and their response is below:


"Aurender music servers already support MQA files since we are a bit perfect file transport. Whether or not you will be able to experience MQA at it’s full potential, will depend on the DAC being used and whether or not it offers MQA decoding. We’ve already demonstrated MQA files played back from our servers with compatible DACs on a few occasions.

Aurender's new A10 music server with analog outputs will also support MQA and will offer the full benefits of MQA decoding and analog conversion. We should be shipping this in the fall, at least that is the goal. At the moment we are still finalizing hardware and software for the A10".

In addition, I found that Tidal is working on a Tidal MQA implementation but has not posted any details or dates.  I will email them for an update. Tidal web site states a "firm date for launching MQA has not been set. We will of course let everyone know if/when MQA becomes available".

http://www.whathifi.com/news/tidal-showcases-mqa-streaming-ces-2016-launch-delayed

As noted above, the ability to use MQA depends on the DAC being used and whether or not it offers MQA decoding.   I have no information regarding the sound quality from using MQA.


Has anyone compared SQ between the N10 and the much pricier W20?
I heard the Aurender W20 at the THE Show in Newport Beach but was not able to compare it to anything else.  I purchased the Aurender N10 because of its sound quality, features and ease of use with the iPAD.  I found the following information on the Internet that you might find useful:

Which Aurender is for me?
Posted January 27th, 2016 in Computer Audio

http://www.pearlaudiovideo.com/blog/expertise/computer-audio/which-aurender-is-for-me/

AURENDER W20 MUSIC SERVER
Not Just a Pretty Interface

by Robert Harley | Feb 04th, 2016

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/aurender-w20-music-server-1/
It is a very easy process to transfer ripped albums from a USB flash drive to the Aurender.  Please see the link below for the detailed instructions including pictures:

http://support.aurender.com/smart-copy-from-usb.html

In summary, I purchased several new albums and ripped them to a flash drive on my MAC Computer using iTunes and the AIFF Format.

Since iTunes DOES NOT include the cover art in the same folder, I searched for the album’s cover art using Amazon and copied the image to the desktop.  I changed the cover art name to Folder.JPG and copied it to the folder on the flash drive (less than one minute per album).   The cover art image MUST be named Folder.JPG so that it gets displayed on the Aurender iPad application.

I inserted the flash drive into my Aurender, followed the instructions listed above and all my albums were copied to my Aurender N10 Music Server perfectly.

@hgeifman I think you making your process way more painful than necessary. Is your Aurender connected to your network? You should be able to open Finder on your Mac and see the Aurender's drive as a device or drive (on the left side of the Finder window). When you download music, you should be able to select that drive as your destination location, resulting in the music being downloaded directly to the right place with just one step. Then if you get Yate or another Mac tag editing program you can open any album's folder and with one click add the artwork to all the track files. With another click you can save to folder.jpg too.
Flash drives shouldn't be needed at home! Cheers,
Spencer

sbank, Yes, my Aurender is connected to my network.   Thank you very much for your above suggestions.  I will use your instructions the next time I add albums to my Aurender.
DIY Linux based music server would have iPad and Android support. $600 for a 2TB solution, minus the DAC.



Best,

Erik
I turned on my iPad and it failed to connect to my Aurender N10 Music Server. Something was wrong but I had no clue what it was.  I tired some things but nothing worked.

I contacted Aurender Customer Support and, after a few questions, he determined my Aurender N10 was turned off due to a power failure. This explains why the iPad could not connect to the Aurender N10.   

I turned it on, it booted up (this took several minutes) and my iPad now connects to the N10.   Everything is working fine.  I hope this information helps others that might have the same problem.

Aurender Customer Support is terrific and so are their products.   
Correction:  tired = tried.   sorry.

My dealer steered me to the Aurender N10, when I was having intermittent problems with my Autonomic MMS-5A server, which went back to the factory to have the hard drive "re-imaged".  I record CDs and purchase hi-res files from HD Tracks, all AIFF files, managed by iTunes on a Windows10 Pro machine, with a Windows app to sync music/artwork to the server.
While the Autonomic was being serviced, I downloaded and gave Roon a try, my Windows10 machine has a quad core I7 processor with 16 gigs of memory, so it could run the "core" and the "controller", as well it has an excellent iPad and Android "controller" app.  I was so impressed with Roon, I no longer use my Autonomic server.  It recognizes all the iTunes content and integrates it with my Tidal subscription.
I take the the USB output from my Windows10 machine into a Schitt Audio "decrappifier", then into my DAC.  Works great!  Sounds great!
How does the Aurender handle albums coded with the MQA Format (the answer and information below should be considered a work in progress and subject to change)?  

