MK2 or N200 help

Hello all!

I’m new to this forum and looking for some advice. I’ve been into this addictive hobby for about 20 years. I purchased a PS Audio DS Dac about 6 months ago and absolutely love it. I compared it to a DCS Bartok and Moon 380D. Without getting into all the details as I’m sure some are wondering why I would choose the DS over the Bartok, I just found the DS much more relaxing to listen to. I really enjoy listening and relaxing after work and the DS gave that to me.

With that being said, I currently have the Aurender N100h and have read the new N200 sounds really good. So my question is, should I upgrade to the new Directstream MKII or to the new N200? I’m l hoping to get advice from people that have experience with both products and can maybe give me their opinions. Also, I really dont want to get into a debate of “bits are bits and streams can’t affect the SQ”. I know what my ears tell me, so I’d appreciate it if we could please stay away from these arguments that always seem to arise with these topics.

I know I may be getting some bias opinions towards the MK2. Please remember I am new to the PS audio family and the MK1 is new to me, and I really love the sound. So is it a better thought to upgrade my streamer and enjoy the MK1 for a while or is the SQ so much better on the MK2 that i should upgrade to it now and live with the N100?

Hi @JFZ06, welcome to the forum!

I don’t have any Aurender gear, but I can tell you that without question the MKII is superior to the MKI in every way. There’s several topics here on the forum were several people go into detail about the difference. If I were you, having heard both extensively, I would choose the MKII. The increase in soundstage alone will surprise you.


You can demo the MKII in home for 30 days.

I use to have the Aurender N-10 and I say don’t waste your time with the N-200. The MK2 DAC is a remarkable across. the board upgrade in sound and performance to the MK1. Get the MK2 DAC first and save your money to upgrade the server to the N-20 which is significantly better than the N-200 instead at a later date. Sound wise I don’t think you will hear much difference between the N-100 and N-200. But with the DACs, the gap is pretty huge.


Welcome on board!

Bits are bits, one and zero doesn’t matter, cables, fuses, tubes are a totally waste of time and money. Just kidding, sorry.

You are in the wrong place I’m afraid, if you want to stay away from insanity and expensive temptations. if you have the chance to read other threads you’ll find this is a crazy place with obsessive people but really kind and passionate friends. Not to mention tweaks with absorbers sheets and tuning rings!

@vkennedy61 is one of the veterans and you can trust his comments without doubts (I made the same during last 2 years), coincidentally he is comparing right now a newer Bartok unit but I DO NOT WANT to hear his thoughts!

No experience with Aurender gear, sorry but I can confirm you that the MK II is a step up the MK I. I mate it with Innuos gear and I’m so happy.

Good luck!

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Psst… Over here…


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Well, because there seems to be a rather small community of Aurender users here, I have to stand up for the N200. I upgraded from a modded Aurender X100L (with LPS) to the N200 and it was a huge step up in SQ, more than I expected. And stability, versatility and ease of use are absolutely stunning.
(For me this is the second most important criteria, after SQ, because the server is the device you interact with, not the DAC.)

And we have to take into consideration, that the Aurenders in question represent very different price levels. The N200 is more than double the price of the discontinued N100 and the N20 is again double the price of the N200. Just to put it in the right perspective.

But to add my opinion to the original question: When I recall the steps that I took on server side (Mac Mini > X100L > N200) and on DAC-side (PWD > DS MkI > Mods) I can clearly say, that similar investments on the DAC were much more audible (and beneficial) than those on the server/streamer. YMMV. I guess, MkII is the way to go.


Globallly, Aurender’s digital reputation is massively ahead (as that’s all they do and they do it fantastically well for a very long time), but on this forum of course you’ll find mostly PSA fans, and that’s cool. No slight to PSA.

I seriously doubt that anyone has directly compared the two products you ask about. The upgraders to Mk2 almost exclusively had Mk1 or are choosing not to post. If mk2 were blowing away other companies dacs you’d hear about it here for sure, but quiet as yet.

If you asked this question on a neutral forum, the answers you’d get would be much different than here, but it wouldn’t change fact that nobody’s heard both to comment.

One product is brand new and relies on customers to do its product testing for it, but has a good start though still working thru bugs after some embarrassing slip ups (global muting after releasing to customers - sales to customers), the other is established and you’ll be hard pressed to find a negative comment about it (n200 generally universally raved about from what I’ve seen).

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and opinions. I have posted this question on other forums, but to be honest, I’ve been reading this forum for quite a while and appreciate the respect everyone here seems to have for each other, compared to some other forums. I usually keep to myself and don’t participate on forum chats much, just usually like to read them. I will eventually upgrade both this year, just trying to figure out which to do first. I will also look at the N20, but from reviews I’ve read on the N200, it comes very close to the N20 and some say it’s not worth the extra $$$ for the N20. As for the MK2, maybe waiting until all the bugs are worked out is a good thought. But the trade in credit is very attractive and I question if it will always be as generous. Again, thank you all!


Good luck with your next upgrade :+1:t2:

I’m having a lot of fun with a bone stock Directstream 1 / AURENDER N200 COMBO !!!

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I did purchase the N200 and have really enjoyed the SQ straight out of the box with my DS. A huge upgrade over my N100. I also put an order in for the MK2 but sounds like it may take awhile before the backlog of orders is caught up and mine ships. I have 60 days to return the N200 but honestly I don’t think its leaving my rack. I actually got 2 of the N200`s, one in silver and one in black, now just need to decide on which color to keep. I was originally wanting silver but the black one was used for a photo shoot and was $1300 cheaper as an open box. So the black one is looking pretty good…:grin:
Also, knowing me, I’m sure the MK2 will probably stay too.