High-resolution sound on streaming services allows you to fully appreciate the rich tones and emotional nuance of your music. However, as headphone ports disappear on smartphones, it makes it increasingly difficult to use wired earphones that deliver high quality sound, and people experience the limitations of wireless transmission and slow response speeds. Music lovers who wish to enjoy true high-quality Hi-Fi sound rather than what is currently being delivered by smartphone wireless standards and computers' built-in sound cards are becoming deeply concerned.
Supports 4.4mm Balanced Output
Powerful 4Vrms Output
Equipped With CS43198 Dual DAC for True Hi-Fi Sound
Dual Shielded Cable
Full Aluminum Refined Material
Compatible With iOS and Android Devices
Optional Android APP (For Detailed Volume Control)
The Astell&Kern HC2 USB-C Dual DAC Cable features two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHIFI™ DACs, a MasterHIFI™-level DAC that graces only a select few products, including the A&norma series, that are proven and celebrated by music lovers. The HC2 provides Native DSD256 and 32-bit/384kHz support that enables it to play back high-quality sound files so you can enjoy the luxury and premium sound quality of Astell&Kern.
With its compact size and uncompromising performance, the HC2 makes it easy to enjoy real Hi-Fi sound anytime, anywhere. Astell&Kern is adored by countless music lovers thanks to our dedication and meticulous delivery of the original sound with our signature DAPs, or portable high resolution audio players. We included the Astell&Kern technology and know-how that has been accumulated from our DAPs over the years in this small device, measuring just 14x53mm. We used micro resistors and capacitor parts to achieve the small dimensions without compromising performance. Tailored ultra-small tantalum capacitors, which are used in AK player products to create a stable system and audio performance by controlling the power fluctuations, are also included to create the optimal audio circuit. In addition, the output and audio performance are enhanced with Astell&Kern's unique technology while minimizing current consumption in consideration of the connected device. This enables you to enjoy the original sound without any distortion even when using high-impedance headphones or sensitive earphones.
HC2 uses a 4.4mm balanced output—unlike the previous model that used a 3.5mm unbalanced output—allowing a greater variety of headphones and earphones that are made for Hi-Fi sound to be used optimally with a small USB DAC. With the use of the 4.4mm balanced output, a higher output can be achieved with clearer channel separation while minimizing noise that may occur with an unbalanced output. With HC2 you can enjoy high-quality sound via a balanced output that brings out the best performance in your headphones or earphones.
Connect directly to a Windows PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet with a USB-C port that supports plug & play, without needing a separate conversion adapter, and enjoy high-quality sound. The HC2 utilizes power from the connected playback device so it does not need to be charged or be connected to a separate external sound card, AMP or DAC. Just connect HC2 to experience high-fidelity sound from a computer or mobile device. The HC2 is also compatible with iOS devices using the included USB-C to Lightning adapter.
*TRS and TRRS 4.4mm earphones and headphones can all be used, but note that the in-line controller and microphone features of TRRS earphones and headphones are not supported.
HC2 has a rear audio output design to minimize noise. Most USB DAC products have the DAC positioned in the USB terminal that is connected directly to the device to process and output audio. However, with the HC2, digital signals from the device go through the dual shielded cable to the audio circuit before being converted to an analog signal by the DAC. By processing the digital signal after, the result is superior, noise-free sound compared to other USB DAC products.
The HC2 features a dual shielded cable to minimize noise and deliver more vivid, original sound. The copper core wire is coated with tin to prevent corrosion and strengthen tensile force for enhanced durability. In addition, the entire cable is wrapped in an aluminum film to block noise, the biggest issue in audio, then the tin-coated copper wire is woven to minimize noise interference to sound.
As is common with USB DACs, compatibility issues can arise such as different connected devices being set automatically to maximum volume output or playback at too low volume. To resolve such issues and offer more greater control over volume and function of the HC2, we have developed a companion app for Android OS devices.
Roon’s fundamental goal is to provide a consistently stellar user experience. This goal doesn’t stop at the software... the experience extends all the way down to the audio playback hardware, regardless of manufacturer. As a Roon Tested partner, Astel&Kern has provided equipment to Roon for testing with a variety of different operating systems and computers, and shared information about its design and capabilities. We have a direct relationship with Roon and in many cases, the Roon support team has our devices on hand, so you can confidently choose to use Astell&Kern hardware with Roon.
The design concept of AK HC2 is "Slope." Considering that it is a portable accessory that can be connected to mobile devices, we incorporated the design philosophy of Astell&Kern’s balanced design as well as its usability. The easy-to-grip design and the sloping side that runs diagonally on the hexagonal prism-shaped aluminum body that symbolizes the powerful performance of the 4.4mm dual DAC cable are the key features of the design. The sharp-cut slope embodies the design identity of Astell&Kern's surfaces and lines and is designed to offer an easy connection to the headphone port. It allows the users to focus on the flow of the "AK Life" experience that unfolds as you connect your earphones. The front is designed to be subtle, other than the parting lines and a small logo, not allowing for distraction, and is perfected with a tough, yet refined finish. This is intended so the user can focus on the shape and sculpting and make them feel like they are holding something that is more than a product.
This product is compatible with most Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, Windows 10/11 and macOS products. In some cases, it may not be compatible or may be restricted depending on the hardware, software and/or system of the device that you connect. When connecting to a Windows PC, the driver will automatically be recognized and installed. For high-quality sound files, you are required to install a separate USB DAC driver which can be downloaded from the Download tab on this product page. To play DSD and high-quality PCM sound files on a smartphone, you must install a separate free/paid player program that supports high-resolution audio playback. (When using the default player app on a mobile device, the file will be downsampled. Please make sure to play it with a different player app.) Make sure check the volume on your connected player device before using headphones or earphones. Some devices may automatically set the output level to maximum volume when the cable is connected. Listening to headphones or earphones at maximum volume may damage your hearing. Please verify the volume level before each use. Do not connect the USB-C Dual DAC Cable to an Astell&Kern player. When connecting the cable to a player and using it as an external DAC, the output volume will be fixed at the maximum volume setting. It is not possible to adjust the volume through the Astell&Kern player. Listening at maximum or a high-volume setting may cause serious damage to your hearing. Astell&Kern, its affiliates and agencies, cannot be held liable for any damage or injuries from negligent or inappropriate use. Firmware updates may be released periodically for stability improvements. For more information on firmware updates and to check if a firmware update is available, please check the Download tab on this product page.
|Cirrus Logic CS43198 x 2 (Dual-DAC)
|PCM: Support up to 32-Bit/384kHz
|DSD Native: DSD64 (1-bit, 2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128 (1-bit, 5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256 (1-bit, 11.2MHz)
|USB Type-C Input (For Windows 10, Android Smartphone & Tablet PC, macOS)
|Power On/Off Indicator
|USB Plug: 12mm [W] x 21mm [H] x 6.5mm [D]
|4.4mm Headphone: 22.8mm [W] x 60mm [H] 12.1mm [D]
|±0.011dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
|±0.145dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced
|122dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
|-146dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
|0.0004% @ 1kHz, Balanced
|0.0003%, 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Balanced