Astell&Kern Launches Limited Edition SE300 Titan
The A&futura SE300 Titan is a special, limited edition Titanium version of Astell&Kern’s first R-2R based DAP
Astell&Kern, a global leader in high-resolution audio players and accessories, launches a new, limited edition titanium version of the popular SE300 R-2R based digital audio player released in June 2023. The SE300 Titan will be available for $2,499 in limited quantities at authorized Astell&Kern dealers worldwide and is expected to ship around the end of October 2023.
The SE300 is the fourth player in Astell&Kern’s A&futura line of Digital Audio Players (DAP). The A&futura product line from Astell&Kern represents Astell&Kern’s ceaseless efforts for innovation and the line is known for debuting new technologies used by Astell&Kern for the first time.
The A&futura SE300 are equipped with an ultra-refined R-2R DAC, a first for Astell&Kern, Class A/AB dual amps developed with their proprietary TERATON ALPHA technology, and in-house developed FPGA. With these unrivaled components, the SE300 offers the true sound philosophy and technology of Astell&Kern.
The SE300 Titan player is constructed using a Grade 5 Titanium alloy, a first for Astell&Kern. Normally the material of choice in aerospace engineering, the A&futura SE300 Titan made from pure titanium that blends lightweight design, extreme strength and corrosive resistance with an ability to withstand heat and electrical conductivity. This vastly reduces any temperature variations or electrical interference within R-2R DACs and analog amplifiers to produce the most natural, distortion-free sound possible for the listener.
Fully Discrete 24-bit R-2R DAC
The SE300 comes supplied with an R-2R DAC, instead of a Delta-Sigma DAC that is most commonly used in other audio players. A R-2R DAC is also known as Ladder DAC, as it arranges resistors in a ladder form, and offers natural, yet dynamic Hi-Fi sounds, but it is extremely technical and difficult to execute as it requires complex refined resistor units and hard to manage current controls. The R-2R DAC used in the SE300 arranges 48 pairs (23xR and 25x2R) of 96 ultra-precision resistors to create analog signals, in turn realizing true Hi-Fi 24-bit decoding. The key to producing the best hi-fi sound is ultra-precision resistor design with the smallest error ranges. In the SE300, Astell&Kern inspected each specifically selected ultra-precision resistor of 0.01% error range to complete the design of the R-2R DAC.
Class A/AB Dual AMP Mode
The A&futura SE300 features a switchable AMP mode, allowing users to select between Class A or Class AB AMPs. The Class A AMP is an analog amp that offers the best linear output, amplifying signals without distortion or loss of signal and providing soft, warm, and natural sounds. The refined analog signal created directly by the R-2R DAC, reproduces a sound closest to the original analog audio through the organic and powerful Class A AMP. The Class AB AMP is an analog amp that offers a powerful output with the added benefit of high efficiency. This presents dynamic and crisp sounds with less harmonic distortion.
2-Step Gain Mode
A 2-step Gain Level mode allows listeners to create the perfect match for a wide range of headphones and IEMs, maintaining optimal sound output. The two-step gain setting with "Normal Gain" and "High Gain" modes can generate a high current output to create a powerful sound and excellent driver control. With up to 6 Vrms from the balanced connections, driving high-impedance headphones has never been easier.
Custom-designed FPGA with Optimized OS/NOS Modes
Astell&Kern developed an in-house FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) for the SE300 instead of using common off the shelf commercial semiconductor chipsets, relaying digital signals to the R-2R DAC through its algorithm. Astell&Kern’s FPGA, developed specifically for the SE300, supports two modes - OS (Over Sampling) and NOS (Non-Over Sampling).
In NOS mode, the player reproduces the pure original sound without any digital processing, allowing users to enjoy the true unprocessed sounds as decoded by the R-2R DAC itself. OS mode offers partial digital processing that expands the bandwidth of the original signal up to 8x to offer impressive details, with an expansive sense of space creating crisp and clear sounds.
