Astell&Kern, the global leader in premium portable high-resolution audio devices, introduces its latest in-ear monitor (IEM), the AK ZERO1, featuring three different types of drivers to deliver a ground-breaking hybrid sound. Composed of a micro planar dynamic driver, dual balanced armature (BA) drivers and a dynamic driver, this unique design combines the sonic characteristics of each driver to produce an unprecedented natural audio. Astell&Kern has set new standards in IEM engineering to get the music fan closer to the original studio sound.
Astell&Kern AK ZERO1 features and innovations include:
Three different types of drivers: Planar, balance armature and dynamic
Perfectly harmonised driver structure
Precision crossover network design
Acoustic chamber created using 3D printed technology
Precise CNC-machined metal housing
Hi-fi-grade pure silver-coated OFC cable for improved transparency of the audio signal
Micro planar dynamic driver
The Micro Rectangular Planar Dynamic Driver is a specially developed, highly advanced driver that allows a planar driver design, normally difficult to scale down for headphones, to be applied to in-ear monitors. Adopting a sturdy and lightweight planar membrane to minimise frequency loss, this is combined with a vibration panel boasting a high-polymer and thin metal film to create crystal clear and dynamic high frequencies.
Dual balanced armature and dynamic drivers
The AK ZERO1’s driver system also features dual BA drivers, using custom-designed coils to deliver transparent vocals with super-low distortion. Couple this with the single 5.6 mm dynamic driver to ensure rich, controlled and deep low frequencies and the AK ZERO1 is poised to deliver its pioneering hybrid sound.
To realise this new sound through the ideal frequency response, a Crossover Network design was generated based on a thorough understanding of each driver’s parameters. Once established, each driver is carefully placed in the optimal position, enclosed in specifically designed acoustic chambers manufactured with 3D printing technology. These precision enclosures cleverly eliminate unnecessary movement and resonance from the drivers to ensure a stable performance. Lastly, the main precision-tooled housing reduces internal and external vibrations to deliver the most focused and accurate sound possible.
Hi-fi grade pure silver-coated cables
To further maximise the audio performance the AK ZERO1 arrives equipped with a pure silver-coated OFC cables. Exquisitely crafted with high-purity silver plating and copper, alongside aluminum plugs, this design strives to maintain transparency of the audio signal. Elsewhere, the MMCX connectors ensure a prime-quality connection between the ear housing and cable, offering a long-lasting and stable performance.
NEW 4.4mm MMCX Cable accessory
For discerning audiophiles looking to experience the highest quality audio possible from their AK ZERO1 IEMs or any other MMCX-connector compatible headphones, Astell&Kern is launching an optional 4.4mm cable. The PEP11 sports larger aluminium-machined 4.4mm plugs and features the same top-quality high-purity silver plating and copper cable.
Signature Astell&Kern design
Astell&Kern’s recognisable bold diagonal design language continues on the AK ZERO1, with the premium cut metal surface brilliantly reflecting the light. The shape of the housing and the slender ear nozzles have been carefully designed and refined to not only provide a secure and comfortable fit, but to deliver the sound efficiently and accurately through your ears. To further provide a snug fit, five different-sized pairs of silicone ear tip and one set of foam tips are supplied, along with a carry case to keep your IEMs pristine during transit.
The Astell&Kern AK ZERO1 is priced £649 / $699 / €749 and will be available from November from www.astellkern.co.uk and local independent dealers.
The Astell&Kern PEP11 is priced £119 / $130 / €139 and will be available from November from www.astellkern.co.uk and local independent dealers.
Drivers: Hybrid Drivers
Special Micro Rectangular Planar Dynamic Driver x1
August 27th 2021, UK– Astell&Kern, the global leader in premium portable high-resolution audio devices, introduces its newest member of its A&ultima series, the SP2000T. Building on the class-leading sound of the A&ultima SP2000, this latest player is the first to feature a Quad-DAC, a Replay Gain function and a new Triple Amp System allowing music fans to switch between the different sonic characteristics of a normal OP-AMP (operational amp) mode, a vacuum TUBEAMP and a HYBRID AMP mode that combines the tube amp’s warm analog performance and Op-Amp’s high-resolution clarity.
