Astell&Kern crams three different drivers in Zero1 IEMs
Since 2013, Astell&Kern has been employing multiple converters in its high-end digital audio players in the pursuit of better sound, with the latest rocking four DACs and three amps. Now the company is taking that kind of thinking to its in-ear monitors as the Zero1 IEMs launch with three different driver types.
The first of the trio of driver types in each earphone is what's described as a micro rectangular planar dynamic driver with a sturdy and lightweight membrane to minimize frequency loss and a vibration panel featuring a high-polymer and thin metal film for high frequency clarity. Then there are two balanced armature drivers with custom coils for "crystal-clear vocals with super-low distortion." And finally, A&K makes use of a 5.6-mm dynamic driver to take care of the low end.
A&K has precisely positioned each of these drivers within specially designed, 3D-printed acoustic chambers to nip any potential resonance in the bud for the promise of performance stability, and wrapped up all of this impressive miniaturization goodness in a funky angular CNC-machined aluminum housing that matches the style of the company's portable audio players.
The AK Zero1 IEMs come supplied with a hi-fi grade silver-plated oxygen-free copper cable ending in a 3.5-mm headphone jack, but if you want to take advantage of the balanced output offered by A&K's high-end players, you'll need to fork out an extra US$130 for the 4.4-mm PEP11 cable.
The AK Zero1 hybrid in-ear monitors go up for pre-order on November 1 for $699 – ahead of an estimated release date of November 14 – and include five pairs of silicone ear tips and a pair of foam ear tips to help ensure a secure fit.
Product page: AK Zero1