Melco Mania

I was told by my Dealer that the Melco took time to run-in. I did not credit that it could.
But I’ve heard a new Melco at my Dealer change presentation from lean and bright to fuller sounding which I prefer - but other than that I don’t know.

I purchased my Melco ex-dem with a year on it of any run-in; when I compared it to a new SSD version of the same item costing a lot more I preferred the ex-dem one and purchased it. Since then I’ve heard the that there are run-in effects with Ethernet cables so I cannot say with certainty there are no run-in effects elsewhere.

Just because I don’t know how something happens does not mean it does not - generally a good rule to apply to HiFi I’ve found.


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On cables hanging freely, I have found it impossible to stop the SL interconnect between my ND555 and 552 from touching the rear Fraim leg. The interconnect rests against the Fraim leg at the bottom of the loop. The ND555 and the 552 are separated by a medium shelf in the brains stack. Anyone managed to achieve a completely free hanging connection ?


…you have to angle the ND555 Fraim stack a few degrees (measured at front as about 3" of LH Fraim spike ‘back’ wrt RH spike) until the cable drops freely - if in my case you have the ND555 to left of the 555PS Fraim stack.

I have ND555 on its own Fraim stack alone comprised two Medium levels.
The Fraim stack next to it has two 555PS (on base level and on a medium) and Melco on top (on a standard level).

You will determine that there is an angle at which the SL cable just misses the fraim and the Burndy power leads and drops in-between them freely.

I found it very worthwhile - big improvement in dynamics, freedom and detail.


DB, How might pipe insulation mitigate the effects of contact with shelves or the floor? Clearly other cables are bad so I am talking about relatively neutral materials.


I’m just about to sit down and compare sources (Audiostore black box v Qnap with Roon, minimserver and Asset).

I might have to revert to running the black box overnight for a week or so to see if this brightness disappears.

I’ve never had any insulation like that work for me - it ‘alters’ the effect of touching but usually to my hearing actually makes it worse - many others disagree which is good for them!

But I’ve tried all this - with the ND555 fraim move I did not want to angle it (in fact you don’t really notice the angle in my set up) and put it off for months - then the niggling ‘you really should do it’ won and I wish I’d listened to myself earlier and done it then as it was so much better that it was a no-brainer.

I typically find pipe-insulator or bubble-wrap cause blurring at very high frequencies and is not so good with timing. Some of this may be down to Me and Active system - so if it works for another I’m not unhappy - just that I never found that work for me.


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What Ethernet cable are you using to your streamer from Melco - it is very sensitive to the wrong choice and can go bright with the wrong cable I found.


The Ethernet cables to and from my switch and to the black box are bog standard cat5; from the wall socket to my NDS they Chord Sarum tuned Array.

Now since listening to a particular track (Allegri Misere sung by New College Choir Oxford), I can detect a brilliance in the sound sourced from my black box when compared to the Qnap. It’s hardly a scientific test but I think I run the black box on mute for a few days.

With the Melco in my system I connect: cheap Cisco 2940 switch - Cat5 (not Cat5e) - Melco - Audioquest Vodka Ethernet - ND555.

I’ve tried all sorts of Ethernet cables since I determined they mattered - not why, but that they did.

Since in my set-up the switch is not direct ‘in-circuit’ between the database on Melco and the ND555 it seems that only that single Ethernet link needed the expensive Vodka cable. I tried many others and in the end they failed to satisfy even if they did some things good.

My Dealer got a couple of Vodka cables in first time and loaned me one for home-demo - which I ended-up buying after it run-in over a week or two.
I’ve noticed my Dealer now used the Vodka on their own system for demos as they also found it complemented the Melco presentation.
The main thing in using the Vodka cable is for it to run freely off the floor or you will get a over-weighty bass-heavy presentation, which immediately goes once it is free-hanging.

I’ve gone back to using a very cheap Cat5 for connecting Melco to switch as it sounds the best so far - the key with this cable was to physically separate it from proximity with the Vodka and SL Interconnect - then that was achieved (recently) then things were improved.

