Unveiling the Astell & Kern AK HC3: A High-Fidelity Experience

Astell & Kern has introduced a new compact Hi-Fi USB DAC that can be connected to smartphones, tablets, and laptops via USB-C to improve the sound quality in connection with wired headphones. The Astell & Kern AK HC3 dual DAC also supports microphones.

Astell & Kern AK HC3 USB DAC

Astell & Kern has introduced the successor to the AK HC2, the new AK HC3 USB DAC, which features some interesting new capabilities. The dual DAC can be connected to a laptop or tablet using a USB-C connection, and an included Lightning adapter is required for use with Apple iPhones. No additional software needs to be installed to use the DAC, and Astell & Kern also provides an Android app to control the DAC’s volume.

At the other end of the adapter is a 3.5mm headphone jack. This is not only compatible with three-pin, but also with four-pin plugs, so that remote controls and microphones integrated into cables can be used. The DAC is powered directly from the USB-C connector, eliminating the need for batteries or additional power cables.

The most important innovation compared to the AK HC2 is the ESS Saber ES9219MQ dual DAC, which supports files up to 32-bit at 384 kHz and DSD256. The double-shielded cable is designed to prevent interference. A small LED on the DAC lights is white when in standby mode, red when playing PCM sound, and blue when DSD is being decoded. The aluminum body of the AK HC3 weighs only 20 grams, 8 grams less than the previous model.

AK HC3 USB DAC price and release date

The Astell & Kern AK HC3 costs $229 and will be available for pre-order starting January 20th on Bhphotovideo.com, and will be released on February 13th, 2023.

Alongside this Hi-Fi USB DAC, Astell & Kern recently introduced the Acro CA1000T home audio system headphone amplifier that is both unusual and innovative. The device features a fold-out touchscreen, an integrated battery, and support for Bluetooth aptX HD and LDAC. It has been priced at $2,299.

About Ankeet Solanki

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