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Astell&Kern

Astell&Kern’s striking ACRO BE100 Bluetooth wireless speaker delivers superior hi-fi grade stereo sound

Astell&Kern, the global leader in premium high-resolution audio devices debuts the ACRO BE100 Bluetooth wireless speaker. The result of Astell&Kern’s advances in audio technology evolved over decades, this speaker delivers superior room-filling, hi-fi calibre stereo sound that belies it compact profile. Boasting a dedicated 32-bit DAC and support for the latest 24-bit hi-res quality wireless streaming codecs, the ACRO BE100 is the Bluetooth speaker of choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike.

Astell&Kern ACRO BE100 key features include:

  • Unique light and shadow effect design.
  • Dedicated 32-bit hi-fi grade DAC.
  • Support for 24-bit hi-res codecs aptX™HD and LDAC.
  • Superior stereo sound from a custom 4″ Kevlar woofer and 1.5″ silk dome tweeters.
  • Onboard Class-D amplifier with 55W of total power.
  • Ability to adjust treble and bass sound settings.
  • Arrives in stylish white or black finishes to fit into any interior space.

Design for life

Sporting Astell&Kern’s recognisable signature angled design, influenced by the reflective interplay of shadow and light, the ACRO BE100 makes a striking design statement that can seamlessly fit into any living space. The triangular shapes on front metal-grille mesh compliments the premium faux leather finish of main unit, while the top aluminium-hewn knurling-patterned knob allows accurate fine tuning of the volume, level-by-level, with a gentle touch.

The area below the volume control illuminates and acts as an indicator, flashing different colours for each mode or volume level, helping users to easily identify the speaker status and control it intuitively.

Dedicated DAC

Declaring its hi-fi sound credentials, the BE100 arrives with an onboard 32-bit high-quality DAC (digital-to-analogue converter). Where most common Bluetooth speakers rely on the limited DAC embedded into the Bluetooth chipset, the BE100’s dedicated DAC is based on the technology from Astell&Kern award-winning portable digital audio players. The separate internal circuitry ensures it has the capabilities to deliver a superior and detailed audio performance beyond its rivals.

Stereo sound

To help realise this class-leading sonic performance, the mid/bass driver and 2x tweeters have been custom-built. The 4-inch mid-bass cone is made from ultra-durable yet lightweight Kevlar fabric to improve response speed and timing and provide a more accurate bass sound. Furthermore, the rear port is installed to extend the speaker’s bass response. The two silk dome tweeters produce crystal clear high-frequencies, while sound-absorbing material inside the wooden cabinet reduces resonance by completely sealing the interior, enabling a full, rich fidelity.

Classy amp

Poorly designed amplifiers can produce clipping sounds at maximum volume. Employing its renowned expertise in amp design technology, Astell&Kern has developed a Class-D amplifier that guarantees consistent sound quality without distortion even at top volume.

The amp’s onboard digital crossover also ensures a clear and precisely timed sound by splitting the audio signal into different frequency range. In addition, dynamic range control (DRC) is used to protect the speaker unit as it hits maximum output power. To minimise jitter – the undesired deviation in time from the transmitted signal – the Bluetooth chipset is equipped with a 50ps clock to enable incredibly accurate sound.

High-definition connectivity

The latest high-definition wireless connectivity options are covered with the ACRO BE100 boasting Bluetooth® 5.0, providing greater range and a more stable wireless connection when streaming from a compatible device such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Support for 24-bit aptX™ HD (48khz) and LDAC (96khz) codecs, offers the best possible wireless sound quality.

Elsewhere, music fans can tweak the sound with the onboard five-level treble and bass settings, while a 3.5mm AUX input allows the connection of Astell&Kern’s portable digital audio players and similar devices.

Please note a version of the ACRO BE100 featuring FM radio is available in selected countries.

