Another week, another Astell & Kern product launch. After unveiling a pair of high performance in-earphones, the South Korean firm has unleashed MKII of its entry level A&norma SR25 portable music player.
The cliff notes see the A&norma SR25 MKII benefit from improvements to sound, the addition of a 4.4mm balanced jack, new wireless features and tweaked design.
The A&norma SR25 MKII continues Astell & Kern’s eclectic sense of design with its angular, asymmetric look, but comes with a more defined and tactile volume wheel and comes in a darker hue of silver. Protection is provided by a case available in a choice of three finishes (Denim Blue, Orange and Black) that guards against external shocks and scratches, as well as offering “excellent grip”.
Another form of protection is provided with the SR25 MKII’s internal silver plated shielding, to eliminate electromagnetic interference when the player is operation. By doing so, this should reduce any performance sapping effect on the sound.
And the sound quality has been improved, with Astell & Kern claiming it presents more detail its predecessor, “the natural high-resolution sonics deliver clearly defined upper and lower ranges”, along with a deeper, more rounded sound.
The the balanced 4.4mm headphone jack joins the 2.5mm (balanced) and 3.5mm (unbalanced) outputs, allowing users to connect a wider range and variety of headphones. With the 4.4mm balanced output, the benefits of plugging in through this socket is “improved dynamic range and bass response”, a wider soundstage, clearer imaging and more subtle details captured from the source audio.
There’s no change in the range of music formats the SR25 MKII supports with LDAC and aptX-HD, and native playback for resolutions as high as DSD256 and 32-bit/384KHz PCM.
Another new feature appears in the form of Replay Gain, which “automatically and uniformly” adjusts volume playback from sound sources up to 24-bit/192 kHz, so the volume remains consistent regardless of the source.
Also new to this player is the File Drop feature (first introduced with the A&futura SE180 player) for easier wireless file transfers; and the BT Sink function that connects the SR25 MKII to an external device via Bluetooth, to allow for playback on the Astell&Kern.
Priced at £699 / $749 / €799, the Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 MKII goes on sale early November from the A&K website and local independent dealers. the protective case costs £59 / $60 / €69.