A new contender in the DAP battle - with a trick up its sleeve
Last week Astell&Kern announced their latest DAP to their product lineup. The SE200 is the second model from the Astell&Kern A&futura premium line of Digital Audio Players. After the first A&futura model, the SE100, Astell&Kern was again thinking about the nature of the word 'Premium' and asked themselves, "What is the value of premium in Hi-Fi and how can we express it in a product?" Their answer was to try something that no one can duplicate; something no one has ever tried before.
The result is the SE200.
- Equipped with the world's first Multi-DAC (2 x ESS ES9068AS + 1 x AKM AK4499EQ)
- Independent AMP structure designed to compliment each DAC's characteristics
- DAC Filters to choose your preferred sound profile
- Audio performance to feel premium Hi-Fi sound presented by Astell&Kern
- Upgrades that add a Premium value experience
Every single element and feature of the SE200 has been updated to make it the best of the A&futura line.
World's First Multi-DAC DAP
The A&futura SE200 is the world’s first Multi-DAC player. Since the release of the Dual DAC AK120 player in 2013, we have not seen any products feature more than Dual DACs in the last seven years. This prompted A&K to ask the question, “Why hasn’t there been more than two DACs in a player?” So, they set out to become the first manufacturer to use more than two DACs and the result is the SE200.
The SE200 features the latest audiophile DACs from ESS, the Sabre ES9068AS in a Dual DAC configuration. Astell&Kern then added a single AK4499EQ, AKM’s flagship DAC that is used in their flagship SP2000. Combining the three DACs, they have produced the world’s first multi-DAC DAP. This pairing exhibits the philosophy of the A&futura line to pursue fundamentally different sounds than found in typical DAPs.
To properly implement multiple DACs, A&K needed to spend twice the amount of time on development and double the amount of time in properly tuning the player. Astell&Kern is not content in keeping things the same all the time. They are constantly working to improve on what they've already achieved which is to bring the most accurately reproduced and best sound to Astell&Kern products.
Independent AMP Sections Designed to Match DAC Characteristics
The SE200 was not designed with one AMP circuit, but multiple, different AMP designs to optimize the different characteristics of the AKM and ESS DACs that are used in the player.
By separating the signals for each channel of Balanced and Unbalanced output, Astell&Kern designed independent circuits that do not interfere with each other to provide the best sound possible.
Your Own Sound Style
The SE200 goes beyond just selecting the best DAC for the type of music you are listening to.
You can now further customize your sound by choosing from a variety of DAC filters provided by the DAC manufacturers allowing you to choose your own preferred sound profile. See below:
Unique Manufacturing Technology That Takes a Step Further
Astell&Kern products are often compared to art sculptures, with colorful faces and angles that are not found in other products. This crafting is done using precise metal processing technology. The SE200 maintains a similar design identity to the SE100 which combines trapezoidal straight lines and curves. These curves are the result of ultra-precision metal processing that has been perfected by Astell&Kern. After experimenting with different materials for the back plate of the SE200, they created a new ceramic rear cover, instead of the glass found on the previous generation SE100. This material not only improves wireless network performance, but produces a more premium feel to the player.
New manufacturing techniques were developed to precisely mold the high-gloss ceramic cover involving seven separate processes. A low-speed processing method is used to prevent cracking and produce a durable backing. The results are a rear cover that is not just beautiful, but functional. The Aluminum body on the SE200 provides maximum sound quality, while suppressing noise as much as possible. Plus, the use of laser ground extension technology gives the best sound possible, without interference or distortion. The vibration-free processing machines used by Astell&Kern are the same ones used by expensive Swiss luxury watch manufacturers. This is reflected in the crafting of the volume wheel which is processed precisely like the crown of a luxury watch for the best operating feel.
Astell&Kern products are designed to achieve perfect integration at whatever angle you look at it in your hands and combine these small parts to make a big difference in the quality of their products that no other manufacturer can match.
A Premium Player Line Evolved
*Some specifications may vary depending on DAC settings and usage environment.
Playback Information Reflected In Light
The SE200 features a volume wheel LED that displays a variety of music playback information including volume range, bit-rate of track currently playing and the current DAC that is being used for playback of music.