Astell & Kern are proud to announce their latest DAP and the third instalment of their A&futura series. The SE180 is a specialist audio player featuring interchangeable all-in-one DAC modules. Expanding upon the SE200, the SE180 allows for customisation of the sound as per the listener’s preferences via a range of Hi-Fi grade DAC modules. In addition, the SE180 sports TERATON ALPHA sound solution technologies, enhanced user-interface design, a 5″ full-HD display and added advanced connectivity functionality including AK file drop for easy wireless transfer and BT sink for simple connection to external Bluetooth devices.
Interchangeable DAC Modules
Astell & Kern reason that physically separating the main body of the DAP from the all-in-one audio module, sound quality can be increased as RF interference and power noise are completely blocked. The modules attach to the player via a double-locking mechanism to ensure reliable connectivity.
The SE180 ships with the SEM1 default module featuring ESS’ ES9038PRO DAC chip. The SEM2 module will feature the Asahi Kasei AK4497EQ module and will be available at launch. Both modules offer 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm connection to accommodate a wide range of headphones and in-ears. MQA support is supported through the Tidal music app. Astell & Kern are planning to further expand this selection entering 2022.
Teraton Alpha Sound Solution Technology
Astell & Kern’s new sound innovation represents their hollistic view of audio design beyond the selection and specifications of the chosen circuitry. Teraton Alpha technology is the company’s approach to optimising power, noise, signal conversion and circuit structure. The company promises their latest design has zero power noise and efficient power consumption through to the audio output stage drawing upon their years of DAP experience.
Enhanced User Interface and Design
The SE180 user-interface has been enhanced to offer an experience consistent with an Android smartphone. They’ve done so by implementing a new navigation bar pinned at the bottom of the screen that enables playback controls from any screen. In addition, swipe gestures streamline usability and a colour-coded LED light surrounding the player’s volume wheel denotes volume level, file type and bitrate.
In our connected era, the SE180 has evolved to include the latest wireless codecs and wide smart support. AK File Drop offers easy wireless file transfer of high-resolution music files. Meanwhile, BT Sink enables the SE180 to act as both a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver with supported BT devices. The SE180 boasts BT5.0 support in addition to 24-bit aptX HD and LDAC codecs for the best possible wireless sound quality.
256gb of on-board storage with micro-SD slot supporting up to 1tb ensure users won’t be left in the dark should they be disconnected. Finally, the SE180 is launching alongside OEM black and navy Badalassi Carlo Minerva leather cases to keep the device pristine and stylish.
Pricing & Availability
The SE180 will launch in Australia for $2,099 AUD/$2,499 NZD and is available from May/April exclusively through Busisoft AV and its authorised dealers. You can find an authorised dealer here.