Outstanding performance in a compact form factor is what the latest DAP from the Astell & Kern brand, the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII, is supposed to deliver. It is described by the manufacturer as a true pocket powerhouse.
With the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII, the specialist for personal audio devices Astell & Kern is launching its latest so-called digital audio player, or DAP for short. As the name suggests, this is the successor of the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25, whereby the new generation has been improved in all essential aspects. What remains is the slim form factor, which the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII thus also has.
With the new features, the manufacturer is certain that the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII will be a worthy premium product.
Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII – A Pocket Powerhouse
The manufacturer even calls the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII a pocket powerhouse, referring to the performance this solution is supposed to offer.
But it is not only the increased performance that sets the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII apart from its predecessor; the equipment has also been expanded and optimised in terms of signal processing, and the connectivity has also been improved, so that a particularly flexible solution can now be offered.
Keeping the best of the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25
The best of the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 has been retained in the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII, namely its compact form factor. In general, all solutions of the Astell & Kern A&norma Series are designed as particularly compact, slim systems, and this must of course also apply to the latest offspring of this product series.
The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII also presents itself almost unchanged in the modern, almost futuristic design language that Astell & Kern has been pursuing for years.
The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII presents itself with an aluminium housing that shines in Mercury D. Silver, as the manufacturer itself calls the design. The player measures no more than 108.3 mm in height, 63.5 mm in width and 16.1 mm in depth. You can easily take the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII with you wherever you go, as it weighs no more than 178 g. The central control element is, of course, the same as in the Astell & Kern SR25 MKII.
The central control element is, of course, the display, which is a 3.6-inch TFT with 720 x 1,280 pixels and takes up almost the entire front. In addition, there are the usual few buttons for direct playback control and, of course, a rotary encoder for controlling the volume.
High performance for signal processing
The heart of the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII is a quad-core processor, but the manufacturer does not go into detail about its exact technical features. The fact that Google Android is used as the operating system is also not disclosed, because the user is not aware of this at all. Instead, they are presented with their own user interface. The memory is equipped with 64 GByte NAND, and a slot for microSD cards is available for the user’s own content.
The signal processing is done symmetrically via a so-called Dual DAC design, specifically two Cirrus Logic CS43198 DACs are used in the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII. This enables the DAP to provide bit-to-bit signal processing for Linear PCM at up to 32 bits and 384 kHz, as well as native DSD including DSD256.
Most importantly, the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII is equipped with a Silver Plating Shield Can, which protects the critical circuitry against interference.
Connection to the outside world
The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII offers a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack for unbalanced headphones, but also a 2.5 mm jack and a 4.4 mm PENTACONN for balanced headphones.
The USB-C port also plays an important role, as it is not only used to charge the battery, but also to exchange data with a PC or Mac, and the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII can also be used as an external D/A converter.
Of course, Bluetooth is also a must, although a module from the specialist Qualcomm is relied on here, although it is still “only” Bluetooth 4.2. Nevertheless, signals can be transmitted not only in lossy SBC and AAC, but also via aptX, aptX HD and LDAC. Of course, A2DP and AVRCP are also supported. It should also be noted that the Bluetooth module can transmit as well as receive, and is thus designed as a so-called transceiver.
The Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII also has an integrated WiFi module according to IEEE 802.11n.
Wireless HiFi Sound thanks to Astell & Kern BT Sink Function
We have explicitly pointed out that the Bluetooth module works as a transceiver, which is made possible by the Astell & Kern BT Sink Function.
This makes it possible to connect a smartphone as a source to the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII, for example, and thus play music from the smartphone via the high-quality signal processing of the DAP. It is also possible to use the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII directly as a source for an active speaker system via Bluetooth, but this is standard anyway, as is the use of Bluetooth headphones.
Astell & Kern AK File Drop
Another very exciting feature of the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII is the Astell & Kern AK File Drop, which allows audio data to be transferred directly via the wireless network in a very flexible way.
In the network, the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII also functions as a dlna-certified UPnP streaming client, so you can easily access the corresponding resources and play back audio data.
Long battery life
The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII is equipped with a 3,150 mAh 3.7 V lithium-polymer battery, which, according to the manufacturer, allows a playing time of up to 20 hours. It takes only 2.5 hours to charge the battery, and a conventional 5 V 2 A mains adapter is sufficient.
The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII should be available in specialist shops within the next few days. The recommended retail price is € 849,90.
Getting to the point
The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII is the latest addition to the Astell & Kern A&norma Line and thus a very slim, yet powerful Astell & Kern DAP that has been improved in all relevant areas compared to its predecessor. What is most exciting is that the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII has many of the features of its larger siblings, but is still offered at an attractive price.
|PRODUCT||ASTELL & KERN A&NORMA SR25 MKII|
|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|