From the horse’s mouth
A newcomer to the consumer audio stage has fronted up with a music centre that is not just like the micro music systems on the market. Cocktail Audio have presented the X10 which can connect to a pair of speakers or an existing hi-fi amplifier to work as a CD player, network media adaptor, “hard-disk deck” or music server.
Here, I could play regular CDs or data CDs full of audio files through the system or simply “rip” the CDs to the integrated user-replaceable hard disk in order to create a music library. This music library is served over a home network through a Web server or available also to regular computers as an SMB/CIFS share. It is also part of the DLNA Home Media Network as a server, media player or “renderer” that is managed by a UPnP AV / DLNA control-point program.
The internal amplifier is rated to work at 30 watts per channel for an 8-ohm speaker load with 0.1% THD but the line-out connection can also be worked as a preamplifier output for active speakers or a better power amplifier. Thus it can work with most small speakers.
It also can pull in Internet radio streams but I have wondered whether you have access to Spotify, last.fm or a well-known Internet-radio directory like vTuner or TuneIn Radio through this system. As well, it can effectively be a “hard-disk deck” where it can record from and play through an amplifier’s tape loop in the same vein as the classic cassette deck or MiniDisc deck. This means that you could go on “dumping” many records or tapes to this unit’s hard disk or using the hard disk along with a tuner to record a long radio broadcast whether it be your favourite talk programme or a favourite DJ’s “shift”. Then you could move the recordings to your regular computer and use the audio software on it to “polish up” the recordings.
As for connectivity to the home network, the Cocktail X10 could be described as being “Wi-Fi-ready”. This is where it has an Ethernet socket for Ethernet or HomePlug segments but can be connected to a Wi-Fi wireless segment using an optional adaptor dongle that you buy from Cocktail Audio. Rather, I would connect this to Ethernet wiring if your house is “wired for Ethernet” or buy a HomePlug-AV kit to connect it to the home network.
Cocktail Audio could improve on this design by offering either a variant that has integrated broadcast-radio functionality or a matching tuner that can pick up broadcast radio. This could preferably be working with FM and DAB+ for markets that use DAB-based digital radio or IBOC-based HD Radio for the American market.
This music system certainly shows up what can be done for a system that can be a music player and a DLNA-capable music server.