Astell & Kern has announced a new A&futura SE300 portable music player, as well as the Aura wired in-ear headphones.
Astell & Kern has made a name for itself with its high-fidelity portable music players, with the A&norma SR25 MKII and A&future SE180 both claiming 2022 What Hi-Fi? Awards trophies. The new A&futura SE300 is priced higher than both these models, and comes equipped with an R-2R DAC, also known as a Ladder DAC thanks to the arrangement of its resistors. The South Korean brand promises that this will deliver “a natural hi-fi sound with unrivalled dynamism”.
The SE300 uses technology known as “Teraton Alpha”, Astell & Kern's own system that uses noise removal, efficient power management and unwavering amplification for a more faithful sonic reproduction.
As is usual for A&K, hi-res file support is extensive (up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256) and the player supports Tidal, Spotify, Amazon and Qobuz streaming services (amongst others). Bluetooth aptX HD and LDAC codecs are supported alongside wi-fi, too. There are balanced (2.5mm, 4.4mm) and unbalanced (3.5mm) outputs to cater to a wide variety of headphones.
On the outside, the A&futura SE300 is made from a blend of stainless steel and aluminium, boasting streamlined surfaces which “create a firm yet flexible image to reflect the flow of music”. There’s also an external wheel for controlling volume, while the bottom of the device curves outward for a more ergonomic design when handled.
The SE300 also comes with a redesigned user interface. The new layout promises an easy album art search function so that listeners can seamlessly browse categories while viewing and interacting with album art.
What about those in-ear headphones? A&K has collaborated with German company Vision Ears to produce the high-end Aura wired in-ears. Made in Cologne, the Aura are equipped with two 8mm low dynamic drivers and eight armature drivers, as well as a five-way crossover for better high frequencies.
There’s also a “unique isobaric configuration” so that the drivers face each other in order to deliver what Astell & Kern promises will be double the output volume.
The new headphones are cased in an aluminium, corrosion-resistant shell with a grey finish, with a dark bronze faceplate at the front of the buds. Furthermore, the Aura in-ears are sold with a selection of leather carry cases, earphone pockets and cable clips.
The SE300 music player will be available at astellnkern.co.uk and other trusted retailers for a recommended retail price of £1899 / €2199 / $1900 / AU$3099, whereas the Aura earphones will cost a whopping great £4199 / €4799 / $4200 / AU$6899 at the same trusted outlets.
Both products will be on show at this year’s High End Munich Show, which takes place next week from 18th to 21st May. You can find them at Astell & Kern’s stand, Booth H1, E03.
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Read our review of the Award-winning Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII
Check out our Astell & Kern A&futura SE180, also an Award-winner