Astell&Kern 4th Generation Graphic User Interface
First introduced on the flagship A&ultima SP3000, the SE300 features Astell&Kern’s newly developed 4th generation UX/UI which focuses on the process and experience of listening to music.
The new theme is designed with a focus on the experience of rediscovering songs that you have forgotten; you can quickly browse through music categories with simple gestures. A convenient search feature along with album art has been added so that you can enjoy a digital display of CD album covers of your music collection. It is designed to give you not only the pleasure of listening to music, but also to create fun when operating the device.
With the new Crimson Theme, one of the main features of the 4th generation UI, the graphics are simple and unintrusive, focusing on usability and intuitiveness. Three key concepts, Edge, Simple, and Dark Mode, were used to improve usability and increase clarity with a style unique to AK. The black and red theme colors are chosen to reduce eye fatigue, maximize battery usage and reduce heat generation.
Native playback support of up to 32-bit/384KHz PCM and DSD256, allowing you to fully enjoy your favorite music anywhere you like.
ReplayGain, which allows the player to automatically adjust the volume between tracks and maintain a consistent playback level.
BT Sink allows the SE300 to connect to an external device via Bluetooth, and function as a Bluetooth DAC. Music from an external device, such as a smartphone can now be played back in high-quality, taking full advantage of the hi-res audio decoding in the player.
With AK File Drop, transferring your music files from a computer or NAS is even easier and more convenient. Using AK File Drop, you can freely transfer files wirelessly through a PC, smartphone, or FTP program located on the same network. Music file management is now possible with a cableless, wireless solution.
Real-time information, confirmed by light. Behind the exquisite A&futura SE300 volume wheel is an LED light that is reminiscent of rising waves. With the LED light that radiates from the inside of the SE300, users can see the bit rate of the currently playing music track or the current AMP mode in use by the color of the LED light.
The SE300 includes a 5.46-inch 1080x1920 Full HD touchscreen, 256GB of internal memory with support for microSD cards up to 1TB, dual-band 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi, DLNA networking, USB digital audio output, USB-C for data transfer and fast-charge support, and the ability to use the SE300 as a USB DAC for your Mac or Windows-based PC. The SE300 includes support for the most popular music streaming services including Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify and is Roon Ready certified.
Connection options include a 3.5mm unbalanced, 2.5mm and 4.4mm balanced headphone outputs. The SE300 features Bluetooth 5.0 which features faster transmission speed and greater range compared to Bluetooth 4.2, therefore providing a more stable wireless connection. Both LDAC™ and aptX™ HD are supported to provide audiophiles with 24-bit audio playback wirelessly.
The design concept for the A&futura SE300 is “Stream”. Like small ripples on water turning into crashing waves, Astell&Kern designed the SE300 with Class A AMP, the ultimate AMP form, to have a unique identity.
The main body, which is made from aluminum, has streamlined surfaces that represent the flow of music. Through this, Astell&Kern has created a firm yet flexible image. Intensity was added by using contrasting materials such as stainless steel and glass to further enhance the theme of “Stream”. In addition, the bottom section of the device curves outward, allowing for a more ergonomic grip while using the player.
The right side of the SE300 is coated with stainless steel to enhance visual focus. The polished side and triangular-patterned volume wheel are key to creating powerful and visually striking contrasts. The straight pattern on the rear of the volume wheel elevates the visual density and allows users to control volume and visually check the changes. The wheel lighting is placed behind the volume wheel to avoid direct exposure while allowing the light to be reflected on the side decorations and volume wheel knurl, creating the effect of light bursting from the inside.
The rear glass also features a new etching pattern, continuing the concept of “Stream.” The basic pattern features the A logo of Astell&Kern, designed to present an overall flow of stream with differences in size. This etching pattern amplifies the sense of flow with the differences in inclinations, adding a sense of depth to the rectangular rear glass that may otherwise look dull.
The A&futura SE300 Titan will be available in limited quantities October 2023 at authorized Astell&Kern dealers worldwide for $2,499.