Aurender Model Choices


Before I ask my question let me provide some context.

My system includes the following:

New MacBook Air Running itunes/Music serving hundreds of stored CDs

Macbook connected to my Benchmark DAC3 via Audioquest Coffee USB Cable

DAC balanced connection to Benchmark HPA4 PreAmp

PreAmp balanced connection to Benchmark ABH2 Amp

Benchmark Amp connected to Harbeth C7es-XD Speakers

This configuration has provided a neutral clean, and balanced sound. Really no complaints. However I wanted to add Streaming. So I Signed up for Qobuz and downloaded the App to my MacBook. Using WiFi I found that the Qobuz stream offered superior sound quality to my local CD library. Even Redbook CD quality was better plus the HiRes albums were really good

So now I need to get a dedicated Streamer. Using the MacBook is not convenient and from what I’ve read a Streamer should offer additional SQ enhancement. I’ve done a lot of research and really like the Aurender products plus when I recently purchased my speakers I auditioned them with an Aurender Model 100. The sound was excellent. I plan to go back in a few weeks to audition the $6k N200 model. I’m sure it will sound very good but I will be left wondering what does the N20 sound like? How much better can it be for another $6K? Unfortunately my dealer doesn’t have one to audition and neither does any other dealer near me. I’ve read comments on several forums that the N20 is twice as good as the N200 or that the N200 is nipping at the heals of the N20 or that the N20 just offers a 20% increase in SQ or the N20 blows the N200 out of the water. Without a side by side audition I’m struggling with paying twice the price without a demonstrable and significant SQ improvement. I would expect a SQ that once heard I could never settle for the less expensive model. In my recent experience a more expensive model does’t always win. When buying my speakers I auditioned the Harbeth C7es-XD and the more expensive 30.2 XD model. After almost an hour of back and forth I preferred the lower priced model.

So to conclude has anyone had the opportunity to audition the N20 and N200 together?

If so please Specifically what if any SQ differences did you hear and were they worth an additional $6k?

As I listen to my system streaming from my MacBook with wonderfully smooth, clean HiRes sound  I wonder can I actually get significantly more improvement for $6k or $12K?

Thanks for any info and experiences you can provide.

jfrmusic

Aurender seems to favor the SPDIF/AES with the N10/N20's due to the high precision clocking in these units. With USB the streamer is somewhat at the mercy of the clock in the DAC. Given that AES is clearly the favorite of the folks who built both of these units I think you have to suspend the cost worries and listen to them together if you have the chance.

I plan to ask for an Audition of the N200 with coax to a MSB Discrete which my dealer also carries. He doesn’t have an N20 but I think he said he has an N30. 

Also I sent an email to MSB and asked if the Discrete was agnostic related to input selection. I may call them before go to the dealer. 

👍

Is this a local NJ dealer? MSB is on my list. Not immediately but hopefully not in too distant future. I’d take a ride to hear it if it’s not too far. 

@jfrmusic

If you are considering MSB Discrete, then IMHO you may not need N200. I would listen to Discrete with MSB Renderer vs N200 connected through its Pro USB module. Have fun!