Cocktail Audio's New and latest X50pro Audiophile Music Streamer/server...Any Love?


So, I have been searching for the holy grail of music streamers from some time now. I have had several oppo blu-rays being used as streamers, their Senica, the Mytek Manhattan II, Metrum Acoustics Ambre, and the Lyngdorf TDAI-3400. All sounded pretty good for their respected price range, the Ambre sounded best. But, I was never totally happy with the features, etc of all these. Then I came across the newly released Cocktail Audio X50Pro, their new flagship audiophile streamer. It’s so new that there aren’t any reviews out there. It was the 1st streamer to check all my boxes of what I wanted in a streamer (except for one).  This has every digital output including three, yes three I2S outputs, 2 bays for hard drives, 7” screen and an HDMI output to also see on your big screen, CD ripper built in, works with Tidel, Roon, and just about every music streaming service, can be controlled with phone apps, even has digital inputs to rip your vinyl to the internal drives if installed. It uses dual 82 femto seconds Crystek CCHD-575 Ultra-low Phase Oscillators, completely encased in aluminum power supply, It has WIFI and Ethernet, build quality is great, and has great looks to boot. So, I guess my question is there anyone out there have any experience with this music streamer? I received mine about a week ago and so far, so good. The sound quality is excellent, but wonder how it would compare to the Auralic Aries G2, or the Aurender N10 that I have not yet tried? I would love to hear feedback from any other users out there. Oh, and as I mentioned, there is only one thing this did not check off my want list, I would have liked to see a HDMI input for SACD use and support.


ron1264
So does anyone have first hand experience comparing the X50 PRO w/ Zenith mk3?   Looks like they're both top of the line streamer/ripper/music server and reasonably close in terms of pricings.   I do like the fact that X50Pro does offer additional function of radio but the SQ/ripping quality would be more important to me.   
Hi Tom6897, I find that I can tweak most equipment by opening the case and adding earthed shielding around power supplies (critical) and other boards. Shielded dummy plugs can also be worth considering as they can stop external interference having a direct path to boards (sometimes only minor), but still worth considering if you are hoping to extract the best from your equipment.
gtaudio said it right:

" ...The trouble I find with most of these streamers is not the actual hardware but the wifi connection between the streamer and the router. That's why the X50Pro having a proper control screen and selection controls on its front panel is so attractive."
It's absurd that so many Streamers/Transport's must rely upon another make/brand, app, remote/controller for operation of the device ! Crazy.
It's a cheapo short-cut on those manufacturer's part that see's them loosing out to more senisble designs. 

As fast, functional, stylish, quiet and slick my previous InnuOs Zen mini III was, it erked me to no end to look at this well-made black box and then have to search for a phone/tablet/computer to opeate the damn thing that I was standing in front of moments earlier. 

Speaking of the CA X-50, I did have one for a week or so and loved its front-panel controls that enabled precise (and immediate) control of its myriad of functions. 
Addtionally, what many fail to recognize was/is the X-50/X-50D's excellent digital I/O's including the much desired i2S Dig. OUT that proved to be a great connection to the internal SSD drive used.

And let's not forget the units price-point; it's a heck of a lot of device Streamer/Transport/Renderer, built in storage, accessible outboard storage/NAS, Internet Radio, FM radio ! lol, full-function remote control, 7" color display (monitor/HDMi OUT) -a one-stop shop for cataloguing audiophiles treasured CD collections -and feeding the signal via USB, spdif (AES/EBU, coaxial, toslink) or i2S over HDMi or RJ-45 !

Hard to beat.

pj

  
Hi Tom6897 SAID:

" ..., I find that I can tweak most equipment by opening the case and adding earthed shielding around power supplies (critical) and other boards. Shielded dummy plugs can also be worth considering as they can stop external interference having a direct path to boards (sometimes only minor), but still worth considering if you are hoping to extract the best from your equipment."

And I'd bet that replacing the '2-cent' SATA cables used from SSD/HDD (seen on too many "premium" Streamers/Servers/Transports) with a premium cable would iresult in significant SQ gains. 
Knowing (full well) the impact cable has on performance, it strikes me unusual (ly) cheap that so many companies (Aurender, Melco) choose to use the cheapest cables extant ! (?). The price of these things (glorified computers/NAS's) demands the finest parts/cabling available and yet is not offered. Laughable. And unfortunate. To those that have invested so heavily in the big talk/name only to discover the cheapest generic cabling lurking inside its fancy chassis.

pj
  
I recently pulled the trigger on X50Pro, almost two years after I purchased my first Coctail Audio X50D model. So you must be thinking already that I must really love it. Yes, I do. That's because it has all I need and only what I need. That means no unnecessary parts for me like DAC. For external DACs I use Marantz SA10 with my X50D and Accuphase DP570 with X50Pro in 2nd system. In addition one of my Accuphase amps has DAC50 card installed but I found players DAC to be handling USB Audio better without occasional glitches which I observed with DAC50 hooked via USB Audio.

Both X50 models are virtually identical with functions, the double the price comes from what I can't really asses except reading about product from manufacturer website which are some mechanical design properties of Pro model over D. Both streamers however are built solid, thick aluminum case, great display with undetermined selector and volume knobs which I can't figure out to be plastic or aliminum made. They feel light though same way on both models. 

Now, the main selling point for X50 was and still is ability to stream to external DSC HiRes DSD up to 11.2Mbps (DSD256) and PCM up to 384k/32b. The only interface that currently supports that function is USB Audio. Both Toslink and coaxial outputs are limited to PCM 96k/24b and 192k/24b respectively and won't even stream low bitrate DSD. That's due to physical limitations of these two interfaces but also proprietary nature of DSD licensing.  

Before deciding on my 1st X50D, I did extensive research on products available on the market capable of the above. Besides super expensive Eaoteric high end model and one more from brand I can't remember, there were only Coctail Audio streamers capable of streaming high bitrate hires dsd and pcm. In addition X50D oferred storage option with raid mode which was really cherry on the top for me. 

So currently I enjoy two X50 streamers, both connected to the same LAN, which makes one of them not even needing hard disk storage at all as it can connect to the other one and stream any file I want from it. 
Over the years I have accumulated vast library of HiRes albums, procured mostly from paid sources like HDTracks and nativeDSD. This was well spent money because I enjoy every song from this collection and it's unprecedented quality and superior sound over the standard CD and even SACD quality is worth listening every minute. You have to hear to believe it. I am sure X50D owners utilizing hires music know that already.