PA Audio DirectStream and Aurender N100H

Dear Friends:

I am pretty close to pulling a move from an Audio Research DAC8 to the PS Audio DirectStream DAC. currently, my music is stored on an Aurender N100H and, of course, I use the Aurender controller in order to select and play music. Because the DAC8 would not ‘hear’ the Aurender, I placed a high quality digital to digital converter between the Aurender and the DAC8. I have a few questions.

First, I am assuming that if i connect the DirectStream to the Aurender, Rather than switching to Roon, I will continue using the Aurender app controller.

Second, if I connect the Aurender to the DirectStream, via the Bridge 2, will I be able to play TIDAL MQA files in full unfold?

Thanks for your help,


If you stream with the Aurender you will use the Conductor App but if you stream through the Bridge II you will use Mconnect and you will get the full MQA unfold that way. You would connect the Aurender via USB.

Thank you very much.

I’m running my Aurender N100H directly into my DSD via the USB input and use the Conductor app on an iPad mini to play archived files and stream TIdal.

FWIW, and as you probably are aware, Aurender offers a firmware download for a one-time fee of $50 that will perform the “first unfold” of MQA files in the N100H. Cheaper than a $900 bridge card, but you won’t get the full MQA ride.

I haven’t done this, as I plan move to Qobuz for hi-res streaming once they get up and running in the US (or set up an EU account via a VPN if the content is too restricted on this side of the pond).

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Thanks, I did not know about Aurender and MQA through Tidal. I do now and the result is not bad. I need to spend some critical listening time with albums that I know well - then I’ll know more about SQ.

The results has been great for me. Aurender servers/streamers are excellent - some of the best available IMO…

Agreed! And compared to all the fiddly s**t and expense required to get a home-brew computer-based system up and running reliably, it’s close to the same money (for the N100 line, anyway) and dirt simple. I like my audio gear to function like, say, a toaster. Push button - listen to music. Aurender’s do this. Elegant simplicity, like Pass products.

Of course, computer fiddly happy HS is an enjoyable hobby to some, and more power to them. Like Pooh, I am a bear of little brain, and get my fill using J-River to rip CD’s and keeping our 5 or 6 devices playing nice on the home network without bringing those frustrations into the listening room. At least more than is necessary. Digital audio at it’s root is computer audio, after all.

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So, if I understand it correctly, if I connect the Aurender to the DSD via the Bridge and via USB, I can use the software associated with the bridge as a controller and to achieve a full unfold of MQA. How does the PS Audio controller interface compare with the Aurender controller? Since the DSD is Roon ready, can I use Roon through the Bridge and still achieve the MQA full unfold?

It’s really one or the other. If you like the bridge no need to consider the Aurender. They kind of do the same thing only the Aurender is on another level sonically. You’ll only get the first unfold with the Aurender but when you hear it you won’t care. The Aurender\DS with redbook rips is wonderful and makes MQA on a lesser streamer sound silly in comparison.


I like playing with computer audio. It does take some effort to make it sound decent. I’ve had fun with it. The Aurender was a revelation when I first heard it – same as going from Brooklyn to DS. Haven’t listened via computer or CD since. Do wish it has a better interface and Roon support. I’d really like to use Roon someday soon.

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biggarthomas, cudfoo has it right. To me, half-speed rips made with J-River and played back from the Aurender’s hard drive (I have the N100h) sound as good as the same CD spun on the DMP, which is saying something! Tidal (non MQA) is not quite as good, but still good enough that I will often dial up an album I own on Tidal instead of getting out of my chair and putting on the CD. (Lazy audiophile, I am). I haven’t messed with MQA, as I feel care taken in the recording/mastering process outweighs any improvements that MQA might bring.

Aurender’s Conductor app is not as nuanced as Roon, but it does seamlessly integrate Tidal, Qobuz and music stored on the internal hard drive and NAS. (Note: If you set the time zone on the device running the Conductor app to Great Britain or France, you will see Qobuz as a streaming option in the Aurender setup menu)

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So, I could get myself a bridgeless DSD and, with the Aurender I’d be in pretty much the same position as if I streamed to the bridge from my computer - even with the full unfold in the bridge?

Yes and Aurender would be a step up sound wise over the bridge. I’d imagine the new PSA server\streamer, that’s in the works, will be similar.

And I would add that the Aurender’s operating firmware updates seamlessly in the background via internet (or can be updated manually within the Conductor app), and their customer service is exemplary. Support emails I have sent with questions have been answered within 24 hours. Although I’ve personally had no problems, issues with Aurender devices can be diagnosed remotely via the internet and firmware re-flashed if need be.

No disrespect intended - I love my PS Audio gear and have great respect for all that they do - I’m sure the SQ of their new server will be exemplary, but given the ongoing issues PS Audio has had with the software end of their business lately, I personally would not jump on the Octave server and it’s built-from-scratch control app right out of the gate.

OTOH, Aurender is more focused in their product line and executes extremely well.

Just sayin’

Thank you very much. I’ve ordered a bridgeless unit. I’m hoping that it will be a step up from my Audio Research DAC8

Yes, I’ve owned an N100H for a couple of years and I love it. The company customer service is second to none. I think that Roon had Aurender hopping for a while. There was disappointment when Aurender stepped away from Roon, in favour of their own controller. Clearly, the company worked hard to find and implement a solution to MQA on their non-MQA products. Good company. I wasn’t aware of the software problems on the PSA platform. Hopefully those problems will not effect the DSD.

Any AURALiC owners out there? Wonder how their products compare

The Aries streamers are very good products. I have owned one for two and a half years. I prefer their software and they are much more flexible in terms of available digital outputs. If I was looking for a new streamer only for a reasonable price I would look at the Aries G1 or the Lumin U1 Mini. Both have all four standard outputs.

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You’ll be fine. Just give it plenty of burn-in time and make sure it’s running the Snowmass OS. You can always add a Bridge later if you decide to go that way once the new Bridge III comes out. There will also be a stand-alone server like Aurender, Auralic, Lumin and others, but I have no plans to part with my N100H.

Relying on the various forum threads (i.e. relating to the DSD, DSD Jr, DMP, PowerPlants, Bridge, Globalnet and Powerplay - you can search these threads yourself on the forum), the DACS seem to be one of the least gremlin-prone. I’ve had a DSD since almost day 1 and have never had a problem installing any of the OS updates over the years that others have reported. The DMP transport seems to have been ground zero for software gremlins, which have largely been stamped out with the latest firmware update.

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I disagree with the Aurender N100H being a step up from the Bridge II. I have had them both up and running playing the same song and level balanced. I heard no advantage of one from the other