CES 2015: Astell & Kern to unveil AK500N desktop network audio player

The AK500N is described as the "ultimate MQS (Mastering Quality Sound) network audio player", with features including one-click CD-ripping, DLNA-based networking capabilities and PCM to DSD conversion.

Two speeds – normal and fast – are available for the purpose of ripping your CDs, with files saved in either WAV or FLAC. Album art and music data are imported from Gracenote's latest database.

MORE: CES 2015 preview – news and rumours

Meanwhile, Astell & Kern says the AK500N is designed to use a built-in battery for noise isolation; blocking out the noise from its AC power supply. Music playback is a battery-only operation.

The dedicated DSD chipset converts high-res 32 bit/384 kHz WAV PCM and 24 bit/352 kHz FLAC PCM files to DSD64 data with no down-sampling. Real time PCM-to-DSD64 playback is available too.

And a range of inputs and outputs are supported, including coaxial, optical and BNC – as well as both fixed and variable analogue outputs. USB and ethernet ports also feature on the AK500N.

The AK500N is due to hit the shelves on these shores in "early 2015" priced at £9000.

MORE: Astell & Kern unveils new AK240 high-res audio player at CES 2014

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.