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Astell&Kern

Shape your sound with Astell&Kern’s A&futura SE180 modular DAC digital audio player

Astell&Kern, the global leader in premium portable high-resolution audio devices, introduces the SE180, the third model in its award-winning A&futura series and the audio specialist’s first player to feature interchangeable all-in-one DAC modules. Expanding on the multi-DAC innovation first introduced with the SE200, music fans can customise their sound with different audio-flavoured DACs to find the hi-fi-grade sonics that suit them.

The A&futura SE180 is the company’s most advance player yet and is the first model to boast Astell&Kern’s TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution technology for improved audio, an enhanced user-interface design, a full HD display and added advanced connectivity functionality.

Astell&Kern A&futura SE180 new audio design and feature innovations include:

  • Interchangeable all-in-one DAC modules
  • New TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution technology
  • Full HD display for improved image quality
  • Enhanced user interface more consistent with an Android smartphone experience
  • AK File Drop for easier wireless file transfers
  • BT Sink function for simpler connection of the SE180 to an external Bluetooth device

INTERCHANGEABLE DAC MODULES

The innovative interchangeable DAC design not only offers a new level of audio flexibility for the user but also improves the sound performance. By physically separating the main body from the all-in-one module, power and radio frequency (RF) noise generated by the main unit is completely blocked. This creates an independent structure that prevents noise from interfering with music playback.

The module slots easily into place from the top of the player and features an innovative double locking mechanism that securely connects each component. Expertly engineered, with flowing smooth lines between each part, there isn’t a noticeable trace of two separate elements in play.

The A&futura SE180 arrives with a default module featuring the SEM1 ESS ES9038PRO, an 8-channel DAC traditionally used for premium home audio equipment. This DAC provides a wider dynamic range and greater detail, while audio file support is extensive for high-resolution fans, with the SEM1 DAC capable of playing up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and native DSD256 files.

The SEM2 Asahi Kasei AK4497EQ Dual DAC will be the first optional module available on launch with the ability to play files up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and native DSD512. Both modules support 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphones connections for accommodating a greater variety of headphones and in-ear monitors (IEM), while there is support for MQA playback via downloaded MQA audio files and through the Tidal music app. The next DAC module will be released later in the year with another model following in the first half of 2022.

INTRODUCING TERATON ALPHA SOUND SOLUTION TECHNOLOGY

The result of extensive research and development, Astell&Kern’s patented TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution is designed to deliver audio playback close to the original sound. The onboard DAC is not the only factor that determines the quality of sound from a DAP: Power, noise, signal conversion, circuit structure all effect the sound signature. Only when each and every one of these elements are optimised, can a player produce sound as close as the music artist and producer intended.

With the A&futura SE180 the first to harbour TERATON ALPHA technology, it effectively removes power noise and provides efficient power consumption and amplification right through to the audio output interface stage where the digital-to-analogue signal conversion (DAC) takes place – audio technology Astell&Kern has consistently developed and perfected over the years.

ENHANCED USER INTERFACE DESIGN

The A&futura SE180 user-interface has been enhanced to offer an experience consistent with an Android smartphone. A new navigation bar pinned at the bottom of the screen allows users to control playback and skip tracks from any screen, while a single swipe returns to the previous screen. Like the SE200, users can also discern the volume level, file type and bitrate being played thanks to the colour-coded LED light surrounding the player’s volume wheel.

FULL HD DISPLAY

Album artwork pops from the screen with the A&futura SE180 is the first Astell&Kern player to boast a full HD display. This 5-inch touchscreen packs a 1920×1080 pixel resolution, 16.7 million colours and 441 PPI, resulting in a clean and sharp user-interface design.

CONNECTIVITY

The A&futura SE180 is also the first model to feature AK File Drop for easier wireless file transfers. Users can wirelessly transfer files through a PC, smartphone, or FTP program located on the same network to make music management even more convenient.

The newly introduced BT Sink function connects the A&futura SE180 to an external device, such as a smartphone, via Bluetooth, enabling music to be played back in high-quality on the Astell&Kern player.

Elsewhere the A&futura SE180 boasts Bluetooth 5.0, providing greater range and a more stable wireless connection to headphones and, along with support for 24-bit aptX HD and LDAC codecs, offers the best possible wireless sound quality.

The A&futura SE180 features 256GB on-board memory that can be expanded up to 1TB via a microSD card slot, meaning users can carry thousands of hi-res albums with them at all times.

To keep the A&futura SE180 in pristine condition but still stylish, a Black or Navy leather case is available. Using quality Badalassi Carlo Minerva leather, this material is made from a process called ‘full vegetable tanning’, a traditional method used in Italy for over 200 years, that brings out the special characteristic of leather while creating a natural tanning look. A variety of trees and plants are involved in this tanning process which takes about 40 days to complete, while containing oil that allows the leather to shine the more it is used.

