Astell & Kern Junior: Hands-On


[HANDS-ON] I lay my hands on the Astell & Kern (A&K) Junior at the recently concluded International Sound and Sight Exhibition 2015. I am hardly an audiophile but exhibitions like ISS broadens my horizon so much more. I come across so many devices that takes music to the next level with amazing soundstage, clarity and crisp. More often than not, the industrial design are quite on another level as well.

Astell & Kern Junior  is one such candidate.

There is no doubt about the brightest spot on the junior. I could not think of another gadget out there which has a nearly a complete sentence engrave on it. Its loud and unconventional. No one could miss it. Possibly reflecting on a social trend among the juniors shouting for attention. The boxy shape then adds a cool factor to it and topping up it are the premium sliver finish. Everything is so perfect and clean except for the screen which could do with more pixels in it. It’s decent, but for such a premium device it could do with more.

A&K Junior as its name implies, is the entry-level device in the A&K line-up. In the sound department, it is really not as “Junior” as it is. I didn’t get to try with my own tracks but the several tracks that I played, they are just as impressive as any portable device I have tried. Audiophile grade devices require some good listening hours and comparison of various file types to make a good judgment.

So here a professional review for your reading pleasure -

All it is left to say is it’s price tag, a relatively affordable S$699. Expensive? It’s all relative, Astell & Kern 380 is on sale for S$4,999.

DAC: WM8740 (single)
Storage: 64GB internal + up to 64GB expandable memory (micro SD)
Supported formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE(Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF
FLAC, WAV, ALAC, AIFF : 8kHz ~ 192kHz (8/16/24bits per Sample)
/ DSD : DSD64 (1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo (DSD to PCM)
Decoding: 24/192kHz
Bluetooth: V4,0
Weight: 93g
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