When it comes down to the business of listening to audio, the AirStream10 excels. A 128kbps ‘net radio stream or similar DAB broadcast is never going to sound amazing, but the AirStream10 does a commendable job. FM radio is, unsurprisingly, much better and 320kbps MP3s either streamed or played via the 3.5mm input sounded excellent.
Positioned controls-forwards, the AirStream10’s speaker faces down at whatever surface it’s placed on. As such, it should definitely be stood this way on a solid surface; if left hanging over the edge of a desk the sound produced is left decidedly muted. However, with the speaker pointed down onto the desk surface the sound can reflect around, in a far less directional fashion than with the AirStream10 stood upright.
The weakest area of the AirStream 10’s audio playback is its format support. Sadly, you’re limited to just WMA, AAC and MP3 files which is a far cry from the likes of Logitech’s Squeezebox Boom, which even played FLAC files. I don’t think the benefits of lossless audio would be particularly realised via the AirStream10, though, so it’s not too severe an omission.
Audiophiles are still going to want to invest in the likes of an Arcam Solo Mini, or a Sonos setup, but those baulking at the cost of those systems or after an attractive, capable bedroom radio, should be more than happy with the AirStream10.
That the AirStream10 will play back DAB, FM and Internet radio is hardly revolutionary. Nor is its ability to stream media files from a UPnP server. Rather, it’s the combination of these features and its eminently stylish chassis at a surprisingly affordable price that makes the AirStream10 such an attractive proposition.
Score in detail