As Future-Proof as It Gets

A10 Review - TAS

It’s a safe bet that, for most, the future of digital music playback will be disk-less. There will be streaming, probably  downloads,  and  files  derived  from  long-ago-relegated-to-the-attic  compact-disc  collections.  LPs  will  still flourish because of the enduring sonic appeal of vinyl and the purely tactile gratification of playing records. But do you know anyone who will lament the passing of the compact disc as a marvel of industrial design? Twenty years from now, will Brooklyn hipsters seek out vintage machines on which to play the Weezer CDs they find at yard sales? I don’t think so.The Aurender A10 is designated by its manufacturer as a “caching network music server/player with analog outputs,” which  is  meant  to  emphasize  that  the  product  is  a  one-box  solution for “modern” digital playback. And it’s true: The A10 can be connected to a power amplifier and speakers, and you’re good to go. But it’s also true that the A10 can be included in an  audio  system  with  digital  components  both  upstream  and  downstream without the unit’s modernity and good value at all diminished.

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No  audio  product,  espe-cially  a  digital  one,  is  “fu-ture-proof.”  But  one  can imagine  that  the  Aurender  A10  is  what  digital  playback  will look like in ten or fifteen years  for  a  consumer  who values superior build-quality and  good  sound  but  would  like to avoid as many boxes and  cables  as  possible.  We  can conjecture that this con-sumer has held on to his CDs and  is  gladly  accepting  the  dust-covered  collections  of friends who no longer have the capacity to play them. He streams,  of  course,  doesn’t download all that much any-more—nobody  does—but has  a  sizable  collection  of HD files that he amassed in his  early  years  in  computer  audio. Maybe MQA is flour-ishing and our forward-look-ing audiophile is admired for being  an  early  adopter.  The  Aurender   A10   he   bought   back in 2017 is looking more and  more  like  the  smartest  audio purchase he ever made.

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