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Article: Aurender Content Server ACS10 Full Review

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I was hoping to read a bit about DSF/DSD files. I assume it can see those files once loaded into it. Can you change metadata on those? How well does this unit work with dsf files for sending them to a USB Dac? Any conversion to PCM?

 

Great article by the way Chris.

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Re: "completely computer-less operation from start to finish" 

 

Isn't the Aurender acs-10 itself... a dedicated, customized computer that's operating on proprietary software in an 'audiophile box'?

 

Regarding the Aurender's $6k-7k price...

 

I own an essentially brand new Asus VC66 MiniPC (i7, 500SSD - $850.00) and I'm getting ready to download Euphony's Music Server software @ $289.00 onto a USB stick. Then installed on my MiniPC, it will wipe clean the Windows 10 OS, turning the MiniPC into a dedicated Music Server. BTW, I'm going to buy the Samsung QVO M.2 SSD you profiled, turns out my Asus has an unused M.2 slot, thanks a lot for that.

 

The Euphony OS is fully Roon Ready and reportedly comes very close to matching the fidelity of the Aurender. It can be controlled by either an iPad/iPhone or an Android tablet/phone. No monitor, PC needed. Several professional reviewers hold it in high regard.

 

I'd love to see a comparative review between the $6-7k Aurender and someting like my $1139.00 Euphony setup. It would be interesting to see if you concluded that the Aurender offers 5-6 times more than does the Euphony... 

 

I understand that getting that last 10% increase in fidelity, requires a logarithmic increase in cost. I also see a trend among audio reviewers toward reviewing ever more astronomically priced gear. Just my opinion, but that seems like an excellent way to gradually decrease ones' audience.

 

Please consider the above constructive criticism. I'm a longtime fan of this blog/mag but one who is feeling increasingly shunted aside by most reviewers in the gear they chose to review. I suspect I'm by no means alone in that perception.

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33 minutes ago, Geoffrey said:

Re: "completely computer-less operation from start to finish" 

 

Isn't the Aurender acs-10 itself... a dedicated, customized computer that's operating on proprietary software in an 'audiophile box'?

 

Regarding the Aurender's $6k-7k price...

 

I own an essentially brand new Asus VC66 MiniPC (i7, 500SSD - $850.00) and I'm getting ready to download Euphony's Music Server software @ $289.00 onto a USB stick. Then installed on my MiniPC, it will wipe clean the Windows 10 OS, turning the MiniPC into a dedicated Music Server. BTW, I'm going to buy the Samsung QVO M.2 SSD you profiled, turns out my Asus has an unused M.2 slot, thanks a lot for that.

 

The Euphony OS is fully Roon Ready and reportedly comes very close to matching the fidelity of the Aurender. It can be controlled by either an iPad/iPhone or an Android tablet/phone. No monitor, PC needed. Several professional reviewers hold it in high regard.

 

I'd love to see a comparative review between the $6-7k Aurender and someting like my $1139.00 Euphony setup. It would be interesting to see if you concluded that the Aurender offers 5-6 times more than does the Euphony... 

 

I understand that getting that last 10% increase in fidelity, requires a logarithmic increase in cost. I also see a trend among audio reviewers toward reviewing ever more astronomically priced gear. Just my opinion, but that seems like an excellent way to gradually decrease ones' audience.

 

Please consider the above constructive criticism. I'm a longtime fan of this blog/mag but one who is feeling increasingly shunted aside by most reviewers in the gear they chose to review. I suspect I'm by no means alone in that perception.

Hi Geoffrey - Thanks for the constructive criticism. No worries here, it’s all welcome. 

 

You’ll be happy to read one of our writers is working on a review of a DAC from Monoprice. It doesn’t matter to me what a product costs as long as there’s a good purpose for it and there’s an audience for it. 

 

I hope you read my points about the product being for you or not for you etc...

 

Our CAPS articles about building music servers are very similar to your Euphony project. Your suggestion looks really interesting. I will check it out. But, please remember there are many other people who will read such an article and lose interest just as quick as you may lose interest in this ACS review. 

 

Its all about balance. I’m interested in writing about all of it. 

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1 hour ago, Deyorew said:

I was hoping to read a bit about DSF/DSD files. I assume it can see those files once loaded into it. Can you change metadata on those? How well does this unit work with dsf files for sending them to a USB Dac? Any conversion to PCM?

 

Great article by the way Chris.

Hi Deyorew - Let me double check on this. I believe I edited the metadata of DSD files. All the edits are stored in the Autender database rather than the files. This is because Autender doesn’t believe in altering the original files. 

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12 hours ago, Geoffrey said:

Re: "completely computer-less operation from start to finish" 

 

Isn't the Aurender acs-10 itself... a dedicated, customized computer that's operating on proprietary software in an 'audiophile box'?

 

Regarding the Aurender's $6k-7k price...

 

I own an essentially brand new Asus VC66 MiniPC (i7, 500SSD - $850.00) and I'm getting ready to download Euphony's Music Server software @ $289.00 onto a USB stick. Then installed on my MiniPC, it will wipe clean the Windows 10 OS, turning the MiniPC into a dedicated Music Server. BTW, I'm going to buy the Samsung QVO M.2 SSD you profiled, turns out my Asus has an unused M.2 slot, thanks a lot for that.

 

The Euphony OS is fully Roon Ready and reportedly comes very close to matching the fidelity of the Aurender. It can be controlled by either an iPad/iPhone or an Android tablet/phone. No monitor, PC needed. Several professional reviewers hold it in high regard.

 

I'd love to see a comparative review between the $6-7k Aurender and someting like my $1139.00 Euphony setup. It would be interesting to see if you concluded that the Aurender offers 5-6 times more than does the Euphony... 

