Beyond the physical
A10 Review - Sound+Image
So, what next then? If the CD becomes, as seems overwhelmingly likely, our last physical format for digital audio, and if it declines slowly away without being arrested in its downfall by a last-minute reprieve of affection as has vinyl, then what to follow?
For a while it seemed that the iTunes download model would follow, that we would simply buy files instead of CDs. But already file-based music sales are declining too, in favour of subscription music services. And while hi-fi lovers tend to favour ownership, what to do when iTunes continues to sell us music below CD quality, now subscription services can offer stream qualities surpassing it?
We are in a time when ownership and rental of music are becoming intermingled. A modern hi-fi source might choose to reflect this new mix — as does the Aurender A10, a music player with an internal 4TB server on which to store your music files, plus access to online music services (including the MQA high-res streaming available from Tidal), and a very high-quality digital-to-analogue converter inside, ready to produce the analogue music signal for your amplifier and speaker system.
A couple of caveats — remember this is almost entirely iPad-dependent, so you will always need an iPad available and charged. And its streaming services include currently only Tidal in Australia, though that could be changed with future upgrades. As for quality of app, we have barely a word to say against it, and for quality of playback, none at all. We loved the Aurender A10 from loading to listening, and if a combination of streaming and hard-drive music serving is what you need, this is a corker.