"If you navigate to an artist that has an MQA version of an album available on Tidal, there will be TWO versions of the Album – one MQA and the other non-MQA. When used with an MQA compatible DAC, the MQA files from Tidal will play back with no issue, as far as we know (?). The DAC needs to be MQA certified for the files to play back properly. It is possible the files will simply play back as a non-MQA PCM bit stream when used with a non-MQA DAC (?).

Currently, there is no easy way to filter MQA content from the Conductor App when browsing Tidal on the Aurender iPad app (making MQA albums hard to find!). You must navigate to the artist and try both versions of the album. The MQA versions are streaming in 24 bit when used with Aurender and a connected DAC, so your DAC should register one version as 16 bit and the other as 24 bit. We still need to wait for more information from Tidal on how Aurender can pull MQA information from Tidal, since even the Tidal App does not delineate between versions of the album yet”.  

I have not been able to confirm the above but believe this information is correct.

Can someone please find an album on Tidal (on your Aurender) that is coded an non MQA for 16bit playback and coded as MQA for 24bit playback .

MQA is a new technology that is yet to be proven and accepted.  I do not know if it sounds good or not. In addition, any DAC’s that use MQA must pay a MQA licensing fee so its adoption may be slow. Several people I have talked to are interested in hearing about MQA but have no plans to buy new hardware to support it.

There are MQA specific posts on Audiogon that provide additional information.   Please post any additional information you have using MQA coded albums on your Aurender unit.
Additional clarification information:  When using you Aurender iPad application, you might see TWO identical albums on your screen.  Unfortunately, Tidal is not displaying the difference between albums when browsing content (regular resolution or MQA format).

"Aurender is waiting for Tidal to enable these differences before they can display which is MQA and which is not. The way you can tell which one is MQA and which one is not, is one will register as a 24-bit either 44.1kHz or 48kHz sample with your DAC, and the other will still play back as 16-bit, 44.1kHz.  At this point, Aurender is waiting for Tidal to include the necessary data points for the album(s) to distinguish it being MQA or standard resolution".   

As I stated above, I hope someone can verify this information. Any additional comments are appreciated.  Thanks.  


Our electrical power stopped working on Sunday for about 2 hours.  I unplugged all my audio equipment including my Aurender N10. When the power was restored, I plugged in the Aurender and it started its recovery process.   I asked Aurender Customer Support if this is the normal process. Their explanation is:
   

“Yes, whenever the Aurender N10, or any of our music servers experience an interruption in power, the software logs tell the Operating System this and it starts a different boot process.  This is normal since we want to ensure the hard disks and SSD (solid state drive) do not have a problem due to the outage.   You do not need to be concerned about it, unless the recovery fails, in which case one of the hard drives or the SSD is corrupted. 

If the HDD is corrupted, it will need to be formatted or even replaced, and the music will need to be repopulated.  If the SSD is corrupted, there is a recovery mode feature that will format and rewrite the Operating System to the SSD; only playlists and ratings are lost, the rest of the music information remains intact”.

My Aurender N10 finished its recovery process and everything is okay.



So, does the Aurender N100h sound better than the MAC Book Pro?  Looks like it doesn't.  Is this correct?  I am interested in getting a N100h, but if it doesn't sound any better than a MAC Book Pro, then there is no point.
I believe the Aurender N100h sounds better than my MAC Book Pro computer.  

However, the Aurender N10 music server is much better than the Aurender N100h  I had major problems with the cost of the Aurender N10 so I listened to both units several times and finally decided the N10 sounded the best.  Yes, the Aurender N10 is expensive but it is well worth it for its surberb sound quality and ease of use. 

I suggest you listen to both units again and decide what sounds best to you.  The Aurender iPad App is very easy to use and it is very easy to switch back and forth between CD's and Tidal Streaming.  

Aurender customer service is terrific.  My Aurender N10 is working fine and I enjoy it very much.  


