Review: Arylic S10 – An Affordable Ticket to the Streamer Community

The acrylic top panel with Arylic logo makes the S10 classy.
The acrylic top panel with Arylic logo makes the S10 classy.

For those who would like to simplify their audio chain and do not wish to spend a lot, the combo streamer/DAC Arylic S10 is an excellent choice.

Thank you to Coco Liu for providing the Arylic S10 for review purposes.

The S10 is the entry-level wireless streamer in Arylic’s line-up. With the S10, you can start streaming music to your wireless audio players on a budget. By using WiFi, Airplay, Bluetooth 5.0, and Spotify Connect, you will be able to stream audio wirelessly to your home audio system.

The acrylic top panel with Arylic logo makes the S10 classy.
Bottom Line

Due to the lack of digital outputs, the S10 cannot be used as a digital streamer alone, and it is impossible to add an external DAC to enhance its performance. But, to be honest, this device is not intended to be used in a more advanced HiFi system. Considering the low cost of this device, I do not believe it would be appropriate to ask for more. I am impressed with how well it is made, how nice it looks, how many modern features it offers, how easy it is to use, and how decent the sound quality is.

What We Like
  • Affordable price
  • Well-balanced and neutral sound signature
  • Rich set of features
  • Nice build and looks
  • Smartphone application support
What We Don't Like
  • No digital output for an external DAC

You can add other Arylic wireless streaming devices to create a multi-room audio system in which all of your wireless audio devices can be managed and controlled via a single app (4STREAM).

Company Overview

Arylic is a company founded by a group of expert individuals with different skills in home audio and lifestyle technology. With more than ten years of experience designing products behind the scenes, they decided to make some products of their own. Ensuring they are good value for money, high quality, simple to maintain, and easy to update.

Arylic believes that people who love music and enjoy new technology should have the opportunity to own one or more of their systems, which is why they have set their prices aggressively compared to similar products.

Despite sacrificing some profit margin, Arylic believes it will be worth it when people experience their products.

Technical Specifications

  • Form: Desktop streamer/DAC combo
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Output Sampling and Bit Rate: 44.1kHz/16bits, CD quality
  • Decoding Capability: Up to 24bit/192kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N): 0.0003
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): 110dB
  • Music Format: FLAC/MP3/AAC/AAC+/ALAC/APE/WAV
  • Bluetooth Version: 5.0
  • Bluetooth Audio Codec: SBC, AAC
  • WiFi: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n 2.4G
  • Weight (g): 0.2kg

Packaging

The S10 comes in a relatively simple cardboard box with various accessories.

In the box

  • S10 WiFi audio streamer
  • User manual
  • Remote control
  • 5V/1A micro USB power adapter
  • Aux 3.5mm cable
  • 2-1 RCA cable.
The cardboard packaging of S10 contains various useful accessories.
The cardboard packaging of S10 contains various useful accessories.

Design

The Acrylic S10 is contained in a tiny enclosure, similar to that which houses Raspberry Pi boards. The exterior looks simple but stylish, with sides made of matte aluminum and a glossy top that appears to be acrylic.

There are no buttons or switches on the front of the device, only an LED and IR receiver that might fool you into believing it is a button (yes, I have tried to press it). The back of the device is where all of the connections are located and where things get interesting.

There is no button at the front of Arylic S10.
There is no button at the front of Arylic S10.

Input-wise, the S10 has an Ethernet port if you wish to use a wired network connection instead of wireless. An external DAC is incompatible with the USB port, which can be used to connect external storage (hard drives, USB flash, etc.). Lastly, there is an AUX input for the 3.5mm analog audio jack.

As for the outputs, there is only one, which makes things very straightforward. Analog output is provided through a 3.5 mm connector, which can be connected directly to your stereo amplifier, headphone amplifier, or active speakers.

No digital output is available, so the S10 can not support an external DAC.

If you are looking for a digital streamer to pair with another DAC, you will need to look elsewhere, as this budget device is designed only to be used with its own internal DAC.

All the inputs and outputs are located at the back of S10.
All the inputs and outputs are located at the back of S10.

Internals

Features

Your music files can be stored anywhere on your local network (NAS, for example) or on a storage device connected directly to the USB port. Additionally, you can use all major streaming services, such as Spotify, Tidal, and Qobuz.

In addition, TuneIn and internet radio stations are supported. The device also supports Bluetooth 5.0 and DLNA. There is no doubt that the feature list is impressive, but what is even more amazing is that everything I tried worked without any glitches or effort on my part.

There is a remote control for Arylic S10 for easier control.
There is a remote control for Arylic S10 for easier control.

Control App

It is necessary to install an app called 4STREAM to control the unit and utilize all of its features. Since I am an iOS user, I only used the Apple App Store version. Immediately after booting, the device was listed in the app, connected without a hitch, and functioning flawlessly.

It has a clean and easy-to-use user interface that will make you feel right at home within minutes if you have ever used a remote control application on your mobile device.

If a USB stick containing music files arranged in folders is connected to the device, it can read all the songs on the USB stick and display them in their proper folder order.

Users can use a USB thumbdrive or hard disk as music source for S10.
Users can use a USB thumbdrive or hard disk as music source for S10.

S10 Sound

The S10’s sound is generally clean, well-balanced, and reasonably detailed, considering its sub-$100 USD price. When we factor in that we are paying less for it than for most dongles, the relative performance is not just good but actually excellent.

As far as sound quality is concerned, I notice a reasonably dynamic sound that is neither compressed nor distorted. Volume is not an issue since you will use an external amplifier for volume control.

In fact, the S10 has a pleasant sonic profile with a somewhat warm midrange, smooth treble, and relatively good bass presentation without considerable roll-off in the sub-bass. The sound has excellent contrast and control, and there is good instrument separation for the price.

I hear a really clean and enjoyable presentation when I connect an external amplifier such as the iFi Zen Can and use headphones such as the Sennheiser HD600.

The clean and neutral sound signature of the Arylic S10 matches well with majority of my IEMs.
The clean and neutral sound signature of the Arylic S10 matches well with majority of my IEMs.

Where to Buy

Conclusion

It is possible to imagine a few use cases in which S10’s talents would be very beneficial, such as adding a set of decent active speakers to save space.

I recommend the S10 for non-audiophile friends interested in a simple, affordable, decent-sounding system without needing to purchase separate components.

Due to the lack of digital outputs, the S10 cannot be used as a digital streamer alone, and it is impossible to add an external DAC to enhance its performance. But, to be honest, this device is not intended to be used in a more advanced HiFi system.

Considering the low cost of this device, I do not believe it would be appropriate to ask for more.

Despite this shortcoming, the Arylic S10 proves to be an extremely versatile device. I am impressed with how well it is made, how nice it looks, how many modern features it offers, how easy it is to use, and how decent the sound quality is.

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