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Astell&Kern Castor and Moon III loudspeakers at CES 2014

  • With their hitherto top-of-the-line player (the AK120) outselling its cheaper predecessor (the AK100) by something like to 10:1, iRiver’s sub-brand Astell&Kern are pushing even deeper into the luxury DAP territory with their all-new AK240 player, formally launched last week at CES 2014.

    The skinny: dual core processor, 3.3″ 800 x 480 AMOLED touchscreen, up to 320Gb storage, (a switch from Woflson to) 2 x Cirrus Logic 4398 DAC chips (to presumably handle) native DSD playback; the AK100 and AK120 both convert DSD to PCM prior to playback (you knew that, right?). Wifi connectivity on the AK240 will allow users to buy and download (high-res) content direct to the device itself – no intervening PC required.

    Pricing on the AK240 is expected to come in at a not insubstantial US$2400 but, still, the media buzz that swirled like a vortex around the asymmetrically encased portable was enough to make even the most ardent head-fi-er’s head spin.

    astell&kern_CES2014

    However, that wasn’t the big surprise of the Astell&Kern room in Las Vegas last week. On display were (not one but) two sets of loudspeakers – the Castor (bookshelf, left) and Moon III (twin circular, right) – and a 300B tube amplifier, the Cube One (Class A, push-pull, 20 wpc).  Prices are all TBA but Astell&Kern are going two-channel, baby.

    Details on the loudspeakers and amplifier were vague at press time – I had to hammer A&K’s PR guy, Jason Henriques, to extract even this most basic info from him.

    Further particulars to come as soon as we have them.

    Further information: Astell&Kern

    John Darko

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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