Aurender A30: New Top-Tier All-In-One with Road Trip and Demo

We’ve been having a lot of visitors to our place following the birth of my second daughter two weeks ago, so when Harry and Sally Lee who founded and run Aurender asked if they could drop by and see us it was an added bonus because having previously only connected with Harry via email I was looking forward to meeting him and his wife in person.

The Lees are a charming and gracious couple who not only brought our baby girl a lovely gift (Sally being a mother twice over had our daughter more relaxed and content than I’ve seen her with almost anyone else), Harry also brought the company’s soon-to-be-released top-tier A30 Streamer/DAC/CD ripper and headphone amp for us to listen to and play with: my kind of visit.

We brought in the A30 from Harry’s ice-cold van that had been sitting for several hours in the snowy Vancouver wasteland and connected it via Ethernet to my network with XLR out to a McIntosh C2600 tubed preamplifier/ McIntosh MC611 mono blocs and DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X loudspeakers. For headphone-amp listening via the 4-pin XLR balanced/4.4mm balanced/6.5mm unbalanced outputs we swapped between an Audeze LCD-4z and a HIFIMAN HE6se. Even though the A30 was literally like a block of ice to the touch, the sound was full – with a big, midnight-black sound stage, deep, tuneful bass and smooth upper register playback. I found this initial introduction to the A30 very impressive, as the norm is for most gear to sound quite thin until they’ve had a minimum of a few hours to get their electronics/chassis up to temp after being subjected to sub-zero temperatures from shipping/travel.

The A30 is a large, heavy and formidable-looking unit with the fit/finish, connectivity and feature-set audiophiles have come to expect from Aurender. The LCD screen on the fascia is a large 8.8-inch 1920x480 ultra-wide model. Weighing in at a substantial 37.5 pounds with a 480G SSD caching drive and 8TB of storage HD, the A30 boasts a new full-linear power supply, OCXO-based precision jitter-reducing clock generator, dedicated-audio USB 2.0 port (for thumb drives), 2xSPDIF, 2xTOSLINK (both handling up to 24-bit/192kHz) and two USB 3.0 input ports along with double-isolated Gigabit Ethernet. Outputs include two unbalanced (RCA) and two balanced (XLR) with full dual-mono circuit architecture courtesy of two dedicated (one per channel) AKM AK4497 DAC chips capable of outputting 32-bit/384kHz PCM, and DSD via DoP/and natively up to DSD256. It can also be run as a preamplifier – directly driving your power amp.

The CD ripper is a TEAC slot-drive model and impressively the A30 is equipped with an internal UPS (Un-interruptible Power Supply) based on super capacitors instead of batteries, because as Harry said “we only need to be able to slow power-down the unit for a few minutes in case of a power failure, so the complication and space required of a battery solution wasn’t needed.”

Using a prototype version of the Aurender Conductor app (proprietary and dedicated software interface for the A30 and other models), Harry played me a wide variety of music through the A30 and as the unit slowly came up to temperature, my initial positive impression of the sound only grew as it continued to open up and become ever-more fleshed out timbrally and tonally with time. The headphone output drove the power hungry HE6 se (50 Ohm impedance, 83.5dB sensitivity) with relative ease and the highly-efficient Audeze LCD-4z (15 Ohm impedance, 98dB sensitivity) were a cakewalk: sound here was again big, dynamic and powerful through both headphones.

With an expected MSRP of roughly $18,000 USD the A30 is targeted at the audiophile looking for a truly reference-level all-in-one digital-audio solution that is not only capable of quickly archiving a large pre-existing CD collection, streaming high-resolution, local or cloud-based files and headphone listening, but that has enough future-proof built-in with both software and firmware updates available remotely to ensure that it is a long-term investment.

Check back for more information on the A30 when Aurender officially releases the model in the very near future.

Aurender America Inc.
17911 Sky Park Circle Suite H, Irvine, CA 92614 USA
+1 (888) 367-0840

volvic's picture

Children are a blessing, hope the soft sounds of Schubert and Chopin through that Aurender, are slowly educating the young ins in your house on the benefits of great music and great gear. Next step a nice vinyl rig as they grow older.

nuz1's picture

...until I saw the $18k price target. I do like the large screen which displays cover art. Maybe they'll introduce an A20 with the larger screen, a built in dac and a price near the N10. Then I could get excited again.