Astell & Kern announced its slimmest and least expensive portable hi-res audio player for audiophiles. The $500 AK Jr digital audio player is considered entry-level, although it supports playback of 24/192 PCM and single-rate DSD (converted to PCM) as well as the most popular Apple lossless formats in addition to mp3.
The Astell & Kern AK Jr features 64GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot, supporting a 64GB microSD card for a total capacity of 128GB of music storage. The AK Jr features a single Wolfson WM8740 DAC and an unbalanced 3.5mm headphone jack with an output impedance of two ohms, powerful enough to drive a wide range of high-end headphones and IEMs. With a 3.1-inch LCD touchscreen, the AK Jr provides plenty of space to display your music information.
The AK Jr joins Astell & Kern’s current lineup of audiophile-grade portable hi-res audio players, the AK100 II, AK120 II and the flagship AK240. These three players feature upgrades from the AK Jr including single and dual-DAC Cirrus Logic 4398 chipsets; single and double-rate DSD playback (native DSD playback on AK240, DSD to PCM conversion on the AK100 II and AK120 II); 3.31-inch high-resolution AMOLED screens; unbalanced and balanced analog outputs that allows the user to use virtually any headphone or earbud on the market; and Wi-Fi connectivity to download music wirelessly to the player from a computer or network storage device and provides the ability to wirelessly stream music to the player without downloading music to the player first.
All four players include the ability to use the portable player as a USB DAC, allowing the owner to connect the player to their computer to bypass their internal sound card and get high-resolution sound from their PC or Mac desktop or laptop.