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Novatron Cocktail Audio X10 review: ripping CDs and much more

The X10 has an impressive number of features, but isn't equally user-friendly

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Introduction

"CDs are so 1990s. In 2013 people want digital media files for their portable devices and home entertainment." That's great and all, but many of us happened to be alive in the 1990s and built up quite the CD collection. We've all probably ripped some of our favourite CDs, but it's a time-consuming task. Not quite on the level of transferring old tapes or LPs, but still, you tend to get sick of it after a while. There are special LP-to-USB and tape-to-USB devices for easing the process of transferring those formats to your PC, and now Novatron has a device that makes digitizing your CD collection a piece of cake. The Cocktail Audio X10 is stand-alone CD ripper, and much more. It even serves as music streamer and amplifier. Hardware.Info tested it to find out what it does, and how well it does it.


Stand-alone CD rippers aren't a new concept, but they never really took off as a product. It's one of those devices that have a limited usefulness. Once you're done with your CD collection, the ripper will likely gather dust in the attic. It's not something most people have sitting next to their computer. The Cocktail Audio X10 from Novatron doesn't want to become obsolete that way, and it keeps the songs from you ripped CDs in an internal database, saved on hard disk (which costs extra).

Novatron Cocktail Audio X10

From that database you can manage and play your music, both via the built-in 2x 30 watt (1 kHz,  8 Ohm) amplifier and via compatible DLNA clients. You can also connect a DA converter which you then connect to another amp or active speakers. The X10 has a built-in DLNA server for managing other clients, and a line-in for digitizing analogue audio sources.

If you're somewhat familiar with media players, you know that they are great for playing video files and looking at photos, but not so much for playing music. That's not because of compatibility issues (most standard formats are usually supported), but because the limited playback capabilities. Things like browsing through and selecting other songs, creating a playlist, changing tag data, while a song is playing is often not possible on media players. 

The Cocktail Audio X10 can do all of those things, but you have to dig deep in your wallet for it. Without hard disk it costs £289. That's a lot considering Full HD media streamers are available for less than £90. The X10 with a 500GB disk costs £379, with 1TB it costs £409, and with 2TB it costs £449.


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