Re: "completely computer-less operation from start to finish"
Isn't the Aurender acs-10 itself... a dedicated, customized computer that's operating on proprietary software in an 'audiophile box'?
Regarding the Aurender's $6k-7k price...
I own an essentially brand new Asus VC66 MiniPC (i7, 500SSD - $850.00) and I'm getting ready to download Euphony's Music Server software @ $289.00 onto a USB stick. Then installed on my MiniPC, it will wipe clean the Windows 10 OS, turning the MiniPC into a dedicated Music Server. BTW, I'm going to buy the Samsung QVO M.2 SSD you profiled, turns out my Asus has an unused M.2 slot, thanks a lot for that.
The Euphony OS is fully Roon Ready and reportedly comes very close to matching the fidelity of the Aurender. It can be controlled by either an iPad/iPhone or an Android tablet/phone. No monitor, PC needed. Several professional reviewers hold it in high regard.
I'd love to see a comparative review between the $6-7k Aurender and someting like my $1139.00 Euphony setup. It would be interesting to see if you concluded that the Aurender offers 5-6 times more than does the Euphony...
I understand that getting that last 10% increase in fidelity, requires a logarithmic increase in cost. I also see a trend among audio reviewers toward reviewing ever more astronomically priced gear. Just my opinion, but that seems like an excellent way to gradually decrease ones' audience.
Please consider the above constructive criticism. I'm a longtime fan of this blog/mag but one who is feeling increasingly shunted aside by most reviewers in the gear they chose to review. I suspect I'm by no means alone in that perception.