The N20 caching music server / streamer provides the fidelity, features and flexibility the digital audiophile will find attractive and meaningful. A significant advantage is that the N20 contains two empty storage bays. This allows you to customize storage to best meet your budget and intended use. For example, these days many music lovers listen exclusively to streaming content.
Ultra-High-Quality SPDIF and AES/EBU Digital Audio Outputs
The N20’s AES/EBU, BNC, Coaxial, and Optical outputs provide a superior musical presentation with some DACs due to the superior clock and oscillator. As opposed to asynchronous USB connections, where the DAC pulls packets of information from the player, N20’s SPDIF audio outputs push the signal out to the DAC at intervals defined by the on-board precision OCXO clock. With a clock this precise, once heard, you’ll want to use it.
Oven-Controlled Crystal Oscillator (OCXO) for Long-Term Jitter Reduction
OCXOs are among the most accurate and stable clocks in use today, and are orders of magnitude more accurate and stable than commonly used ordinary crystal oscillators usually found in computers. Temperature changes cause crystal oscillations to fluctuate, which can lead to jitter in the digital audio signal. Moreover, ordinary crystals are much less stable and lose accuracy over time. In OCXO clocks, a very stable, high-grade crystal oscillator is enclosed in a compartment and kept at a constant temperature to maintain an absolutely stable flow of information.
Precision DSD-to-PCM Conversion by FPGA
Many DACs support DSD decoding only on their USB inputs, but not on SPDIF. Additionally, some excellent DACs still in use are non-DSD compliant altogether. That’s why the Aurender N20 (and W20SE and N10) all feature this extremely high quality method of DSD-to-PCM conversion on-the-fly by FPGA. The resulting sampling frequency output is user selectable between 88.2kHz and 176.4kHz, gain is adjustable 1-6dB and a low-pass filter accommodates 24Hz, 30Hz, 40Hz and 50Hz settings.
FPGA-Based All-Digital Phase-Locked Loop System
An All-Digital Phase-Locked Loop system (ADPLL) incorporating Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) with OCXO clocks precisely times digital audio data transmissions and minimizes jitter to below negligible levels. The results are sonically audible with better image focus, a wider, deeper, taller soundstage presentation and an uncanny analog-like organic quality.
Dedicated Word Clock Input
The N20 offers support for an external word clock which can, in some cases, improve upon the SPDIF audio performance in terms of musical rhythm, pace, timing, and phase coherance. If the user wants to use a separate master clock and SPDIF interconnects, a music server with master clock input is needed as well as a DAC with master clock input. The external word clock can then be used to synchronize timing between both digital devices ensuring jitter-free and time-perfect data transmission. N20 can accept word clocks with the following frequencies: Master clock: 10MHz, 12.8MHz, Word clock: 44.1KHz and 48KHz in multiples from 1 to 512. N20 supports both word clock (dCS, DACs or similar) or Master Clock (MSB DACs or similar) inputs.
Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)
At the heart of any music server is, essentially, a computer. Like any desktop computer, it doesn’t like when its electrical connection is abruptly terminated. In the case of an AC power outage or momentary “brownout”, the N20 is protected by a clever super capacitor-based power supply which allows the unit to stay powered on long enough to automatically power down. This prevents the system and hard drives from being corrupted by the loss of AC power.
User-Installable Hard Drive Storage with Solid-State Caching Drive for Playback
The N20 provides unparalleled flexibility in terms of the type and capacity of drive that can be fitted. Each of the two trays on the rear panel can be fitted with a 1TB/2TB/4TB or 5TB HDD or a 1TB/2TB/4TB or 8TB SSD. You can choose to install one or both to accommodate your current capacity and/or future expansion of your digital files. If installed, these internal hard drives provide storage for your music library and an internal 500GB solid-state drive is used to cache music for playback. If a selected song or album is already cached to the solid-state drive, the storage drive remains idle. This minimizes the system’s overhead resources in se, and wear and tear on the hard drive. Additionally, by caching songs to the solid-state drive for playback, electrical and acoustic noise resulting from spinning disks, moving heads and motors is completely eliminated.
N20 SSD/HDD Installation Guide