Product News: Melco EX Series

2019-12-17T13:37:19+00:00December 17th, 2019|Home|27 Comments

Melco has launched the EX Series, representing a major step forward for the audiophile-grade digital music library platform. The new EX Series centres around the introduction of a powerful new software suite to Melco’s existing time-proven hardware. The EX upgrades include the recently announced Melco Intelligent Music Library (MIML), vTuner Internet radio, plus web control from network-connected devices, including smartphones, tablets and PCs.

MIML is unique to Melco and is an industry first. It enables music lovers to enjoy a superior browse and search experience, even with classical music. The new MIML software upgrades deliver new standards of convenience and capability for Melco’s class-leading digital music libraries; existing models can be upgraded, too.

First previewed at High End, Munich, earlier in 2019, MIML offers the clever integration of a powerful metadata engine, SongKong for Melco, plus an advanced UPnP Server, MinimServer 2, into Melco’s hardware. By using MinimServer to browse and search, combined with the sophisticated tagging automatically implemented in SongKong, finding music (within even the largest library) becomes simple. New software for the user interface on the units’ OLED display gives greater detail of status and playback, too.

The MinimServer software offers four comprehensive browse and search ‘profiles’, each offering relevant tags for rock, jazz and classical, along with an ultra-simple default. These powerful profiles give users the ability to easily locate music based on browse or search (with supported control points) on any tag in any order, removing the UPnP convention of being forced to browse: artist; album; song. Crucially, in the classical profile, the addition of tags such as composer or conductor and choir or work, (not just the convention of artist, album or track), gives new levels of accessibility within large classical music collections. The concept of a ‘work’ for classical music means that rather than browse for a classical album, which will likely contain more than one work, it is now possible to browse or search directly for the work.

Integrating SongKong for Melco into the hardware gives a unique solution to troublesome metadata issues, such as missing album art etc. and automates the process of re-tagging, using a variety of additional databases and sophisticated algorithms to intelligently replace (or supplement) the original metadata. The system also benefits from simple one-touch processes including, ‘find additional metadata’, ‘add missing art’ and ‘replace all missing data with new’. New tagged metadata is then available to MinimServer and the tight integration of the two creates a very fast and intuitive user interface.

Control of SongKong is from a simple web interface (control device/tablet or PC) and includes the creation of detailed report of tags across the whole library, allowing for easy selection and replacement of cover art and metadata for single albums or even whole collections.

Further features include vTuner Internet radio, which has also been implemented in conjunction with an updated version of the Melco Music HD app and features intuitive radio searching by genre, region and broadcaster, plus web control, which allows all Melco units to be controlled from an internet-connected device; ideal for local playback into a USB DAC.

The introduction of the EX Series also sees the roll-out of a capacity upgrade in the flagship SSD-based HA-N1Z/2EX-S40; Melco’s engineers have been able to increase the SSD drive from 2TB to an impressive 4TB of solid-state storage.

The new EX Series includes the following full-width models:

HA-N1Z/2EX-S40 (SSD £9,999)
HA-N1Z/2EX-H60 (HDD £4,999)
HA-N1A/2EX-H60 (HDD £2,749)

Plus, two half-width units
N10P-H30-B (HDD £6,999)
N100-H20 (HDD £1,999)

Updating existing Melco machines to EX specification

Existing machines can be updated to EX specification for a small supplement to reflect the software licenses, labour and shipping costs. Melco’s newest digital music libraries, the half-width N10 and N100, benefit from more modern architecture which is equipped to auto-update (at no cost) with Melco’s next major Internet firmware update – V4.01- scheduled for mid-December. The software will also be available, along with a software manual, on the Melco Audio website for download.

Mk2N1A/N1ZH/N1ZS digital music libraries purchased after the Munich announcement (May 2019), can be updated via either UK or European tech support centres, or Melcodealers, for a nominal handling charge – the upgrade program is scheduled for spring 2020. Older N1Mk2 machines can also be updated for a cost of £175 (200 €) excl. VAT and Mk1 N1 series machines are also supported at a cost of £375 (400 €) excl. VAT. The upgrade cost is commensurate with the cost differential between non-EX and the new EX Series pricing. Melco Master Dealers will also be equipped to discuss attractive trade-in options with owners of early models.

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