The parade of rapid fire DAP releases has slowed a bit from Korea-based Astell & Kern, but this weekend’s news of an update to the A&norma line proves that the company still has a few tricks up it’s sleeves on the technological front. Astell and Kern are replacing the current budget SR15 with a new model called the A&Norma SR25.
As an entry-level piece for the DAP maker, the SR25 is the first successor to the category and will come to market at the same $699 price point the current SR15 calls for. The chipset of two Cirrus Logic 43198 MasterClass DACs in dual-mono configuration will remain the same, but the SR25 will bring two new features to the mix – LDAC bluetooth support and longer battery life. AK is now quoting 20+ hours on the player and the LDAC codex boasts the ability to wirelessly stream 24-bit audio to compatible headphones. Charge time for the device is quoted at 2.5 hours.
For the portable audiophile both features could be considered high impact specs. The rest of the rundown includes (from the press release): 3.6-inch HD touchscreen, 64GB of internal memory with support for microSD cards up to 1TB, Wi-Fi, DLNA networking, USB digital audio output, aptX HD, and the ability to use the SR25 as a USB DAC for your computer. MQA is still supported as is DSD, and the internal software supports Open App services to allow Android APK support. This system enables a whole host of streaming services including the popular Qobuz/Tidal and even more mainstream options like Apple Music and SiriusXM. Offline content for those that offer it is also part of the deal.
The outward design retains the slightly inclined screen unique to the line along with a few subtle updates to the volume control knob and a slightly lighter hue of silver aesthetic overall. Artist-like expression in the casework has always been steadfast with AK’s design team, this is the company that makes music players out of gold, after all.
The A&Norma SR25 will become available on May 28 of 2020, with pre orders opening up May 18th. Interested parties can find more information on the US Astell & Kern site.