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A day after Aurender forwarded my DHL tracker for the inbound W20, this broke: "We are proud to announce the launch of the new Aurender X100 digital music player with internal storage and bit-perfect playback of DSD, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, M4 and other major formats at native bit/sampling rates. Designed to be used with USB-compatible DACs, the X100 is equipped with the same high-performance USB Audio Class 2.0 audio output originally designed for our W20 flagship model. Other connections include a Gigabit ethernet port for network connectivity and two USB data ports.

"The X100 uses the same solid-state cache playback system as the higher priced S10 and W20 models. This eliminates latency, jitter and noise encountered in systems which use disk drives for playback.
The X100 also uses the same Aurender Conductor App for iPad/iPad Mini as the S10 and W20." For the reluctant ones who bitch over most audiophile servers costing so much more than a top iMac or equivalent Windows deck, the X100 pricing salutes us with a grin. It's $2'999 for the 1TB version and $3'499 for the 2 x 3TB." Hola!

To spare us endless pages of setup routine, those interested in the blow-by-blow process can go here for the user guide, here for the latest software release version notes. Aurender's drawing shows the usual setup. To transfer my iTunes library meant connecting iMac to W20 via Ethernet to bring up Aurender's HDDs in OSX, then doing a drag 'n' drop.

Unlike my Lightning backup drives to which my entire library can transfer in just 2.5 hours, the glacial Ethernet connection announced 'about a day' to transfer 823GB. §*`^~! Plus all album covers had to scan to the Aurender app. Time to learn a few new tricks.

Now some W20 mother board views. Since the W20 only does digital, there's no D/A converter or analog output stage. The amount of bits and bobs still required to make it run is surprising then.

We see a Xilinx Spartan 6 FPGA, an XMOS asynch USB transceiver, two Seoan clocks for 45.1584MHz and 49.152MHz, a MV85 temperature-controlled crystal oscillator running at 12.8MHz and assorted ICs, caps and resistors.

Here we add small coils/transformers preceding the twinned AES/EBU outputs and a Linear voltage regulator to our parts inventory.

Here we get more regulators, coils and that fully encapsulated off-limits Area 51.

One should be quite impressed by Aurender's massive casing, its internal partitions to shield various circuits and the massive encapsulation of the HDDs in aluminium. If one built what in essence is a stripped-down music computer from scratch, this is how hardcore audiophiles would probably do it. Where Swiss ReQuest go even further with their statement The Beast at right is a slot drive for integrated ripping; a 7-inch touch screen with virtual keyboard to enable full navigation and meta data editing without WiFi; MSB-based D/A conversion for analog outputs; and optional MSB extremist analog volume for amp-direct drive.