The Astell&Kern A&futura SE180 (with SEM1 ESS ES9038PRO DAC module) is priced £1,399 / $1,499 / €1,599 and will be available from May from www.astellkern.co.uk

The optional Astell&Kern SEM2 DAC (Asahi Kasei AK4497EQ Dual DAC Module) is priced £319 / $349 / €379 and will be available from May from www.astellkern.co.uk

Technical Specifications

Astell&Kern A&futura SE180

Body Material: Aluminium

Colour: Moon Silver

Display: 5-inch, 1920×1080 FHD

Supported Audio Formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA

Services: (Tidal Masters), Local files, External USB, MQA-CD (ripped)

Input: USB Type-C input (for PC & MAC)

Charging: 9V 1.67A / 5V 2A

Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)

Bluetooth: V5.0 (A2DP, AVRCP, Qualcomm® aptX™ HD, LDAC)

Dimensions:

  • 3.03″(77mm)[W] x 5.09″(129.2mm)[H] x 0.78″(19.9mm)[D] (Only body)
  • 3.03″(77mm)[W] x 5.4″(137.2mm)[H] x 0.78″(19.9mm)[D] (Combined with a module)

Weight: 9.88oz (280g)

Feature Enhancements: Firmware upgrade supported (OTA)

SAR: Body 10g SAR (W/Kg) _ WLAN 2.4Ghz: 0.016

Clock Jitter: 25ps (Typ)

Reference Clock Jitter: 800 Femto Seconds

Wheel: LED Light (LED Indicator)

Built-In Memory: 256GB (NAND)

External Memory: microSD Card x1 (Max. 1TB)

Battery Capacity: 3,800mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer Battery

Charge Time: About 5hours (Standard: 5V / 2A Charging), about 3hours (Fast: 9V / 1.67A Charging)

Supported OS: Windows 8,10(32/64bit) Mac OS X 10.7 and up

Astell&Kern SEM1 DAC

Body Material: Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Polycarbonate

Body Colour: Moon Silver

Sample Rate:

  • PCM: 8kHz ~ 384kHz (8/16/24/32bits per Sample)
  • DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo /
  • DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256(1bit 11.2MHz), Stereo

Outputs: Unbalanced Out (3.5mm), Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported / 4.4mm, only 5-pole supported)

Output Level:

  • [Normal Gain] Unbalanced 2Vrms / Balanced 4Vrms (Condition No Load)
  • [High Gain] Unbalanced 3Vrms / Balanced 6Vrms (Condition No Load)

DAC: ESS ES9038PRO (Single DAC)

Decoding: Support up to 32bit / 384kHz Bit-to-Bit playback

Dimensions: 3.03″(77mm)[W] x 2.99″(76mm)[H] x 0.78″(19.9mm)[D]

Weight: 3.53oz (100g)

Playback Time: About 10.5hours (FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Vol.50, LCD Off)

Frequency Response:

  • ±0.04dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced /
  • ±0.04dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
  • ±0.07dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced /
  • ±0.06dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced

Signal-to-noise ratio:

  • [Normal Gain] 122dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 126dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
  • [High Gain] 125dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 129dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

Crosstalk:

  • [Normal Gain] -138dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / -145dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
  • [High Gain] -138dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / -147dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

THD+N:

  • [Normal Gain] 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 0.0004% @ 1kHz, Balanced
  • [High Gain] 0.0007% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 0.0006% @ 1kHz, Balanced

IMD SMPTE: 0.0004%, 800Hz 10kHz (4:1), Unbalanced / 0.0004%, 800Hz 10kHz (4:1), Balanced

Output Impedance: 3.5mm (1ohm) / 2.5mm (1.5ohm) / 4.4mm (1.5ohm)

Astell&Kern SEM2 DAC

Body Material: Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Polycarbonate

Body Colour: Moon Silver

Sample Rate:

  • PCM: 8kHz ~ 768kHz (8/16/24/32bits per Sample)
  • DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo /
  • DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256(1bit 11.2MHz), Stereo / DSD512(1bit 22.4MHz), Stereo

Outputs: Unbalanced Out (3.5mm), Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported / 4.4mm, only 5-pole supported)

Output Level:

  • [Normal Gain] Unbalanced 2Vrms / Balanced 4Vrms (Condition No Load)
  • [High Gain] Unbalanced 3Vrms / Balanced 6Vrms (Condition No Load)

DAC: AKM AK4497EQ x2 (Dual DAC)

Decoding: Support up to 32bit / 768kHz Bit-to-Bit playback

Dimensions: 3.03″(77mm)[W] x 2.99″(76mm)[H] x 0.78″(19.9mm)[D]

Weight: 3.53oz (100g)

Playback Time: About 10.5hours (FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Vol.50, LCD Off)

Frequency Response:

  • ±0.07dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced /
  • ±0.06dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
  • ±0.68dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced /
  • ±0.67dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced

Signal-to-noise ratio:

  • [Normal Gain] 122dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 124dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
  • [High Gain] 125dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 127dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

Crosstalk:

  • [Normal Gain] -138dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / -145dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
  • [High Gain] -138dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / -147dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

THD+N:

  • [Normal Gain] 0.0006% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balanced
  • [High Gain] 0.0008% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 0.0006% @ 1kHz, Balanced

IMD SMPTE: 0.0002%, 800Hz 10kHz (4:1), Unbalanced / 0.0002%, 800Hz 10kHz (4:1), Balanced

Output Impedance: 3.5mm (1ohm) / 2.5mm (1.5ohm) / 4.4mm (1.5ohm)

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Astell&Kern announces new A&norma SR25 portable high-resolution music player


Global leader in high-resolution products Astell&Kern has unveiled the second player in its A&norma line of portable high-resolution audio players, the A&norma SR25.

