The N1ZH/2 is the middle model in the Melco range. It’s difficult to sometimes get a sense of scale from pictures like the one above, but it is smaller than the N1A/2, it’s only 350mm wide vs 436mm of the N1A. It’s also quite a bit heavier as well. This is down in part to the rigid H frame that has been fitted to the chassis to isolate vibration and noise and to isolate certain sections of the internals.
There are twin power supplies (2 x 30 watt medical grade), additional capacitor banks (using more capacitors than are in the N1A/2 to isolate the hard drives from internal data processing and multiple stages of noise reduction and isolation ensure the quietest possible environment for the sensitive electronics.
There are 2 x 3 terabyte small form factor hard drives fitted, specifically chosen for the job in hand as they create less electrical noise than a traditional 3.5 inch hard drive, resulting in better sound quality. These drives are fitted onto a large non magnetic anti-vibration plate. The 2 hard drives have a dedicated power supply to isolate noise.
Operation of the N1ZH is very convenient, with a dedicated Neutrik USB 2.0 port for a DAC.
There are 3 USB 3.0 ports for Easy Backup, Easy Expansion, Easy Import of CD or from USB drives, and Easy Play without import from USB drives or CD loader so that a legacy CD collection can benefit from the latest DAC technology. All without any requirement for a PC or any IT type devices in the audio system.
Comparing the N1A/2 to the N1ZH/2 to one another sonically is always an interesting demonstration and in reality it’s a pretty quick demo. In performance terms the N1ZH/2 delivers more of everything, it paints a much bigger picture of the musical presentation and is more solid with greater bass extension. For me where it steps up is the reproduction of subtle nuances in recordings that you never knew were there – being able to hear that third backing singer when you only ever thought there were two for example.
– 2 x 3TB Small Form Factor HDD
– Heavy brass non-magnetic HDD foundation
– Dedicated Neutrik USB-DAC port
– Dual Power Supplies
– New capacitor bank with audio grade film capacitors
– New silver/black aluminium case
– New processing logic (precision slow data writing and accurate high speed data retrieval)
– Self integrity check