Astell & Kern A&futura SE300 music player with an FPGA chip, LDAC, aptX HD, and music streaming

Astell & Kern unveils its inaugural Hi-res portable digital audio player, the A&futura SE300, boasting a specially developed FPGA chip dedicated to enhancing sound quality. Showcasing a stainless steel frame, advanced Bluetooth standards, and a dual amplifier, this DAP offers a range of compelling features.

A&futura SE300 Hi-res portable digital audio player

Marking a step forward from the SE180 (approx. $1,500 on Amazon), the A&futura SE300 by Astell & Kern introduces a more feature-rich option. The device boasts a 5.46-inch 1080p touchscreen complemented by an operating system meticulously tailored for music playback. Although the software doesn’t support Android apps, it smoothly integrates streaming services like Tidal and Apple Music into its user interface.

Storing music is facilitated by the device’s 256 GB flash memory or expandable microSD memory card slot. Bolstered by a 5,050 mAh battery, the SE300 promises up to twelve hours of uninterrupted music enjoyment. The integrated R-2R DAC stands ready to decode files up to 32-bit at 384 kHz as well as DSD256. This new Hi-res portable digital audio player employs a fusion of class A and class AB amplifier design, aiming to deliver a distinct “analogue sound” as touted by its marketing.

Headphones can be effortlessly connected through various means: a 3.5 mm port, balanced 2.5 mm, and 4.4 mm connections, or Bluetooth options including aptX HD and Sony LDAC support. A notable highlight of the A&futura SE300 lies in its pioneering FPGA chip. This innovation introduces an oversampling mode intended to elevate the quality of compressed music. Conversely, the “Non-Over-Sampling Mode” significantly minimizes digital processing to preserve the purity of the sound.

A&futura SE300 Hi-res portable digital audio player price and availability

The A&futura SE300 by Astell & Kern is competitively priced at $1,900 / £1,899, available for purchase on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

In a preceding release earlier this year, Astell & Kern introduced the budget-friendly A&norma SR35, a departure from their usual offerings. Sporting an intriguing design where the 3.6-inch 720p touchscreen sits at an angle within the housing, volume control is expertly managed by a sizable rotary knob on the right side, while playback controls find their place on the left. This compelling product is priced at $800.

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