With the new Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module, Astell & Kern once again extends the flexibility of the Astell & Kern A&futura SE180. This model from the specialist for personal audio devices is not only the third DAP presented by Astell & Kern in the so-called Astell & Kern A&futura Line, it is also said to be a particularly innovative solution that features the latest technologies, but above all a modular design.
Astell & Kern A&futura SE180 – Modularly constructed DAP
The modular design of the Astell & Kern A&futura SE180 makes it possible to use different modules. The manufacturer refers to this as a multi-DAC DAP, a concept first introduced with the Astell & Kern A&futura SE200 and now also implemented in its little brother, the Astell & Kern A&futura SE180.
For the user, this means that he can actually use different D/A converters, and since D/A converters ultimately contribute significantly to the sound character of a DAP, this is an extremely important feature.
The output stage also has several options, as do the connection possibilities.
Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module – Already the fourth module
As the name suggests, the new Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module is already the fourth of its kind, so that the manufacturer Astell & Kern quite rightly states that the flexibility of the Astell & Kern A&futura SE180 is once again significantly extended.
Asahi Kasei AK4493SEQ Dual DAC
The focus of the new Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module is an AKM AK4493SEQ Dual DAC, which enables the Astell & Kern A&futura SE180 to process signals in Linear PCM with up to 32 bits and 768 kHz and DSD up to DSD512.
This converter represents the latest product from the Japanese specialist Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation, which is being used in an Astell&Kern product for the first time worldwide.
The AK4493SEQ DAC is a premium DAC that uses AKM’s VELVET SOUND Technology to reproduce an absolutely natural sound with the lowest noise and minimal distortion, and combines these characteristics with a wide dynamic range.
Digital Audio Remaster Technology
The Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module also features Digital Audio Remaster Technology, or DAR for short, and again this is the first time this technology has been used in a portable player from Astell&Kern.
DAR technology was developed to increase the sampling rate of the sound source being played back, pushing the limits of the source format, Astell & Kern says on record. The high sampling rate enables a finer reproduction and thus contributes significantly to achieving a very fine, analogue-like sound character, so that one can experience even the finest nuances of the music and enjoy the fullness of sound at the highest level.
Next Generation Advanced AMP Technology
Once again, Astell & Kern is talking about next-generation technology, specifically Next Generation Advanced AMP Technology, which is also used in the new Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module.
From the selection of the OP-AMP components to the circuit design to the board layout and tuning, everything has been completely redeveloped to produce the best sound, according to the manufacturer’s promise. In this context, the company also speaks of the Astell & Kern TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution, which is now to distinguish all four available modules.
Connection options of the Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module
The Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module has an unbalanced 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack connection, but is also equipped for the balanced connection of headphones. A 2.5 mm jack and a 4.4 mm Pentaconn are available for this purpose.
Low power consumption for long battery life
Finally, it should be mentioned that the new Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module is supposed to be designed in such a way that it can be operated with a particularly low power consumption, thus enabling a particularly long battery life of the Astell & Kern A&futura SE180. In this context, the manufacturer speaks of a playing time of up to 14 hours.
Prices and availability
The manufacturer quotes a price of € 479 for the new Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module. This solution is expected to be available in specialist shops shortly.
Getting to the point
Once again, the specialist for personal audio devices Astell & Kern is expanding its range around the modular DAP Astell & Kern A&futura SE180. The new Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module is the fourth module for the portable hi-res audio player of the Astell & Kern A&futura Series. The special feature of this solution is, of course, the D/A converter, which is the AKM AK4493SEQ Dual DAC from the Japanese specialist Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation.
|PRODUCT||ASTELL & KERN SEM4 ALL-IN-ONE MODULE|
|Price||Astell & Kern A&futura SE180 € 1.799,-|
Astell & Kern SEM4 All-in-One Module € 479,-
|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|