Please see the answer below from Aurender Customer Suppor RE: Aurender MQA handling explained:

"MQA decoding is hardware dependent on the DAC being used and so while the file is encoded in MQA, it is in a standard PCM "wrapper" or container file. The file can be either 16 bit or 24 bit (depending on the provenance of the original master file) and is either a 44.1kHz or 48kHz sampling rate, dependent on the A/D conversion and mastering sampling rate of the the original file.

In order for an MQA file to be properly decoded, it needs to be used with appropriate DAC hardware that carries an MQA certification. Otherwise it will just play back as a standard PCM file (capable of supporting either of the specs mentioned above). A user with a non-MQA DAC will still receive some of the benefits of MQA encoding, namely reduction of temporal blur, but the MQA decoding process is tailored for the DAC architecture and is only supported by MQA certified DACs. Since your Ayre Codex does not have an MQA hardware decoder, it does NOT see the MQA encoder flags and therefore just plays back the file at whatever the native sampling rate is (44.1kHz or 48kHz).

Further, it is a common assumption that an MQA file with a base sample rate of 44.1kHz or 48kHz will always result in a higher sampling rate after MQA’s “unfolding”, or decoding process. However, a fully decoded, unfolded MQA file on an MQA certified DAC can and often is still at a max sampling rate of 44.1kHz/48kHz. The decoding process is actually (more importantly) correcting for how the DAC is converting the signal to analog, by correcting for errors in the time domain. The sampling rate is based on the provenance or source of the original file.

To illustrate this a bit, a source file from a recording using MQA encoding may have a master sampling rate of 352.8kHz (8x 44.1kHz), which would be contained in a 24-bit, 44.1kHz sampling rate “wrapper” so that it can be used with non-MQA DAC hardware. When the file is delivered to MQA DAC hardware, the DAC will detect the appropriate flags that the file is encoded in MQA, and “unfold” the file using MQA’s decoding process to the original maximum sampling rate of 352.8kHz.

On the other hand, a recording that has a source provenance of 24-bit, 44.1kHz will still be contained in the same 24-bit, 44.1kHz “wrapper”, and when MQA DAC hardware detects the MQA encoder flags, will still decode the file to the original max sampling rate of 44.1kHz.

In short, MQA is less about the sampling rate of the file, and more about having provenance for the original recording, and removing errors in the time domain in the DAC hardware. Unfortunately, when Tidal introduced Masters (MQA encoded files), some of this information has been made a bit murky by some of MQA’s own marketing lingo about “Core” decoding (an initial software decoding required for an MQA Renderer, or a non-MQA DAC, currently only available in Tidal’s App, and Audirvana music player software), which everyone thinks must result in a 2x unfold before the DAC.

In other words, people want to see a higher sampling rate. However, this is simply not the case in practice and even a Core decoded file may only have a sampling rate of 44.1kHz or 48kHz if that’s what the original master file’s maximum sampling rate is.

Actually you can find out more about Aurender and MQA playback at the link here: http://support.aurender.com/mqa-playback.html "

A special thanks to Aurender Customer Support for the above explanation answering our MQA related questions. 
If you haven't heard your MacBook Pro hooked up to a Music Linear Power Supply than you haven't heard what the MacBook Pro really has to offer.

Additional information for Aurender Music Server Users only:

Please see the link for information on the “Streaming” tab:  
http://support.aurender.com/streaming.html

Also please see the links below for information on the second row filter buttons and the user nameable folder row:

http://support.aurender.com/content-browse-buttons.html
http://support.aurender.com/user-nameable-folders.html

New Aurender Software Release Notes for System SW 4(5).10.16 / App 2.8.5 Released on August 4 2017:

http://www.aurender.com/blog/new-software-release-note-4/post/system-sw-4-5-10-16-app-2-8-5-148
FYI.  My Aurender IPad was losing its connection to  my Aurender N10 Music Server yesterday.

I re-booted the iPad App but still had the same problem.  Today, I re-started (hit the re-start tab in settings) my N10 and everything is working fine now.  I think the the connectivity technology gets mixed up over time.  
hgeifman,

this is a great thread and you provide a ton of great information.  Thank you.  I have a few questions, but before I get to them, please excuse my ignorance about computer stuff and MQA in general.  If my questions are stupid, I apologize in advance, and admit that I am somewhat of a newbie when it comes to the MQA  and streamers etc.   


