Aurender N20

Hello All,

I'm in the market for a streamer only and would like some input on your experience with the N20. I am also contemplating the N200 and question whether the N20 at double the cost is justified?



I just got the N200 and love it. I couldn’t justify spending the money on the N20 for the level of my system, a Luxman 590AXII and Harbeth 30.2 speakers, so I would say the same to you, which one matches your system, current or possible future system, better? But if you aren’t going to use it for its server functionality also, you might be better off with a streamer only as you are not benefiting from all it can do. 


I recommend auditioning both N20 and N200 in your system and decide for yourself which model offers most bang for your buck! 

@jeffreyw I have an N20. The main differences are that you have Digital XLR and BNC outputs but the real reason to go for the N20 is that it has a master clock input which takes the N20 to the level of the N30.

What I have have found is some recordings and formats will sound better via digital XLR or USB. So it's good to have those options.

Anyway demo the both of them you can't go wrong with either.

I also faced the same question. My DAC requires XLR or BNC cables. So I ended up with the N200 and a Berkeley USB, plus USB cable for 8,220 instead of the N20 for 12,000. Very happy with the result.

My experience is with the N100, N10, and W20SE. Each increment is absolutely worth it, assuming you have appropriate ancillary equipment. My W20SE streamer is the most expensive piece of equipment in my signal path (~ the same as my turntable) and well worth it. It performs at the same level as my TT and better than my CD player when streaming high res files.


The Conductor app is does great. And they have excellent support available right through the app. Easy to use… unlike the problems I had with the Aurlic Aries 2. You can see my systems under my ID. A N100 is in my headphone system.

On September 30th, 2020, I replaced my Aurender N10 Server with the Aurender N20 Music Server.  My Aurender N20 Music Server is installed and working great.  The N20 is supplied WITHOUT hard drives installed. This means hard drives are the customer’s choice. Each of the two rear panel mounting sleds accommodates a 1, 2, 4 or 8TB 2.5-inch SSD or up to 5TB 15mm height 2.5inch HDDs. Since users have different storage requirements, Aurender feels this is the best way to satisfy everyone.  

My Aurender N20 sounds excellent. The music is clearer, the bass is better, has more air and it has more musical details. The overall musical presentation is much improved.  I am listening to jazz now and the sound quality is much improved.  

In summary, the N20 sounds terrific.  I really like it.  This is a substantial sound quality improvement.  I find the Conductor App very easy to use and find the albums to play.   I can very easily navigate between my stored CD albums, QoBuz and Internet radio stations.  The Aurender N20 Music Server is highly recommended.


Upscale gives you 60 days full refund.

Just invest in shipping to be sure.

I wholeheartedly recommend an audition with the Grimm Audio MU1.

I've heard an Aurender and the Grimm just took digital sound to another level.

The best streamer I have ever heard yet. And it includes many components and features in the box, running on Roon Core - it's superb digital transport and should be compared with an Aurender in an audition if you can organize one!


The Music Room is an authorized Aurender retailer and might be worth looking at.  I purchased my Aurender N20 from them. 

The Music Room - Autender

Trying both units and choosing the  best based upon performance is the best course of action. However if that is not possible looking at the device specifications may offer some insight.

N20 relevant features: linear power supply ; Double Isolated Gigabit Ethernet LAN; OCXO clock; Word clock input facilitates.

N200 relevant features: linear power supply, Double Isolated Gigabit Ethernet LAN; TCXO  Clock

There should be an audible difference in the AES and SPIDF digital output between the Aurender devices because of the clock differences. The N20 should have an improved sound.

When using a USB Audio 2.0 Standard asynchronous connection from either Aurender device the DAC runs off a clock that’s completely independent of the USB clock. Synchronization between data rates is maintained by use of a separate feedback path via the USB interface.

The updated N20 clock should not have a material effect on the quality of the USB sound output when compared to the N200.
Theoretically when using USB audio output both devices should have similar sound based upon the same USB circuit, linear power supplies, double isolated Gigabit Ethernet LAN and operating system. The difference  between the two devices should come down to internal noise suppression.

If using the AES or SPIDF output from the Aurender then IMHO the extra cost of the N20 would be worth while. However if your only using USB output then IMHO the N200 might be a more cost effective option.



Thanks for the detailed info! I have spoken to 3 well-respected dealers, and all were unanimous as to the N20 being clearly superior to the N200 with all outputs (by a considerable margin). I will primarily use the USB output since my DAC is optimized for this (Aries Cerat Helene). The N20 will allow me to experiment with SPDIF and AES, but at what cost? I am very perplexed since the USB circuit is quite similar (I think!) It doesn't appear that I am getting a dealer "hard sell." When I posed the question to all three dealers, there was no hesitation at all as to the N20's prowess. It's giving me heartburn!

If you are going to be using SPDIF or AES output I would get the N20. I am not impressed with the SPIDF output on my N200.

I would say, regardless of the output used the N20 will best the N200. They actually  listen to their products before putting them on the market. You can be sure if you move up the product lines they sound better… and not by a small margin.

What digital outputs do you need?  I decided on the Aurender N20 Music streamer since it supports BOTH USB and AES/EBU digital outputs to my DAC.  

For 2-weeks, I switched back and forth between the USB and AES/EBU digital outputs to my DAC.  In most cases, I prefer the AEB/EBU connection (a very high priority for me).    


I moved from the N10 to the N20 and couldn’t be happier.  IMO a big upgrade-better dynamics and quieter background.  I also switched back and forth between the usb, BNC, and AES multiple times.  At the end of the day the BNC  and AES were almost identical and both superior to the USB in my system(feeding a Chord DAVE).  Love the conductor app too.   

