Astell and Kern’s SR35 player was still hot off the production line at AXPONA 2023, Chicago’s big high fidelity event in April. Attendees to the show got a chance to sample it in person before the new model from the entry-level line “A&Norma” hit the market (projected ship date of May 15th).
The new digital audio player features some trickle down tech from its big brothers, including a 4 DAC configuration to take care of the heavy lifting in the decoding department. On the exterior, the screen offers a little bit of flair with a slightly tilted screen orientation, a nice break from the everyday phone screen you likely stare at multiple hours a week. The spec list from AK has always been considered cutting edge by most standards and the new SR35 appears to follow suit nicely. Bluetooth from Aptx HD to LDAC and even Roon ready certification, along with dual amplifier gain cover most bases in a personal audio situation.
Perorders for the SR35 ($799) opens up this week, along with availability for a new limited edition copper version of the flagship A&ultima SP3000 ($3,699, May 15 ship date). Both units were on display at the show along with their Beyerdynamic headphone collaboration, the AK T5p – 2nd Gen. All three items allow for a balanced headphone connection, which is a cool add for the notoriously SE portable headphone space.
The two major things that Astell and Kern nail down as a company is both a fantastically long feature set, ripe with the latest tech, and a real sense of exterior design. It doesn’t hurt that they perform at one of the highest levels of playback in the portable field either. If you want the best, the AK offers a huge selection of products, even at varying price points. Most of which is clearly laid out for the consumer now with their 3 tiered product lines. It was a good showing at AXPONA, along with the always friendly staff. I would recommend you check them out if you are in the market for something truly hifi, far outside the range of your typical iPhone.