 I don't understand why an MQA dac is needed to get MQA from Tidal.    Right now when I open my Tidal app on my windows laptop, I can play MQA to my DAC (a light harmonic dual dac) and my dac is not MQA, yet my dac plays the Tidal MQA songs at 48 hz (my dac tells me whether im playing 44.1, 48, 192, dsd etc).  So I am able to stream MQA to a non-MQA dac using the Tidal software on my computer.  How come Aurender can't do the same thing?  Or am I missing something.  According to Tidal, you don't need an MQA dac, just their app.  Here is a quote from the Tidal website:

"All you need is a TIDAL HiFi membership to get access to thousands of master-quality albums through the TIDAL desktop application. When you are in the TIDAL desktop app, go to What’s New and select Masters in the Albums section."

I understand if you play Tidal from a web browser, then your dac has to be MQA to decode it.  But the Tidal app seems to do the MQA decoding instead of the DAC.  Couldn't Aurender build something into their software to decode the MQA like the Tidal app? 



You have also pointed out that the Aurender customer support is fantastic, but it does seem that you have had a few problems with your Aurender and for those of us that are not as computer savvy as you appear to be, do you think the Aurender is still a good option?  

Again, I appreciate this post, and your well thought out explanations, and any comments you can provide. 

Thank you and again apologies if my post is wrong or my understanding is wrong or my questions show a level of ignorance. 

@gasherbaum 

Thanks for your kind words.  It is appreciated.  Yes, I continue to recommend Aurender for your music server. There is lots of info below for you to better understand how the Aurender handles MQA. 

My friend, Lalit, posted this on Audiogon:

“For the benefit of those still unclear about how MQA works, this is a very nice article about demystifying the ambiguity surrounding the MQA”.

https://www.audiostream.com/content/mqa-decoding-explained


Please see this link, from
Aurender, “Browsing and Playback of MQA Content using Conductor”.

http://support.aurender.com/mqa.html

This is another excellent link, from Aurender, “MQA Content and Aurender Music Servers”:

http://support.aurender.com/mqa-playback.html

I hope the above helps.  Please let me know.  

Thanks so much hgeifman, that was super helpful.  That first link made it much clearer about what is going on.  I greatly appreciate the help.  I didn't understand that the Tidal app only unfolds part of the MQA and that you need a dac to unfold the rest.  Thanks so much. 
Thanks.  Unfortunately, the MQA implication is complicated.  DAC’s that implement MQA have to pay a fee for the MQA license.  Please note the Aurender A10 server includes a built in DAC that supports MQA.  

My DAC does not support MQA and I have no plans to replace it.  I do not know if the MQA is a lasting technology.  We have PCM, DSD, double DSD, quad DSD and MQA.   My Aurender plays Tidal albums (Masters) at 24/96 and they sound great.  


“Commercial MQA-capable playback devices require payment of a royalty to MQA Ltd per unit sold. Based on information from Auralic, a manufacturer of Audiophile Wireless Audio Streamers, Meridian Audio prohibits digital output of unpacked MQA in any digital format, only allowing the unpacked data to be fed to an on-board MQA-compatible DAC and output in analog form”.  

See this link for more back ground info on MQA.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_Quality_Authenticated

More info:

https://opensource.com/life/16/9/whats-wrong-with-

I hope the above helps.   Any more questions?

 I suggest you search Audiogon for “MQA” for many more questions and answers on MQA.  
I submitted the request below to Tidal Streaming regarding the number of MQA albums available on my Aurender:

"My Aurender N10 Music server displays 448 MQA albums. Does Tidal have additional MQA albums in your MQA album library that are NOT included in the Masters tab on my Aurender Conductor App? I heard that Tidal has over 5,000 MQA albums but less than 500 of them appear on the Aurender Conductor App.

What sequence are these albums in? Do I have any sort options so I can get them in artist sequence and also selections by genre on my Aurender?   I am constantly looking for new classical MQA albums and it would be nice to have a genre tab for this option. My assumption is the sort sequence is controlled by Tidal and my Aurender might not be able to provide any additional sorting options. The ability to sort MQA albums and select them by genre would be a very helpful Aurender feature.

Aurender also reports Tidal Streaming has much more than 448 MQA albums, but Tidal) is just displaying new MQA albums just like new albums. Aurender believes the albums are ordered by added date and they can’t change order.   At this moment, Tidal does NOT offer a way to filter or change the sort order with MQA flags, so there is no way Aurender can display all MQA albums.

