on 21 January 2012
I recently bought one of these after seeing one in Richer Sounds. I went for a model without a harddrive and added my own 500GB drive that is more than enough for my 500+ albums (with plenty of space to spare).
I thought I'd share my views as the ones I've seen seem to focus more on the positives (which are many) than the negatives (which are few, but frustrating non-the-less.)
Adding my own drive was an easy operation - the drive just slots straight in through a removable panel at the side. No screws, 5 minute operation that even my mum could do. I'd recommend anybody take this option - will save you £150+ off the retail price for a unit that includes a drive.
The on-screen menu is easy to navigate, with large clear icons. The method of finding and playing tracks though does need some work.
For example, it's possible to search by artist, but selecting an artist does not then allow you to select the album. Only play the entire set of tracks by that artist.
So, say selecting Pink Floyd only allows you to play from a list of all Pink Floyd songs, not select a particular album.
Conversely, It's possible to search by album, but the list only provides you with a list of album names. It doesn't say who the artist is.
When playing a track, the screen only shows the track list and that name of the track currently playing. It doesn't show the Artist or the Album name. Really annoying!! So, say somebody hears a song playing on your X10 and asks, "this is good, what is it...", you can't just look at the screen and tell them.
There are other issues too - when creating a playlist for example, it is not possible to add the current song that is playing to a 'Favourites' (or whatever) playlist. A playlist has to be created as a separate exercise, and even then is limited to selecting songs by knowing the name of the album that the song appears on.
So, in summary, this is a great device spoiled a little by a poorly thought through interface. It seems that the people writing the software really haven't tried using the device because these are such obvious shortcomings.
Hopefully somebody at Cocktail is reading these reviews. The device apparently gets firmware updates so I'm hoping it will become easier to use with time... if it does, I'll amend my review, because otherwise this is a great little machine with fab sound quality. I would recommend it to anybody who is looking for a jukebox type wifi-hifi, and can be tollerant of it's foibles.
on 11 May 2013
Like many people I could not decide between the Brennan and the X10. I finally decided for the X10 because of all the additional facilities the box had.
I am glad I did. this is a superb piece of kit. I bought the one with the 500G hard disk and sofar have loaded around 210 CDs. I have used only 20% of disk capacity. I rip in MP3 at 192 format. I note that some people have complained about the audio quality. Although I provided my own powered speakers (these were a left over from a multi media PC, so nothing special) using the build in Equaliser in the X10 the sound can be adjusted and is really quite good.
Ripping is done efficiently. The database recognised all kinds of CDs I thought I would have problems with, including Russian, Hebrew, Dutch. All were recognised. Only a very few were not. You can connect a keyboard to one of the USB ports (they typically cost about £7.00 these days) which makes editing, adding titles when necessary easy, or indeed just switch on the Webserver and sit behind your PC and edit there.
Speaking about the Web services, a media streamer is build into the X10 using a SAMBA protocol. Again, you need not know how these things work. Just go to the setup menu, web services and click the SAMBA server on. If you then open your media player on your networked laptop or PC you will find the X10 there. Just click on it, and select the music you want to play. Simple as that.
So if you have any doubt wether you should also buy the WIFI dongle and connect the X10 to your network, then think no more. Its a no brainer.
I had a lot of music collected on my PC. I completed the details of these on my PC by setting details such as album name etc and transferred all to a USB stick.
They were then simply uploaded into the X10 and are now part of the database. Again, simple and easy.
This machine is one of the best bits of kit I have ever bought.
And yes, if you just want to rip your CDs and play them, without taking advantage of all the network tools and facilities, well it does a great job.
The gapless play works perfectly. For example those who are Beatles fans will know that on the St.Pepper album track one and two flow into each other. A normal CD player will create a gap, the X10 plays the album the way it should be played, gapless.
as an IT manager I am use to interesting technology. This is simply a superb piece of kit.
I only had one minus, the manual would benefit from an index in the back. But its a minor point.
the manual is maybe not written in the best english (rather like my review :( but its perfectly clear and usable. You wont find anything that you wont understand due to language use. its all quite clear.
on 27 February 2012
Having broken my Brennan in less than 12 hours, I have bought this device and am really pleased with it. The 1TB hard drive is more than enough to store all my 700 cds at WAV quality and it sounds amazing.
Other reviewers have commented on the slightly awkward interface, but it's just about usable. I guess we're so used to seeing ALL the information about songs on iTunes that we're disappointed not to have the same on the X10. And as was also commented, maybe future firmware updates will sort that out.
What else to say ? The manual was not originally written in English, nor was it probably translated by an English speaker, so it can be slightly confusing at times. But once you understand the gist of what they're trying to say, you can pretty much work it out yourself.
Some advice : get a cheap USB keyboard [mine was less than £5 from a local supermarket] for editing tags. And also an external hard drive to back it up once in a while. But definitely get an X10 !
More information : Just a warning really. Backing up your T10 can take a long time. Expect over 15 hours for 600 gig
on 23 November 2011
Bought the 1Tb version at Richer Sounds London Bridge last Saturday 19th Nov at Richer Sounds, London Bridge.
