Aurender N30SA Network Audio Library Lab Report

Lab Report

In common with Aurender's single-box flagship W20SE [HFN Mar '23], the N30SA music storage/player is also a transcoding/signal conditioning device. Other network bridges with onboard DSP include the Innuos Statement [HFN Jan '20], Aqua LinQ [HFN Sep '20], Grimm Audio MU1 [HFN Dec '20], Auralic Sirius G2.1 [HFN Oct '22] and Melco N10/2 [HFN Apr '22], but the W20SE and N30SA are very specifically flexible. Data buffering (reclocking or 'de-jittering') and delivery from a low-noise/low-RFI source remains at the core of both the W20SE and N30SA music libraries, the former even battery-powered, but does the N30SA, with its additional separation, offer any slight advantage?

As I've discussed in the past, any uplift in performance over PC/Mac USB sources is best inferred via third-party DACs, and AudioQuest's low-cost DragonFly [HFN Mar '14] – a USB hub-powered DAC – provides us with a good indication of incoming data integrity and noise on the +5V supply. Via the N30SA there's a worthy reduction in correlated jitter from 300psec to 105psec alongside a near-total suppression of circulating interference/noise [see Graph 2], boosting its A-wtd S/N from 94dB to 104dB. Moreover there's a reduction in clock phase noise – seen in the tightened 'skirt' at the base of the peak – that bests all previous digital USB servers that we've tested, including the W20SE.

Once again, a great improvement was realised via iFi Audio's NEO iDSD [HFN Mar '21] where its repeating ±33/66Hz/99Hz sidebands were squeezed from 550psec to a residual <5psec [red vs. black spectra, Graph 1] via the N30SE. This is a further marginal reduction of ~4psec over the W20SE [blue spectrum, Graph 1]. Finally, 'fully-fledged' DACs including Mytek's Brooklyn [HFN Aug '17] and the dCS Vivaldi APEX [HFN Jun '22] provide full galvanic isolation/onboard reclocking, so very little difference in jitter was seen with PC versus N30SE 'USB sources', despite subtle differences in low-level noise and spuriae being observed. PM


48kHz/24-bit jitter spectra from iFi Audio's NEO iDSD DAC (via Aurender N30SA, black; Aurender W20SE [HFN Mar '23], blue; and PC, red)


48kHz/24-bit jitter spectra from AudioQuest's DragonFly (via Aurender N30SA, black; via PC, red)

Digital inputs 1x Ethernet; 2x USB-A 3.0; Clock
Digital outputs 1x USB-A 2.0; 2x coax, 1x opt; 1xAES/EBU
Digital jitter (AQ DragonFly) 105psec (300psec via PC USB)
Digital jitter (iFi Audio NEO iDSD) <5psec (550psec via PC USB)
Digital jitter (Mytek Brooklyn) 5psec (8psec via PC USB)
Power consumption 35W (2W standby)
Dimensions (WHD) / Weight 430x106x353mm / 22kg (each unit)
Price £24,000

Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Supplied by: Padood Ltd, Cambridge, UK
01223 653199