BETTER NETWORK SOUND QUALITY FOR ALL THANKS TO MELCO’S AUDIO-SPECIFIC S100 DATA SWITCH
23rd October 2019, Surrey, UK: Melco has launched an audiophile-technology extreme-performance data switch, the S100, which offers improved sound quality for any network audio device using an Ethernet connection (£1,999 – pre-order now for November).
Find Melco at The UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019: 637-638 (Level 6, Core C)
In developing the new S100, Melco was able to draw on the design team expertise of (giant) parent company Buffalo Technology to create a complete audiophile data switch solution.
The resulting S100, which will make its world debut at The UK Hi-Fi Show Live 2019, has been designed to not only complement Melco’s digital music libraries, but also to offer a clear and easy upgrade path for any systems using Ethernet for audio, especially those using Roon devices and streaming services such as TIDAL and Qobuz.
The S100 features advanced architecture, unlike any other data switch. It features an audio-specific mainboard with a 1.5MB packet buffer, a powerful processor, plus an audio-grade capacitor bank. Its low-noise design, coupled with highly precise data-handling, gives the S100 uncompromising sound quality when used with Ethernet audio devices.
The S100’s internal packet-traffic settings have been optimised for use with IT NAS drives, IT routers (for streaming services), Roon Core processor devices, Roon Bridges, and, of course, Melco’s N1, N10, N100 digital music libraries. The S100 features the same vibration-isolating aluminium-chassis construction and form factor as seen in Melco’s N10 series.
Digital music relies on perfectly timed data in a low-noise environment. Therefore, the limitation for sound quality on an Ethernet network is the network itself, plus the components used. Standard IT parts are designed to be low cost and effective for PC data and gaming etc. ─ they are simply inadequate for high-quality digital music.
High-end managed enterprise switches can, with some expert knowledge, be optimised for audio data, but even with the addition of separate power supplies, there are serious limitations. Melco’s S100 has been designed and manufactured purely for audio by an expert engineering team, led by Mr. Hayashi.
Alan Ainslie, Melco Audio’s General Manager said, “With the acclaimed Melco N1 series, we eliminated the data switch from the data path (server to player) and lifted sound quality hugely. But it was still clear that the rest of the network was having an effect. It was, perhaps, less obvious on lesser systems, but as soon as we fixed everything else, it remained a nagging problem.
“Work started to analyse exactly what was going on and the resulting S100 resolves those final nagging sound quality issues. Crucially, while the S100 is clearly befit for Melco owners who use the PLAYER Ethernet port, the difference an S100 can bring to non-Melco systems is quite surprising, especially for the heavy traffic created in a Roon environment, as well as for streaming services such as TIDAL and Qobuz, where the data has been seriously compromised on its journey from the distant servers into the user’s home. The S100 restores the magic of the source stream as no IT device can possibly do.’’
- 10 ports: 4 100MbE ports with RJ45; 4 1GbE ports with RJ45; 2 SFP optical fibre ports
- Audio-specific main board with 1.5MB packet buffer
- Powerful main board processor with audio-grade capacitor bank
- Low-noise highly precise data-handling
- Internal packet traffic settings already optimised for a range of NAS drives, not just Melco
- LED disabling feature reduces noise
- Robust vibration-isolating construction to complement Melco’s N10 series
- Price and availability
- Pre-order now for delivery in November; £1,999
Melco (Maki Engineering Laboratory Company) was established by Makoto Maki in 1975 in Japan. Maki, an enthusiastic audiophile, established the company to design and manufacture the finest audio components of the time; the undoubted masterpiece of the Melco line was the turntable (introduced into the UK in 1980) which set new standards in music reproduction.
From those early beginnings, Melco developed into the largest computer peripherals manufacturer in Japan (Buffalo Inc.), offering advanced products based on rigorous R&D. These included wireless routers, ethernet data switches and storage devices such as NAS drives. Now, the company is proud to revive the highly respected Melco brand, offering discerning audiophiles high-technology network audio components in the spirit of those much-revered early Melco products, while incorporating the very latest research into reliable, high-performance networked devices and storage.