A&K's angular music players now matched with angular Bluetooth speaker
Though many of us listen to music stored on or streamed from our smartphones, some prefer the higher quality listening experience offered by a dedicated player. Astell&Kern has been serving the audiophile community with high-end performers for a number of years, with recent highlights including the SP2000T flagship that has three amplifiers and four digital-to-analog converters squeezed into its angular housing, and the modular SE180.
But if you're on the hunt for a compact high-end Bluetooth speaker to go with your luxury A&K audio player, you might have to look elsewhere – to the likes of Bowers & Wilkins or Bang & Olufsen perhaps. But that's about to change with the launch of the Acro BE100 next month.
The speaker wears a similar angular design to the rest of A&K's audio products, with a metal mesh grille to the front, a faux leather finish to the main unit, and a knurled aluminum volume knob up top that has status lighting underneath.
Rather than rely on the inferior digital-to-analog converter (DAC) embedded in the Bluetooth chipset, A&K has opted for a dedicated 32-bit DAC that's based on the tech found in its digital audio players. The unit rocks a 4-inch Kevlar mid-range/bass driver and two 1.5-inch dome tweeters, driven by the company's own Class-D amplifier with a rated output of 55 watts. A port to the rear is included to extend bass response.
There's Bluetooth 5.0 cooked in with support for aptX HD and LDAC codecs for high resolution streaming at up to 24-bit/48 kHz and 24-bit/96 kHz, respectively. The AAC and SBC codecs are also supported. The system has been equipped with a 50ps clock to minimize jitter, and a 3.5-mm aux input jack sits around back for cabling up to high-resolution digital audio players. Tweaking to personal taste is accommodated via five-level treble and bass adjustment.
The Acro BE100 goes on sale in December in black or white for US$380, and will be available with a built-in FM radio in some locations. Astell&Kern hasn't made this speaker completely wireless though, listeners will need to find a power outlet before pairing with a music source.
Product page: Acro BE100