Cocktail Audio X10
This comes with a rather good database that identifies most published recordings and fills in all the information for you while it is ripping your CD’s. Then with your library stored you can create playlists of simple select by Album or Artist what to play by just using the remote and the units display, just attach headphones or speakers.
The last device I reviewed that did some of what this unit does was from Acoustic Solutions in November 2005 and the hard disc supplied in it was a –huge for the time- 40GB. The reviewed unit here has the smallest size they now do 500GB. Options are available at 1TB and 2TB. An average CD might be an hour long and that in WAV format will be around 500MB, so in very round figures the 500GB version will store 1000 CDs.
It is 17x17x9cm with cables inserted in the rear. The top has eight buttons in a line near the front edge, however apart from when you insert a CD to RIP – the slot is just above the display screen - it you do not need to go near it and everything can be controlled from the remote control.
The remote has 53 keys and can even allow you to insert names and track titles for any CD’s that may not be in the supplied database. During my tests I inserted 100 published CD’s and only four were not found but on looking again one I see that was called ‘promotional’ so it may never have been finally published, so 97 out of 100 is not bad.
All the data – track name, artist, Genre appears on the units 7x6cm screen. For any unpublished – or unfound – CD’s you have to enter all the details manually so if you have any of these it might be easier to attach a USB keyboard as the remote uses the old ABC on a numeral keypad so it can be quite a long job to enter a few details. Ripping a 20 track various artists CD of 63 minutes took only 4 minutes and 45 seconds.
Before I cover the connections on the rear of the unit I will give you the full name Hi Fi Component, CD Storage and Music Streamer, quite a mouthful. Looking at the controls an on/off rocker is at the top, below this a line of nine well marked connections DC input, PC USB host, Ethernet, Line in, Crocodile clips for external speakers, 3.5mm Line out for earbuds or a speaker, headphone socket, Optical out and finally two USB ports.
Once the database from the supplied CD is installed on the units hard disc it can be safely stored away. This means for all but ‘new’ CD’s you do not need the Ethernet connection to get any CD information for Ripping. It is possible to connect wirelessly to your network but only through an external (optional) USB wireless stick.
Ethernet or Wireless does serve another purpose and that is for music streaming but this works best if you have composed a playlist. The other reason for Internet connectivity is for Internet Radio reception another goodie packed into this box.
The main purpose is to allow this units hard disc to replace a large number of CD’s and the screen is large enough to read from a reasonable distance. You can select extra playlists quickly so suit a mood or a situation, a track from one, two from another or just a whole CD as you like, no getting up to change CD’s needed. A one hour CD should copy with all details in around five minutes.
The Cocktail Audio X10 is available in 500GB, 1TB or 2TB versions, I looked at the smallest capacity of 500GB that will be large enough for most, even if you do not get rid of your CD’s you still have another source as security.
The Cocktail Audio X10 (500GB) is available for £339 with free delivery. The 1TB version is £50 more.
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