The N1ZS/2A is the flagship model and is priced at £8750. This is fitted with a single 2 terabyte audio grade SSD drive and I must stress that this is not a conventional IT SSD drive that you can buy online for your typical IT online stores. These are second generation audio grade drives and they have been designed by Buffalo’s memory division to be the very best quality for the job in hand.
Conventional, off the shelf, SSD drives have several features integrated into them as standard which are not good for audio performance such as acceleration (design feature to enable drives to hit industry benchmarks); this creates additional power supply noise which is completely unnecessary for use in a Melco. There is another feature called ‘wear levelling’, standard in normal drives, but removed here. A standard SSD drive in a computer will do lots of data writing/reading, but is not required here as data is written once but read many, many times. This wear levelling feature moves data around, but again not relevant in the audio world; this is another feature which has been removed to further lower noise and increase performance.
These drives are produced in low volume, hence the price jump in price for the N1ZS/2A
The SSD is mounted on a heavy non-magnetic foundation within an isolated compartment of the H frame and is powered by dedicated SHDD power supply.
How does it compare to the N1ZH/2 – the best way to put this is if you have a good system it’s probably best not to listen to a N1ZS/2A unless you are ready to buy one. It’s one of those items that once you have heard it there is no real going back unfortunately.
Melco have pulled out all of the stops in terms of the engineering with the N1ZS/2A and it shows
– 2TB x 1 SSD
– Heavy brass non-magnetic SSD foundation
– SSD is covered by a non-magnetic stainless shield cover
– Dedicated Neutrik USB-DAC port
– Dual Power Supplies
– Capacitor bank with audio grade film capacitors
– Silver/Black aluminium case
– New processing logic ( precision slow data writing and accurate high speed data retrieval)
– Self integrity check