Astell & Kern, a firm more readily associated with its premium hi-res audio players, has just released a Bluetooth wireless speaker called the Acro BE100.
Promising room-filling, hi-fi calibre stereo sound that belies it compact profile, the Acro BE100 sports a dedicated 32-bit DAC and boasts Bluetooth 5.0 support for the latest 24-bit hi-res quality wireless streaming codecs, including aptX HD (48kHz) and LDAC (96kHz).
The brutalist, angular aesthetic on the metal-grille mesh is carried over from the likes of the Astell & Kern Kann Alpha and A&norma SR25 MKII, and the main unit is finished in faux-leather. Under the bonnet, a custom 4-in Kevlar woofer and two 1.5-in silk dome tweeters are powered by A&K's specially-developed class D amplifier to boast 55W total power. A rear port is installed to extend the speaker’s bass response, too.
On the top-right of the unit, in another fun nod to the company's high-end portable music players, sits an aluminium-hewn knurling-patterned knob for accurate fine tuning of the volume. And at 3.2kg, it's a far more substantial beast though – you certainly won't be slipping this A&K product into your pocket.
The area below the volume control illuminates to act as an indicator, flashing different colours for each mode or volume level.
In addition, dynamic range control (DRC) is used to protect the speaker unit as it hits maximum output power. To minimise jitter – the undesired deviation in time from the transmitted signal – the Bluetooth chipset is equipped with a 50ps clock to promise supremely accurate sound.
Elsewhere, music fans can tweak the sound with the onboard five-level treble and bass settings, while a 3.5mm AUX input allows the physical connection of Astell & Kern’s portable digital audio players and similar devices.
A version of the Acro BE100 featuring FM radio is also available in selected countries, although we're unsure of the exact details on this.
The Astell & Kern Acro BE100 is priced £449 / $380 / AU$549 and will be available from December at Astell & Kern (opens in new tab) and select independent dealers.
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