Music

A&K combines music player and headphone amp for Acro CA1000 all-in-one

A&K combines music player and ...
The Acro CA1000 has two balanced and two unbalanced outputs to the front, plus a four-step gain for driving audiophile headphones
The Acro CA1000 has two balanced and two unbalanced outputs to the front, plus a four-step gain for driving audiophile headphones
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Astell&Kern gives the Acro CA1000 high-end headphone amplifier its own digital audio player
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Astell&Kern gives the Acro CA1000 high-end headphone amplifier its own digital audio player
The Acro CA1000 has two balanced and two unbalanced outputs to the front, plus a four-step gain for driving audiophile headphones
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The Acro CA1000 has two balanced and two unbalanced outputs to the front, plus a four-step gain for driving audiophile headphones
The Acro CA1000 can also output to powered speakers, like A&K's own Acro BE100 Bluetooth speaker
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The Acro CA1000 can also output to powered speakers, like A&K's own Acro BE100 Bluetooth speaker
The design of the prominent volume wheel to the side is "inspired by rugged space-age exploration vehicles"
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The design of the prominent volume wheel to the side is "inspired by rugged space-age exploration vehicles"
A good selection of inputs/outputs include optical, coaxial, USB-C and RCA
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A good selection of inputs/outputs include optical, coaxial, USB-C and RCA
The integrated music player features a 4.1-inch touchscreen display for playback control
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The integrated music player features a 4.1-inch touchscreen display for playback control
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Though perhaps mostly known for its high-end digital audio players like the mighty A&ultima SP2000T, Astell&Kern also has ear candy, speakers and amps in its product lineup. Now the company has combined a desktop headphone amp with a music player for a blocky all-in-one system known as the Acro CA1000.

The hybrid headphone amp/music player's angular aluminum base measures 4.12 x 1.77 x 5.85 in (104.9 x 45 x 148.8 mm) and tips the scales at 32.41 oz (919 g), and is home to a quad-core system processor and four ES9068AS digital-to-analog converters supporting 32-bit/384-kHz PCM format playback as well as native DSD512.

And the unit also features A&K's Teraton Alpha audio technology launched in the SE180 digital audio player, which "is designed to deliver audio playback close to the original sound through the audio output interface by use of effective power noise removal, efficient power management and amplification with minimal distortion."

To the front are outputs for 2.5-mm and 4.4-mm balanced headphone connections and 2.5-mm and 6.35-mm unbalanced, with each output physically separated for signal clarity, and there's a four-step gain for driving demanding audiophile cans. To the right is a gorgeous knurled volume wheel "inspired by rugged space-age exploration vehicles," while analog and digital inputs sit around back for connecting the unit to external music sources.

The Acro CA1000 can also output to powered speakers, like A&K's own Acro BE100 Bluetooth speaker
The Acro CA1000 can also output to powered speakers, like A&K's own Acro BE100 Bluetooth speaker

But this headphone amplifier comes with an integrated music player, which can't be removed from the setup but can be raised at an angle for easier interfacing with the 4.1-inch, 720 x 1,280-pixel touchscreen display.

Dual-band Wi-Fi makes for easy wireless file transfer from a PC or smartphone, where 256 GB of onboard storage is waiting, plus a microSD card slot to expand that by up to 1 TB. Users can also stream high-resolution content to the unit over Bluetooth 5.0 with support for 24-bit aptX HD and LDAC codecs.

And though it may not look like it, the system is designed for portability and comes with a built-in 8,400-mAh battery for up to 10.5 hours of playback, with fast-charging topping up to 50 percent in an hour or a full charge taking 2.5 hours.

The Acro CA1000 goes on sale next month for US$2,100.

Product page: Acro CA1000

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1 comment
1 comment
ljaques
Only $2,100? I'll take two. They're small. Or one could opt for a Pyle at $20, or a vacuum tube NOBsound at $52.