- Astell & Kern wants to offer the future of analogue sound with the latest DAP of the Astell & Kern A&futura Series, the Astell & Kern A&futura SE300.
It is already the fourth model that Astell & Kern now presents with the new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 within the so-called Astell & Kern A&futura Series. And the company, known as a proven specialist for personal audio devices, promotes this new DAP in a truly unusual way.
According to the manufacturer, the new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 is a solution that delivers analogue sound at the highest level on the road. A special signal conversion based on a fully discrete 24-bit R-2R DAC and the Astell & Kern Teraton Alpha Sound Solution are largely responsible for this.
Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 – Analogue sound quality in the form of a DAP
The new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 is based on decades of experience in the development of advanced audio technology, according to Astell & Kern’s promise for the presentation of the new DAP of the Astell & Kern A&futura Series.
The manufacturer even speaks of groundbreaking, self-developed audio technology and uncompromising engineering skills, which are used here to offer analogue sound quality in the form of a digital player and thus guarantee a particularly natural, dynamic performance.
R-2R DAC instead of Delta Sigma DAC
As already mentioned, it is above all the special DAC that is used in the new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 and which, according to the manufacturer, is largely responsible for the analogue sound character. A fully discrete 24-bit R-2R DAC is used instead of a classic Delta Sigma DAC, as described by the manufacturer, who relies on 96 ultra-precise TCR10 resistors with a tolerance of 0.01 percent.
New Dual Amp Mode
Also essential for the analogue sound of the Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 is its new Dual Amp Mode, which allows the user to choose between pure Class A and Class A/B amplification. Class A, according to Astell & Kern, delivers a performance as close as possible to the original, while Class A/B guarantees an equally clear, dynamic performance with maximum efficiency.
Astell & Kern Teraton Alpha Sound Solution
The new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 of course also relies on the so-called Astell & Kern Teraton Alpha Sound Solution, which comprises a series of construction measures and design strategies that are intended to ensure flawless signal processing and thus outstanding sound quality at all times and which can now be found in all new DAP models from Astell & Kern. This includes the audio interface, the amplifier as well as the power supply.
FPGA technology specially developed for the Astell & Kern A&futura SE300
For the new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 and its special design, it was necessary to rely on a new, specially developed FPGA technology, according to Astell & Kern. FPGA stands for Field Programmable Gate Array and represents the intelligence in signal processing. In the case of the Astell & Kern A&futura SE300, this means that, among other things, an NOS mode and an OS mode are available, whereby NOS stands for non-oversampling mode and OS logically for oversampling mode.
In OS mode, 8-fold oversampling is available for signal processing, whereby signals with 44.1 kHz are up-sampled up to 352.8 kHz, signals with 48 kHz up to 384 kHz. For DSD, signals can be upscaled to DSD256.
It should be noted that the new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 can process signals in Linear PCM with up to 32 bit and 384 kHz, content in DSD up to DSD256. Content encoded in lossy MQA is also supported.
Solid performance, new user interface
The new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 is based on an unspecified quad-core processor and Google Android as the operating system, although the user will not notice any of this, as the developers at Astell & Kern rely solely on a specially developed, in this case even newly developed user interface. This is now called Crimson Theme.
This theme is displayed on a 5.46-inch touchscreen display with 1,080 x 1,920 pixels. A number of buttons and, above all, a rotary encoder are available for control, whereby the latter also displays the resolution of the data during playback via an RGB LED illumination.
The memory of the Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 is equipped with 256 GB NAD and can be expanded via microSD card.
WiFi, Bluetooth and USB-C
The easiest way to transfer content to the Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 is, of course, via USB-C, which can also be used as an external D/A converter and charge the battery in this way.
The Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 also has WiFi, namely WiFi according to IEEE 802.11ac, and can thus access various contents in the network, its own via UPnP as well as streaming services, and the Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 is designated as Roon Ready.
The AK File Drop function, which allows content to be transferred via WiFI, is also particularly practical.
Bluetooth is available in the form of Bluetooth 5.0, whereby a module from the specialist Qualcomm Inc. is used and thus not only supports the codecs SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX HD, but also LDAC. Via BT Sink, a smartphone can be connected to the Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 via Bluetooth and thus benefit directly from its outstanding signal processing.
Unbalanced, balanced and digital
The new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 has an unbalanced 3.5 mm stereo mini jack, a balanced 2.5 mm mini jack and a 4.4 mm Pentaconn. Furthermore, this DAP also has an optical S/PDIF interface, which is hidden by the 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack.
The output level can be adjusted to different headphone models via two modes, Normal Gain and Hi Gain.
The new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 is presented in Platinum Silver, with a housing made of aluminium and stainless steel. It measures 139.45 mm in height, 76.5 mm in width and 17.6 mm in depth, making it 317 g in weight.
Battery life of up to twelve hours
According to the manufacturer, the integrated lithium-polymer battery with 3.8 V and 5,050 mAH should allow up to twelve hours of playtime, with charging taking around 3.5 hours.
Prices and availability
The new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 is to celebrate its premiere these days at the High End 2023 in Munich and will soon be available in specialist shops. The manufacturer’s recommended retail price is € 2.199,-.
Getting to the point
Analogue sound in the form of a DAP, this is what the specialist for personal audio devices Astell & Kern promises for the new Astell & Kern A&futura SE300, which expands the Astell & Kern A&futura Series. In particular, it is the signal conversion based on a discrete R-2R DAC as well as an output stage that not only works in Class A/B but also, if desired, purely in Class A that is responsible for the analogue sound of the new DAP and, according to the manufacturer, makes it a truly outstanding solution.
|PRODUCT||ASTELL & KERN A&FUTURA SE300|
|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|