The A&norma line of portable audio players from Astell&Kern are designed to be an industry standard to play back high-resolution audio in a stunning, high-end, luxurious design and reproduce sound as it was intended by the artist and engineer who originally recorded it, at an affordable price.  

The SR25 is an upgrade of the award-winning A&norma SR15 player, and supports native playback of DSD256 and 32-bit/384KHz PCM high-resolution audio.

The SR25 features two Cirrus Logic 43198 MasterClass DACs in dual-mono configuration like the SR15, but adds a number of new features such as a faster Quad-core CPU and newly designed circuitry to improve sound quality enhancements.

A first for Astell&Kern players, the SR25 adds LDAC Bluetooth support, allowing users to wirelessly stream 24-bit hi-res audio to compatible speakers, headphones or IEMs. The SR25 also provides 20+ hours of continuous music playback, more than twice the playback time of the SR15 and longer than any other Astell&Kern player.

The SR25’s unique design balances user convenience with aesthetic factors. It features an aluminium body with an ultra-precision volume wheel machined with a vibration-free process used for luxury watches. The aluminium body suppresses noise and improves sound quality, while the thin-bodied design allows the user to easily hold and operate the 3.6-inch touchscreen display with one hand.

“The SR25 is a new premium product that brings the philosophy of Astell&Kern to provide music the way it was meant to be heard, without compromise to an affordable, high quality player, with a luxury design that has received international award recognition,” said Baek Chang-Hum, Director of Dreamus, parent company of Astell&Kern.

The Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 will be available in May 2020, priced £649.

A&norma SR25 Specifications:

Body material: Aluminium

Body colour: Moon Silver

Dimensions: 2.5″ (63.5mm) [W] x 4.26″ (108.3mm) [H] x 0.63″ (16.1mm) [D]

Weight: 6.27 oz (178g)

Display: 3.6 inch (720 x 1280) Touch Display

Supported audio formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA

Sample rate: PCM: 8kHz ~ 384kHz (8/16/24/32bits per sample) / DSD Native: DSD64 (1bit/2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128 (1bit/5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256 (1bit/11.2MHz), Stereo

Power output: Balance 4V, Unbalance 2V

CPU: Quad-core

DAC: Cirrus Logic CS43198 x2 (Dual DAC)

Decoding: Support up to 32-bit/384kHz bit-to-bit playback

Input: USB Type-C (PC and Mac)

Outputs: Unbalanced Out (3.5mm) / Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported)

Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)

Bluetooth: V4.2 (A2DP, AVRCP, aptX HD, LDAC)

Battery capacity: 3150 mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery

Internal memory: 64 GB

External memory: microSD (max. 1 TB)

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Astell&Kern

Astell&Kern’s AK USB-C Dual DAC Cable will transform the sonic performance from your mobile device

Astell&Kern, the global leader in premium portable high-resolution audio devices, introduces the AK USB-C Dual DAC Cable, enabling music fans to experience the best sound quality possible from a computer or mobile device, while on-the-move. Joining the company’s line-up of award-winning portable digital audio players (DAPs) and headphones, this ultra-compact audio accessory will transform the sonic performance from an Android smartphone, Windows 10 PC, tablet PC or MacOS computer*.

With leading smartphone manufacturers continually omitting headphones jacks and including low-performance DACs, and with popular streaming services offering high-resolution quality tracks, enjoying high-quality music playback on-the-go or on your desktop is becoming increasingly difficult. This is where the AK USB-C Dual DAC Cable becomes an essential audio accessory: Plug the dual DAC cable into the USB-C input on your device, connect a pair of 3.5mm headphones and immerse yourself in dynamic and detailed sounds.

DUAL DAC

At the heart of the Astell&Kern AK USB-C DUAL DAC Cable sit two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHIFi™ DACs which support high-resolution audio playback up to native DSD256 and 32bit/384kHz. With years of expertise in audio circuit and amplifier design, the company was able create a complex and highly integrated circuit design to fit into a diminutive, chewing gum packet-sized (17mm x 50mm x 10.3mm) chassis. Elsewhere, Astell&Kern’s bespoke designed capacitors, that also feature in its range of high-performance DAPs, optimise the audio circuit to suppress power fluctuations and provide stable operation and best-in-class audio performance all from an ultra-portable housing.

The dual DACs are paired with an independent analog amplifier, designed to deliver a distortion free, live, warm and clear sound as the artist intended, while harbouring power to sufficiently drive a variety of high impedance headphones with a 2Vrms (Condition No Load) output level.

NOISE-SHIELDED CABLE

A custom-made, durable, 4-core cable is designed to withstand the vagaries of life on-the-go and to reduce signal interference for the cleanest audio possible. With Technora aramid fibre at its core to block external noise, thick silver-plated copper is wrapped around this centre strand, with a further layer of copper added in a spiral arrangement. The addition of copper wire helps to affect a clear and rich spatial sound, while separate shielding treatment is applied to the cable to block distortion and digital and analogue signal noise from the playback device.

