Astell & Kern looks to build on Award-winning success with A&norma SR35 music player

Astell Kern SR35 mp3 player lifestyle
(Image credit: Astell & Kern)

South Korean music player purveyor Astell & Kern has launched the A&norma SR35 portable music player and AK ZERO2 in-ear headphones.

The announcement comes hot off the heels of the company's recent reveal of its limited-edition version of the Award-winning SR25 MKII with improved storage capacity and a new colour scheme. Considering the SR25 MKII is our favourite portable music player at the more 'budget' level, we’re excited to see what a fully-fledged upgrade looks like in the shape of the just-announced SR35.

By the sounds of it, it could look pretty tasty. The new SR35 is the first model in the 'entry-level' A&norma range to feature the company's New Generation AMP technology, an in-house amplifier that “eliminates noise at a high-power output” in an attempt to provide “the clearest possible, distortion-free sound”.

The SR35 offers 20 hours of continuous playtime, as well as adjustable sound and power output via Dual/Quad DAC switching mode. The firm's patented Teraton Alpha technology, meanwhile, provides “balanced dynamics and class-leading resolution throughout listening sessions”.

Further, Dual Band Wi-Fi (2.4/5GHz) should deliver bolstered network performance, available across a variety of streaming and Roon Ready platforms.

There are more visible changes, too. Firstly, the SR35 opts for a reimagined user interface, as well as a new album artwork search that lets “audio connoisseurs rediscover the joy of the art form.”

AK Zero 2 in-ear earbuds

(Image credit: Astell & Kern)

Secondly, when it comes to the player's physical shape, things are decidedly abstract, with the SR35 sticking with the distinct and architecturally ambitious shape of the company's other designs. According to A&K, the shape indicates the "strength and consistency of the unrivalled audio performance”.

This may all sound like marketing hyperbole, but "unrivalled audio performance" is a phrase that Astell & Kern has earned the right to use. Considering how superb we found the SR25’s audio delivery, this could be more than mindless rhetoric. Either way, we’re excited to find out. 

We’re also excited by the prospect of A&K’s upgraded AK Zero in-ear headphones. The big draw of the sequel comes from the ZERO2’s angled aluminium design and the Planar Dynamic Driver. Added to the mix come two Coil Parameter Dual Custom BA Drivers to reproduce both full range and mid-to-low range frequencies with an “ultra-low distortion design” for better vocal clarity, coupled with a 10mm Dynamic Driver with Piezoelectric Transducer tech that A&K asserts will deliver greater tonal range.

There’s also a four-core oxygen-free copper cable, MMCX connectors, an ear-conducive shape for enhanced listening comfort and an “array of ear-tip options”, although what number “array” actually amounts to isn’t entirely clear. 

The AK ZERO2 earbuds are available for £1099/$1050/AU$1849, while the A&norma SR35 media player is on sale at £799/$800/AU$1299.


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Check out our five-star Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII review

Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. During his time at the publication, he has written countless news stories alongside features, advice and reviews of products ranging from floorstanding speakers and music streamers to over-ear headphones, wireless earbuds and portable DACs. He has covered launches from hi-fi and consumer tech brands, and major industry events including IFA, High End Munich and, of course, the Bristol Hi-Fi Show. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or trying to pet strangers' dogs.