Astell & Kern has become one of the most recognized brands in digital audio players, and have garnered a lot of praise for their high standard in design. They’ve become a true leader in the field and you can always expect a certain level of quality when their name is attached. The latest from them is a new accessory, a dual DAC adapter meant for laptops and smartphones.
USB DAC adapters have become more of a norm in the past few years due to the removal of headphone jacks from most modern devices. They are still sorely missed. With Astell & Kern, you know you’ll be getting something special though, as it comes packed with a myriad of special components.
The Astell&Kern USB DAC Cable features two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHIFI™ DACs which supports native playback of high-resolution audio up to DSD256 and 32bit/384kHz PCM. The dual CS43198 DACs are paired with an independent analog amplifier, designed to provide true audio playback so you can feel the live, warm and clear sound as intended, without distortion. This is made possible based on years of Astell&Kern’s expertise in AMP design. Although it is a small and simple cable type external DAC, it is able to sufficiently drive high impedance headphones with a 2Vrms (Condition No Load) output level.
The Astell&Kern USB DAC cable features a USB-C connection, which can be found on the latest Android-based smartphones and Windows and Mac computers. Since the USB DAC Cable draws power from the playback device it is connected to, there is no need for a separate charger. The USB DAC Cable supports any headphone or earphone with a 3.5mm connector.
The cable used in the USB DAC is a custom-made, 4-core cable designed by Astell&Kern to provide the best sound possible and enhance durability. The cable is reinforced to withstand up to 200N of tensile force using aramid fiber.
The all-metal body of the USB DAC uses the design concept of “light and shadow” that is used in all Astell&Kern products. The USB DAC Cable design is based on a single centerline that boldly crosses from right to left. The faces were arranged by adjusting the angle ratio so that the sharp faces of the upper four faces meet at one point. It is designed so that each side is reflected according to the movement of light.
The weight of the metal material used reflects the same durability and solid feel compared to other Astell&Kern devices.
The Astell&Kern USB DAC Cable is compatible with most Android-based smartphones and tablets, computers running Windows 10 and MacOS. iOS-based devices, such as iPhones and iPads are currently not supported.
The Astell&Kern USB-C Dual DAC Cable will be available in May 2021 at authorized Astell&Kern dealers for $149.