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Mike Rubin
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Last seen: 1 week 20 hours ago
Joined: May 23 2007 - 12:22pm
How's this for a cynical product?

In today's emails, I received the new EnjoytheMusic.com newsletter, which links to its online magazine. In the magazine, there is a review of a music server, the Ayon RS9, which retails for $3600 with a 2tb storage drive and $3900 with a 4tb drive:

https://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0322/Ayon_CD35II_CD_Player_RS9_Music_Server_Review.htm

As soon as you see the review, you will recognize that the server is a NUC installed in an Akasa Turing NUC case.

The review failed to address the single most important question that anyone should ask about this product: exactly what is Ayon's value add?

As far as I can tell, this product consists of an Intel NUC 8i7 ($750 today as a discontinued product at Amazon, but much less originally), an Akasa Turing case ($125 current street price), a 128gb nvme ssd ($25 at Amazon), a 2tb ssd ($200 at Amazon for the top name brand products), and *nothing* else. The OS runs anyone from $0 to $120 at retail. So, probably, the product could be replicated for no more than $1250 at retail.

That configuration allows for virtually no modification of the internal components other than choice of RAM and ssd, so the odds of there being secret sauce in there might be about zero. There is nothing mentioned in the review or on Ayon's webpage about an included linear power supply, which would up the parts cost a bit, so I assume there isn't one.

Nothing in the press suggests this is anything other than a stock NUC bolted into a stock case, running consumer-grade OS, RAM and ssd's. At $3600, it is the kind of cynical product that gives audiophiles a bad name. There obviously is a few minutes' labor cost in moving the NUC mobo to the new case, cost to support the user base, and general overhead, but that is a profit margin that any business would kill to have.

I know there is a market for turnkey solutions because I was in it myself until a few years ago, but, honestly, an Intel preconfigured NUC without the Turing case itself is a turnkey solution, especially when purchased with the OS installed. The Turing is fanless, so it reduces noise in the room where it sits, but it doesn't have additional heat sinks, and online tests show that it doesn't really reduce operating temperature. I am skeptical that the addition of the case would make the NUC a better-sounding or more flexible server.

If there is good news, it is that the product appears to be discontinued because there is no longer mention of it at Ayon's site. However, it still is available at retail on the web, so there is a good chance there are a few uninformed or more gullible buyers who will take the plunge after reading this review.

Much ado about little, I know, but I was surprised to find a product in this price range where the seller's value add seemed so inconsequential.

Nikola Tesla
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Joined: Nov 24 2020 - 12:38pm
Wow!

$3,600 for that? Truly laughable.

I can build an SMB 6-bay QNAP- or Synology-based media server running 6 10TB spin drives plus a pair of 1TB SSD's for caching for that kind of money. Total storage capacity, using a RAID 50 configuration to provide speed enhancement and fault tolerance, would be "only" 40 terabytes, but still more than enough to hold hundreds of high-res videos in addition to ALL of my music.

No contest.

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