PREMIUM DESIGN

As you would expect from an Astell&Kern the device, the AKUSB-C Dual DAC Cable boasts a stunning, angled surface design that follows the ‘light and shadow’ concept employed throughout all Astell&Kern products. The smooth, polished metal zinc alloy body offers a reassuring premium feel and bulletproof protection for life on-the-road.

The Astell&Kern AK USB-C Dual DAC Cable is priced £109 and will be available from April from www.astellkern.co.uk

* iOS-based devices, such as iPhones and iPads, are currently not supported. A dual DAC cable requires more current to run than a single DAC cable. Current iOS devices limit the amount of current exported and so don’t provide enough current to power a dual DAC configuration.

Technical Specifications

Body material: Zinc Alloy

Body colour: Titan

DAC: Cirrus Logic CS43198 x 2

Sample Rate:

  • PCM: Support up to 32bit/384kHz
  • DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256(1bit 11.2MHz), Stereo

Input: USB Type-C Input
(for Windows 10, Android Smartphone & Tablet PC, macOS)

Output: 3.5mm headphone

Dimensions:

  • USB Plug: 12mm[W] x 20mm[H] x 8.2mm[D]
  • 3.5mm Headphone: 17mm[W] x 50mm[H] x 10.3mm[D]

Weight: Approx. 25g 

Frequency response: ± 0.030 (Condition: 20 Hz~20 kHz)

S/N: 118dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced

THD+N: 0.0004% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced

IMD SMPTE: 0.0003% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Unbalanced

Output impedance: 2ohm

Output power or voltage: 2Vrms (condition no load)

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Astell&Kern

Astell&Kern KANN ALPHA hi-res audio player offers high power output in a compact, portable-friendly design

Astell&Kern introduces the KANN ALPHA, a high-resolution music player that offers the high power output of a headphone amplifier in a more portable design with longer battery life and Bluetooth 5.0.

The new ALPHA player is the 3rd generation in the KANN series of digital audio players, which are equipped with a more powerful, built-in headphone amplifier that provides high power output – this in turn allows KANN players to drive any headphone without the need for a separate amplifier. 

Thanks to rearranging various components, miniaturising resistors and capacitors, and optimising the circuit board, Astell&Kern were able to provide the KANN’s powerful output in a smaller, more portable-friendly design in the ALPHA.

The redesigned power circuit also resulted in the KANN ALPHA having 14.5 hours of battery life – a significant improvement upon the previous KANN CUBE’s 9 hours – allowing users to carry their high-resolution music library with them everywhere and enjoy music for longer.

The KANN ALPHA features the same powerful 12Vrms output via the balanced connection as the previous generation’s KANN CUBE, but is the first Astell&Kern player to feature a 4.4mm balanced output headphone port that’s completely noise-free. It also achieves an excellent crosstalk measurement (141dB), resulting in the ALPHA’s high quality audio performance.

The KANN ALPHA is also the first Astell&Kern player to implement Bluetooth 5.0. This provides greater range and a more stable wireless connection to headphones and, along with support for 24-bit aptX HD and LDAC codecs, offers the best possible wireless sound quality.

Audio file support is extensive for high-resolution fans, with the KANN ALPHA capable of playing up to 32-bit/384Hz PCM and DSD256 files, and also supports MQA playback via downloaded MQA audio files and through the Tidal music app.

Users can discern the volume level, file type and bitrate being played thanks to the colour-coded LED light surrounding the player’s volume wheel (the same feature is seen in the A&futura SE200 player).

Featuring a 4.1in touchscreen display, the KANN ALPHA comes in an aluminium body design that suppresses noise while also offering better grip. The 64GB on-board memory can be expanded up to 1TB via a microSD card slot, meaning users can carry thousands of hi-res albums with them at all times.

KANN ALPHA’s interface runs on a customised version of Android 9.0 and supports Android APK, which allows users to install music streaming apps to the player using the Open APP service. Services supported include Amazon Music, Apple Music, Audible, BBC Radio, Bandcamp, Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify, SiriusXM, Tidal, TuneIn and more (supported streaming services varies by country).

The Astell&Kern KANN ALPHA is available now priced £1,099.

To discover more about Astell&Kern and the KANN ALPHA visit www.astellkern.co.uk

Technical specifications

Body Color: Onyx Black

Body Material: Aluminium

Display: 4.1inch HD 720 x 1280 Touch Display

Supported Audio Formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA

Sample rate: PCM : 8kHz ~ 384kHz (8/16/24/32bits per Sample) / DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256(1bit 11.2MHz), Stereo

Output Level:

High: Unbalanced 6Vrms / Balanced 12Vrms (Condition No Load)
Mid: Unbalanced 4Vrms / Balanced 8Vrms (Condition No Load)
Low: Unbalanced 2Vrms / Balanced 4Vrms (Condition No Load)
DAC: ESS ES9068AS x2 (Dual DAC)

CPU: Quad-Core

Decoding: Support up to 32bit / 384kHz Bit-to-Bit Playback

Input: USB Type-C input (for charging PC & MAC)

Outputs:

Unbalanced Out (3.5mm) / Optical Out(3.5mm)
Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported 4.4m, only 5-pole supported)

Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)

Bluetooth: V5.0 (A2DP, AVRCP, Qualcomm® aptX™ HD, LDAC)

Dimensions: 2.68 ”(68.3 mm) [W] x 4.60 ”(117 mm) [H] x 0.98 ”(25 mm) [D]

