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Review of the Cocktail Audio N25

It’s been more than one year’s given that we final had one in all Cocktail Audio’s amazing devices in for review, and some distance longer given that we first met Novatron, the Korean corporation at the back of Cocktail, on a small stand on the annual (usually) IFA Show in Berlin, in which they instructed us in their plans to create the planet’s closing community audio players.

It’s a purpose they’ve maintained ever given that – certainly this new N25 is proclaimed through its personal exposure to be “the world’s maximum superior Network Audio Player”. How does it make this as an alternative ambitious claim, and is it true?

Equipment

The N25 is a community gambling supply which incorporates a DAC; Cocktail Audio additionally makes what it calls Pure Network Players, that have simplest a virtual output and no DAC within, and it is going the alternative way, supplying devices that have now no longer simplest a DAC however additionally amplifiers constructed in – an all-in-one simply-add-audio system solution.

Some fashions additionally have CD mechanisms in an effort to rip CDs to both a connected or an inner tough force for later playback. For this procedure they’ve subscriptions to Gracenote to discover and label ripped CDs and files.

Performance

The Cocktail N25 is surely pleasingly solid, all its socketry of excessive first-class and the aluminum the front panel usefully embellished with a surprisingly huge aleven though always quick complete-coloration 4.6-inch TFT LCD screen.

There’s additionally a far-off control, round large however stocked with so very many tiny buttons and legends that simplest familiarity can wish to make its use greater intuitive. We installation the N25 to start with through connecting a USB tough force to one of the rear USB-A sockets, USB-B to our laptop, and Ethernet to its community connection.

We had been additionally delighted, as with preceding Cocktail devices, to discover a complete A4 revealed guide withinside the box, which has limitless little photos of the N25’s show as you navigate via all of the alternatives.

It is going on for greater than a hundred pages (licensing data fills the primary 16, earlier than the contents listing subsequently seems on p17), and at the same time as it’s now no longer mainly useful withinside the first example as a set-up guide, it surely walks you via something assignment you want to carry out in cautious and clean detail.

The implementation of streaming offerings is as an alternative brave. You can go browsing and navigate them completely from the front panel, however pointless to say, in spite of the coloration screen, that is some distance from optimal. Thankfully there’s a Cocktail app referred to as Music X Neo, that’s like minded with maximum Cocktail streamers, which includes the N25.

A very last cap potential is Cocktail’s Group Play multiroom function, the usage of the app to play to a couple of Cocktail gadgets at once. Having simplest one, we couldn’t strive this, nor the ‘Bluetooth out’ choice requiring the elective dongle.

Instead, we simply loved song after song streaming from the Cocktail N25 from Tidal, Qobuz, linked and networked drives, and instantly from laptop through USB-B. It in no way did not please, and had us sneaking away withinside the evenings to experience greater. more

Final verdict

Is it the closing community player? The N25 is surely a mixture of a myriad playback alternatives collectively with excessive first-class sound circuits, and the beneficial cap potential to perform as a preamp from both analogue or virtual outputs.

The app can be sexier, and a number of the capability can be clearer, however you couldn’t ask for readability withinside the track it delivers, that’s to be had through such a lot of paths, and continually offered immaculately.

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