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.
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.