High End 2015 Hot Product
Astell & Kern is keeping the pressure on the high-resolution portable market with a new flagship player, the AK380 ($3500). This has a bigger screen than the AK240 and runs 32-bit AKM DACs in balanced mode. You can get the full benefit of this with the XLR-output-equipped dock. A&K have also developed a couple other ancillary products for the AK380. One is an amplifier and the other a disc ripper, so that you can transfer your CD collection straight to the player. Pricing for these accessories has not been set.
The company has also created a two-box amplifier system to go with the striking AK500N network audio player. The AK500A ($8000) is a 100Wpc power amplifier that sits under the streamer and has balanced inputs alongside WBT speaker outputs. It comes with a separate power supply that sits at the bottom of a dedicated, LED-illuminated rack for the complete AK500 system.
There is also something in the pipeline for the entry-level enthusiast. The T1 is a wireless all-in-one system that has a streamer with the innards of an AK120; multiple midrange, treble and bass drivers; and both analog and digital amplifiers. The price has yet to be confirmed as the unit shown is still a prototype.
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