Astell and Kern’s new music player has impressive specs – but it will cost you

Astell&Kern’s latest portable music player, the SA700, promises a ‘new sound signature’ thanks to a buffed-up dual DAC system. But it will set you back a hefty £1,295.

The company is well-known for producing sharp-edged, high-spec products that get audiophiles drooling. The new SA700 combines solid hardware with a nostalgic design that takes inspiration from the company’s 2013 portable player, the AS120. Trying to picture it? Think chunky metal steel box with a sleek display screen.

Although Astell&Kern’s previous audio players have used dual DAC systems, this will be the first device to ever feature a system comprised of two AKM AK4492ECB DACs. Presumably, this is one of the reasons that the new device is priced at a ‘reasonable’ £1,295 – the company’s words, not ours.

Related: Astell&Kern A70 review

That said, this price is pretty average for the company’s high-end portable music products. Astell&Kern players range from around $599 to $4,999, according to the company site.

In addition to the new DAC design, the SA700 has a revamped volume wheel with an intuitive LED indicator. The lights around the wheel now give you information on your music as you play, such as the song’s volume or the bit-depth. There is, of course, the option to turn this off for people who don’t want a disco going on in their pocket.

Related: Best headphones 2019

The player has considerable storage at 128GB and there’s even an option to expand this further through a microSD card slot. There’s also both balanced (2.5mm) and unbalanced (3.5mm) outputs for headphones, along with Bluetooth aptX HD that allows you to listen without wires. And in terms of audio quality, the device features bit-to-bit playback up to 32-bit, 384KHz and native DSD playback up to 11.2MHz,

Anyone who’s yearning to grab the new device in a dreamy mint colour or shiny rose-gold finish, will sadly have to keep dreaming. It’s only available in onyx black or stainless steel for now.

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