Wireless is the future of portable audio, despite some of its current shortcomings for more HiFi applications. Digital codex are stretching forward in terms of audio quality, and DAP-maker Astell And Kern can certainly see the writing on the wall. Launching this week is their AK UW100, a true wireless IEM to join the ranks of their recent wired releases and assorted high end, high fidelity audio products.
Equipped with amps, DACs and circuitry based around the learnings from their stellar Digital Audio Players, the AK UW100 hopes to impart a new level of fidelity to consumers via Knowles-branded balanced armature drivers. More details in the PR release below.
Astell&Kern Launches First True Wireless Stereo (TWS) Earphones, the AK UW100
Irvine, CA – Astell&Kern, a global leader in high-resolution audio players and accessories, launches the brand’s first audiophile-grade True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earphones, the AK UW100. The UW100 will be available April 11, 2022 at authorized Astell&Kern dealers in the US and Canada for $299. Pre-orders begin Monday, March 28, 2022.
The AK UW100, Astell&Kern’s first fully wireless earphone, based on our proprietary audio technology, provides uncompromising wireless Hi-Fi sound with no cables required.
Most True Wireless Stereo (TWS) products available today use a generic Digital to Audio Converter (DAC) built into the Bluetooth module, focusing on lower power consumption rather than better sound quality. In the UW1000, Astell&Kern combines the unique amplifier and audio circuit technology developed for A&K’s digital audio players with an Asahi Kasei AKM AK4332 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC, to reproduce sound on a whole new level compared to the BT-chipset-integrated DAC. The UW100 enables clearer and more accurate sound reproduction in all music genres by adopting Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers, which are typically used in expensive IEM (in ear monitor) systems, instead of the Dynamic Drivers that are common in generic TWS systems.
The AK UW100 uses best-in-class Passive Noise Isolation (PNI) to immerse you completely in the music. Implemented correctly, passive noise isolation is sufficient to reduce noise physically. Unlike generic ANC, which concentrates on cancelling low-frequency noise, PNI can efficiently cancel unwanted ambient noise in the mid and high ranges, as well as higher-pitched sounds. Notably, the AK UW100’s noise cancelling capability is comparable to that of ANC, even for low frequencies. A significant feature of passive noise isolation is that sound quality is retained since noise is attenuated by the structure of the earbuds rather than by software in the case of active noise cancellation. Developed with the help of countless simulations, the AK UW100’s best-in-class PNI capability allows you to escape annoying ambient noise and allows the listener to immerse oneself in an experience where only you and the artist exist.
If the listener wishes to hear ambient sounds, a single tap on the left earbud once activates ambient mode. You can switch between the four ambient modes by tapping the left earbud or using the AK TWS app.
The AK UW100 features powerful wireless performance enabled by the premium-tier Qualcomm QCC5141 Bluetooth chipset. The UW100 includes support for aptX™ Adaptive, Qualcomm’s next-generation high-quality codec for wireless 24-bit sound quality and Bluetooth 5.2 support, for better connectivity than other TWS products. With the aptX™ Adaptive codec, latency — the downside of Bluetooth audio — has been significantly improved. aptX Adaptive also provides a feature that adjusts the bit rate according to the content or wireless environment and supports 24-bit audio through a bit rate of up to 420 kbps. In addition, Qualcomm True Wireless Stereo Plus* mode minimizes transmission delay by transmitting independent signals to each earbud.
With support for USB-C fast charging and wireless charging support, the UW100 can playback for one hour with a ten-minute charge. The UW100 provides continuous playback of at least six hours and up to 24 hours of playback with the case on a single charge. Five different sized eartips are included for the best fit.
Featuring two mics per earbud, and incorporating voice communications technology from voice application specialist Alango, the AK UW100 enables quality voice calls. The UW100 effectively reduces noise in a variety of settings and environments, ensuring call stability using special Acoustic Echo-Canceller and Noise-Suppressor technologies. Touch controls on each earbud allow a simple tap to switch between functions including play music, answer calls, activate ambient mode, adjust the volume and more.
With support for multipoint and multi-pairing, you can pair your UW100 earbuds to multiple devices at the same time. Not only can you easily switch your connection to another mobile device, but you can also listen to songs played on your tablet, computer, or DAP, while actively allowing phone notifications and calls from your smartphone. The Multi-Point function supports a connection of up to two devices.
The AK TWS companion app, available for iOS and Android devices, allows the listener to customize the touch controls, ambient levels, various EQ settings, and more.
The Astell&Kern UW100 will be available April 11, 2022 at authorized Astell&Kern dealers in the US and Canada for $299. Pre-orders begin Monday, March 28, 2022.
More info: Astell And Kern AK UW100