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Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - Printable Version

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RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - rebel player - 2017-11-01 00:16

To answer Catweazle and DavidHB, no, we didn't audition anything else, having had an unlucky experience with a Brennan some years ago and not even setting out to spend money, the Melco had been part of demonstrations of racks and cables and so it seemed, in every other room at the Bristol Show. The appeal was the apparent simplicity, the balance between downsizing domestic clutter on partial retirement and a good listening experience. The only part of my system that is Linn is the LP12 and Ittok. What little reading, listening and research I had done suggested changing the whole system to embrace streaming and that was not a road we wanted to go down. As much as anything else it was a lifestyle choice, but one we are both very happy with. I might have broken a lot of "rules", it is very much a case of my system, in my room, with my choice of music. For us we have moved very far away from hifi to a beautifully synergistic music system.
We made a mistake many years ago in trying to put together a system that looked good and fitted into a family home. It was a disaster! When after many years we came back to music, we heard the Graham Audio LS5/9s and knew this was the sound for us. Before any commitment, the question I asked dearly beloved was "Can you live with these?", the answer I got was "I'm listening to music, not looking at it." So this has been the basis of choice, not the looks.
So then, we end up using the Melco as we heard it, connected to a USB DAC.
Originally it had been suggested that I could simply plug it into the USB socket of our CD player. It didn't work so we played with several others. It came down to a choice between two, a Chord 2qute and an Audiolab Mdac+. The detail, soundstage, dynamics of the 2qute was amazing, but in our system felt somewhat relentless, up front and tiring, so on a musical basis, meaning I can happily have music of all genres playing for 10 or 12 hours a day, has enjoyment, excitement and leaves me happy and satisfied with no desire to change.
In case I haven't listed the setup elsewhere, it is - LP12, Ittok, Transfiguration Axia, EAR834P, EAR859SE, Melco N1A, Audiolab Mdac+, Atacama racks with Ikea Aptillig boards, Isotek Evo 3, Chord Epic interconnects and Epic Reference speaker cable to Graham Audio LS5/9.

RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - Wat - 2017-11-01 02:04

(2017-10-31 22:45)DavidHB Wrote:  
(2017-10-31 22:30)Catweazle Wrote:  Did you audition different NAS products in your environment before going for the Melco? Elaborating on this is much appreciated here!

I'd second that last, and also ask whether you are using the Melco as a renderer with a USB DAC. That is the way that (quite understandably) it is often reviewed, but few people on this forum will have heard it in that mode. The main interest here (again understandably) is in the Melco as a NAS substitute, connected to a separate, usually Linn, renderer via Ethernet.


I have heard the Melco feeding my USB DAC & it is nowhere near as good as my Mac Mini with J River Media Centre or, indeed Audirvana. The reason is the software I use applies room correction through DSP. Without applying DSP there was no discernable difference. I honestly did not find anything Melco did better than my Mac Mini & lots of things the Mac Mini does better. IME music server software makes more difference than hardware & having a sensible computing platform means you can run more or less whichever software packages you prefer.

Still a topic like this will go & on and some will no doubt believe the more expensive the calculator the better the answer. To me counting (digital) is an exact process & there is a right answer, measuring (analogue) is an inexact process & we can only approximate a right answer. Thus it is no surprise we hear little or no difference from changing components in the digital domain, but hear clear differences in the analogue domain. However, when science is confronted with marketting, it mostly comes off second best.

In the end as long as the buyer is happy then it doesn’t really matter. Some will prefer their Melco & I shall continue to prefer my Mac Mini. Moreover, not buying Melco meant I could invest in a more accurate DAC.

All the best, Wat

RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - Tin - 2017-11-01 07:04

(2017-10-31 21:40)rebel player Wrote:  
(2017-10-31 11:51)Tin Wrote:  I really think it is the power supply doing the trick, if you have your NAS close to your setup, a Melco will make sense, and people who have Melcos choose them because the looks of them allow them to be close to their setups as they are fairly pretty.

Sorry, not this owner. I had a "normal" audio system of turntable, CD player, amp and speakers, sharing a lounge diner in a 1960s terraced house with a tv, piano, computer, books etc. We had heard the Melco in a number of systems but not considered a purchase until a substantial discount was offered with the introduction of new models. We (emphasise WE, dearly beloved always accompanies me to shows and demos) were looking for a CD library, a way of making space by removing 1500 CDs from the lounge diner. The Melco currently sits on the bottom of a rack, hidden from view by the sofa. The decision was made on sound, convenience and dearly beloved!

Your response is a bit distracting as you imply you are disagreeing with me where you are really not. Okay, so you placed the Melco out of sight, but that is really not what this thread is all about. Smile

Any DS with any NAS can sound fantastic, and it will be hard for any CD player to get evenclose to that.

RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - Tin - 2017-11-01 07:30

Concluding, hopefully, but not holding my breath;

- We have people on these forums getting better results with Melcos compared to normal NAS devices.
- We have people on these forums not getting better results.

- Timster gets better results with a heavy duty QNAP than with a cheaper Synology. His NAS is close to his setup.
- My network contains a lot of fan driven devices, but all are far away from my setup.

- Linn allows us to disable HDMI and doesn't even offer USB.
- Ethernet is decoupled, USB and HDMI are not.
- Datacenters have thousands of fans in computers yet the network performance does not suffer.
- Computers in datacenters all have expensive power supplies.
- People on these forums have noticed that Frewo power supplies make a difference.
- People on these forums with a physics background are all weary of electrical noise going through mains.

Sidenote: the expensive Oppo 205 has shielded HDMI outputs, the cheaper 203 has not.

- MikeSpragg has dissected a Melco and proved that their hardware looks very much like any other miniature computer.
- The review at the beginning of this thread shows pretty much the same.
- Linn uses a Mac Mini, but not a Synology in their head quarters.
- Linn does not suggest as a rule to invest a lot of money in a NAS.

So, if you have your NAS close to your setup, buying one with a better power supply seems to make a lot of sense.
If you want to showcase it with the rest of your setup, by all means, buy a Melco or a Mac Mini, whichever you prefer. They look nice and nobody is getting bad results with them.

I am -not- being cynical here, I love the way my equipment looks and I have my NAS on another floor because I -do not- want to look at it. I paid a lot more for art and I designed my own cabinet. Looks are important too. If you look at what people pay for plinths for LP12s, a Melco is actually very affordable.

All in all, having good power supplies seem to be the only explanation that allows everybody to be correct, and as we all know the effect of having Dynamik power supplies, it should make sense to all of us.

RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - timster (RadiatorCatHammock) - 2017-11-01 09:31

Well said Tin. Could also be the fanless-ness of the QNAP HS-251(+) as well (which looks good too by the way).

RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - sunbeamgls - 2017-11-01 09:43

"The Melco" doesn't make sense. There are many Melco models with different specs. People need to be far more specific in which Melco they are referring to when discussing comparisons with other devices.

RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - mcgillroy - 2017-11-01 09:54

Friwo powersupply ordered for my puny Synology DS211j. Will report back.

RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - Tin - 2017-11-01 09:56

(2017-11-01 09:31)timster Wrote:  Well said Tin. Could also be the fanless-ness of the QNAP HS-251(+) as well (which looks good too by the way).
Sorry, but no. Tongue
A typical server in a datacenter has between 3 and 16 fans, and it is hard to find bad fans these days, so even Synology uses decent ones. The thing with network equipment is is, is that they can't physically disconnect equipment, unless UTP based ethernet was designed that way.
They can stop sending packets between devices, but electronically there would still be a connection. So if ethernet wouldn't have a mechanism to protect against noise coming from up to a 1000 servers with over 10.000 fans and other electronics, there is no way packets would be able to get through. In ya olden days with coax based internet noise was a problem though.

So, with the information assembled so far, the quality of the power supplies seem to be the only plausible explanation.

If UTP based ethernet would have really been an issue, Linn could easily have used fiber based connections, I'm sure Synology, QNAP and Melco would have been thrilled to sell expensive fiber connected NAS devices to audiophiles.

PS I love to be wrong btw, so if anyone has -new- information on the subject, please add this.

RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - Wat - 2017-11-01 10:16

(2017-11-01 07:30)Tin Wrote:  - Ethernet is decoupled, USB and HDMI are not.


I think my USB is decoupled. I use Corning optical USB: not for audiophile reasons, but because my Mac Mini is under my TV & further away from my DAC than standard electrical USB supports. The optical USB goes into USB regenerator with low noise power supply & dual headed USB cable to separate signal from power with ferrite rings to tune out RFI and fancy filter in the head to stop EMI. USB port in DAC is galvanically isolated too. The difference it makes to sound quality over a £10 Maplin USB cable with the Mac Mini adjacent is none whatsoever, but it does impress the impressionable.

All the best, Wat

RE: Linn Co-develops Audiophile NAS - Music at Home - 2017-11-01 11:28

(2017-11-01 09:56)Tin Wrote:  PS I love to be wrong btw, so if anyone has -new- information on the subject, please add this.

The difference between a data centre and a NAS feeding a DSM is that they are both electrically noisy environments but one of them is connected to a highly tuned audio system and the other isn't. So the comparison doesn't hold.