Insight: Astell & Kern
Astell & Kern offer a wide range of products in the digital audio player (DAP) market.
The South Korean company have made a name for themselves by offering high quality, well built players that combine function, form in an easy to use package.
Astell & Kern offers 7 unique players across 4 different tiers, each offering a particular set of features.
Astell & Kern norma
The Astell & Kern norma is the junior model in Astell & Kern's core product line.
The A&K norma features a quad core processor, 64GB of onboard storage and dual CS43198 DACs from cirrus logic, all wrapped in milled aluminium casework.
The control input is handled by a 3.3" angled capacitive touch screen and Astell & Kern's custom Android ROM.
This all marries together to give the avid listener a compact, yet performance focused result.
Astell & Kern futura
The futura is the next in the lineup, bringing with it a myriad of upgrades.
A larger case allows the SE100 to host a larger screen, battery and more elaborate circuit design. This includes the Sabre ES9038PRO chip and octa-core processor, enabling faster library management and signal processing.
These features result in a higher performing unit in both sound quality and usability. The case work is also excellent, really feeling premium in the hand and a joy to use.
Astell & Kern ultima
The ultima is the ultimate in Astell & Kern's players. It represents the extent of A&K's commitment to high quality music playback.
While a similar form factor to the SE100, the internals are anything but. The SP1000 features top of the line AK4497EQ DACs (x2) resulting in a whopping 122dB SNR.
The reference clock jitter is also improved over the SE100, coming in at 200 femto seconds (50 femto seconds less than the already impressive 250 of the SE100)
The Ultima also comes in a smaller form factor, but with the same qualities. The SP1000m offers the same overall hardware platform but in a more compact form factor, and slightly smaller battery.
And the rest...
Astell & Kern also range a variety of peripheral DAPs. These fulfill more specific needs, such as high power output, form factor or storage priorities.
The KANN offers large amounts of storage, featuring both micro and standard SD slots. This means up to 768gb of extra storage, on top of 64gb of internal storage making for a whopping 832gb.
The KANN also features immense power, a whopping 6400mah battery and aluminium case work.
The Activo on the other hand, is in stark contrast to the KANN. The Activo is a compact music player, with 16gb of onboard storage and can be expanded with up to 400gb of external storage via microsd.
The Activo can also run other music apps such as Spotify, Soundclound and Pandora.