Server of the Year: Melco N1Z
One of two ambitious USB/Ethernet file-based music libraries from Melco, the audiophile-owned brand behind Buffalo computer peripherals, the N1Z is best thought of as a dedicated audiophile replacement to the computer (or even the network infrastructure) in a computer audio system. If you tried and disliked PC-based audio, this might be your way into tomorrow’s audio world. Best used as the digital buffer between the outside world of Ethernet in a network streaming system, or as a meeting point for USB drives in a system, the N1Z also sports its own SSD drives for both operating system and a limited portfolio of your best loved music. Our advice, replace the Twonky server software with MinimServer, and use it in place of a network storage drive in a network audio setting, and be amazed at just how much more sound quality you can get from any system. (Reviewed in Issue 124).