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.
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