Astell&Kern SR15 review: This digital audio player is packed with features and high-fidelity performance

    Astell&Kern’s new SR15 hi-res digital audio participant is constructed for individuals who have a ardour for high-fidelity music on the go. Armed with Astell&Kern’s up to date person interface, the flexibility to side-load a number of streaming companies, a automobile mode, and much extra, you’ll be hard-pressed to discover a better-built, more-flexible, or better-sounding participant at this value level. 

    The Astell&Kern’s SR15 (formally often known as the A&norma SR15) is the primary mannequin from Astell&Kern’s new “standard” line of gamers. Astell&Kern says that the A&norma line is designed to “provide those new to high-resolution audio a feature-packed introduction to the Astell&Kern brand.” I’d say Astell&Kern succeeded in spades. 

    Power and efficiency

    The A&norma SR15 is the successor to A&K’s superb AK70 MK II that I beforehand reviewed. The SR15 is constructed for high-res music playback. Under the hood, you’ll discover two Cirrus Logic CS43198 DACs performing the heavy lifting of changing digital audio information into the analog music you hear by way of your headphones. The SR15 will decode just about no matter file format you throw at it, together with native assist for 24bit/192kHz PCM audio and DSD64. 

    The SR15 encompasses a quad-core CPU. The highly effective processor ensured a reasonably fluid UI expertise in my testing. I beforehand took Astell&Kern to job for the molasses-like UI response on their now discontinued AK Jr. Every subsequent A&Ok mannequin I’ve reviewed has carried out flawlessly.

    The SR15’s characteristic checklist goes on with Wi-Fi, assist for the AK Connect app (I’ll speak about this extra under), USB DAC performance, DLNA networking assist, OTA (over-the-air) software program updates, digital audio output through USB, and aptX HD.

    Theo Nicolakis / IDG

    The new “car mode” seen right here gives a vertical or horizontal presentation that simplifies and enlarges the person interface with all the essential controls you want.

    The SR15 has a brand new “car mode” you can both change on from the settings or add to the pull-down menu as a shortcut. When you allow automobile mode, it places the interface full display with massive track-forward, previous-track, and play/pause buttons on display much like Apple Car Play. Car mode could be oriented both horizontally or verticaly. The SR15 is not suitable with Android Auto, in case you’re questioning.

    astellkern sr15 car mode vertical Theo Nicolakis / IDG

    Here’s an instance of the brand new “car mode” in vertical orientation.

    For growth, there’s a single microSD card slot that helps extra storage as much as 2TB. The main characteristic, nevertheless, is assist for Astell&Kern’s new Open App service that means that you can side-load a number of streaming music companies onto the participant.

    Industrial design on show

    Astell&Kern places their industrial design prowess on full show with the SR15. The strong aluminum alloy physique resembles the AK70 collection, however takes on a novel aptitude. The display is bodily angled, tipping to the left like a leaning of Tower of Pisa. I need to inform you it was actually odd to get adjusted to the display tilt once I first used the participant. If you take a look at the images all through this overview, you’ll see what I imply.

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