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Astell & Kern unveils a wireless speaker to match its premium music players

Astell & Kern Acro BE100
(Image credit: Astell & Kern)

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. 

Astell & Kern Acro BE100 in black and white

(Image credit: Astell & Kern)

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 and select independent dealers.

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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds. 

  • Navanski
    Premium music player, - given the undisputed Nyquist theory, is it really worth getting one? Well that's a whole debate which I'm not going to get into.
    What I am going to question is the validity of having a hi res music file or stream and pushing it, through Bluetooth, to a large speaker. Despite aptx and LDAC and their best efforts, maximum bitrate is 990khz, not even enough to cope with most FLAC files.
    That makes phrases like '– the Bluetooth chipset is equipped with a 50ps clock to promise supremely accurate sound.' seem a little pointless.
    Given the fact that this box has a 32bit DAC inside perhaps Astell & Kern should have considered some digital inputs. USB could have been particularly useful. Just stick a phone or a PMP on the end and away you go.
    Reply