Bristol Show 2015: Acoustic Research launches UA1 high-res DAC and M2 portable music player

The high-end unit is described as being "totally separate" from its more affordable products that you may be familiar with, with the AR UA1 and AR M2 both on sale next month [March].

First out of the blocks at the beginning of the month will be the AR UA1, a £400 audiophile-grade high-resolution USB DAC and headphone amp compatible with Windows and Mac.

MORE: High-resolution audio – everything you need to know

It features gold-plated brass connectors and a powerful amp that Acoustic Research claims will drive "any audiophile headphones", along with the company's M-Class D/A engine.

The M-Class engine has isolated digital and analogue stages, making use of Burr-Brown's PCM1794A DAC and dual Burr-Brown OPA2134 current/voltage convertor.

It'll come with software designed for FLAC, DSD64, DSD128, DXD, WAV, AIFF and ALAC files, while you can also use the AR UA1 to play your music back through stereo speakers.

MORE: Read all our portable product reviews and news

And due for release towards the end of March is the £900 AR M2, a high-resolution music player that aims to compete with similar products from the likes of Astell & Kern and Sony.

This portable player can play DSD and DXD audio files directly, with formats such as WAV, AIFF, ALAC and FLAC also supported. It also houses the M-Class Analogue Engine too.

Other features include the flexible memory expansion thanks to microSD and USB, while it delivers up to nine hours of music on the go. Not only that, but it supports Android apps.

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Pete was content editor on What Hi-Fi?, overseeing production and publication of digital content. In creating and curating feature articles for web and print consumption, he provided digital and editorial expertise and support to help reposition What Hi-Fi? as a ‘digital-first’ title; reflecting the contemporary media trends. He is now a senior content strategist.