Astell&Kern A&ultima SP2000T new audio design and feature innovations include:
Triple Amp System takes portable music listening to a new acoustic level.
Vacuum tube amplifier compatible with 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm output jacks.
Equipped with an ESS ES9068AS QUAD-DAC for balanced and ultra-detailed sound.
New TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution technology.
Replay Gain function uniformly adjusts volume playback from sound sources up to 24-bit/192 kHz.
Dual-Band Wi-Fi Support for improved wireless connection.
Internal mechanical design to minimise noise.
NEXT GENERATION AMPLIFIER TECHNOLOGY
Boasting the most advanced amp technology of any portable player, SP2000T owners can toggle between three-amp modes to find the optimal sound to suit the music they are listening to. Based on the set-up from the original SP2000, the OP-AMP configuration offers ultra-clarity and a dynamic playback. Switch to the TUBE AMP mode and the uniquely warm and musical audio associated with vacuum tube amplifiers will be revealed.
To realise the sonic flavour of a vacuum tube amp, the SP2000T is equipped with the portable-friendly dual-triode KORG Nutube. Featuring an anode grid filament structure that operates the same as a triode vacuum tube, this smaller component, consumes far less power, yet delivers the same audio with rich overtones. The Nutube also offers a reliable continuous playback time of approximately 30,000 hours with support for the player’s onboard 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphone output jacks.
BEST OF BOTH AMP WORLDS
The culmination of Astell&Kern’s rich amp design heritage and expertise, the new innovative HYBRID MODE brings together the distinctive sonic DNA of the detailed OP-AMP and expressive TUBE AMP modes, while providing five options with different mix ratios of each amp’s sound characteristics to best serve the music being played.
SPECIAL INTERNAL DESIGN
To overcome internal microphonic resonances generated by the vacuum tubes that can seriously impact sound quality, Astell&Kern’s audio engineers painstakingly designed a clever modular structure physically separate from the PCB (Printed Circuit Board). Firstly, the vacuum tubes are fixed with flexible silicone covers to minimize any mechanical vibration, while the design uses magnetic forces to float the amp in the air to reduce internal noise.
Further steps are taken to eliminate electromagnetic interference caused when internal components are in operation by applying highly conductive, hyper-pure silver plating on the existing shield cans for extra defence against these sound performance-effecting disturbances.
QUAD-DAC FOR SUPERIOR SOUND
The SP2000T comes equipped with four ES9068AS DACs, with two DACs per channel dedicated for decoding. The result is a more detailed and balanced sound with great depth and spatial realism.
This latest model is also the first to feature Replay Gain functionality that automatically and uniformly adjusts volume playback from sound sources up to 24-bit/192 kHz so playlists can be enjoyed throughout without reaching for the volume.
Following on from the A&futura SE180 player, the SP2000T is the second model to adopt Astell&Kern’s patented TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution. The result of extensive research and development, it 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.
TERATON ALPHA technology, 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.
FULL HD DISPLAY
Album artwork pops from the screen with the A&ultima SP2000T boasting 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.
Alongside with improved dual-band Wi-Fi support, the SP2000T features 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 new BT Sink function connects the A&ultima SP2000T 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 A&ultima SP2000T 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&ultima SP2000T harbours 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.
The Astell&Kern A&ultima SP2000T is priced £1,999 / $2,399 / €2,299 and will be available from October from www.astellkern.co.uk and local independent dealers.
Body Colour: Onyx Black
Body Material: Aluminum
Display: 5.0-inch touchscreen, FHD 1920 x 1080 pixels
Astell&Kern, the global leader in premium portable high-resolution audio devices, has teamed up with Campfire Audio, a U.S. designer and manufacturer of premium hand-built earphones, to introduce the AK SOLARIS X in-ear monitor (IEM). Based on Campfire Audio’s Solaris 2020, this X model is designed and tuned especially for Astell&Kern, re-imagining the original’s sonics to faithfully convey a deep, rich but natural sound, synonymous with Astell&Kern.
