When we told a number of ex-colleagues from the IT world that there were plans to buy a storage medium for music with a capacity of 3TB and a price tag of € 7.500,- we could read from their faces: “Completely lost his way”. Even the co-editors of Alpha Audio, now somewhat accustomed, looked pityingly in the other direction. What makes a Melco N10P Digital Music Library so special, and why does anyone spend so much money on storing digitally recorded music?
Melco’s history dates back to the audiophile founder of the company Makoto Maki. In 1975 the company started under the name Melco, which stands for “Maki Engineering Laboratory Company”.
Many years later, Melco began developing routers, switches and NAS solutions under the name Buffalo Inc. As a manufacturer of storage solutions, Makoto Maki started to store his music digitally, but without achieving the quality that his own turntables brought him. As the owner he has some crumble in the milk and the research department of Buffalo got the assignment to make a storage, unsuitable for databases and IT application, on the other hand completely optimized for music. The first generation of Melco’s saw the light and became a success. They still are, evolved in hardware and software.
With the arrival of the Melco N10 and N100 Digital Music Library’s as Melco calls them, a new path has been taken. 21.5cm wide elements in a housing reminiscent of the heyday of Japanese High End. New software has been written for this generation. Meanwhile there are in the new format the Melco N10P storage with linear power supply (3TB € 7.500,-), the N100 storage with switch mode power supply (2TB € 1.999,-), the E100 external disk (3TB € 995,-) and the D100 ripper/player (€ 995,-).
The Melco N10P network player/storage consists of two parts: a compact “half-size” housing containing a 3TB 2.5″HD, all signal handling and the inputs and outputs.
The second equally large housing contains a linear power supply. On the player housing we find an OLED display and four push buttons for operation. Music can be played in two ways: via USB and your own Melco App or use the Melco as a NAS for example with Roon and an endpoint. The separate E100 disc works in both cases, the D100 ripper/player can only function as a CD player via USB out of the N10/N100.
The cabinets are made entirely of aluminium, internally fitted with a steel frame, all to prevent mechanical influences or the generation of vibrations. The internal disc is suspended vibration-free according to the Melco system. At the back of the N10 we find two USB ports, for the D100 player or a USB HD and for an external DAC. Front port for e.g. a USB stick or a USB external drive for making backups.
For Ethernet there are two RJ/45 ports: the LAN port to the network and a dedicated Player port where music data is transferred to a network player. The LAN port supports Gigabit Ethernet, the Player port 100Mbit. The power management system in the power supply provides a stable and reliable voltage. The linear power supply contains a toroidal transformer and its own filtering. The player is on TAOC feet. The Melco N10, like the other half-size models, is only available in silver.