If the time period “entry stage” brings to thoughts fundamental no-frills performance and wallet-friendly pricing, Astell&Kern has a couple of surprises in retailer with the second era of its A&norma SR25 digital audio participant (DAP), which guarantees improved sound efficiency and extra connectivity for just below US$750.
On the surface, issues are just about the identical as final yr’s mannequin – the aluminum housing sports activities acquainted angular traces, the offset LCD contact panel remains to be funky however unchanged, there is a knurled quantity wheel to at least one facet (which has been made extra outlined for this mannequin) and it nonetheless ideas the scales at about 6.27 oz (~178 g).
However A&Okay is promising a a lot improved listening expertise, providing extra element than its predecessor – “the pure high-resolution sonics ship clearly outlined higher and decrease ranges and a deeper, extra rounded sound.” Replay Acquire performance launched within the $2,500 SP2000T participant earlier within the yr makes it by way of to this entry-point DAP, which auto adjusts playback quantity throughout tracks (as much as a decision of 24-bit/192 kHz) for a constant listening expertise.
There’s additionally an additional output port up prime. Becoming a member of the three.5-mm unbalanced and a couple of.5-mm balanced ports is a 4.4-mm balanced headphone jack which is reported to supply improved dynamic vary and bass response, and unfold the audio out over a wider soundstage.
The SR25 MkII additionally positive factors AK File Drop launched with the SE180 mannequin to assist make wi-fi file switch a breeze, and there is a function to connect with an exterior music supply reminiscent of a smartphone over Bluetooth “enabling music to be performed again in high-quality on the Astell&Kern participant.”
Wi-fi connectivity choices stay as earlier than, with Bluetooth 4.2 supporting aptX HD and LDAC codecs for high-resolution playback and 802.11n Wi-Fi for streaming from in style companies by way of a house router. There’s nonetheless 64 GB of NAND storage with microSD card growth, twin Cirrus Logic DACs and a quad-core CPU stay, and the gadget helps native playback of 32-bit/384-kHz PCM or DSD256 audio information. However there’s now additional silver-plated shielding inside to guard elements from electromagnetic interference.
Per-charge battery life does seem to take a little bit of successful although. A&Okay reckons that listeners will get about 20 hours when taking part in 16-bit/44.1-kHz FLAC information by way of the unbalanced headphone jack at about 50 p.c quantity with the EQ and show off. That is about an hour lower than with the earlier mannequin. Complete harmonic distortion is 0.0006 p.c by way of the three.5-mm jack, or 0.0005 p.c by way of the balanced outputs.
The A&norma SR25 MkII participant goes on sale from early November for $749.
Product web page: A&norma SR25 MKII