There are a few things you can count on from a new digital audio player by Astell&Kern: high quality, a high price tag, an angular body shape and an odd moniker. The Korean hi-fi gear maker’s latest model is no exception, but is being pitched as the company’s most affordable high resolution player yet.
The A&norma SR25 replaces 2018’s SR15 as the luxury brand’s entry-level digital audio player. But “entry level” still means you’ll be spending over half a grand to experience the device’s promised bit-perfect playback. That said, though the asking price of US$699 may seem pretty steep to many of us, it’s a fraction of the ticket price for the company’s flagship A&ultima SP2000.
Astell&Kern says that the SR25 is the first entry-level player in its line to support native DSD256 and 32-bit/384-kHz PCM format playback, it’s also the first to support the LDAC Bluetooth codec, and it has the longest battery life of the current batch for up to 21 hours of continuous listening. The firmware running on the portable music machine is based on Android 9.0, and the 3.6-inch, 720 x 1,280 resolution TFT display panel is reported an improvement over what’s come before.
At the heart of the device is a quad-core processor and dual Cirrus Logic CS43198 DACs (digital-to-analog converters), with an Ultra Low Noise Filter for clean and clear output. There’s a new Performance Mode for auto optimization of the system and memory to ensure that the processing of high resolution audio files are handled smoothly for “near perfect sound quality.”
The 4.26 x 2.5 x 0.63-in (108.3 x 63.5 x 16.1-mm), 6.27-oz (178-g) player has balanced and unbalanced outputs, Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX HD as well as LDAC codec support, and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.
The official release date for the A&norma SR25 is May 18, but pre-orders are due to open on May 4. And if you want some Astell&Kern earphones to go with your new player, the second generation AK T9iE wired buds will cost you another $1,299. Yikes!
Product page: SR25
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