The M20 promises to be slimmer and lighter than rivals, while still packing enough power to drive a high-end pair of headphones.

Launched at the Bristol Sound & Vision Show, the Acoustic Research M20 aims to deliver most of the best bits from the existing M2 player, while shaving-off a few quid from the price tag - the M20 is due to cost around £600 as opposed to the £900 M2. 

Due on sale in the next couple of months, details were a little thin on the ground but Acoustic Research claims the M20 will deliver "10 to 20 times the power output" of hi-res players from the likes of Astell & Kern and Sony, in an effort to deliver better performance with high-end headphones.

The M2 player at the Bristol Show was driving a pair of Sennheiser's new HD 800 S headphones (yours for a cool £1200), in an effort to demonstrate this point.

The player uses an Android OS with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, offering Wi-Fi access and web browsing.

There's a new DAC, the 32-bit, 384kHz Texas Instruments PCM5242 instead of the PCM1794A found on the more expensive player, but it supports the same hi-res audio formats as its predecessor, including PCM and DSD.

The ALPS potentiometer volume dial on the top right of the M2 has been removed - a significant cost saving - with standard volume adjustment buttons instead found on the side. 

More details as we get them, but look out for the Acoustic Research M20 going on sale in the next month or so for around £649.

MORE: Acoustic Research M2 review

MORE: Best portable music players


Wave Strike's picture


I care nothing about "Hi-Res" as I am a human, limited to 20kHz on my best day. However, I love the idea of having some capability to drive demanding headphones on the go. I also like the idea of an up to date Android heart, instead of way behind like a Sony Walkman.