*** BEST BUY EVER - WELL PLEASED - DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN !!! ***
Whilst buying some speakers in the store, I just happened to ask the salesman what they had in stock that was an alternative to iTunes and they showed me the cocktail X10.
Up to this point, I was using Sonos extensively with a variety of NAS drives (most don't work properly) and iTunes on a couple of different mac mini's over the last two years - with varying degree of success, but mainly more issues than sucesses !
Have reloaded over half of the my CD collection (tens of thousands of CD's collected over the years) at least SIX times (or is it seven ??) into iTunes using a variety of NAS drives, only to have the iTunes database get screwed up ot the point where a completely fresh installation is required and re-do from start - yes, MAN HOURS of feeding in disks only to have iTunes fall over at some point or there to be a ITunes/NAS problem preventing some of the tracks from being located (manual search time anyone)
I use iTunes ince I am forced to , due to having various iPods, iTouch, iPad, macs etc - necessary evil perhaps ? The one plus point is the Gracenote database seems to be fairly up to date.
The most recent iTunes issue is that it has started to index ALL tracks with a double digit numeral, so under Sonos, there is no way to search under group/artist or album name when querying iTunes , you have to use somethng like '0' then space, then track name to get to the tracks, far from ideal. Have the latest iTunes, database is syncc'ed up, NAS drive is available 100% of the time (Buffalo mini NAS) - but still the issues persist - will to live diminihing :-(
*** The Sonos system btw is excellent, using a variety of un-amped zoneplayers, bridges and S5's, it just does not seems to like iTunes that much ! ***
Anyway, back to the plot ...
I bought the cocktail X10 unit om spc, since it appears the only alternative is the Brennan, and they didnt have any of those in stock (normally I would do a lot of pre market research befoire purchasing, but this unit did seem to offer all I wanted, and records at full 16/44 Wav, which is all I ever record at (or higher).
Once at home, I set up the unit, and connected the new Gale speakers I had bought.
Conencted to the Internet via Sonos, and the unit picked up a dhcp i.p. address and proceeded to upgrdae firmware to the latest revision.
Ripped a few cd's into the X10 at WAV quality and tested - impressed with the sound from the internal amps, and search facilties, searching by album or trcks or artist all worked fine.
So I moved on to Sonos, hooked up the output of the X10 into the local Sonos zoneplayer, and output from Sonos into a Cambridge A1 amp - using the same Gale bookshelf speakers. System performed flawlessly, and have been testing for the last three days for at least four hours a day, with not a single drop out, Sonos finds tracks by name or artist and sees to be 100% compatible with the X10.
Two days in and I am realising that this was a VERY GOOD PURCHASE !
I have have been loading something like 50 cd's a day into the X10 - it rips these to WAV taking about three mins per cd - so I just eject the old cd and put a new one to be ripped when I am passing the unit.
There is only about 2 sec latency getting a track to play from Sonos from Cocktail X10, which is better than I experienced with a variety od Netgear NAS units (now consigned to photo archiving !) Some revieweres have noted an appreciable delay getting a track to play when large number of cd's have been ripped in to the X10 - but with over 2000 tracks loaded (and counting) I have not experienced any real latency, and all of the tracks are WAV quality.
Ok, so thats all the good points - what about the BADS ?
Well, the only issue I am having is that some CD's - mainly supermarket oompilations (10 disks for £3) are not found in the database - in some cased the first two diska are found, the rest just display as 'track 1, track 2...etc' Not in any way a showstopper, just have to resort to plugging in a USB keyboard and doing a bit of typing for track name, album, tags etc, but once it is done, it is done !
At the rate I am going, I will fill up the X10 1Tb drive within the next few weeks, so looking into backing up the entire music library once it is on the X10 database, then at some stage replacing the 1Tb with a 2Tb drive and doing a restore, and this seems to be supported according to the tech blurb.
One thing to note, is that if like me, you are ripping cd's in batches of up to thirty at a time, the cd's come out quite hot, which is understandable - the laser is working hard !
Thats it for my review, my prayers seem to have been answered to a working alternative to Itunes/nas/Sonos combibation.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
on 28 March 2013
The Cocktail Audio X10 is a great device for storing and playing all your CDs. It is simple to set up using the wireless dongle to access the music database. It takes about 5 mins to load and store a CD including getting all the track titles downloaded from the internet. Very few of my CDs had no track or wrong track information, usually compilations from newspapers etc. The sound quality is good using the internal amplifier and my Tannoy speakers. The remote is comprehensive if a little fiddly to use but you can attach a keyboard if you want. The device is so flexible and easy to master. The internet radio function is very useful too, again using the wifi dongle to access the internet. I had looked at the Brennan device but came to the conclusion that the X10 was better value and had more functionality. I have not been disappointed. Seriously consider this device if you want all your music readily available in one place. Also if you have, say, a simple set of PC speakers in another room it is a doddle to just lift the X10 to the new location for music in another location.