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Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 - DAP for HiFi Sound on-the-go

The Astell & Kern A&norma Series was developed to offer the best possible sound in the most compact form possible, always and everywhere, according to the description of the specialist for personal audio devices Astell & Kern, who is now once again expanding this product line with the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35.

Story Highlights
  • As the latest addition to the Astell & Kern A&norma Series, the specialist for personal audio devices Astell & Kern now presents the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35.

The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 is the latest addition to the Astell & Kern A&norma Series, a product line in which the specialist for personal audio devices Astell & Kern has placed the highest value on offering mobile hi-res audio players at particularly attractive prices and in a particularly elegant, compact form. The declared goal was to address a particularly broad target group with these solutions.

Of course, this also applies to the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35, which is once again described as the DAP of the premium segment, and which is intended to build on the success of the Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII.

Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 – The best in its class

To reiterate, the Astell & Kern A&norma Series has been developed to offer the benefits of Astell&Kern’s solutions in a handy design with best-in-class technical features, according to the manufacturer’s promise, which it also makes with regard to the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35.

In addition, however, the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 also applies the amplifier and audio design used in Astell & Kern’s high-end system solutions to deliver the authentic sound quality for which hi-fi enthusiasts value Astell & Kern products, the manufacturer says.

Ultra-compact, elegant and powerful

The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 is, of course, once again a DAP at its core, built on the basis of an unspecified quad-core processor architecture and the Google Android operating system. However, Astell & Kern traditionally relies on its own user interface, so that the user ultimately does not come into contact with the Google Android interface in the conventional form.

Incidentally, the Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 has a new user interface, which the manufacturer describes as Crimson Theme.

The memory is equipped with 64 GB NAND and there is a microSD card slot that supports storage media with up to 1 TByte.

The aluminium case in charcoal grey measures 64 mm in width, 108.3 mm in height and 16.1 mm in depth. The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 weighs 184 g.

The central user interface is, of course, a 3.6-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 720 x 1,280 pixels, and there is also a rotary encoder and several buttons on the sides for volume and playback control.

The Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 uses converters from Cirrus Logic Inc., four of them in fact, so that it is called a Quad-DAC Architecture based on Cirrus Logic CS43198. By the way, the user can choose between four filters to adapt the signal conversion to his taste.

The new DAP from Astell & Kern is able to process signals in Linear PCM with up to 32 bits and 384 kHz as well as DSD up to and including DSD256, even content encoded in lossy MQA can be reproduced with the Astell & Kern A&norma SR35.

The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 uses a particularly high-quality output stage based on the latest amplifier technology, which has two selectable output level settings for the optimal control of different headphone models. The manufacturer refers to this as a 2-step gain mode, whereby one – Normal Gain – is primarily designed for in-ear headphones, the second – High Gain – for on-ear and over-ear headphones.

For connecting headphones, there is an unbalanced 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack as well as a 2.5 mm 4-pin jack and a 4.4 mm pentaconn for balanced models.

It should also be mentioned that the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 is also said to comply with the Astell & Kern Teraton Alpha Sound Solution, a special technology which, according to the manufacturer, guarantees particularly effective noise suppression, efficient power management and always stable amplification for audio reproduction that is as true to the original as possible.

WiFi, Bluetooth and USB-C

The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 connects to the outside world first and foremost via the integrated WiFi module according to IEEE 802.11ac, which not only allows access to various streaming services, but also makes the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 the first DAP in the Astell & Kern A&norma series to be Roon-ready.

Also interesting is AK File Drop, a function that allows you to transfer data directly to the DAP via WiFi.

Of course, Bluetooth is also available, relying on a Bluetooth 5.0 module from the specialist Qualcomm Inc. that supports the codecs SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD and LDAC and thus offers signal transmission up to 24 bits and 96 kHz.

Lastly, the USB-C port should be mentioned, which on the one hand serves to charge the integrated battery, but also allows data exchange and use as an external D/A converter on a PC or Mac.

Battery life of up to 20 hours

The Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 is equipped with a 3,150 mAh 3.7 V lithium-polymer battery, which should allow it a playing time of up to 20 hours, as the manufacturer states in the data sheet. Charging via – as already mentioned – USB-C should take around 2.5 hours.

Prices and availability

The new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 should be available soon, and, as we have already mentioned, in the Charcoal Gray version. The manufacturer quotes a price of US$ 800,- for the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35.

Getting to the point

There are a number of features that distinguish the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35. First of all, there is its compact, elegant appearance, the signal processing based on the new Quad-DAC architecture and D/A converter from Cirrus Logic Inc, the latest amplifier technology in the output stage, the new user interface, the flexible connection to the outside world via WiFi and Bluetooth with the latest standards in each case, the support of MQA and of course the certification as Roon-ready. The decisive criterion, however, is that the new Astell & Kern A&norma SR35 should offer all this at a particularly attractive price.

PriceUS$ 800,-
Distribution AustriaAudio Tuning Vertriebs GmbH
Distribution Germanyheadphone.shop GmbH
Distribution SwitzerlandPortacomp AG
More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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