Think about adding a Melco

We are thinking of swapping out our Qnap NAS in favour of a Melco - undecided which model but tending towards the new N1Z as our music library currently sits just shy of 2TB. I believe one of the N1A’s offers internal storage up to 4TB which would allow us comfortable room to grow in the future.

I know from earlier posts that Pete Rogers has a Melco in his set up and keen to have any feedback. Sound quality improvements? Ease of use?

We currently rip cds to the hard drive using CD Ripper on our PC. Tags are added/altered if necessary using MP3Tag. Once the files are in order they are transferred across from the PC to the Qnap. The Qnap is connected to our router which in turn is connected to the Rossini by a lengthy run of ethernet cable from the study downstairs. Playback is by Mosaic.

Hello Archie. Yes I do indeed use a Melco N1ZH/2. The new one is actually the NIZ EX. However the EX suffix mainly ( wholly) refers to the incorporation of the SongKong music library metadata administration system. That would seem to mainly affect the N17 when used as a USB streamer ( using the Melco controller rather than Mosaic) so that probably moves far enough away from IMO the best way to use it in a dCS context, using ethernet connection to the dCS streamer ( or network player if you prefer), for me to make a comment. I am confident enough about my metadata ( after huge amounts of work given my library is mainly classical music) to think SongKong has less relevance for me.

I have been running the N17 as a NAS for around 18 months and have found it totally reliable and simple to use. A main advantage is that to connect the Melco to the dCS network player ( in my case Vivaldi upsampler) you do not use the router. It is a direct connection. This has SQ advantages in practice even if it is not that easy to deduce why from a theoretical standpoint. However the internet connection is, of course, via the router or (preferably IMO) using the Melco S100 switch but that is an additional expense and controversial ( though the controversy seems to disappear on the part of those who have actually tried it).

Additional advantages are that it is styled as an audio system component rather than a stray piece of IT equipment and is silent. No sound at all of discs spinning unless to put your ear to the case when you can hear a very faint swishing. So you can place this NAS alongside the rest of your audio components.

I am very happy and if I needed to I would buy one again.

Ripping will be a similar procedure to the one that you currently use although I use dbpower amp with Perfect Tunes meaning that much of the metadata and almost all of the artwork is automatically entered. I do need to edit here and there but the overall work is reduced. There may be case for the SongKong application in this respect but as I do not have an EX version of the N1 I again have no comment.

You will need a subscription to MinimServer 2 and download MinimWatch to your PC. There is a dedicated Melco version of MimimServer which Melco will have pre-installed on a new piece as it is now their default UPnP server software . However I suspect that running the basic version without a subscription may prove of short term interest only as you will probably prefer to have some of the extras available.

One tip which I have read both in reviews and have heard from a Melco engineer and can verify , is to use the option of RAID 0 for best sound quality. That also allows use of the full storage capacity of 6TB ( N17), way in excess of my ( or presumably your) current needs.

Thank you @PAR That is really helpful. One of the amp packs in our ATCs is back with ATC to investigate a repair. In the ensuing silence your mind turns to other things!

I think this will be the way we will move forward - my husband is a classical music buff, church organist and choir master so has amassed a huge collection of classical music - we both pay exact attention to tags using MP3Tag. His music is often missing tags entirely which is a pain to manually insert but something he has become used to doing.

His concern is that he is able to import his music with all tags in place to the Melco. He uses the genre tag a lot so would want to see Classical broken down into subsets eg Choral, Organ etc.

We also in most instances have excellent album art - I joined a US site years ago and their selection of hi res art is second to none - particularly for my musical tastes which tend towards vocalists, rock and jazz.

We’ll pursue this with our hifi guy when he returns the amp which hopefully will not be too much He is a Melco dealer and happy to let us home demo.

Again thank you Pete, it really is much appreciated.

I guess that I now need to add something about tagging.

The Melco is basically a specialised computer so the music library is effectively simply held as a 1:1 copy of whatever you have on your current music drive plus any that you subsequently add directly to it. BTW I don’t add directly as I use a master copy of the library which is held on an external HDD. So I rip or add downloads to that then copy those modifications across to Melco, then make secondary backups and automatically load the modifications to cloud storage. I am a big believer in backups! Note one thing that Melco has decided is necessary for the best SQ is slow writing to the discs so the initial loading of your music library will take longer than just a normal computer to computer transfer.

The configuration of MinimServer defines how the music library is then displayed in Mosaic. It will display by various criteria as you select from the options in the menu. So you can display all album tiles in A-Z order. Or everything with a date of 1975, or everything by a selected composer or artist etc.

It also displays by genre. So if your husband has used the genre field in MP3Tag for, say, a non-standard genre unique to him like Baroque Choral (1650-1725) then it can display in A-Z order every album tagged as Baroque Choral (1650-1725). You can also use options via MinimWatch to change things to suit to quite an extent. For example I modified A-Z so I can select by, say, an artist, but showing only albums that I have in my collection with a title that begins with "F"or “M” etc.

So you can more or less get it to reflect how you want things to be so long as you got it right in the original tagging using ID3 ( which is what MP3 Tag is).

PS: You do know that I am an ATC user too ?

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Good morning Pete @PAR . That sounds ideal and just what we are after.

Yes I do recall you referring to ATC in earlier posts. For the longest time we were Linn boys - you can’t come from Glasgow and not do Linn at some point :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. Latterly we had a Klimax system though neither of us were ever really happy with the speakers - Klimax 350s. At the point Linn started to go down the road of Exakt we rather fortuitously heard ATCs and the rest is history.

We started with active 100s which after a couple of years were replaced with 100SEs. We both love what they do - irrespective of whatever type of music is offered to them and the marriage with our Rossini took them to greater heights. We are extremely happy with the system though were the proverbial lottery win to happen I really do have an itch to hear Dan D’Agostino’s Momentum integrated or separates with Wilson Sasha DAWS. I think that is the nature of this hobby :joy:

I think that you may well like what you hear but I would be surprised if you found it to offer significantly more than what you already have, especially given the additional costs involved.

I think you have it exactly right, the ATCs sound great irrespective of type of music. In fact I listen to speech quite a lot through my pair of 50s. It is remarkable how many speakers cannot render a speaking voice convincingly. That’s why one of my speaker tests is to listen to The Archers :smiley:. Another is to play the worst sounding recording that I can find in my collection. Often surprising how much that can tell you.

Ah, Linn and Glasgow. I remember from the mid 1970s being so frustrated having to get my dealer to reset the springs on my LP12 once a month that I got the train up from Euston and went to their old factory in Castlemilk to have a masterclass in LP12 fettling so that I could do it myself in the future.

Ah Lord yes, the old Drakemire Road premises in Castlemilk. I didn’t ever visit there as I was an impoverished student in the 70s and was unable to afford an LP12 or indeed any Linn kit. I did get one eventually. Linn finally had a fine outlet in Glasgow in the early 80’s called Stereo Stereo initially managed by Peter Novicki - lovely guy - succeeded by Allan Gibb who went on to bigger and better things marrying Mrs Chord! Many a Saturday I was in SS while Ivor Tiefenbrun held court. I recall him rather aggressively - what a surprise! - demanding I agree with him that the Keltiks which were then playing sounded truly amazing. They didn’t and I said so. Happy days!