Melco has launched an audiophile-technology extreme-performance data switch, the S100, which, say Melco, offers “improved sound quality for any network audio device using an Ethernet connection”.

In developing the new S100, Melco was able to draw on the design team expertise of parent company Buffalo Technology to create a complete audiophile data switch solution.

Hifi Show Live

The resulting S100, which will make its world debut at The UK HiFi 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. It features an audio-specific mainboard with a 1.5MB packet buffer, a powerful processor, plus an audio-grade capacitor bank.

Find Melco at The UK HiFi Show Live 2019: 637-638 (Level 6, Core C)

Roon Core

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.

High End Digital

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.

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 limitations. Melco’s S100 has been designed and manufactured purely for audio by an 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.’’

Features

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 & Availability

Pre-order now for delivery in November; £1,999

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