The new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System goes beyond the limits of a stationary headphone amplifier, because it combines the possibilities of a headphone amplifier with those of a digital audio player and thus represents a solution that can be used in the most versatile way, always and everywhere, and thus also always and everywhere allows the best quality, according to the promise of Astell & Kern around the presentation of the latest solution of the so-called Astell & Kern ACRO Series. One can therefore speak of an extremely versatile desktop audio solution, but one that is not only limited to one’s own four walls, but can also be used on the move and is a streaming client, hi-res audio player, D/A converter, headphone amplifier and preamplifier all in one.
The latest addition to the Astell & Kern ACRO Series
For a long time, Astell & Kern was regarded solely as a specialist for portable hi-res audio players and could boast of being one of the pioneers in the field of DAP. At the beginning of 2018, however, they presented a desktop audio solution for the first time, namely the Astell & Kern ACRO L1000 Desktop Headphone Amplifier. The Astell & Kern ACRO Series, which was founded with this, was expanded at the beginning of last year with the Astell & Kern ACRO BE100 Hi-Fi Wireless Speaker and the Astell & Kern ACRO CA1000 Carryable Headphone Amp.
With the new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System, they are now going one better, because as already described, this new solution has much more to offer than “just” another headphone amplifier in the form of a desktop audio system. The designation as an all-in-one head-fi audio system is therefore quite justified, as we will prove in a moment.
Everything your heart desires
As already described, the new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System combines the functionality of a hi-res audio media player, a streaming client, a D/A converter and a headphone amplifier as well as a preamplifier in a single system, in the form of a very compact, elegant desktop audio solution.
As if this were not enough, the new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System can be used not only in the four walls of your home, but also on the road thanks to an integrated rechargeable battery.
Designed as a flexible desktop audio system
To put it bluntly, the new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System is reminiscent of a DAP in a docking station, with the upper part folding away. The device measures 104.9 mm in width, 45 mm in height and 155.8 mm in depth and weighs 980 g with its aluminium casing.
The operating system used here is, of course, Google Android, although the user is not aware of this at all, as he is presented with a user interface developed by Astell & Kern for simple, almost intuitive operation.
The 4.1-inch touchscreen display, which offers a resolution of 720 x 1,280 pixels, serves this purpose.
At the heart of the new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System is an unspecified quad-core CPU and the memory is equipped with 256 GB NAND. In addition, up to 1 TByte of storage capacity is available for own content via microSD cards.
The new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System is said to offer “ultra-high quality” through signal processing using the latest D/A converter from ESS Technology Inc., the ESS ES9039MPRO Dual-DAC, as well as the more proprietary solution from Astell & Kern itself, the Astell & Kern TERATON Alpha Technology.
The system is able to process signals in Linear PC with up to 32 bits and 768 kHz as well as DSD up to and including DSD512 and also supports content encoded in MQA.
Triple Amp System
A notable feature of the new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System is that it is a solution with what Astell & Kern calls a Triple Amp design.
The Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System has a solid state as well as a tube output stage, and a combination of these two can be used as a third mode, whereby the manufacturer refers to this as a hybrid sound option. The tube output stage is equipped with two Korg NTUBE 6P1. The so-called OP Amp Mode is supposed to deliver an extremely clear and dynamic sound, the Tube Amp Mode a very warm and musical performance, and the Hybrid Amp Mode a combination of these two.
Remarkable equipment with the interfaces
It is remarkable how much variety the new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System offers in terms of connection options and interfaces.
For example, the inputs include an optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface as well as a USB port as USB-C for direct connection to a PC or Mac.
The system also offers an optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface as digital outputs and the USB-C interface can be used to bring an external D/A converter into play.
The analogue input is a balanced 4.4 mm Pentaconn and the analogue outputs of the Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System are mini-XLR for balanced signal routing and a pair of RCA sockets for unbalanced signal routing.
For connecting headphones, the Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System offers all relevant types of connections, namely a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack and a 6.3 mm jack in unbalanced form, but also balanced connection options in the form of a 2.5 mm mini-jack and a 4.4 mm Pentaconn.
Integration into the network
The new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System can be integrated into the network via WiFi according to IEEE 802.11ac and functions as an extremely flexible streaming client. This means that in addition to UPnP, direct integration into Roon from Roon Labs LLC. is also possible, as this system is designated as Roon-ready.
Audio data can be transferred to and from the system via AK File Drop using Wireless File Transfer, which should also be mentioned.
Bluetooth including aptX HD and LDAC
Of course, Bluetooth is not missing either, with a Bluetooth 5.0 module from Qualcomm Inc. that supports the profiles A2DP and AVRCP as well as the codecs aptX, aptX HD and LDAC, thus allowing signal transmission in “CD quality”, 24 bit and 48 kHz or even 24 bit and 96 kHz.
Integrated rechargeable battery with long playing time
As described above, the new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System does not only rely on an external power supply, but also on an integrated rechargeable battery, namely a 10,100 mAh 3.8 V lithium-polymer battery, which is supposed to allow a playing time of up to eleven hours.
Charging is via USB-C, whereby the battery is supposed to reach its full capacity again after only around five hours using PD2.0 Fast Charging.
Prices and availability
The new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System will soon be available in the Rich Grey version at specialist retailers. The company quotes a price of US$ 2.300,- for this solution.
Getting to the point
It is not only the latest addition to the Astell & Kern ACRO Series, the new Astell & Kern CA1000T All-in-One Head-Fi Audio System, but also clearly the most versatile, indeed the most remarkable system of this product line to date. In the form of a desktop audio solution that is also a personal audio device, this system from Astell & Kern combines a hi-res audio media player, streaming client, headphone amplifier and a preamplifier, which can be used anywhere and at any time thanks to an integrated rechargeable battery.
|PRODUCT||ASTELL & KERN CA1000T ALL-IN-ONE HEAD-FI AUDIO SYSTEM|
|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|