Astell&Kern AK300 Today, Astell&Kern is announcing the release of a new digital audio player called the AK300. The AK300 will be the entry level 300-series player, and will be priced at $899. Upon first glance, the AK300 looks identical to the Astell&Kern AK320, only in black. Like the AK320 and AK380, the AK300 uses the AKM AK4490 DAC, but in a single-DAC configuration (versus dual for the AK320 and AK380). The AK300's internal storage is 64GB, with a single micro-SD card slot for expansion. The AK300 will play PCM, up to 24-bit 192kHz bit-to-bit, and also supports both 32-bit 192kHz and DSD via conversion. Like its siblings, the AK300 has a parametric EQ, has a VCXO Reference Clock (Femto Clock) to minimize jitter, supports AK Connect, and can be used as a USB DAC. We very recently received a pre-production AK300 loaner, and it's very impressive in early listening--no perceptible self-noise, dynamic, and resolving. With so many recent digital audio player offerings from other manufacturers in the sub-$1000 range, the AK300 is very a very well-timed offering from Astell&Kern, and I look forward to spending more time with it. Astell&Kern AK Recorder While I do find the new AK300 a very nice offering, it's the new Astell&Kern AK Recorder that has me really excited today. Astell&Kern has positioned the AK3XX series as not just digital audio players for audiophiles, but professional tools for the pro audio folks. The new AK Recorder fully and legitimately drives this message and purpose home, with the following features: DSD 5.6MHz recording, making it (according to Astell&Kern) the first DSD 5.6MHz handheld recorder; Mic in, with support for 48V phantom power, supporting professional-grade microphones; Line in; AES/EBU in, for recording of digital signals from recording studio consoles or other AES/EBU digital sources; Fine degree of mic and preamp gain control; Remote control via wi-fi; Variety of recording options, including digital limiter, peak-hold, low-cut filters, pre-recording and more. There's also going to be an optional stereo recording kit (with microphones, stands, and cases) developed in collaboration with DPA (and sold separately). The price of the AK Recorder is still to be determined, but, based on what I've been hearing (in terms of price range), I'll no doubt be picking one up, to use as one of our audio recorders for Head-Fi TV, and perhaps also for amateur music recordings with my musician friends. Both of AK300 and AK Recorder to be launched in the market around the end of May. Astell&Kern AK300 (below) Astell&Kern AK Recorder (below), the last two photos showing the optional DPA kit.