Astell & Kern, a manufacturer of hi-end speaker systems, has presented a new model of the A & futura SE180 audio player, in which the technology of replaceable sound modules is implemented for the first time. The idea is that the user can quickly and easily rearrange the physical blocks of the player, radically changing the characteristics of the device. This approach is opposed to the usual software emulation with its inherent flaws in the reproduction of shades of sounds.
Default configuration includes SEM1 module with eight-channel digital-to-analog converter (DAC) ES9038PRO. It has support for DSD256 and PCM 32 bit / 384 kHz. The module is equipped with three headphone jacks: 2.5, 3.5 and 4.4 mm.
The second SEM2 module, which will appear a little later, is much more efficient. Two AK4497EQ DACs are installed here in a “dual-mono” configuration, support for PCM 32-bit / 768 kHz and DSD512 is declared. The headphone jacks are the same.
For the SEM1 module the signal-to-noise ratio is 129 dB, for the SEM2 module 127 dB. The player interface supports the Open App service for connecting popular streaming music services. Built-in storage capacity 256 GB, expandable with memory cards up to 1 TB.