Music

Astell&Kern looks to its past for latest audio player

Astell&Kern looks to its past ...
The SA700 portable audio player from Astell&Kern
The SA700 portable audio player from Astell&Kern
View 5 Images
The SA700 portable music player features a 4.1-inch touchscreen and new user interface
1/5
The SA700 portable music player features a 4.1-inch touchscreen and new user interface
The SA700 is inspired by the design of one of Astell&Kern's first portable audio players, the AK120
2/5
The SA700 is inspired by the design of one of Astell&Kern's first portable audio players, the AK120
The SA700 is the first to use AK4492ECB DACs
3/5
The SA700 is the first to use AK4492ECB DACs
The SA700 portable audio player from Astell&Kern
4/5
The SA700 portable audio player from Astell&Kern
The LED status ring around the volume dial increases in intensity as the volume increases, and also indicates the bit depth of the song being played
5/5
The LED status ring around the volume dial increases in intensity as the volume increases, and also indicates the bit depth of the song being played

Astell&Kern released the first portable audio player with dual DACs in 2013, marking the company's territory as makers of top notch personal audio gear. And it's the design of the AK120 that has informed the overall look of A&K's latest offering, the SA700.

The latest digital audio player from Astell&Kern also features dual digital-to-analog converters (DAC), and is reported to be the first to use its AK4492ECB chip, which has similar audio performance prowess as the AK4497EQ DACs found in the A&ultima SP2000 flagship, but with lower power consumption.

The overall audio experience is a new one too, with A&K promising a deeper and more robust sound. And the dual-DAC and quad-core processor combination allows for bit-to-bit playback of 32-bit/384 kHz resolution PCM files and native DSD256 to 11.2 MHz. There's 128 GB of NAND storage inside, with up 1 TB extra available via microSD.

The SA700 portable music player features a 4.1-inch touchscreen and new user interface
The SA700 portable music player features a 4.1-inch touchscreen and new user interface

The brick-like stainless steel body rocks a knurled volume dial jutting out from the right side, which has an LED indicator at its base that changes intensity as volume increases and color depending on the bit depth of the song being played. On the front you'll find a 4.1-inch, 720 x 1,280-pixel touch display running a new user interface. Users have a choice of 3.5 mm unbalanced output and 4-pole, 2.5 mm balanced out, and there's a single USB-C input port to the bottom.

Elsewhere, the SA700 features Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11n Wi-Fi, a number of music streaming services can be installed on the player using the Open APP service, including Spotify, Deezer and TiDAL, and the battery should be good for up to 8.5 hours of playback per 4.5 hour charge.

The new audio player is due to ship in December for US$1,299.

Product page: SA700

1 comment
Spud Murphy
One reason why most mobile devices have rounded corners is so that they don't dig into you when in pockets. This thing looks like it could easily cause injury if it pressed into you, seems like a big design fail to me.