Network switch

Melco’s S100 is a low noise network switch

Digital Audiophiles – We power our DACs with all kinds of Macs, PCs, USB re-clockers, USB-S / PDIF converters and dedicated network streamers / bridges, because not all digital audio connections are the same. If they did, there would be no market for high-end solutions, and digital audiophiles around the world would be very happy with consumer PCs or Google dongles.

But we are not: experience tells us that the sound quality of the coaxial output of a Bluesound Node 2 / i surpasses that of a TOSLINK stream from Chromecast Audio; that the USB output of an Innuos ZENMini will revolve around that of a Macbook Pro. Why? Less jitter and less electrical noise.

Once the network streamer is in place, our attention turns to the Ethernet input of the streamer where, thanks to error correction, the data arrives fully intact, but hitchhiking along the network cable is a noise. electric. Where is he from ? The router or network switch to which the streamer is directly connected!

Consumer routers are built for a price. Their only job is to get data from A to B. Minimizing electrical noise is not part of the product design specification. For 99.99% of the world’s population, this is not a problem. For the 0.01% – high-end digital audiophiles – this is not the case.

The Japanese company Melco (Maki Engineering Laboratory Company) responds to this niche. Drawing on the significant R&D resources of the subsidiary Buffalo Inc., the Melco S100 was designed as a low noise network switch, wrapped in the same anti-vibration aluminum chassis as the Melco dual box N10 network streamer.

According to the press release, the S100 “Features an audio-specific motherboard with 1.5MB packet buffer memory, a powerful processor, and an audio-grade capacitor bank. Its low noise design, coupled with highly precise data processing, gives the S100 uncompromising sound quality when used with Ethernet audio devices.

On the rear panel ports, there are ten: 4 x 100Mb Ethernet; 4x1Gb Ethernet; 2 x SFP optical fiber.

It’s the material. The S100’s software layer – its packet traffic settings – has reportedly been optimized for popular NAS drive models, Roon Core servers, Roon bridges, and Melcoown network streamers N1, N10, N100.

Price? £ 1,999. The expedition begins in November. And if you can’t wait that long to request an A / B demo, the Melco S100 will be making an appearance at UK Hi-Fi Show Live this next weekend: 637-638 (Level 6, Core C).

Further information: Melco Audio

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