Overall I think you would be very happy with the N20.  Good luck!

@jeffreyw A lot of people are mentioning the difference between AES/BNC and USB.

If you want to take full advantage of the USB output you need a DAC with an Amanero Board. This will bring the SQ very close to the AES/BNC otherwise the AES/BNC will be clearly superior. You need USB for Native DSD otherwise you'll have to play DOP through AES/BNC.

Make sure in your Aurender settings to enable Professional Level Out, this will give quite a SQ boost to the AES/BNC output.

The N20 with a Master Clock is sublime. Totally different, on another level.

Differences between the sound of USB and AES/BNC/ SP/DIF are fundimentslly different. The USB output is  packetized info going to your DAC is a completely different format and will rely on additional processing (including retiming of the bitstream) before converting to analog. While the others only use the basic functions of the DAC. So, the difference between the two can often be thought of as: if my DAC is better than my streamer then most likely the USB will sound better, but if my streamer is better than my DAC, then more likely the other digital formats will sound better. While you have to try it to make sure they very different processing routes.

Non-USB connectors are the same feed coming out different connectors.


I will primarily use USB. I have an Aries Cerat Helene on order which is optimized for this output. AES is also a possibility. It is a tough decision to make! I think the N20 is the direction I am headed.


@jeffreyw Although the Aries Cerat Helene is a fantastic DAC but it doesn't play Native DSD.

Therefore USB really has no use, unless you are inputting a source without AES/EBU. AES/EBU will be best, especially with the Aurender N20's  Professional Level Output.

The Shunyata Omega digital XLR seems to be the most in demand now but many Aries owners are using Final Touch Cables.

Again, compare the Grimm with the Aurender.

That was an eye opener for me. Not yet a wallet opener though (although close!) - bit too expensive - but judging by the sound - worth it I guess (also it includes a lot of components in the tin: NUC, hi-end clocks, upscaler etc).


From all reviews and Aries Cerat, the USB input of the Helene is possibly the best input. If you could elaborate? I am "digitally challenged," and much of the digital terminology is new to me, especially file formats. Boy, I miss the day when you insert a CD and press play!! On the flip side, streaming has introduced me to so many genres of music. 

@jeffreyw Hi Jeff, The AES/EBU digital XLR connection can only handle, max 192 kHz PCM it cannot play Native DSD.

Native DSD will be converted to DOP (DSD over PCM) either by your Aurender N20 or by the DAC. DOP is very good by not quite as good as DSD.

USB will handle files of much higher frequencies including DSD, so you can play files higher than 192 kHz PCM.

The N20’s XLR digital output is excellent so unless the Aries’ USB board is better I’m sure the XLR will be the best performer. Of course you will need to experiment yourself, or ask someone that has the same combination.

In this price range quality cables are extremely important.

I do find it disappointing however that a DAC of this quality and price doesn’t offer DSD processing and I2s inputs.

Hi-Rez files at 192 kHz will sound great regardless.

On my  setup with an N20 I favour USB for FLAC files and AES/EBU for WAV files.


Great explanation… but also makes me a bit liking the simpler days.

However owning a couple Aurender… I am happy to report you can just plunk it down, connect it..and turn it on, log into your Qobuz account and you are going to get fantastic sound… you can worry about the details of these slightly different high resolution formats later.

@ghdprentice Yes, The Aurender 20 and 30 series provide the full package catering to all formats in a very intuitive package with reference SQ.

Some may say there are better sounding streamers but at a price point, company support, build quality and ease of use the Aurenders set the standard.

The N20 is far better than the N200 if your system is a high performer. It's ocxo clock and lower noise floor really helps with soundstage placement.On my system (Luxman 509x, D-10X, Sopra No3) piano, vocals, and other instruments are in the space around the speakers. Piano is not just coming from the speaker drivers themselves, but is more organic and full.  it comes from in-between the speakers and around. Height is greater as well  The N200 is good but doesn't do what the N20 can do. The N200 has clarity and authority but can't provide a deeper more whole or relaxed presentation. Nuances played through the N20 are also easier to point out. The N20 is essentially the N30SA without the separate power supply. If you compare the N20 to the N30SA it is a great buy. But once you jump from all the A models through the N200 to the N20 there is a huge leap in performance and it's immediately discernable.

I have about 200 hours on my N20. It’s amazing. Also a surprisingly beautiful and heavy chassis. If you can fit it into your budget I think the N20 will impress you. 

I just placed an order for N20.  I was contemplating between N20 and N200 because my set up was USB.  My dealer, Scott Walker in Anaheim, came to my place and set his demo unit up so that I can compare USB through Chord M Scaler to Dave DAC vs. AES/EBU direct to Dave.  AES/EBU was clearly better.  Much more natural sound, better dynamics, bigger sound stage, etc.  It took less than 5 seconds of music for all 3 people present to unanimously pick AES/EBU as the much preferred connection.  We listened different kinds of music just to be sure, but the difference was not subtle at all.  I ended up trading in my M scaler and ordered a new N20.  BTW, using the conductor app on my M1 Mac mini via big screen is great.  More stable than Roon.


So, how did this story end? I also have a DAC, Holo May DAC KTE which supposedly was designed with a superb USB, but my N20 sounds great with AES. In my case I compared a 1k AES to a $250 giant killer USB and I preferred the AES. Perhaps, not a fair competition.


I went in a different direction and paired my DAC with an Innuos Pulse. I had difficulty getting an audition of the Aurender. I'm very happy with the Pulse!

Thanks! I wish I could have heard an Aurender. I believe I would have gone the N200 route because of budget.