Astell&Kern Adds MQA Support to Latest High-Res Portable Players
Portable high-resolution audio player maker Astell&Kern has announced new firmware updates that this month add MQA support for the A&ultima SP1000M, A&futura SE100 and A&norma SR15. MQA support was added to the A&ultima SP1000 in November.
MQA’s technology captures and reproduces the sound of the original studio master in a file that’s small enough to stream and download easily. With the Tidal Masters integration, users can stream thousands of MQA tracks on their players.
Astell&Kern says its players with MQA support have a full decoder built in, so they can unfold all the way to the original resolution of the file. MQA playback is supported both via downloaded MQA audio files and through the embedded Tidal app, allowing users to stream high-resolution audio via Tidal Masters.
The A&ultima line of players is equipped with two AK4497EQ DACs. A separate digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is dedicated to each independent left and right audio channel for a wider soundstage and better stereo separation.
A&ultima players support native playback of up to 32-bit/384kHz high-resolution PCM audio and native playback of DSD audio, up to DSD256. The line also supports fast charging and data transfer via USB-C.
The A&ultima SP1000 includes 256GB of internal memory and features a 5-inch HD screen. The A&ultima SP1000M includes 128GB of internal memory, features a 4.1-inch HD screen.
The A&futura SE100 is equipped with a professional-grade DAC chip from ESS, the SABRE ES9038Pro, which offers 8-channel procession of sound inputs. There are four channels of dedicated processing per left and right channel.
The A&norma SR15 is the first model from Astell&Kern’s new standard line of players, designed as an introductory model for consumers new to high resolution audio.
All current-generation Astell&Kern players also include both 3.5mm unbalanced and 2.5mm balanced outputs, Wi-Fi connectivity, support for the AK Connect app, USB DAC function, DLNA networking support, OTA software updates, digital audio output via USB, aptX HD Bluetooth, microSD card slot to support additional storage up to 2TB, and support for music streaming services via embedded apps and the new Open App service (support for streaming services varies by country).