Now this is really a surprise: Astell & Kern is now presenting a Bluetooth speaker for the first time, but it is supposed to be a solution that can meet even high demands: Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker.
Admittedly, the fact that Astell & Kern is now presenting a Bluetooth speaker with the new Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker is somewhat surprising, since such solutions in the field of personal audio devices are not considered to be products that offer really high-quality music playback. At least not at the level to which the Astell & Kern brand normally feels committed.
However, the manufacturer states that they have done things differently here than other companies do with their solutions.
An “audiophile” Bluetooth speaker?
The new Bluetooth speaker Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 is the result of Astell & Kern’s decades of experience in audio technology and delivers room-filling stereo sound in hi-fi quality despite its compact profile, according to the manufacturer’s promise.
With its dedicated 32-bit DAC and support for the latest 24-bit hi-res audio codecs for wireless streaming via Bluetooth, the Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 is a solution for audiophiles and music lovers alike.
The word Bluetooth alone is an irritant for many audiophiles and is immediately associated with mediocre quality. In fact, this was true for many, many years, but now, and here one has to agree with Astell & Kern, modern chipsets with appropriate signal transmission allow for at least the basis to actually deliver an appealing quality.
Thus, Astell & Kern relies on a module according to Bluetooth 5.0, which on the one hand guarantees a greater range and a more stable wireless connection during streaming than older versions of this standard, and on the other hand also allows a signal transmission from the smartphone, tablet or laptop, which does not have to be accompanied by a loss of quality due to compression. Thus, the new Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker even supports hi-res audio with 24 bit and 48 kHz via the codec aptX HD. In addition, LDAC is also supported, which transmits signals with 24 bit and 96 kHz.
However, both aptX HD and LDAC of course require corresponding source devices; Apple iPhone or iPad, for example, do not offer this, here one is limited to AAC. Many smartphones with Google Android are at least already equipped for aptX HD, but if necessary, aptX is of course also supported with a signal transmission in “CD quality”. SBC would also be available, but this would bring us back to lossy signal transmission.
As an alternative, the Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker also provides an analogue input in the form of a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack, which is mentioned for the sake of completeness.
D/A converter as an essential component
Astell & Kern particularly emphasises the importance of the D/A converter as an essential component for the sound quality. A 32-bit DAC, which is not described in detail, is used. This special DAC is based on the technology of Astell & Kern’s portable digital audio players and is said to ensure that the Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker delivers a superior and detailed reproduction that surpasses that of its competitors.
High-quality Class D amplifier
The amplifier is also essential, the company says, pointing to an Astell&Kern proprietary Class D amplifier that is said to guarantee consistent sound quality without distortion even at the highest volume levels. In addition, a Dynamic Range Control, also known as DRC, protects the speaker unit when the maximum output power is reached.
Stereo sound despite compact dimensions
It is also remarkable that Astell & Kern speaks of stereo sound for the new Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker, even though it is an extremely compact device. Here, too, the company relies on specially developed woofers and tweeters, specifically a 4-inch mid-woofer driver with a diaphragm made of extremely durable yet lightweight Kevlar fabric, which is said to offer a high response speed and for the best timing and precise bass reproduction. Silk dome tweeters are used for crystal clear upper frequencies.
Clear design language
In terms of appearance, Astell & Kern clearly follows the modern design language of its current DAP models. The new Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker also features clear lines and a characteristic, angled design concept, whereby the loudspeaker grille on the front with its triangular shapes of the metal grille is particularly eye-catching. The robust housing with dimensions of 261 x 164 x 171 mm weighs about 3.2 kg and is covered with a high-quality imitation leather. It is available in black or white.
The new Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker delivers a total power of 55 watts, which is distributed with once 25 watts to the low-mid driver and twice 15 watts to the two tweeters. Thus, one is supposed to cover a frequency range between 50 Hz and 20 kHz.
According to the manufacturer, the new Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker will soon be available in specialist shops. The recommended retail price will be € 529.
Getting to the point
It is quite astonishing that Astell & Kern has now also taken up the subject of Bluetooth speakers. Less surprising is that the company claims to offer a solution with the new Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker that is superior to most such products on the market. The company cites its many years of experience in the field of personal audio devices and the unique features of the new Bluetooth speaker as proof of this.
|PRODUCT||ASTELL & KERN ACRO BE100 HI-FI WIRELESS SPEAKER|
|Brand||ASTELL & KERN|
|Distribution Austria||Audio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH|
|Distribution Germany||headphone.shop GmbH|
|Distribution Switzerland||Portacomp AG|
|More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG|