Astell&Kern will begin global shipping in May of the SR25 portable high-resolution audio player – the second player in the standard A&norma line.
The A&norma line, at $699, is pegged by Astell&Kern as a “mass premium” product, and is an upgrade of the Astell&Kern SR15. The SR25 features two Cirrus Logic 43198 MasterClass DACs in dual-mono configuration like the SR15, but adds a number of new features. It supports native playback of DSD256 and 32-bit/384KHz PCM high-resolution audio.
The model, which features 64GB of internal memory with support for microSD cards up to 1TB, includes a first for Astell&Kern players; it adds LDAC Bluetooth support, allowing users to wirelessly stream 24-bit hi-res audio to compatible speakers, headphones or IEMs. The SR25 provides 20-plus hours of continuous music playback, which is more than twice the playback time of the SR15 and longer than any other Astell&Kern player.
Other features include a 3.6-inch HD touchscreen, Wi-Fi, DLNA networking, USB digital audio output, aptX HD, and the ability to use the SR25 as a USB DAC for a Mac or Windows PC. The SR25 also supports MQA, and with a full decoder built in, 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 Tidal app, allowing users to stream high-resolution audio via Tidal Masters.
Astell&Kern’s latest user interface and support for Open App service is included in the SR25, which adds Android APK support, allowing listeners to install additional music streaming services to their player by copying and installing the corresponding APK file for the music service they wish to add. Services supported include Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, Qobuz, SiriusXM, Tune-In, myTuner, Bandcamp and Deezer (supported streaming services varies by country). Offline content for supported apps can be stored in either internal or external player memory so listening to favorite music streaming service tracks on the go is possible, says the company.
The aluminum body of the SR25, which also is said to suppress noise and improve sound quality, is reminiscent of a metal art sculpture, as described by the maker, who adds that the moving angle design on the front of the player invokes the feeling of pulsating rhythm while listening to music. The company further states that high-precision machining of the volume wheel is done with a vibration-free machine – the same machines that are used in the production of luxury Swiss watches.