Aurender N-200 Compatiblity with DACS. Is this a thing?

More specifically, I'm looking for a Dac for my new Aurender N200 streamer.  I noticed on Aurender's website they have a list of compatible Dacs.  I'm considering  a used Berkely Alpha Series 2 Dac, although, no Berkeley dacs are listed as compatible.  I didn't realize compatibility was a thing when matching considering a dac.  I'm not talking about how they sound together but specifically functionality of the two components.


Second questions:  The Conductor app that Aurender uses has a volume control button but when I try to use it I get the message, Volume control not available.  What's up with that?  Does the volume control button only work with their streamer/dac machines?  Not being able to control the volume from my phone is deal breaker.

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I have my doubts as to if compatibility is really an issue.  I purchased a Holo May DAC KTE and then added an Aurender N20.  They are connected via a Shunyata Sigma AES/EBU and it sounds amazing.  I may search for a USB cable, but the AES bested the USB cables that I tried.  BTW this is the first that I’ve heard about a compatibility list.

The compatibility issue, I believe lays in the fact that the Berkeley doesn't have a USB input unless you buy a separate box.

Aurender only provides volume control on it's "A" series products which include a DAC and pre-amp.

The reason for this is "bit-stripping" which occurs when volume is controlled in the digital domain.

This is a very complicated and disputed subject but for the best sound quality consider adding a pre-amp to your system.

However in the meantime take a look at a DAC with a digital volume control until you get a pre-amp.

An excellent DAC that I use with my N20 is the Musetec 005, about $3k.

Aurender are great streamers. It is all they do. They are solid investments for the money. I have ushered a Berkeley DAC with my Aurender, fantastic combination. 

About the volume control. This is not where you want to control the volume. You want to do it at the preamp / system level.


I have been streaming for over a decade and using Aurrender for more than 4 years. I have two. See my profile.

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Jerry sorry if you feel that way we have proven we make a better product yet people still purchase our compettition and come to regret it when an aurrender owner clerly states our server sounds better that should be enough to have you guys consider us as a class leading server.our tests keep on bearing out that fact.

yes aureder does have a few advantages however we have a few over theirs.


Dave and Troy

audio intellect NJ

US importers 432evo music servers

I would ignore the RCA/Coax output on the N200.  I believe that one of the primary differences between the N20 and N200 is the quality of the clock.  So, using the USB output should get you close to the N20 performance.  I’m not the expert here, so hopefully Juan at @blisshifi will check in.  He also would be a good source of information on DACs given that he has tried a number with various Aurenders.  

Jerry the role of an importer is to market a product we never said we build them 


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USB Audio compatability was NOT always universal.  With Linux needing driver support to be cooked into the kernel (at least in the past) it was a real PITA if you needed to go find a specialty driver for a Linux based streamer.

Modern USB DACS (at least in the last 5 years) however should all be compatible.

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I tried an Aurender in my system with various DAC's and yes I had issues, with the iFi iDSD Micro BL it failed to deal with bitrate change, I get a short, sometimes long sometime permanent drop out, frequently. Similar happens with my Denafrips Aries II but much, much less. Switching to a Lindemann Limetree Bridge with same, and other DACs resulted in far fewer drop outs not linked to bitrate change but separate and minor modem problems ( that i'm fixing). Was my experience typical , perhaps not and the modem issue contributes as well, still that was the result, yummy not get it. The dealers allowed me to test both, in store and at home, at the same time. The sound quality between the 2 in my system(s), three different amps ( Cayin Tube, Naim, Vincent pre / power hybrid and 2 different sets of Audio Physic speakers, was indeterminate, they may just sound slightly different, is one better than the other, definite no. You pays your money and takes you choice.

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@vonhelmholtz Yes, I too hope Juan @Bliss will respond. If I understand correctly, he finds the N200 coax output beats USB (with some DACs) because coax fully uses the Aurender's own clock. More to be learned on this subject.

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I have a N200.  It recognized both of my DACs no problem via the USB connection 

I have had zero issues with compatibility,  it displayed each DAC connected to it via USB. .  A RME adi2 and a LAB 12 DAC 1 Reference. 

Coax out should be compatible with any DAC    I would think any DAC that adheres to USB 2.0 should be fine

I prefer my N200 connection via COAX with my LAB 12 DAC 1  Reference.   Don't get me wrong,  the N200 and DAC sound great via USB but I think I prefer Coax.


The N20 is the one with the better clock.  I believe that with USB, the DAC clock is the more critical and so with USB the difference in clocks between the N20 and N200 become less relevant.  This isn’t to say that the N200 has a bad clock, but Aurender is clock centric and they even have what is consider an external atomic clock product.  Juan should be back around shortly.  I believe that he is a bit off the grid at this point.

@vonhelmholtz Yes, makes sense. I think Juan was concerned with my DAC clock as I am not yet prepared to upgrade it. In this situation SPDIF would be the temporary workaround until new DAC enters the chain and USB returns. Obviously N200 isn't comparable to N20, which is a league above my current level.

Thanks folks for all the responses.  Just bought a Berkeley Alpha Series 2.  Waiting for it to arrive!

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@malatu I'm joining this thread late as it's been an incredibly busy few weeks for me with travel. To tack onto what @vonhelmholtz and @hickamore mention, the quality and synergy between the N200 and a chosen DAC rely largely on whether the DAC can take advantage of the source's clock either through Phased-Lock-Loop (PLL). and/or further reclock the signal (in this case encouraging the use of SPDIF interfaces), or whether USB is a better interface because the DACs clock is far superior to the source.

In most cases, even with good USB cables, I find USB to be noisy and more fatiguing. It can give the impression of added detail, but it's really the grittiness that simulates that, leading to fatigue. Often this is caused by the 5V of current that is running inside the USB cable, which SPDIF cables do not use.

The clock in the N200 is quite good. Definitely not at the level of the N20, but still better than many DACs on the market today. It is worth experimenting with both interfaces to see which brings the best synergy in your particular system.

Seeing that you settled on the Berkeley Alpha Series 2 DAC, it seems you will need to utilize a SPDIF cable that utilizes a coax RCA connector on the N200 end and a BNC connector on the DAC end. These are quite easy to find, and DH Labs D-750 can be built in this configuration.

Congratulations on your DAC purchase. I'm not sure we captured it, but what DAC are you replacing?

I used two Dacs with the N200....... a Bluesound and a vintage (1984) Sony 703 ES.

I will be using a Dinafrips Venus II DAC with my forthcoming N200. I also have the Dinafrips Hermes DDC which will go between the N200 and the DAC, with the I2s connection to the DAC. IDK which clock will win!

Well, I just received and hooked up the Berkeley Alpha Series 2 DAC and have been critically listening to it for a couple of hours.  Not nearly enough time make any serious comments, though, I do have to tip my cap to the 40 year old Sony Dac I've been using for the past two months!  It was just way to bright but damn.... it held its own!  Pretty amazing, I think!

I use an Aurender A10 Streamer/DAC. This was one of the their earlier products so the USB output on there is not particularly great. I run USB into a Singxer SU-6 DDC and then DDC into DAC using I2S. I'm a huge prop proponent of DDC/reclockers, as it's a relatively cheap way to dramatically improve performance of your streamer without having to go up the range to models costing near 5 figures. 

I purchased a N-200 a couple of weeks ago, replacing my N-100, have it connected via SPDIF cable to my Lampizator Atlantic DAC. No connection issues with either server.