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Aurender A200 Review: The perfect streamer

aurender a200
aurender a200

The A200 is the starter device in Aurender’s server/streamer catalog with built-in DACs. The status of the base model did not affect the functionality and sound quality in any way. This compact digital music player is full of possibilities. It includes a high-end DAC with full MQA decoding, allowing you to fully enjoy the huge catalog of music available in this format on the Tidal streaming service (requires a subscription). It also has the ability to play virtually any resolution and bit depth from external NAS drives or its own storage. Two slots located on the back of the device can accommodate disks for storing files up to 8 TB each – even the largest music libraries will fit.

Browsing through a collection of files is very easy with our Aurender Conductor app, simple and intuitive. The A200 is a great choice for anyone looking to replace an obsolete CD player, computer system, or simply enjoy the ease of use of a turnkey multi-functional solution in one device.

Connection flexibility

The A200 is capable of working as a preamplifier: it can be easily connected directly to a power amplifier or active audio system. Volume is controlled from the AurenderConductor app, available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices. The included remote control, machined from a single piece of aluminum, has keys for volume control, mute, input and output selection, start/stop playback and other important functions that do not require a smartphone or tablet. You can also control the volume and playback, as well as select playlists from the front panel of the device itself. If your system already has a quality preamplifier, you can make the variable output fixed and pass the volume control function to an external device.

Digital Inputs and Output

For maximum connection flexibility, the A200 provides both coaxial (RCA) and optical digital inputs. You can connect other sources to these inputs – Blu-Ray / DVD players, CD transport or TV set-top box, and the A200 will take on the role of a DAC and significantly improve the sound quality. There is also a USB output with which you can send a digital signal to another system or external DAC.

Information display

On the front of the A200 is a 6.9-inch ultra-wide LCD display. Part of the display is occupied by a colorful image of the cover of the recording being played, and next to it is all the necessary information: title, artist, album, time and technical data. Covers and main text are large enough to be seen from afar without getting up from the listening position.

DAC with full MQA decoding

The A200 DAC is based on the stereo version of the AKM4490EN chipset. Aurender engineers have been perfecting the topology of the circuit based on this chip for a long time, striving to improve the sound quality and make it as balanced as possible. After careful tuning, the sound signature became more collected, it was possible to get rid of harshness, making the sound soft, but without the feeling of darkness and excessive massiveness. The analog outputs of the A200 can be used with PCM files up to 32bit/768kHz and DSD up to DSD512. The full MQA decoding feature will come in handy when listening to MQA Masters content from the TIDAL service. Full decoding by means of the built-in DAC allows you to get the highest possible quality when listening to MQA.

FPGA based clock generator

At the heart of the A200 is a high precision FPGA clock generator system. Thanks to a clock generator that fine-tunes audio signal transmission over time, jitter is reduced to less than 100 femtoseconds, a level that is vanishingly small in the context of audio file playback.

High-Resolution Streaming and File Playback Support

The A200 is compatible with all audio codecs, both compressed and uncompressed: DSD (DSF, DFF), WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, M4A, APE and MP3. The analog audio outputs support PCM up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD up to 256, so you get the best sound possible.

Support for high-definition streaming and file playback

The A200 is compatible with all audio codecs, both compressed and uncompressed: DSD (DSF, DFF), WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, M4A, APE and MP3. The analog audio outputs support PCM up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD up to 256, so you get the best sound possible.

Linear Power Supply – Noise Reduction

A fully linear power supply, combined with clever shielding, prevents mains noise from affecting the DAC’s sensing elements and ensures the best sound reproduction. Three separate toroidal transformers are used for the music server, digital circuit and DAC.

Adaptive audio file storage system

The A200 provides two drive trays for storing files with slots on the rear panel: the user can independently install the drives that suit him. Most users choose SSD, a reliable and economical option available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB and 8TB versions. Having filled both trays, the total amount of memory of the A200 will be 16TB.

Installing discs to store your music library in the A200 is a user choice, but playback uses Aurender’s unique caching system using the built-in SSD. Music files stored on discs installed in the trays are not played directly, but from a 240 GB caching SSD. Such a system allows you to access the disks on which the content is stored only when the data is loaded into the cache, after which they fall asleep. As a result, these drives are subjected to less stress, which extends their life and increases the reliability of the entire system. The use of a caching disk also completely eliminates electrical and acoustic noise when using an HDD in a storage system.

Conclusion

Whether you listen to music from streaming services or from your own collection of high-res files, or maybe a combination of both: if you are looking for an option with a good combination of price and quality, then look no further – there is Aurender A200.

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