The Gadget Show reviews the Cocktail Audio X10

The Verdict:

 
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The basics

The Cocktail Audio X10 is a fantastic way to store all you music and audio files in one place and have easy remote control access to them at the touch of a button.

Essentially, this media streamer is a 500GB mechanical hard drive in a box that readily hooks up to your Hi-Fi, as well as your home network, via Ethernet, allowing you to play music anywhere in the house. With a built-in CD-player too it means you can rip discs and not worry about learning the CD in the car.

Available in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB flavours, the Cocktail Audio X10 can rip music in MP3, OGG, FLAC or WAV formats, you can store in a variety of bit-rates to suit your needs and personal preferences. As it’s network enabled, iPhone and Android smartphone users can access it remotely using the EyeconnTroller app, available as a free download.

The good

The Cocktail Audio X10 has a simple but classy design. The gun metal grey box has a 3.5-inch TFT screen with an easy-to-read interface and a row of eight buttons on the top of the box that allow you to access, setup and manage fileswith ease.

Connections on the back are fully comprehensive, with USB 2.0, Ethernet, Audio in, Audio Out, optical out and headphone ports all covered, as well as speaker sockets so you can feed it directly to a set of speakers. We found theaudio quality to be more than satisfactory. The Cocktail Audio X10 comes with a 60 Watt amp built-in, so you’ll find that once you rig it up to speakers there is plenty of sound to be had from the unit.

What really makes the Cocktail Audio X10 a pleasure to use, is how simple it is. Sure, the remote control looks a little daunting but music playback is simple, anyone in the family will be able to make the most of it.

It’s not just music of your own you can have access to, as the built-in internet radio means you can listen to hundreds of stations online. However, you’re limited to the non-HD versions with the current firmware model.

The bad

Being built around a mechanical hard drive, you will find that things take a little time to boot-up and run initially. There is also the issue of ambient noise from the hard drive, which thankfully isn’t too noticeable in the modern living room.

The Cocktail Audio X10 lacks a touchscreen display, even though the six-box user-interface looks as though bit was initially designed with touchscreen in mind. This means you need to rely on the buttons on the top of the unit, which slows things down but isn’t too problematic.

One of the niggles we found when using the unit was album art tended to be a little hit and miss. Sure, when importing files from the laptop or even from iTunes, you’ll find they appear but when you rip the disc from the player itself, you may find it a different matter. It’s a minor complaint but one that some users may well find distracting.

The bottom line

Audiophiles will adore the Cocktail Audio X10, as it offers everything you need in one convenient box. Given that there is also easy access to the hard drive itself, it may well be possible to upgrade without too much hassle in the future. Overall, it’s a great device that works incredibly well and, most importantly, is easy to set up and use!