Astell&Kern A&futura SE180 - The First Modular DAP from Astell&Kern
May 23, 2021 at 6:58 PM Post #136 of 321
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Thanks so much for that! I understand the SE180's file management well now. A separate thing I'm wondering is...

Do all of your offline downloads have to be re-downloaded when you have to manually update the sideloaded version of both Tidal or Qobuz? That would be pretty rough if I have a large offline library.

Also, I know you have demoed your fair share of DAPs and that it also depends on amps and circuitry, but do you have any general description on the difference between AK4497 and 4499 dac chips?
I just answered your post in the SE200 thread...

They do not need to be downloaded again when you update as long as you keep the previous version of the app installed, then install the new one. The new one will overwrite the previous app, keep all app settings and downloads. If you uninstall the old app before installing the new one, it will wipe all settings and previously downloaded music.
 
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May 23, 2021 at 8:10 PM Post #137 of 321

chef8489

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How chunky is this compared to the se100 and se200?
 
May 24, 2021 at 1:10 AM Post #140 of 321

staticdynamo

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Yes, this one is the first for A&K product line :) As I mentioned in my SE180 review, A&K didn't reinvent the wheel here, just perfected it. In their design you have two side release buttons for easier exchange of modules without a need for screwdriver. Plus, a big step up for A&K to have both 3.5mm SE and 2.5mm/4.4mm BAL on each module, configurable as either PO or LO, and to include LDAC BT codec, plus to have Normal and High gain, and access to Digital DAC Filters on each module. Again, this is all a BIG step forward relative to A&K product line.
Thank you very much for your kind and detailed answer!
 
May 24, 2021 at 5:45 PM Post #141 of 321

Vahsol

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Confirmed with the hardware team that the SE180 has an octa-core CPU like the other players in the A&Futura line, the SE100 and SE200.
Hi Jason, I just want to double check that SE180 is an octo-core CPU because the UK Astell&Kern site list it as being a quad-core as does Headamp's site. Is this just a case of out of date listings? Thanks.
 
May 24, 2021 at 5:56 PM Post #142 of 321
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Hi Jason, I just want to double check that SE180 is an octo-core CPU because the UK Astell&Kern site list it as being a quad-core as does Headamp's site. Is this just a case of out of date listings? Thanks.
Yes, I spoke to one of the head hardware guys last night and he confirmed it is an octa core processor on the SE180. They were not sure why the UK site lists it as a quad core, but that is wrong. They were going to contact the UK team to fix it. We'll contact Headamp and have them correct. Thank you for letting me know.
 
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May 24, 2021 at 6:27 PM Post #143 of 321

cj3209

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Since I'm not ROON expert, actually never used it...
Wow, @twister6, seriously? You should check out ROON! Loading up micro SD cards or DAP hard drives is so yesterday... JK...

:L3000:
 
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May 24, 2021 at 6:39 PM Post #145 of 321
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Wow, @twister6, seriously? You should check out ROON! Loading up micro SD cards or DAP hard drives is so yesterday... JK...

:L3000:

That's why I mostly stream :p Amazon Music HD covers all my needs and has all the tracks I need!
 
May 24, 2021 at 7:42 PM Post #146 of 321

Vahsol

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Yes, I spoke to one of the head hardware guys last night and he confirmed it is an octa core processor on the SE180. They were not sure why the UK site lists it as a quad core, but that is wrong. They were going to contact the UK team to fix it. We'll contact Headamp and have them correct. Thank you for letting me know.
That's great to hear! I can't wait to pick one up. Thanks again for looking into it.
 
May 24, 2021 at 8:18 PM Post #147 of 321

Nace

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@twister6

Maybe not the right thread for this question, but does anyone know if file availability differs depending on what hi-res streaming and/or downloading site you are using? Say for instance an artist releases an album in 24/96... will all have that availability?

I understand Tidal only goes up to a rate of 96 and Qobuz and Amazon Music HD go up to 192, but besides that, is there any one site that has a larger selection of greater file quality than its competition?
 
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May 25, 2021 at 9:19 PM Post #148 of 321

monsieurfromag3

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Most Parisians, it seems, “live again”, in their own words, now they can hang out at café terraces; feet in dog piss (I know cause I take my dogs to piss on the terraces) and dog turds (don’t look at me like that, those I religiously remove), in between smelly trash cans, their noses filled with the fumes of car exhausts and other patrons’ beer breath, freshly mask-free.

I’ll just go and listen to some expensive DAPs, yeah? First time going to audition gear in 18 months, that’s my party! Museums are open; all that’s missing is my gym now.

Took my IMR Semper, brash but dark and able to scale, a balanced cable, and sat down with the SE180 and DX300 fed by a mix of CD-quality and higher res Qobuz tracks I know well.

The iBasso is absolutely great to use and peruse, and a faster, familiar, much more fluid experience than the A&K, esp. for Android users. It’s also appreciably lighter in spite of the large format. That said, I won’t be posting about my session on the DX300 thread. It’s ultimately rather unimpressive to my ears, with annoying little peaks in the upper mids and a certain lack of finesse overall.