In summary, is it possible for all the MQA albums to be displayed on my Aurender Masters tab?   What options, if any, might be available for my Aurender to have the necessary API options to enable sorting and selection from the full MQA Album list?   Thanks".


The Absolute Sound, Issue #279, on page 136 also states there are about 5,000 MQA Coded albums but fewer than 500 of them appear on the Aurender Conductor App.  If you have any additional information, please post them to this forum.  Thanks.   
Please see the respond I received from Tidal below:

"Thanks for reaching out. Please contact Aurender Customer Support as they developed the app that interfaces with TIDAL and therefore should be able to further assist you in this matter. 

Please note: MQA Albums can be found at “What’s New” and select “Masters” in the Albums section. The limited view of MQA albums in this section is a known issue. 

The developers are aware of the limited search capabilities for MQA albums. They are working on advanced search capabilities for MQA. I am sorry for the inconvenience. 

If you search for artists, albums, etc, if it is of the MQA format, an "M" will be displayed next to the title".  

I am not sure exactly what this means but wil forward it to Aurender to see if they can provide access to the 5,000 MQA Coded Albums.  Any comments?
I am not sure exactly what the above means.  Does this mean that Aurender needs to do something to provide access to the 5,000 MQA Coded Albums?   If Tidal does something on search capabilities for MQA Albums, I am hoping Aurender can also provide something similar on the Aurender Conductor App (assuming the API supports it).

The REAL problem, it seems, is there are 5,000 coded MQA albums and it would be nice to have them displayed and available on the Aurender Conductor App.   Based on the above response, I do not know if API Aurender is using will allow access to these MQA albums.   Maybe Aurender need to contact Tidal to determine how to better identify the MQA Coded Albums.   I do not know if it is even possible.  I asked Aurender these questions.
My Aurender Conductor App was crashing and going back to the desk top view. The crash only occurred when moving around on the screen but not when planning albums.  I deleted the Conductor App and reinstalled.  The new version is 2.9.2(53).

Everything is working now. I think the release note said this version fixes a crashing problem.  I then discovered that Aurender App Version 2.9.2 was released on December 29 2017.

I emailed Aurender and suggested we should be notified (alerted) when a new Conductor App is available.
Aurender reports “I am sorry about your inconvenience. I will put this on our wish list. You can check whether there is an update or not through App Store App of iPad, but I think it will be more convenience to notify our customer if we have an update”.  

An excellent response.  Thanks.  
Please explain how the bitperfect digital output of one streamer can sound better than the bitperfect output of another streamer or the bitperfect output of a computer.
@willemj, I cannot answer your bit perfect question above and am hoping the links below provide you the required info. 

https://www.stereophile.com/content/bit-perfect-does-it-matter-1

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/bits-and-bytes/Fun-With-Digital-Audio-–-Bit-Perfect-Audibilit

http://www.mojo-audio.com/blog/computer-audio-misconceptions
Correction to the above link:

https://www.computeraudiophile.com/ca/bits-and-bytes/Fun-With-Digital-Audio-–-Bit-Perfect-Audibility...

If the above link does not work, please go to computeraudiophiile and look for it.  I am having trouble pasting the correct link.  

Or, google “BitPerfect digital output comparisons”.   
BIT-Perfect means that properly working equipment and set up should sound the same irrespective of the source of the file. This is a FACT. It is supposed to sound the same as that is the whole point of high-FIDELITY!

If it doesn’t sound identical then something is wrong with the equipment. It is as simple as that. Something that is perfectly the same as in “bit-perfect” MUST sound identical if equipment is excellent and working properly.

Of course there is a lot of bad equipment out there and identical files may not sound the same due to the poor way they are transmitted, decoded and converted.

So get things straight: The cause of identical files not sounding the same is BAD quality equipment (or firmware or software or incompatibilities)! 


Aurender Music Servers "supports Qobuz already.   However, Aurender JUST DISABLED it for countries not in service (USA).   You can use it once they support the USA.  The UI will be exactly same, and there will be slight different features which vary by service".

According to The Belgian Radio-Television of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (RTBF), Qobuz, the French streaming and download service provider, will be offering their three-tier streaming service for residents of the US come 2018.   "We are present in nine European countries, we will open, Italy, Spain, Poland (...) and our other border is the United States, we will be in the spring," said Denis Thébaud to AFP.”