Astell & Kern has announced the launch of its new AK240 high-resolution portable audio player at CES 2014 – currently taking place in Las Vegas, US.
MORE: CES 2014
The unveiling of the AK240 marks an expansion of A&K's range of portable audio players and builds on the success of the AK100 and AK120 - introduced to the UK late last year.
In addition to a brand-new look, the AK240 includes a series of new features not currently offered by any other high-res portable players on the market.
The new features include 256GB internal memory and one microSD card slot supporting up to 64GB of microSD card storage – resulting in a total of 320GB of music storage.
A dual-core processor allows the AK240 to handle requests and play high-res audio files with no lag time, while users will also be able to connect to music download sites directly from the player.
Other features of the new player include a 3.31in AMOLED touchscreen with 800x480 resolution; Dual Cirrus Logic 4398 Digital-to-Analogue Converter chipsets and native DSD support – including DSD64 and DSD128 files.
The AK120 can play DSD files natively, not having to convert to PCM as is the case on other hi-res music players.
It's also the first Astell & Kern machine to have WiFi. This allows you to download files directly to the player via the Store section of the interface.
This will be stocked with relevant HD audio suppliers for your territory, such as HDtracks. We were told Linn would most likely be one such store in the UK.
Henry Park, CEO of iriver, says: "With the launch of the AK240, Astell & Kern has once again raised the bar in the portable high-resolution audio field."
It is expected the A&K AK240 will be available from early Q1 2014 at a range of high-end audio retailers, as well as online.
We were told the price could be around $2400 in the US, so expect a UK price to be somewhere in that ball-park.
Astell & Kern is not the only manufactuer set to unveil a new high-res player in 2014, with Sony NWZ-ZX1 poised to enter the European market this year.
by Pete Hayman