My biggest issue with any of the dedicated audiophile streamers is the controller support. I'm 100% PC and Android here so any such device that is iPhone only is a non starter for me.
I went through the same thought process last year. Based on what I read here and after speaking with some “experts” I settled on the N200 for my main system and N150 for my headphone system. A big consideration for you is the DAC you will use and whether you need the additional outputs in the N10. Both the N150 and 200 are USB based so be sure that is the preferred method for your DAC. Some say the spdif on the 200 is better than USB but I have found the opposite to be true. Also to get the same SQ as the N10 you’d probably have to step up to the N200. The N150 can be close depending on your other components but there’s no free lunch :-)
The N10 is a very good streamer. There have been sound quality improvements in the next generation. Some folks have said the N200 and N10 sound very similar. But the N10 is a fully fleshed out streamer. I would buy the N10. Then in ten years or so if you get the urge you can upgrade it.
I own an N100 for my headphone system and a W20SE (Aurrender’s flagship) and have had heard the N10. I would go N10.
I upgraded from Bluesound to the N200 and love the N200. I used the same PS Audio DAC on both of them. I know I could probably get even more from the N200 if I upgraded the DAC now.
I did look at the N10, but decided to get get the latest from Aurender. And I had a lot of digital files, so the N200 made more sense for adding SSD's to it. If I had gone with the 20, I think I would have had to upgrade the rest of my audio chain to hear the difference between the 20 and the 200.
Although it would be nice to control the Aurender with a Laptop sometimes, it works just fine with a pad or phone and In some ways, it would be annoying to have to use a laptop.
I don't think you'd go wrong with either the 10 or 200. Just my experience and reasoning behind getting the 200.
The new N30SA is newer… however the W20SE is still made and sounds better (not by a huge amount… I imagine some folks would prefer not having a battery, which I am sure is why they released it). The N30SA does not use a battery like the W20SE so it is an upgraded N20.
Between N150 and N10, I would choose N10. For the money, N10 is pretty darn good on used market. N10’s replacement N200, is better in more than few areas. If you can afford it, go for N200 and call it a day. Aurender offers support for both Android and iOS. One important consideration, ROON is coming to Aurender and older generation models like N10 or N100 will not be compatible with ROON. Regardless of ROON support, their Conductor app is a robust app offering integrated browsing for Tidal, Spotify and Qobuz.
Both W20SE and N30SA are prime examples of a SOTA streamer, which one sounds better is very subjective and going to come down to rest of the system. I had them both in my home for extended period of time and I chose to go with N30SA.
I started with a Vault 2i and the N200 was a step up in every metric... I think because Aurender mostly focuses on streamer/servers they are more proactive and thorough with firmware. They Beta before calling something a firmware revision. And you can opt in or out of Beta unlike that Bluesound Vault update recently that rendered my machine useless for a week.
You do pay more for Aurender but the hardware is built like a tank and support is excellent, to me it's worth the money.... it's your source . The streamer quality is important if you have a resolving system, if not then why bother just keep using a decent entry level box into a decent DAC. I didn't think I would buy something like the N200 but I'm glad I did.
I had, or should I say still have an N10, but have recently replaced it with a used Antipodes DX3. The main reason was the crap Aurender app, especially if you mainly stream classical and a decision to go with Roon. As you probably know Aurender does not do Roon. I didn't expect the Antipodes to sound better than the N10 but it does, not by a huge margin but tighter bass and a more musical top end. While the N10 is a very good streamer beware the app and of course give it a miss if you think you might want to use Roon in the future. I didn't but eventually succumbed and now have a streamer to get rid of, .
I have owned the n100, n150 and the n10. I still have them all, now using the n10 in speaker rig, n150 for headphones and secondary system.
The n100 sounds great with local files streaming is ok but not great. Actually a great deal and a way to try Aurender.
N150 sounds even better with local files, streaming is much better than n100 but still not as good as local files.
N10 is quite a bit better than N150 with local files. Streaming is really good, haven't yet decided, but may stop buying cd's and files. Not sure yet, local files may still be better. The only thing I don't like about the N10 is the hard drive is a bit slow compared to the ssd in the n150, and not user replaceable. The N10 has the ocxo clock which makes the spidf outputs sound great, better than usb (though haven't compared all that much, tired of a/b ing) at least with my yggdrasil. The n200 does not have the ocxo clock, you would have to step up to the n20 which is much more expensive. You can get an n10 for close to 3k.
I was a bit leery of such an old player, so tried to make sure I bought one that is relatively new. It is built like a tank. Mine was originally bought in 2019. I have heard upgrades were made during the manufacturing life of the model, don't know for sure.
Roon would be nice as the conductor app is pretty good, but a bit lacking for classical anyway. But roon is not great for finding your local files especially if you like classical. As you get used to conductor it gets better and you find ways to get what you want. I use the qobuz app sometimes just to look for new music etc. and info from roon is available other places. Plus I found roon quite a pain, core would stop working etc. had to spend quite a bit of time on it. The rumour is that newer models will eventually be roon enabled.
Best of luck but Aurender is indeed a good choice
I use a lumin x1 streamer/dac using roon. Got a separate power supply which is ideal.
I find this outstanding. The dac inclusion is done extremely well don't have to worry about all the external BS wiring interconnects. And the temptation to switch a dac all the time. I have two dacs that are mothballed right now.
Aurender sounds nice.
I have been using the Bluesound Node 2i for a few years as a streamer only. About a year ago I tried the N10 and was just not impressed. I really tried to love it and got a great deal used. I kept going back and forth and could just not appreciate much. I seem to be the outlier piece of data you would throw out LOL. I am only suggesting you watch the market close and be sure you get a nice price and consider also picking up a Node from Crutchfield or also a used one and compare for yourself. If you feel the same then you have $2000 or more to use elsewhere.
I was calling random dealers last week looking for a specific set of interconnects. One of them was very inquisitive and asked about my whole system and I told him of my experience. He said to not give up on Aurender and suggested I try an A15 to have an all-in-one. I think that or a dCS Bartok will be my next big purchase.
Good luck with your digital!
I have an N100C and it’s been a great addition to my system. I don’t have experience with the N10, but I do not think you can go wrong with Aurender. I had an issue with the LCD display on my unit and the support team at Aurender was absolutely fantastic. They replaced the LCD at no charge and updated the firmware as well. They were great to deal with and very focused on my satisfaction with their products. There is something to be said for that!! Good luck.
The N10 is a really good streamer / file server.
I used a Small Green Computer i5 with Sonore UltraRendu and UltraDigital for a while then switched to a Lumin U1 Mini ‘cos people were saying how good the Lumin is. And the Lumin is fine for the money I just never felt a connection with the music to the same degree as the SGC kit. So I bought an N10 and find it much more satisfying than either the Lumin or the SGC kit.
There’s a review comparing Lumin and Aurender N10 here
@bill_k That’s entirely true Bill, but there’s a much smaller price difference on the used market which is how I acquired both my units. (About a $1000 or so). I think the N10 is a good player and definitely still relevant, to the OP’s question.