Hand-assembled in Portland, Oregon, USA by skilled craftsmen, ensuring each individual earphone is manufactured to the highest quality standards, the AK SOLARIS X is a culmination of Campfire Audio’s acclaimed acoustic technology and design. Featuring a custom-made balance armature (BA) driver and a dynamic driver hybrid system, alongside a patented Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber (T.A.E.C.) technology and a 3D Printed Acoustic Chamber, the SOLARIS X delivers music as the artist intended and the perfect companion to Astell&Kern’s high resolution portable digital audio players.
Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber technology
The custom BA driver, designed specifically for the AK SOLARIS X, is smaller in size than its predecessor but still offers a wideband performance that extends high frequencies without sibilance or fatigue. Working in the tandem with Campfire Audio’s patented T.A.E.C. technology, that optimises the driver performance by adjusting the volume of space available in front of the driver and provides a direct passage from the driver to your ear, the new driver delivers unsurpassed clarity and a smooth, extended top end.
Polarity Tuned Chamber
Another BA driver provides rich delivery of the mid-range frequencies, while the custom 10mm dynamic driver is optimised for the Polarity Tuned Chamber. By deploying particular volume cavities, both in front and behind the dynamic driver, bigger sounds can be drawn from smaller drivers. In the case of this hybrid design it can also specifically target the AK SOLARIS X‘s driver performance with the result a deeper and more refined mid-to-low frequency.
3D-printed acoustic optimised construction
Campfire Audio’s high-end earphones are highly acclaimed by audiophiles around the globe, so it’s no wonder the attention to detail is key to delivering superior musical experience from the AK SOLARIS X. Each earphone integrates a 3D-printed, acoustically optimised interior chamber to enable the drivers to deliver the highest audio quality possible and create a natural and accurate sound.
4N Pure Silver Litz Cable design
The AK SOLARIS X comes with a balanced 2.5mm pure silver cable (a 3.5mm adapter is supplied) allowing the earphones to reach their full performance potential. The Pure Silver Litz Cable consist of four 4N (99.99% purity) conductors designed to provide the most transparent and extended sounds possible. The soft-touch jacket that wraps around each conductor ensures both flexibility and durability, while the beryllium/copper MMCX connectors are more resilient against wear and tear, compared to regular brass connectors.
Eco-friendly cork case
To support people with disabilities and allow them to live independently, Campfire Audio sourced a small boutique shop in Portugal, who work-side-by-side with people with physical disabilities, to hand make the AK SOLARIS X’s carry case. To keep these earphones in pristine condition while in transit, the protective case is made from eco-friendly cork material for long-lasting durability.
The Astell&Kern AK Solaris X is priced £1,499 / $1,500 / €1,799 and available in the UK exclusively in-store at Harrods and Selfridges from mid-July.
Specially Customed New Single BA Driver + T.A.E.C. [High]
Single Updated Custom Balanced Armature Driver [Mid]
Specially Tuned 10mm Dynamic Driver [Mid + Low]
Frequency Response: 5Hz-20kHz
SPL: 94dB @ 1kHz: 9.16mVrms
Impedance: 8.1 Ohm @ 1kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion: Less than 1%
About Campfire Audio
Campfire Audio springs from a passionate focus on refined audio reproduction. Each model in our earphone line is designed and assembled by hand in our Portland, Oregon workshop; our earphones are second to none in performance and finish. With a small team of highly skilled and dedicated craftspeople, we continuously experiment with materials and techniques to create something unique and special for the people who care most about it.
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.
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.
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 is available now from www.astellkern.co.uk
The optional Astell&Kern SEM2 DAC (Asahi Kasei AK4497EQ Dual DAC Module) is priced £319 / $349 / €379 and is available now from www.astellkern.co.uk
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.
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.
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.
As you would expect from an Astell&Kern the device, theAKUSB-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.
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. The KANN ALPHA now arrives in a stunning Urbanely Blue edition, along with support for the multi-music platform, Roon.
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. Any KANN ALPHA owner with a Roon subscription can wireless stream all their high-resolution music, whether from Tidal, Qobuz services or digital music files stored on a hard-drive, computer or NAS drive, from this immersive music platform to the player.
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.
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.
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.
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:
T: +44 (0)7775 021263
For media requests, please contact
Nick Renshaw, PR manager, Armour Home: email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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
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.