Melco x 3 in the house

I have 3 different melco’s here at the moment. Don’t ask why but it’s interesting all the same.

So i have my N10 3tb HDD, plus the N50 SSD, and what was the range topping model before the new N1 came out the N1z/2 EX-40 4TB SSD.

Now i have found in the past that the HDD definitely sound different to the SSD. For me the SSD always sounded a bit softer, and laid back in the way they bought the sound to you. Now this was a few years ago now, and it was comparing the older N1Zs 2tb SSD to the N10 3tb HDD, this was running back then with my naim system ( nds x 2 ps, 552 non dr, 500dr, fact 12 speakers) so moving onto today and we now have a completely different set up, so have things changed?
For those that dont know, i have a dCS vivaldi dac & upsampler, vitus sia030 amp, titan 808 speakers, so very different to back then.

First up the new N50 with its 3.8tb SSD. So with the same track download directly from qobuz to compare against my N10.
First impressions are they sound very much the same, both with great detail, depth, both nice and lively, and certainly didn’t get the same feeling that the SSD was softer like before.
But after a few hours off listening more thing’s started to show up, the N10 started to show its urthorty and pull ahead in certain areas.
It manages to give you a bit more detail, also slightly more top end. The N10 tents to suit instruments more over voices compared to the N50.
I would say the N50 had a nicer tone on voices and a slightly nicer bottom end.
But it’s very close really between them and you could easily pick one over the other.
But build quality certainly goes to the N10, it’s far more heavy, the panels are much thicker and when you have both infront off you it’s easy to see the quality difference, i am not saying the N50 is poorly made as it’s not, it’s just not built to the same level.

Now comparing the N10 to the out going N1z was more a surprise that i wasn’t expecting.
First off the build quality is now right up there with the N10, much thicker panels, and new split power supply and a slight re design inside to take it to a new level.
Sound, well it certainly matches the N10 for detail, but it does sound slightly different, i would say it sounds more natural less rushed, maybe?
The voices are now right up there, and even nicer than the N50, the separation on the instruments much clearer as well. It all sound much more easier to follow and it pulls you in more.
The more i play on the N1z the more i am hearing and liking. I feel it’s working better with my dCS kit maybe? But it certainly better than the N10 in most area’s, and in a few others they are the same, but i don’t feel it loses out in any area’s at all to the N10.
As i said i wasn’t expecting it to be this different, it has certainly made me think that the new N1 is certainly going to be m7ch better than the N10.
Apparently the N1 is better again over the N1z i have here and that’s not a surprise is it, but at what cost. The SSD is different in the new N1, slightly less tb. Also the board has a few mods, but the out going N1z was certainly the under pinings for it.

Cheers dunc


A very interesting comparison and write up. What seems to come across is that any differences were relatively subtle and maybe a bit swings and roundabouts. Intuitively I would have thought that the N10’s separate P/S would have given it a clear advantage, but it seems not. I only have the N100 with a Plixir P/S so not in your league but I can’t perceive any shortcomings at all.

The N100 and N10 seem to share the same casework. Curious that other models have deviated from this and that the N50 seems less well built.

At these levels difference are mainly going to be subtle, and certainly not night and day what some like to use.
But there are differences and if you are lucky enough to have a system that can show them then you can pick one that best suits you.
But for me the N1z was the star off the 3 in my system. That was easy to hear.
The N100 is similar to the N10 if you add a good separate power supply, but even then it won’t quite match the N10 for sound quality as been there and done it, but it’s a very good way to go.
The power supply in the N1z is the new split design, it is also very well isolated by a thick wall off metal, so it’s very good at what it does, plus the new range topper is one box like the next one down as well. You dont need separate power supplies if done right, or the nasty link cable you need once you have a separate power supply feeding the main box.

I’m all for minimising box count and I fully take your point about needing the link cable, which is a potential weak point. Incidentally Chord have now marketed their own DC power cables for various Melco’s. I just find it a bit odd that Melco have seemingly adopted both approaches simultaneously.

Did you connect the Melco to the Vivaldi by USB or ethernet? If you tried both methods, do you have any observations?

The N10 and the S10 switch are the only models that have a separate power supply, all the rest have it built in, plus the top model has always been built in and that continues.
The smaller box of the N100, N10, plus the switch and d100 all share the same box and it’s a lovely design especially if you need the smaller foot print.
The standard link cable is really a bit to short, or maybe they could see it as a problem and so wanted to keep it short, as for the chord cable i have never seen one being used or anyone that has one.

Ethernet is the best way especially when you have a dCS dac.
I do have a nice cad cable that i can use to go usb, but for me Ethernet going through the phoenixnet sounds best, i have the player port turned off on my melco. But if you haven’t got a phoenixnet then i would run the player port, as i did before as this sounded better.

I’ve got my sights on a phoenixnet and, by the sounds of it, you find it beneficial. This strengthens my resolve.

I have had the melco S100, EtherRegen with a nice power supply, cisco, plus an ee8.
The phoenixnet was by far the best an easy to hear inpovement.
For me the S100 made things sound worse, the ee8 couldn’t really tell any difference, the cisco was the bargin and was better than nothing, the EtherRegen slightly better than the cisco, but nothing great over it, but it did help warm the room lol.
The phoenixnet once run in is simply wonderful

I’ve got a Pulsar, so I’ll probably just get the Phoenixnet.

Apparently your Melco N10 is gone, from another thread. So no more Melco or you kept the N1zh2 EX?

Yes N10 is gone to help fund the dcs vivaldi clock.
The N50 i have to take back to paul ASAP.
The N1z i have for now but it’s not mine.
Can play my stored music from my mac when i have too for now, but streaming mostly these day’s anyway as it sounds so good.


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