Weight: about 11.14 oz (about 316 g)

Feature Enhancements: Firmware upgrades supported (OTA)

Frequency Response:

±0.021dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced / ±0.024dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
±0.021dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced / ±0.155dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced

Signal to Noise Ratio:

116dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 117dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
Crosstalk-128dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / -136dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
THD+N0.0003% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balanced
IMD SMPTE: 0.0003% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Unbalanced / 0.0003% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Balanced

Output Impedance

Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (0.8ohm) / Balanced out 2.5mm (2.0ohm), 4.4mm(1.8ohm)

Clock Jitter: 25ps(Typ)

Reference Clock Jitter: 250 Femto Seconds(VCXO)

Capacity: 5,600mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer Battery

Playback Time: About 14.5 hours (Standard : FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Vol.80, LCD Off, Low Gain)

Charge Time: About 3.5 hours (9V/1.67A Fast Charging) / 5hours (5V/2A General Charging)

Built-in Memory: 64GB [NAND]

External Memory: microSD (Max. 1TB) x1

Supported OS: Windows 7,8,10 (32/64bit), MAC OS X 10.7 and up

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Astell&Kern

Astell&Kern introduces SE200: the world’s first multi-DAC digital audio player


Astell&Kern, the global leader in portable high-resolution audio players, today announced the SE200, the second model in its premium A&futura series and the world’s first player to come equipped with a multi-DAC.

Comprising two audiophile-calibre Sabre ESS9068AS DACs (set up in a dual DAC configuration) and a single AKM4499EQ (previously found in Astell&Kern’s flagship SP2000 player), the unique multi-DAC setup enables users to customise the SE200’s sound to suit their preferences and the type of music being played. The DACs can be used separately or in conjunction, and a selection of manufacturer-designed DAC filters enables the listener to further fine-tune the sound characteristics.

Independent AMP circuits ensure the ESS and AKM DACs operate without interfering with each other, and even within each circuit the signals for Balanced and Unbalanced audio are separated to maintain optimum quality.

On the design front, the SE200 encapsulated the boldness and flair long associated with Astell&Kern’s products. The signature trapezoid body is constructed from noise-suppressing aluminium, with eye-catching precision-processed ceramic plates inlaid on the top and rear surfaces. Replacing the glass of the previous generation SE100 model, the curved, high-gloss ceramic plates aren’t just striking to look at – they’re also hardwearing and improve wireless network performance.

The volume wheel LED uses colour coding, allowing the user to instantly check volume, bit-rate and DAC status, while the volume knob itself is divided in two to symbolise the two types of DAC on board.

A generous 256GB of on-board memory gives users twice the storage space of the SE100, and up to 1TB of additional capacity can be added via microSD card – space enough for hundreds of 24-bit albums or thousands of  hi-res albums. High resolution audio can also be streamed using services like Qobuz and Tidal.

Battery life has been improved, now offering up to 14 hours of continuous playback, while power output has been increased from 4V to 6V (balanced) and 2V to 3V (unbalanced).

Combining superb performance, elegant design and precision engineering, the A&future SE200 is a real world first: the only multi-DAC player on the market, it brings the true feel and sound of premium hi-fi to a portable product.

The Astell&Kern A&futura SE200 is available now priced at £1,799 / $1,799.

To discover more about Astell&Kern and the A&futura SE200 visit www.astellkern.co.uk

A&futura SE200 specifications:

CPU: Octa-core

DAC: ESS9068AS dual and AKM4499EQ single

Bit/sample rate: 32-bit/384kHz, Native DSD256

Power output: Balance 6V, Unbalance 3V

Internal storage: 256GB

External storage: microSD card slot (supports up to 1TB)

Audio output: 2.5mm, 2 x 3.5mm

Network: Wi-Fi (2.4GHz), Bluetooth (aptX HD)

USB interface: Type-C 3.0

Battery life: 14 hours of continuous playback

Charging: 9V 1.67A (Fast Charge)

Display: 5-inch, 720 x 1280 resolution

Material: Aluminium and ceramic

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Astell&Kern Launches 2nd Generation KANN High Resolution Audio Player – KANN CUBE

Astell&Kern, a global leader in portable high-resolution audio players, launches the KANN CUBE, the second model in the KANN performance line, today at the 2019 Tokyo Fujiya Avic Spring Headphone Festival held in Tokyo, Japan.

The KANN series of portable high-resolution audio players is equipped with a more powerful, built-in headphone amplifier, which provides high power output that allows KANN players to drive any headphone without the need for a separate amplifier.  Users can select between low, mid and high gain modes to provide the precise power required to drive your particular headphones.  Power output on KANN CUBE is almost twice the output via balanced connection than the previous generation KANN (12Vrms vs. 7Vrms).

Although KANN CUBE has a much higher power output than previous Astell&Kern models, the player features a new amplifier design that produces a low noise floor, delivering the best sound close to the original studio sound, without distortion. KANN CUBE features two (2) 8-channel ESS Sabre ES9038PRO DACs in a dual-mono configuration, providing a wider soundstage and better stereo separation.  The ES9038PRO, which is used in high end studio and home pro audio equipment, delivers the ultimate in spaciousness and massive sound scale.

