Melco Audio, the Japanese digital music expert, has released the N1-S38. The new flagship SSD-based digital music library offers the best sonic performance in the company’s history. The new design is based on a new platform, with new chassis and covers, as well as power supplies. It offers a level of performance never before achieved.
Featuring a full-width design, the new N1-S38 distills Melco’s digital music storage, transfer and playback know-how into an advanced new flagship with great new features. The N1-S38 benefits from a completely new set of system electronics, a new motherboard, as well as a new mains transformer, supply and local regulators. A custom audio-dedicated 3.84TB SSD plugs directly into the data path without any RAID controller being involved. It benefits from Melco’s patented layered rigid SSD mounting. The integrated memory is also increased.
The N1-S38 is handcrafted in Japan, in line with all of Melco’s uncompromising digital libraries. It is the first completely new design from Melco since the N10 and N100 half-width series were launched in 2018. The new N1-S38 is based on Melco’s unique and proven architecture. This ensures flawless transport of sensitive signal data while avoiding noisy high-speed elements and fast processors.
Brand new chassis and casework
The key to the N1-S38’s sophisticated new look is the all-new Melco case that benefits from a highly stable chassis. Its construction centers around a robust 3mm stainless steel base plate to minimize unwanted vibrations. Externally, the N1-S38 is complemented by a precision-machined two-tone aluminum casing on the remaining five faces. Thickness ranges from 2mm to a generous 5mm, which is a significant improvement over the mid-width N10/2 and N100 models.
The new face design features a unique Melco logo engraved with a special technique, and the bold new aesthetic continues with the sharply contrasting case corners that are also machined from solid billet aluminum. The front panel features Melco’s well-known high-quality positive-click fascia control buttons (now illuminated). A sharp, easy-to-read OLED display panel plus a USB port round out the front-facing features. New complementary teal LED lighting provides additional aesthetic appeal. The N1-S38’s low-height steel baseplate design and subsequent chassis construction with a low center of gravity prevent unwanted resonance from interfering with the delicate music signal.
At the N1-S38’s audiophile level of performance, conventional USB connections can compromise maximum performance. Therefore, robust die-cast Amphenol USB ports are provided for the rear-mounted DAC, Expansion, Import and Backup ports. This ensures improved performance as well as increased durability with heavier premium cables and connectors. Melco’s concept of a dedicated Player port for direct connection to network players is now enhanced by precision-engineered Neutrik RJ45 connectors; the LAN port is similarly updated.
Following the pioneering application of SFP Fiber (Small Form Factor Pluggable) connectivity in the Melco S10 and the recent S100/2 data switch, the new N1-S38 benefits from an SFP port for direct fiber connection to a player or properly equipped network infrastructure. In a nod to its audiophile credentials, the new N1-S38 also supports a switchable 10 MHz external clock input, a first for a Melco music library.
Other features include a newly developed large high capacity power transformer, which is mounted on its own sub-chassis and surpasses that of the existing flagship N10/2. This is complemented by a new custom device for the capacitor bank.
Price and availability
The new N1-S38 is already available at a price of EUR 14,000. Colors: Black or silver.