The Astell&Kern ACRO BE100 is priced £449 / €529 / $400 and will be available from December from www.astellkern.co.uk and local independent dealers.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Mid/Bass driver: 1x 4-inch

Tweeter: 2x 1.5-inch

Amplifier output: 55W (1x 25W + 2x 15W)

Frequency response: 50 – 20kHz

Maximum sound level: 94dB SPL@1m

Bluetooth version: 5.0

Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX™HD, LDAC

Power input: 19V / 3,43A

AUX: 3.5mm stereo

Dimensions: 261 x 164 x 171mm

Weight: about 3.2kg

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Astell&Kern

A&norma SR25 MKII: Astell&Kern unveils the second-generation model of its award-winning, ultra-portable hi-res audio player

Astell&Kern, the global leader in premium portable high-resolution audio devices, introduces the second generation model of its popular and award-winning entry-level player, the A&norma SR25 MKII. Every aspect admired about the original SR25 is retained with the new model improving on the audio performance, adding new features, such as a balanced 4.4mm headphone jack, and tweaking its already eye-catching and ultra-compact design. The A&norma SR25 MKII represents the perfect entry-point into Astell&Kern’s unrivalled world of high-resolution music playback on-the-move.

Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 MKII feature upgrades include:

  • Improved sound performance
  • 4.4mm headphone jack to deliver enhanced dynamic range, bass response, wider soundstage, clearer imaging and more detail in the audio source.
  • Replay Gain function to uniformly adjust volume playback from sound sources up to 24-bit/192 kHz.
  • AK File Drop for easier wireless file transfers.
  • BT Sink function for simpler connection of the SR25 MKII to an external Bluetooth device
  • Extra internal silver-plated shielding, first seen in the higher-end SP2000T, to protect from electromagnetic interference.
  • New, more defined volume wheel design.
  • New darker and stylish Mercury Dark Silver finish.

Even more balance and detail

This new pocket powerhouse may have a familiar look and feel but it delivers superior sound through Astell&Kern’s latest advanced audio design technology. Presenting more detail than its predecessor, the natural high-resolution sonics deliver clearly defined upper and lower ranges and a deeper, more rounded sound.

The addition of the balanced 4.4mm headphone jack, joining the 2.5mm (balanced) and 3.5mm (unbalanced) outputs, means music fans can connect an even wider variety of headphones, IEM’s and devices. The 4.4mm balanced output provides improved dynamic range and bass response, supports a wider soundstage, while capturing clear imaging and subtle details in the audio source.

As with the first-generation model, the SR25 MII handles an array of high-resolution music formats and sample rates. Support for native playback of DSD256 and 32-bit/384KHz PCM high-resolution audio, brings every music fan closer to hearing the artist’s original studio sound. Should you want to listen to your favourite hi-res music over a wireless connection, the SR25 MKII features the latest high-definition Bluetooth wireless codecs: LDAC and aptX™ HD.

Replay gain

The SR25 MKII also adds Replay Gain functionality to the mix. This 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.

Extra connectivity options

First introduced in the A&futura SE180 player, AK File Drop ensure 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. Secondly, the new BT Sink function connects the SR25 MKII to an external device, such as a smartphone, via Bluetooth, enabling music to be played back in high-quality on the Astell&Kern player.

Added internal protection

Astell&Kern players apply shield cans to eliminate electromagnetic interference caused when internal components are in operation. First introduced in the higher-end A&ultima SP2000T, the SR25MKII has taken further measures by applying highly conductive, hyper-pure silver plating on the existing shield cans for extra defence against these sound performance-effecting disturbances.

Refined design

The SR25 MKII inherits the overall design identity of the original SR25 model, sporting the recognisable angled top and bottom bezel edges to give the impression the smaller inner rectangle is floating freely from the main body. The new look pattern on the side volume wheel is also more defined and tactile, drawing more attention to this area of the player. Lastly, the new darker hue of silver (Mercury D. Silver) stands apart from the original’s Moon Silver livery.

Protect your A&K player

A protective case in a choice of three eye-catching finishes is available to compliment the SR25 MKII and safeguard this premium player from the vagaries of a life on the road. Made from a soft and durable LASKINA® polyurethane fabric from Italy, this memory material offers protection against external shocks and scratches, while providing excellent grip. The fabric also mimics the texture of classic, high-end leather, for a luxurious and vibrant look, including natural leather-style creases and shine. Finishes include Denim Blue, Orange and Black.

The Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 MKII is priced £699 / $749 / €799 and will be available early November from www.astellkern.co.uk and local independent dealers.

The Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 MKII case is priced £59 / $60 / €69 and will be available early November from www.astellkern.co.uk and local independent dealers.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

General Specifications

Model: SR25 MKII

Body Colour: Mercury Dark Silver

Body Material: Aluminium

Display: 3.6-inch HD 720 x 1280 px touch screen

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: Unbalanced 2Vrms │ Balanced 4Vrms (Condition No Load)

CPU: Quad-core

DAC: Ciruss Logic CS43198 x2 (Dual-DAC)

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

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

Outputs: Unbalanced 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: V4.2 (A2DP, AVRCP, Qualcomm® aptX™ HD, LDAC)

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

Weight: about 178g (6.27oz)

Firmware upgrade supported (OTA)

Operating Temperature: 0℃ ~ + 40℃ (32℉~ 104℉)

Audio performance

Frequency Response

  • ±0.014dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.011dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
  • ±0.010dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.012dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced

S/N

  • 122dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced
  • 124dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

Crosstalk

  • -138dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced
  • -144dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

THD+N

  • 0.0006% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced
  • 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balanced

IMD SMPTE

  • 0.0004% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Unbalanced
  • 0.0003% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Balanced

Output Impedance

  • Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (1.2ohm)
  • Balanced Out 2.5mm (1.8ohm), 4.4mm (1.7ohm)

Clock Source

Clock Jitter: 25pS (Typ)

Reference Clock Jitter: 70ps

Storage Capacity

Built-in Memory: 64GB [NAND]

External Memory: microSD x1 (Max. 1TB)

Battery

Capacity: 3,150mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer

Charge Time: about 2.5hours (5V 2A General Charging)

Playback Time: about 20hours (Standard : FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Unbalanced, Vol.50, EQ Off, LCD Off)

Supported OS

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

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Astell&Kern

Astell&Kern’s latest IEM, the AK ZERO1, features three different types of drivers for a new hybrid sound

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.

Crossover design

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.

Technical specifications

AK ZERO1

Drivers: Hybrid Drivers

  • Special Micro Rectangular Planar Dynamic Driver x1
  • Custom Balanced Armature Driver x2
  • 5.6mm Micro Dynamic Driver x1

Connector type: MMCX

Housing material: Aluminum

Frequency Response: 25Hz–30KHz*

SPL: 96dB@1KHz (1mW)*

Impedance: 16Ω@1KHz*

Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.7%@1KHz

PEP11

Connector type: MMCX

Cable core: 4

Cable material: Silver, Copper

Plug: 4.4mm

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Astell&Kern’s latest A&ultima SP2000T portable digital audio player packs a next gen triple amp system

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 TUBE AMP 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.

INTRODUCING TERATON ALPHA SOUND SOLUTION TECHNOLOGY

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.

CONNECTIVITY

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.

Technical specifications*

Body Colour: Onyx Black

Body Material: Aluminum

Display: 5.0-inch touchscreen, FHD 1920 x 1080 pixels

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

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), DSD512(1bit, 22.4MHz) Stereo

Output Level: Unbalanced 3Vrms │ Balanced 6Vrms (Condition No Load)

CPU: Quad-core

DAC: ESS ES9068AS x4 (Quad-DAC)

Vacuum Tube: KORG Nutube 6P1

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 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz)

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

Dimensions: 3.07″ (78.1mm)[W] x 5.55″ (141.1mm)[H] x 0.68″ (17.5mm)[D]

Weight: about 10.89oz (309g)

Feature Enhancements: Firmware upgrade supported (OTA)

Frequency Response:

  • ±0.024dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced / ±0.038dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
  • ±0.027dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced / ±0.052dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced

S/N:

  • 121dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced
  • 123dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

Crosstalk:

  • -137dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced
  • -142dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

THD+N:

  • 0.0003% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced
  • 0.0003% @ 1kHz, Balanced

IMD SMPTE:

  • 0.0004% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1), Unbalanced
  • 0.0003% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1), Balanced

Output Impedance:

  • Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (1ohm)
  • Balanced Out 2.5mm (1.5ohm), 4.4mm (1.5ohm)

Clock Source

Clock Jitter: 25ps (Typ)

Reference Clock Jitter: 70ps

*Audio specifications will be based on Operational (OP) AMP.

Storage Capacity

Built-in Memory: 256GB [NAND]

External Memory: microSD x1 (Max. 1TB)

Battery

Capacity: 4,200mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer

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

Playback Time: About 9hours (Standard: FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Unbalanced, Vol.50, LCD Off, LED On, OP AMP Mode)

Supported OS 

Windows 7, 8, 10 (32/64bit), MAC OS X 10.7

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