For connection to 2-channel home systems, KANN CUBE features a 5-pin Mini XLR connector.  With the latest quad-core processor, the user playback experience is fluid throughout navigating menu options and playing back your favourite music tracks.  KANN CUBE features 128GB internal memory and a microSD card slot for additional storage.  With a 7,400mA battery, KANN CUBE can play back music for about 9 hours on a single charge.  With USB-C and fast charge support, users can fully charge KANN CUBE in half the time as standard chargers.  KANN CUBE supports up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM and DSD256 playback natively and features a 5-inch high definition screen. 

KANN CUBE supports MQA (subject to final testing and certification), and with a full decoder built in, can unfold all the way to the original resolution of the file.  MQA playback is supported both via downloaded MQA audio files and through the Tidal app, allowing users to stream high resolution audio via Tidal Masters.

Astell&Kern’s latest user interface and support for Open App service is included in KANN CUBE, which adds Android APK support, allowing users to install additional music streaming services to their player by simply copying and installing the corresponding APK file for the music service they wish to add.  Services supported include Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, Qobuz, SiriusXM, Tune-In, myTuner, Bandcamp and Deezer (supported streaming services varies by country).  Offline content for supported apps can be stored in either internal or external player memory so you can listen to your favorite music streaming service tracks on the go.    

KANN CUBE features a high-strength aluminium body, with a rectangular surface. This design provides an intuitive interface and added aesthetic stability.

KANN CUBE is out now, RRP £1499.

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High resolution audio specialists Astell&Kern appoints Armour Home Electronics as UK distributor

Hertfordshire, UK Leading audio distributor Armour Home Electronics is now responsible for distributing Astell&Kern’s award-winning range of high-performance audio products across specialist and mainstream retail channels in the UK.  As a global leader in portable and home high-resolution audio products, Astell&Kern will join Armour Home Electronics’ expanding third-party distribution portfolio of complementary, leading audio brands.

As both a distributor and manufacturer Armour Home Electronics has a long-standing and successful track record of high-profile audio distribution, alongside a rich heritage in audio innovation. Today, the company owns five audio brands including Q Acoustics, QED, Systemline, Audica and Goldring, as well as distributing Grado headphones and iFi audio products in the UK.

World renowned Astell&Kern design and manufacture best-in-class high resolution portable audio players and headphones so music fans can enjoy studio-quality music wherever they are. Its range of award-winning models, including the latest A&ultima SP2000 and KANN CUBE portable players, are opening up new markets that Armour Home Electronics will look to penetrate, utilising its extensive network of contacts across specialist and mainstream retail channels to help bring Astell&Kern’s products to a wider audience.

Dave Jang, Leader of Device Business Team at Astell&Kern, commented: “We reviewed a number of strong businesses before selecting our new distribution partner for the UK.  Armour Home offer exceptional in house marketing combined with a strong proven dealer account management and support team. We feel confident that Armour will support the future growth aspirations of our UK business.” 

Chris Emerson, Sales Director at Armour Home, commented: “The continued emergence of high-profile, high resolution audio streaming and digital download services show there is an appetite from consumers to hear studio-quality audio, whether listening at home or on-the-move. This is the perfect time to be partnering with one of the leaders in high-resolution audio systems and playback, Astell&Kern. The company’s innovative, high-performance product range has a synergy with our own brands and perfectly matches the requirements of our UK retail partners.”

Retailers in the UK should direct Astell&Kern product enquiries to Jack Fox, Regional Sales Director – Armour Home:

E: jack.fox@armourhome.co.uk

T: +44 (0)7775 021263

For media requests, please contact

Nick Renshaw, PR manager, Armour Home: nick.renshaw@armourhome.co.uk

About Astell&Kern

Astell&Kern was established in 2012 in Seoul, Korea and is owned by Dreamus (formerly known as iRiver) a 21 year old company also based in Seoul, Korea. The company design and engineer best-in class high resolution audio devices for the playback of MQS studio-quality audio. Combining design and engineering excellence, craftsmanship and high quality materials with state-of-the-art audio technology, Astell&Kern’s range of portable music players, headphones and home audio system deliver audio quality without compromise.

To discover more about Astell&Kern visit www.astellkern.co.uk

About Armour Home Electronics

Formed in 2003, Armour Home is a specialist manufacturer and distributor of audio, AV and multi-room equipment. Having separated from Armour Group plc and restructured its operations in 2015, Armour Home designs, develops and manufactures products under five owned brands – Q Acoustics, QED, Goldring, Audica and Systemline – alongside third-party distribution of Grado headphones and products made by iFi Audio.

http://www.armourhome.co.uk

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Astell&Kern

Past Meets Present: Introducing the SA700


With the launch of Astell&Kern’s first product in 2012, we always aim to deliver uncompromising sound to music lovers. One day we decided to ask ourselves a question “What if we combined Astell&Kern’s first starting point and present?”

We wanted to combine the analog sensibilities that remained in our hearts with the sound technology that has evolved over the years since our first product was released. 

The SA700 is a product where past emotions and current technology meet. The SA700 is an evolution of technology and design that deliver the ultimate sound to Astell&Kern original design and sensibility. 