 

I understand that getting that last 10% increase in fidelity, requires a logarithmic increase in cost. I also see a trend among audio reviewers toward reviewing ever more astronomically priced gear. Just my opinion, but that seems like an excellent way to gradually decrease ones' audience.

 

Please consider the above constructive criticism. I'm a longtime fan of this blog/mag but one who is feeling increasingly shunted aside by most reviewers in the gear they chose to review. I suspect I'm by no means alone in that perception.

I get what you’re talking about and I’ve also been on the Euphony train for about a year, but if you really read this article you’ll see that there’s not much of an avenue for a comparison between what you outlined and what this product brings to the table. That is, unless you only focus on small portions of what the ACS-10 can do and ignore the purpose(s) of the product. 

 

If you only want a sound quality comparison, and again ignore what the ACS-10 is going to be bought for, it’s already mentioned that the ACS-10 pushes out music to a USB DAC roughly on the level of the Aurender N10. 

 

As as for the article, I thought it was a great overview and I love seeing more good products come to market. I will keep expanding my Roon anchored home system that uses multiple devices to achieve what this article describes about an Aurender anchored system.

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OT.

What does Euphony have, in terms of SQ, over something like Daphile (free) or Audioliux (50$) for it to be worth approx 300$? 

Did anyone make a direct comparison?

 

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1 hour ago, NOMBEDES said:

Spinning Discs?   How 20th Century.  Count me out.  Innous = Solid State Drives....yes.

I have about 10TB of music. I've yet to find a music server that can handle this using all SSDs. I can certainly build on, but that's not the purpose of something like the ACS10.

 

PS. One could always put SSDs in the ACS10

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1 hour ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I have about 10TB of music. I've yet to find a music server that can handle this using all SSDs. I can certainly build on, but that's not the purpose of something like the ACS10.

 

PS. One could always put SSDs in the ACS10

 

I wonder if the SSDs would be faster between album selection?

 

"Probably the most annoying issue that I encountered with the ACS10 over the last couple months was a long delay between albums selection and the beginning of playback. This is only an issue for those of us who listening to an entire album, then browse for another album and add it to the queue for playback."

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Just now, NOMBEDES said:

 

I wonder if the SSDs would be faster between album selection?

 

"Probably the most annoying issue that I encountered with the ACS10 over the last couple months was a long delay between albums selection and the beginning of playback. This is only an issue for those of us who listening to an entire album, then browse for another album and add it to the queue for playback."

I'm sure they would, but then I'd have to get rid of a few TB of my music because 4TB SSDs are the largest reasonably priced disks. 

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Chris:

Great article, very detailed and it touched upon most of the areas I was confused about in regards to the ACS10. 

If I am interpreting your review correctly, it seems to me that you’re saying that for myself and other N100H owners, that replacing my N100H with an 16TB ACS10, would net me N10 sound quality, 16TB’s of storage (if I use my Synology NAS as RAID backup and no RAID on ACS10) and the ability to rip CD’s and additional features and do all of the above for $2,000 less than the cost of an N10? 

I do understand, this means USB out only, however that’s all I have available via N100H anyhow and if I can increase my playback quality to N10 levels, this seems like a no-brainer upgrade for me! 

Please try and confirm if I’m interpreting your review correctly to confirm this. 

Thanks again! 

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1 hour ago, agladstone said:

Chris:

Great article, very detailed and it touched upon most of the areas I was confused about in regards to the ACS10. 

If I am interpreting your review correctly, it seems to me that you’re saying that for myself and other N100H owners, that replacing my N100H with an 16TB ACS10, would net me N10 sound quality, 16TB’s of storage (if I use my Synology NAS as RAID backup and no RAID on ACS10) and the ability to rip CD’s and additional features and do all of the above for $2,000 less than the cost of an N10? 

I do understand, this means USB out only, however that’s all I have available via N100H anyhow and if I can increase my playback quality to N10 levels, this seems like a no-brainer upgrade for me! 

Please try and confirm if I’m interpreting your review correctly to confirm this. 

Thanks again! 

Confirmed 👍🏻

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Chris,

 

I'd like to know exactly what you are confirming.  From the Aurender web site:

 

"ACS10 can be used as a fully-functional server and streamer delivering pristine digital output via an Aurender’s filtered and isolated USB 2.0 audio port. However, the highest audio performance is realized when using the ACS10 mated with models A10, N10 or W20, where its CD ripping, library management, 2X isolated LAN port, and powerful processor will greatly enhance the Aurender experience."

 

thanks,

Gary

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9 minutes ago, Hoo Fighter said:

Chris,

 

I'd like to know exactly what you are confirming.  From the Aurender web site:

 

"ACS10 can be used as a fully-functional server and streamer delivering pristine digital output via an Aurender’s filtered and isolated USB 2.0 audio port. However, the highest audio performance is realized when using the ACS10 mated with models A10, N10 or W20, where its CD ripping, library management, 2X isolated LAN port, and powerful processor will greatly enhance the Aurender experience."

 

thanks,

Gary

I think the ACS10 is as good as the N10 in my system, but the products can only be compared via USB output and into the DACs I have on hand etc...

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Ok, thanks.  Is this a fair statement "the ACS10 sounds the equivalent for an N10 when upgrading from an N100H using usb, all other things being equal...."

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26 minutes ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

I think the ACS10 is as good as the N10 in my system, but the products can only be compared via USB output and into the DACs I have on hand etc...

Sorry for the multiple posts. Trying to link Chris's comment with my follow up question:

 

Ok, thanks.  Is this a fair statement "the ACS10 sounds the equivalent for an N10 when upgrading from an N100H using usb, all other things being equal...."

Edited by Hoo Fighter

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