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Astell & Kern SE200 music player promises sonic versatility from multiple DACs

Astell & Kern SE200 music player promises sonic versatility from multiple DACs
(Image credit: Astell & Kern)

Kudos to Astell & Kern’s work ethic; just weeks after launching its latest entry-level portable music player, the formidable A&norma SR25, the brand is already announcing its next offering.

The newbie in question is the A&futura SE200, which joins the SE100 in the premium A&futura range and, the company claims, is the world’s first player to utilise a multi-DAC set-up.

Now, digital players these days often have dual or even quad DAC configurations, but the SE200 actually uses a combination of DAC chips – two Sabre ESS9068AS DACs (in a dual configuration) as well as a single AKM4499EQ (as found in Astell & Kern’s top-of-the-line SP2000 player).

This unique multi-DAC implementation allows owners to customise the SE200’s sound based on their preferences and music type, with DAC filters offering opportunities for further fine-tuning.

(Image credit: Astell & Kern)

To prevent the ESS and AKM DACs from detrimentally interfering with each other, and to thus preserve the integrity of the music signal, Astell & Kern has used independent circuits for each, within which balanced and unbalanced signals are also separated.

While the SE200 very much shares the design DNA of its siblings - what with its trapezoidal aluminium body - the trademark volume wheel is now divided In two to represent the two types of DAC on board. Its LED is colour coded to display volume, bit-rate and DAC status, too.

Spec-wise, there’s 256GB of storage onboard - twice that available on the SE100 and the SP1000M that sits above it in the company's line-up - and up to 1TB of additional capacity can be added via a microSD card. Battery life is a very reasonable 14 hours, too – up from both of its aforementioned siblings.

(Image credit: Astell & Kern)

Power output through the 2.5mm (balanced) and 3.5mm (unbalanced) headphone jacks has also been increased from 4V to 6V and 2V to 3V respectively.

Other familiar Astell & Kern features are present and correct, such as built-in wi-fi and music streaming apps, support for aptX HD Bluetooth, and native file compatibility up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256.

The Astell & Kern A&futura SE200 is available now, priced at £1799 ($1799 / AU$2999), sitting the brand’s line-up between the SE100 and SP1000M. If Astell & Kern's long-running track record is anything to go by, we could be looking at another excellent music player.


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