The SE180 feels like A&K need to up their UX game a little bit, the keyboard feels laggy like yesteryear virtual keyboards and navigation takes some getting used to. You can feel the polish though, and it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous brick. Damn heavy. Buy it for weightlifting if you too are waiting for your gym to re-open.
I only tried out the default ESS module. What a DAC. Very impressive display of technical prowess. I like to check the first minute or so of Chelsea Wolfe’s “Iron Moon”, which has rather mysterious percussion and brooding guitar and voice, as different sources present it very differently. For the first time I got a very clear picture of the drum kit, with outstanding placement. The accuracy and control were evident whatever I played. But the SE180 also sounds really… polite? It felt wrong somehow to play death metal on it, even though it provided unprecedented separation and coherence to Gorguts’ “Forgotten Arrows”, whose mastering I’ve always considered messy.

So this a really high-end piece of kit and a masterclass in fidelity - but lacking in engagement factor as far as I’m concerned. It was the same story with every track: I was wowed initially, but within a minute grew distracted, and ended up quite apathetic. Where the DX300 felt like it wanted me to enjoy myself but didn’t feel me at all and made missteps at every turn, the SE180 just knew my own music better than me and presented it without much care for my enjoyment.

I can see many people being very happy with this one though - this is desktop-grade delineation and staging! An analyst’s dream.

For my part I was happy to walk back home with my N3Pro. That little dude? He’s my chum. Quirky and annoying, yes, but that effing bass tone and emotional delivery are second to none. It’s unabashedly colored, but it seems I’ve lucked out as those colors match mine.
 
May 25, 2021 at 9:35 PM Post #149 of 321

Nace

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Most Parisians, it seems, “live again”, in their own words, now they can hang out at café terraces; feet in dog piss (I know cause I take my dogs to piss on the terraces) and dog turds (don’t look at me like that, those I religiously remove), in between smelly trash cans, their noses filled with the fumes of car exhausts and other patrons’ beer breath, freshly mask-free.

I’ll just go and listen to some expensive DAPs, yeah? First time going to audition gear in 18 months, that’s my party! Museums are open; all that’s missing is my gym now.

Took my IMR Semper, brash but dark and able to scale, a balanced cable, and sat down with the SE180 and DX300 fed by a mix of CD-quality and higher res Qobuz tracks I know well.

The iBasso is absolutely great to use and peruse, and a faster, familiar, much more fluid experience than the A&K, esp. for Android users. It’s also appreciably lighter in spite of the large format. That said, I won’t be posting about my session on the DX300 thread. It’s ultimately rather unimpressive to my ears, with annoying little peaks in the upper mids and a certain lack of finesse overall.

The SE180 feels like A&K need to up their UX game a little bit, the keyboard feels laggy like yesteryear virtual keyboards and navigation takes some getting used to. You can feel the polish though, and it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous brick. Damn heavy. Buy it for weightlifting if you too are waiting for your gym to re-open.
I only tried out the default ESS module. What a DAC. Very impressive display of technical prowess. I like to check the first minute or so of Chelsea Wolfe’s “Iron Moon”, which has rather mysterious percussion and brooding guitar and voice, as different sources present it very differently. For the first time I got a very clear picture of the drum kit, with outstanding placement. The accuracy and control were evident whatever I played. But the SE180 also sounds really… polite? It felt wrong somehow to play death metal on it, even though it provided unprecedented separation and coherence to Gorguts’ “Forgotten Arrows”, whose mastering I’ve always considered messy.

So this a really high-end piece of kit and a masterclass in fidelity - but lacking in engagement factor as far as I’m concerned. It was the same story with every track: I was wowed initially, but within a minute grew distracted, and ended up quite apathetic. Where the DX300 felt like it wanted me to enjoy myself but didn’t feel me at all and made missteps at every turn, the SE180 just knew my own music better than me and presented it without much care for my enjoyment.

I can see many people being very happy with this one though - this is desktop-grade delineation and staging! An analyst’s dream.

For my part I was happy to walk back home with my N3Pro. That little dude? He’s my chum. Quirky and annoying, yes, but that effing bass tone and emotional delivery are second to none. It’s unabashedly colored, but it seems I’ve lucked out as those colors match mine.
I ordered about two hours ago, so thank you for posting your thoughts. Exactly how laggy was the keyboard? Were there any other interface drawbacks that left you unsettled?
 
May 26, 2021 at 3:10 AM Post #150 of 321

Nace

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@JasonNYC

I placed my order today! Should have it by this weekend.

I have a couple of questions about the navigation bar. Will it ever be possible to have it work with sideloaded apps in a future update? While I understand it's purpose lies in convenience, in general I find it unnecessary and a little unsettling having two versions of play/pause and back/forward buttons on top of each other; will it ever be possible to have this feature optional in a future update?

Also I think having a back button on the navigation bar as a potential substitute for the floating back button would be great to see in an update, I understand the space on the navigation bar is tight. I am so excited to get my hands on it!
 
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