HIGH END MUNICH 2018: iriver's Friday night private Astell&Kern party in Munich saw the launch of not only two new high-res players but two whole new lines of players, completing a full refresh which began last year with the SP1000.
That SP1000, launched last year at Munich, introduced the flagship 'A&ultima' range.
At Munich this year, iriver added the SE100 (pictured left above), first player from a stylish new A&futura line, a new premium line and the SR15 (below) from a new standard line to be titled, less excitingly, the A&norma line.
A new In-Ear-Monitor(IEM) from the collaboration between Astell&Kern with Jerry Harvey Audio was also announced in Munich.
The A&futura SE100 shows its premium status with a slim aluminium-alloy body with diamond-patterned glass back plate, while inside it's equipped with the ESS SABRE ES9038Pro DAC, with 4-channels of dedicated processing per left and right channel, playing files up to 32 bit/384kHz PCM audio and Quad DSD natively. It features an updated amplifier design and noise control technologies, an Octa-core CPU, 5-inch touch screen, 128GB internal storage, support for fast charging, with battery life quoted around 10 hours.
The A&norma SR15 is from a new "standard line" designed to "provide those new to high resolution audio a feature-packed introduction to the Astell&Kern brand". Its DAC is the Cirrus Logic CS43198, offering playback up to 24bit/192kHz PCM audio, and single-rated DSD natively, while the solid aluminium alloy body is closer to the design cues of the AK70 series.
The latest fruit of the Siren Series collaboration with Jerry Harvey Audio is a high-end IEM to be called the Billie Jean (above). Originally shown at the 2018 Fujiya AVIC Spring Headphone Festival in Tokyo, Japan it features the patented freqphase waveguide technology from Jerry Harvey Audio in a 2-way 2-BA design, and while wearing your Billie Jeans may not cause the steps beneath your feet to light up as you prowl and prance around the neighbourhood MJ-style, they do incorporate a new internal Acoustic Chamber Sound Bore design claimed to bring a wide soundstage and incomparable dynamic range to in-ear performance.
We await local pricing and availability, but the new IEM is imminent and the two players expected to launch globally in May and June respectively. More information: www.astellnkern.com.au