I’ve had the Aurender X100L 6tb in my system for about 3 months. I’ll start by saying it is outstanding!! I’ve recently made several changes in my front end: MW Oppo BDP-105D as DAC replacing a PS Audio PWD Mk II, and the Aurender replaced a Bolder mod’d SB Touch with Deluxe LPS and nitro cable.
I’ll begin this mini-review by describing the basics of setup and go on from there. I will say there is one gotcha with all Aurenders at this time, you have to have an iPad for use! I’m using an iPad mini.
Easiest setup ever! The Aurender website has excellent although dated instructions for the setup of the server. It is purely a matter of connecting the X100L to the network and following the on-line instructions. The Aurender appears as a network device and allows dragging files from the network directly to the devices internal HDs. The slowest process is the actual file transfer. I accomplished this in about 2 days, dragging groups of files (about 50-100 albums at a time) to the Aurender and allowing them to be indexed prior to dragging the next group. One really nice thing is once a group has been dragged you can play those files while transferring additional music.
Recently, with the new FW change, you can attach an external HD to the back of the unit and it will copy those files to the X100L. I have not attempted this since all of my music is now on the Aurender.
The Aurender follows the file sequencing you establish. My music is divided into RB (CD), HR (hi-res), and DSD. I have the RB and HR files on an internal HD and the DSD files on the other. You can then sort the files however you wish…I’m using Artist/Album. The Aurender stores files on its internal HDs and caches the music to the internal SSD for playback.
Once connected to the network and files are on the server and the X100L is connected to your DAC via USB cable of your choice, you are good to go.
Extremely simple! The iPad app is excellent if you like a brown background, there is no ability to change the color. It is purely a matter of ensuring the unit is in stby, select music and play! Just a note, you can put the unit into stby or off from the iPad app. If off you must touch the front panel button to get it back into stby. Additionally, Tidal is available on the Aurender and it is excellent and simple to use through the X100L.
The Aurender will play almost anything from RB to DSD (DSF and DFF) via Dop. DSD up to 128 is supported as long as the DAC in use supports. One thing I have experienced is an occasional crackling sound if going from say RB to DSF 64…here is where the Aurender is real nice, it allows you to change the time in seconds when switching from one sample rate to another. I set mine at 4sec and no more crackling noises, etc.
Outstanding! The music flows with an ease that is amazing. Some will say it has a warm presentation; I wouldn’t call it warm but smooth. There is no digititus (sp?) or any other digital artifact during playback. RB is the best I’ve heard. All HR and DSD playback is also outstanding. Detail is all there, but with smoothness that some would call analog-like. There is nothing overdone, no excessive bass or screeching highs…the midrange is to die for. Male and female vocals are life-like as are all stringed instruments. Truthfully it is the best digital playback I’ve heard period! I’m sure there are better digital playback systems; I just haven’t heard one yet.
I’ll conclude by saying this isn’t a cheap server solution, nor is it the most expensive. The X100L retails for about $3700 or more depending on internal HD capacity. The unit can be ordered with 6 or 12tb of storage. Downside: can a HD fail? yes, but the dealer or Aurender can change it…nor should the X100L be your sole backup of your music.
Lastly, for someone who doesn’t want to tinker with a computer and just wants to play the music this is an extremely attractive solution…at least to me.
BTW the iPad sees it in AirPlay