I’ll try some other cables again at some point, as the gains are obvious with the right combo choices.
Hopefully keeping to the spirit of the thread title! :slightly_smiling_face:



my melco opened after maybe 30 hours. The sound was a bit recessed and uninvolving the first hours.

Thanks DB. I will try it next time I take down my 2 Fraim stacks. Quite a job as my LH Fraim brains stack, comprising one tall and two medium sheves, has the 500, the S’Line, the 552 with the ND555 on top and my back is not what it was. May have to wait until a son visits.

Somehow some cables got nudged recently so there was contact. There was a sound change and I tried pipe insulation. I concur with DB.

I have removed the pipe insulation and apart from a small measure to prevent contact they just hang. The sun shines again!


Hi Camphuw,
I can’t honestly say that I noticed any running in period. This may be because it spent the first 2-3 weeks being loaded up with 1000+ freshly ripped cds. All this before it played its first tune.

What I have found (and fed back to Martin Smith) is the difference that source and ripping codec made when playing music back via a highly resolving system of OpticalRendu, Chord M Scaler & DAVE, Naim 52/135 and the ART speakers.

I compared compressed FLAC level 5, i.e. the Prestige 3 default, FLAC level 0 (compressed by only 30%) and AIFF versions of several cds. In all cases, we had a noticeable preference for the AIFF version. The FLAC versions sound a bit flat, sat on and lifeless in comparison.

AIFF encoded tracks from our Synology DS716+ NAS drive with WD RED Pro 2TB hard drives sounded slightly less alive and involving than a FLAC level 5 rip of the same track that was stored on the Prestige 3’s solid state drive. The NAS drive is connected to the Cisco switch via CAT6 and CAT6A cables, with a Netgear GS108T switch in between, so the NAS drive has more network to connect through.

From all of this, we have concluded that on our system:

  1. AIFF encoded tracks sounded more alive and involving than FLAC versions of the same track from the same original cd
  2. FLAC level 0 sounds better than FLAC level 5
  3. The dedicated audio server (i.e. the Prestige 3 with 2TB SSD) makes music sound better than the Synology DS716+ NAS drive with WD Red Pro hard drives, outweighing the effect of AIFF versus FLAC

Hope this helps, BF

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I’ve not tried ripping through the Prestige yet as my MacBook struggles on, and dB poweramp suits me well. I’ve not tried AIFF.

Certainly the black box sounds better than either of my Qnaps.

Thanks. Great to know that we are not the only ones hearing these differences or deluding ourselves!

We did find that feeding the Prestige 3 to the dac via ethernet & the OpticalRendu removed a fair degree of brightness, brilliance and relentlessness, thereby making music sound calmer and more natural. This is apparently due to better isolation of the dac from the server’s RFI emissions than a direct usb feed from the server can afford.

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Interesting - my route to the NDS is via a Netgear 48 port switch, which I must get around to replacing with a Cisco.

The brightness does annoy me on classical music; yes it is relentless. I’ll chat to Martin on his return.

A thought. I bought a StarTech GLCSXMMDST SFP Module (from Amazon UK) for about £40 and plugged it straight into the Cisco switch. The SPF modeule is then connected via an OM1 fibre optic cable to a Sonore OpticalRendu.

With this combination, the OpticalRendu serves as a Roon endpoint. The set up also isolates anything downstream of the OM1 cable from upstream RFI.

It calmed down the degree of relentlessness and brightness that we were hearing when the Prestige server was connected directly to the dac via USB.

If you want Roon and can use the NDS as a very good dac, this set up might be viable for you too.

Alternatively, the new Uptone Audio EtherRegen may well provide the same isolation for you, while leaving the NDS to run as an ethernet connected streamer.

Best regards, BF

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Thanks for the ideas @Bluesfan … this stuff is all new to me, so much to research and discuss with like minded people.

Indeed. It took me literally months to read up on many of the different possible architectures for streaming and then to try a few out for myself. Yet I still understand barely 10% of what the real technophiles such as SiS write. That’s why I started the thread Music streaming - it’s hard to find the right time .

Hopefully we can all learn from each other’s experiences and set up tweaks to obtain the best from our music streaming systems.

Best regards, BF

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