It is a new year and a new cool toy from portable DAP maker Astell and Kern. The ACRO CA1000 is labeled as a headphone amplifier, but it also pulls double duty as a fully functioning DAP with AK’s usual suite of compatibility prowess. The setup even includes battery operation if need be, so its intent here appears to be a bigger, beefier desktop version of their usual portable lineup options.
More details from the press release:
Astell&Kern Launches Its First Carriable Headphone Amp, the ACRO CA1000
The CA1000 Is the Latest Device in Astell&Kern’s Line of Desktop/Home Audio Products
Astell&Kern, a global leader in hi-resolution audio products and accessories, expands the ACRO desktop/home audio product line with the release of their first carriable headphone amplifier, the ACRO CA1000. The CA1000 will be available Monday, January 24th for $2,199 at authorized Astell&Kern dealers in the US and Canada.
The ACRO CA1000 is a headphone amplifier that combines the functions of a high-performance amplifier and the portability of a Digital Audio Player. The ACRO CA1000 is equipped with an 8,400mAh large-capacity battery to provide clear, distortion-free premium sound without the need for a separate power connection. Support for USB-PD 2.0 charging allows the ACRO CA1000 to charge to 50% in one hour, and fully charge in about 2 hours and 30 minutes. The CA1000 can also charge and be used when plugged into AC power.
The Astell&Kern ACRO CA1000 is equipped with four ES9068AS DACs, providing perfect decoding capabilities with Astell&Kern’s amplifier circuit technology. Bit-to-bit playback is possible up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and native DSD512 (22.4MHz), so even the smallest details the artist wanted to express in the music can be heard without distortion.
The ACRO CA1000 features a variety of outputs that can be used by everyone from general users to audiophiles. 3.5mm, 6.35mm Unbalanced, 2.5mm and 4.4mm Balanced output jacks are available to accommodate a variety of headphones/earphones. The ACRO CA1000 can be used as a Hi-Fi audio system by connecting devices using a variety of digital inputs/output (Optical, Coaxial, Type-C USB) and analog inputs/outputs (RCA). All Input/output settings can be easily and conveniently selected using the CA1000 touch screen.
To perfectly drive the most sophisticated headphones, a device must be able to fully deliver output that matches the characteristics of the headphone. The ACRO CA1000 supports four (4) levels of gain settings so that almost any existing headphones can be driven to an optimal state. The gain setting circuitry implemented in the CA1000 can drive even high-impedance headphones without degrading the sound quality using a max output of 15Vrms.
Latest generation Bluetooth 5.0 features faster transmission speed and greater range compared to Bluetooth 4.2, therefore providing a more stable wireless connection. Both LDAC™ and aptX™ HD codecs are supported to provide audiophiles with 24-bit audio playback wirelessly. BT Sink allows the CA1000 to connect to an external device via Bluetooth, and function as a Bluetooth DAC. Music from an external device, such as a smartphone can now be played back in high-quality, taking full advantage of the Quad-DAC and 15Vrms headphone output in the CA1000.
New to Astell&Kern is support for Crossfeed. In a headphone environment in which the left and right channels are clearly separated, ear fatigue may increase during prolonged listening. Crossfeed mixes parts of the original signal from one channel and sends that signal to the opposite channel with a time difference to center the sound image. This effect provides the headphone user with a sound profile similar to listening to the same music track in a room with full-sized speakers. Through the use of detailed settings such as Shelf Cutoff, Shelf Gain, and Mixer Level, you can set the level of crossfeed according to your listening preferences.
The CA1000 includes 256GB of internal memory with support for microSD cards up to 1TB, dual-band 2.4/5Ghz a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and DLNA networking. Support for ReplayGain automatically and uniformly adjusts playback volume across different music tracks. A 4.1” (720×1280 resolution) tilting display can be adjusted to an optimal position up to 60 degrees for the ideal placement on a desktop or table. Roon Ready support will be added in a future firmware update.
Astell&Kern’s Android-based UI found in current generation players is featured on the CA1000, so anyone familiar with Astell&Kern players or other Android devices can easily operate the headphone amp. Support for Astell&Kern’s Open App service is also included in the CA1000, allowing users to install additional music streaming services to their player by simply copying and installing the corresponding APK file for the music service they wish to add. Services supported include Apple Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, Qobuz, SiriusXM, Tune-In, myTuner, Bandcamp and Deezer (supported streaming services varies by country). Offline content for supported apps can be stored in either internal or external player memory so you can listen to your favorite music streaming service tracks on the go
The Astell and Kern ACRO CA1000 headphone amplifier will retail for $2,199 when it becomes available January 24th to AK’s dealer network.
More info: Astell And Kern ACRO CA1000