Astell&Kern has introduced the SE200, the second model in its A&futura series and the world’s first multi-DAC portable player.
After launching its cheapest portable music player in the A&norma SR25, Astell & Kern latest will set customers back a substantial £1799.
But there’s good reason for the price. The SE200 is a world first in that it features two audiophile-calibre Sabre ESS9068AS DACs (in a dual DAC configuration), alongside a single AKM4499EQ (last seen in the flagship SP2000).
This setup allows users to customise the SE200’s sound to suit their tastes as well as the genre of music being played. The multi-DAC functionality can be used separately or together, and there’s a selection of manufacturer-designed DAC filters which offers further options to fine-tune the sound.
Independent AMP circuits mean the ESS and AKM DACs operate without interfering with each other, and the same idea has been employed for the Balanced and Unbalanced audio signals, which have been separated to maintain optimum quality.
From a design perspective, the SE200 is another portable device from A&K that has a bold look. The trapezoid body is made out of noise-suppressing aluminium, with ceramic plates used on the top and rear surface, replacing the glass of the SE100. There’s added use for the ceramic plates other than just looking good: they can withstand more wear, and A&K also claims its inclusion also improves wireless network performance.
The volume wheel LED on the side uses colour coding, so the listener can check volume, bit-rate and the status of the DAC without turning to the screen.
Battery life has been much improved over the SE100, with up to 14 hours of continuous playback. Onboard storage has been ramped up, with 256GB carried inside the SE200’s innards. Up to 1TB of additional space is possible if you furnish the player with a microSD card. Hi-res audio streaming can be accessed via streaming services such as Qobuz and Tidal, while the SE200 offers Wi-Fi connectivity and aptX-HD Bluetooth.
The Astell & Kern A&futura SE200 is available starting today (26th June) for £1799/$1799.