Emotional Retro Design
Intuitive LED Indicator
New Special GUI
Stainless Steel Body for Premium Sound
Ideal Size for Portability
Dual DAC of AK4492ECB from AKM
32bit / 384kHz, Native DSD256 support 

We took the original design of AK120 and redesigned it into a simple, but refined form. With the latest technology, the deeper and stronger sound of the SA700 delivers new experiences and values ​​not found in other products. 

First DAP Using AKM AK4492ECB DAC

The SA700 is the first DAP to use a AK4492ECB Dual DAC to give a new sound signature.

AKM’s AK4492ECB is a DAC that aims to achieve the best performance in the industry by utilizing the technology obtained by developing AK4497EQ.

It has a lower power consumption and similar audio performance compared to AK4497EQ, making it the best DAC for a portable DAP.

Only Astell&Kern’s Sound Technology know-how has made the DAC’s performance even more perfect. Now you can enjoy premium sound close to the original performance with the SA700 and the AK4492ECB. 

Asahi Kasei

The SA700 uses stainless steel, which is corrosion-resistant and durable, for maximum material strength and beauty.

Since it takes a lot of time, skill and cost to process the material, it is often only used for expensive products. The SA700 uses stainless steel because it provides the perfect sound.

SA700 offers the optimal condition to deliver perfect original sound. 
SA700 is capable of bit-to-bit playback up to 32bit 384kHz and native DSD playback up to 11.2MHz, delivering detailed, distortion-free sound just as the artist intended.

32-bit bit-to-bit Playback by the SA700

Intuitive LED Indicator 

The LEDs around the volume wheel are not just visual effects, but provide the listener information including volume and status of the currently playing song. 

Different colors are displayed depending on the bit depth of the song being played, and 150 levels of red saturation are displayed to reflect the current player volume.

* LED can be turned on or off according to user setting. 

LED Lighting Off 

16bit 

24bit 

32bit 

DSD 

SA700 maintains the convenience of Astell&Kern’s UI combined with a new GUI that reminds users of our 1st generation players.

You can combine Astell&Kern’s past and present through the GUI which is reinterpreted by using Astell&Kern’s various color identities. 

The SA700 is available now price £1299.

To discover more about Astell&Kern and the SA700 visit www.astellkern.co.uk

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Astell&Kern

Astell&Kern announces new A&norma SR25 portable high-resolution music player

Global leader in high-resolution products Astell&Kern has unveiled the second player in its A&norma line of portable high-resolution audio players, the A&norma SR25.

The A&norma line of portable audio players from Astell&Kern are designed to be an industry standard to play back high-resolution audio in a stunning, high-end, luxurious design and reproduce sound as it was intended by the artist and engineer who originally recorded it, at an affordable price.  The SR25 arrives in a stylish Silver Moon finish and now a brand new, striking Black Edition.

The SR25 is an upgrade of the award-winning A&norma SR15 player, and supports native playback of DSD256 and 32-bit/384KHz PCM high-resolution audio.

The SR25 features two Cirrus Logic 43198 MasterClass DACs in dual-mono configuration like the SR15, but adds a number of new features such as a faster Quad-core CPU and newly designed circuitry to improve sound quality enhancements.

Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 in Onyx Black finish

A first for Astell&Kern players, the SR25 adds LDAC Bluetooth support, allowing users to wirelessly stream 24-bit hi-res audio to compatible speakers, headphones or IEMs. The SR25 also provides 20+ hours of continuous music playback, more than twice the playback time of the SR15 and longer than any other Astell&Kern player.

The SR25’s unique design balances user convenience with aesthetic factors. It features an aluminium body with an ultra-precision volume wheel machined with a vibration-free process used for luxury watches. The aluminium body suppresses noise and improves sound quality, while the thin-bodied design allows the user to easily hold and operate the 3.6-inch touchscreen display with one hand.

Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 in Silver Moon finish

“The SR25 is a new premium product that brings the philosophy of Astell&Kern to provide music the way it was meant to be heard, without compromise to an affordable, high quality player, with a luxury design that has received international award recognition,” said Baek Chang-Hum, Director of Dreamus, parent company of Astell&Kern.

The Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 is available now, priced £649.

To discover more about Astell&Kern and the A&norma SR25 visit www.astellkern.co.uk

A&norma SR25 Specifications:

Body material: Aluminium

Finishes: Moon Silver and Onyx Black

Dimensions: 2.5″ (63.5mm) [W] x 4.26″ (108.3mm) [H] x 0.63″ (16.1mm) [D]

Weight: 6.27 oz (178g)

Display: 3.6 inch (720 x 1280) Touch Display

Supported audio formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA

Sample rate: PCM: 8kHz ~ 384kHz (8/16/24/32bits per sample) / DSD Native: DSD64 (1bit/2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128 (1bit/5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256 (1bit/11.2MHz), Stereo

Power output: Balance 4V, Unbalance 2V

CPU: Quad-core

DAC: Cirrus Logic CS43198 x2 (Dual DAC)

Decoding: Support up to 32-bit/384kHz bit-to-bit playback

Input: USB Type-C (PC and Mac)

Outputs: Unbalanced Out (3.5mm) / Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported)

Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)

Bluetooth: V4.2 (A2DP, AVRCP, aptX HD, LDAC)

Battery capacity: 3150 mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery

Internal memory: 64 GB

External memory: microSD (max. 1 TB)

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Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 in Onyx Black finish

Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 in Silver Moon finish

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Astell&Kern

Astell&Kern A&norma SR15: Hi-Fi standards redefined

A&norma sets the standard of Hi-Fi audio for novice listeners. The SR15, the first model of A&norma, is the beginning point of the Hi-Fi Audio experience that allows you to enjoy the philosophy and technologies of Astell&Kern, which is accoladed by audiophiles around the world.

Dual DAC of CS43198, MasterHIFI™ tier chipsets from Cirrus Logic
Enhanced audio processing power and snappy UI with Quad-core CPU
Native DSD playback and playback-focused User Interface
Powerful audio performance curated by Astell&Kern’s know-how

The SR15 is the first model of Astell&Kern’s newly introduced standard line.

One Step Closer to the Original Performance

The A&norma SR15 uses two audio DAC chips for a Dual-DAC setup. These chips are known for their use in Home Hi-Fi systems which offer greater presence compared to the inferior DAC chips designed for mobile devices.

There are many devices that use DAC chips for audio processing, however there are different tiers and quality of chips sought by Hi-Fi audio manufacturers to deliver an experience close to the original performance.

A&norma SR15 has adopted the MasterHIFI™ class DAC, CS43198 for the first time in a portable system. At Astell&Kern, we believe that true Hi-Fi should sound as close as possible to the original performance. The CS43198 is one of few DAC chipsets that is capable of bringing us even closer to the original when it’s matched with the analog amp design of Astell&Kern. In result, it brings even more liveliness and warmth of sound without distortion.

Furthermore, A&norma SR15 supports native DSD bit-to-bit, and gets one step closer to the Hi-Fi system.

Cirrus Logic and Hi-Fi Audio Evolution

Cirrus Logic has built its reputation as an expert in audio IC (Integrated Circuit) chips and solutions for more than three decades and has established its distinguished recognition in the audio industry.

Specializing in low power ICs for audio and voice signal processing applications, Cirrus Logic’s products span the entire audio signal chain, from capture to playback, providing innovative products for the world’s top smartphones, tablets, digital headsets, wearables and emerging smart home applications. Now they have introduced the MasterHIFI™ chipset solutions for excellent audio reproduction performance. 

MasterHiFI™ class designation is only given to their chipsets that meet their highest audio performance standard. It will deliver your music as the musicians and producers wanted you to hear it.

Dual DAC’S Balanced Output
Output from other products

An Evolving Legacy in High-Fidelity Audio

For more than three decades, Cirrus Logic has built its reputation as an expert in audio IC innovation. Cirrus Logic’s audio innovation continues today with the development of MasterHIFI™ products from the industry’s best audio IC design engineers. These integrated circuits, along with embedded software and DSP algorithms, are driving excellence in audio playback in new generations of mobile products.

Cirrus Logic audio products with the MasterHIFI designation meet the company’s highest standard in high-fidelity audio playback. MasterHIFI™ products deliver the very best performance in sound clarity and pure, euphoric audio listening just like the artist intended. The devices should not unintentionally “color” the audio, but should maintain the “brightest” sounds expected from a recorded track.

Enhanced Audio Processing Power with Quad-core CPU

Some may think that only sound matters in Hi-Fi systems. While it does matter greatly, there are other factors that influence your immersive music experience as well. A&norma is designed to remove any distracting elements, including noise, distortion and unintuitive user interface.

The Quad-core CPU gives you even more processing power for your digital music and a lot faster, natural UI experience. Get lost in your music without distractions.

24-bit, 192 kHz Bit-to-Bit Playback

The A&norma SR15 plays any resolution of digital files up to 24-bit/192 kHz, bit-for-bit. 
For 32-bit audio, downsampling is performed by the SRC (Sample Rate Converter) method. 
DSD is native up to 64 MHz and DSD 128 MHz is converted to PCM for playback.

* 32-bit, 384 kHz is downsampled to 24-bit, 192 kHz, and 32-bit, 352 kHz is downsampled to 24-bit, 176 kHz for playback.
* DSD 128 is converted via DSD-to-PCM to PCM 24-bit, 176 kHz for playback.

USB Audio

A simple USB connection will allow the A&norma SR15 to be used as a digital music storage device and or pre-amp to output digital audio through USB. The A&norma SR15 transfers DSD in native format through DoP (DSD over PCM) and converts DSD to PCM for output for external USB Audio that do not support DoP.

* USB audio (Digital Out) output is available only when an external device can accept digital input through USB.
* DoP (DSD over PCM): This is the standard for transferring DSD data to a USB interface and sends DSD data by mounting them onto PCM data frames.
* The type of OTG cable to connect the SR15 with a portable amp differs depending on the specs of the amp. An OTG cable is not included in the SR15 package.

New Intuitive User Interface

A&norma SR15 has adopted the user interface of the A&ultima SP1000, which has grown famous for its intuitiveness and simplicity.

– Player is in the main. All functions are centered on “music replay.” 
– Secure access to the music DB and features to manage music files
– Minimum menu depth and simple structure

Using Open APP Service

The Open APP Service enables the user to install specific APK music streaming apps to the device. Copy the desired APK into the Open Service folder of the product and install the relevant App in the Menu-Service of the product.

The SR15 is out now, RRP £599.

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