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Astell & Kern SR15: A&norma Impressions & Reviews

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by pitch_black, Jul 29, 2018.
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  1. abitdeef

    I’ve got about 60 hours on mine and I’ve been listening straight for about 2 hours and the metal top is cold to the touch- it wasn’t like that when I first got it, it ran pretty damn warm.

    It still gets a bit warm if I stream or run DSD balanced, but nothing out of the ordinary. Also the sound has settled in and the timbre has become more natural. Piano is sounding really nice at this point, with great attack and decay and weight. It sounds real.

    If I listen to my nano or my AP80 or SE zx300 right after listening to the SR15 the piano sounds off and is lacking something- hard to describe but I’ve been playing since I was 10 and I love the sound of ‘live’ piano.

    Anyways glad the sound is settling in for you. I liked it out of the box, but I too thought the timbre was a bit off and the mids seemed a bit further out than I’m used to. But now I really like it. I am surprised they only used small caps but I’m digging the sound.

    Still wish it had Sony battery life. :wink:
     
  2. someyoungguy
    I went into an Astell n Kern dealer today to try out an SR15. There’s no dealer where I live but I’m visiting another city for the weekend anyway so made the effort to get to the store - only to find they’d sold their last SR15 and wouldn’t have another till next week.

    So that was a bit disappointing but I tried the AK70 mk II, KANN and SE100, comparing it to my ZX300 and with B&W P7s and Aeon Flow Closed. I only have 4.4mm and 3.5mm terminated cables for the Flows so just compared 3.5mm outs on each to keep things consistent.

    One sales rep there said I should try the AK70II and Kann to get an idea of the SR15, that the SR15 was most similar to the KANN but did some things better than the KANN and some things better than the AK70II. But after finishing the listening session a different rep said the SR15 is quite a noticeable step up from the AK70II.

    I listened for about 40 minutes, but switching between players, tracks and headphones it felt like quite a short trial. Used my own microSD card so I’d be familiar with the songs.

    First impressions of the AK70II were that it wasn’t as good as I was expecting given the original AK70 had so much praise. At times it was great and one drum roll in particular really floored me. But at other times when the music picked up it felt like the player was pushing too hard and it would get fatiguing after a while. But the size and form factor are great, really pocketable and since the SR15 is about the same size it was good to hold it in the hand in person.

    I’d heard the KANN once before paired with a Focal headphone and wasn’t that impressed, but today with headphones and tracks I’m more familiar with I came away with better impressions. The sense of separation and space was better than the ZX300. The ZX300 is quite bassy so I wasn’t surprised the bass on the KANN wasn’t as much. But I do find the P7s, previously my go-to daily headphone, actually end up too bassy for me paired with the ZX300.

    The SE100 is big, not quite as thick as the KANN but longer. It looks great, but I’d personally be worried about damaging it if I used it for portable daily use. All three of these AK players sounded different, with the SE100 a noticeable change from the KANN. It has one characteristic that the ZX300 has, which is that deep bass has actual notes, rather than just sounding “deep”. I’m so used to deep bass just sounding deep that I’m not sure how I feel about the extra resolution, maybe more isn’t always better! The sound signature really is nice though and I wish I had more time to absorb it, but the SE100 really is pushing the limit of what I’d ever be prepared to pay for a DAP so I was listening more for curiosity and in order to guess how the SR15 might sound based on others’ comparisons to these players.

    Of all three probably the KANN was most interesting for me - more in my personal price range than the SE100 and better resolving than the AK70II. I have no idea when I’ll next be in town and probably won’t get to trial the SR15 anytime soon, so looks like I’ll have to buy it as a blind purchase if I go ahead with it.
     
    Tsukuyomi likes this.
  3. Tsukuyomi
    great sum up, i myself will be blind purchasing the SR15 as im not able to demo it at a store in my city.
    My friend has the SE100 and im really jealous. it sounded great with my B&O H6 Gen 2, i have a pair of B&W P7 (wired) at home and DT1990 pros.

    to me i think the SE100 and SP1000 are made for more, in the office, library, home use. not really for actual transit. as the DAP is like you said, quite large and quite expensive for practical use.

    that being said however, man i would grab an SE100 if i had the money, but i need a new laptop soon and i have an RME ADI-2 DAC coming that i've ordered.

    I've never heard the cirrus logic DACs before, only ever had sony dacs and fiio AK dacs. so we'll see how this sounds if the store gets an SR15.
     
  4. T.R.A.N.C.E.
    I've read the opinions of several people mentioning that they prefer the SR15 over the KANN because the latter sounds too neutral, while the SR15 is more engaging. I could have bought the KANN but went with the SR15 because of those opinions as well as the fact that the KANN is using the older slow CPU and UI, as well as being big, heavy and ugly if you ask me.

    Plus the CS43198 has better specs than the AK4490EQ and we get two of them! :O
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
    Tsukuyomi likes this.
  5. someyoungguy
    Yeah I agree, the KANN is utilitarian rather than sexy! One thing I’ve been wondering about is the power output of the balanced on the SR15 - it’s given as 4 Vrms but with no load. Usually the specs I’ve seen are with a 16 or 32 ohm load. I’d love to be able to use the SR15 with 300 ohm dynamic driver headphones if possible (although I realize it isn’t really meant as a desktop amp replacement!).
     
  6. aklwarrior
    The SR15 easily drives the 250 Ohm DT1770 Pro, shouldn't be the 300 Ohm an issue.
     
    Tsukuyomi and someyoungguy like this.
  7. T.R.A.N.C.E.
    Been using my SR15, with Ultrasone IQ Pro, Sony XBA-3 and Koss Portapro. Sounds great with all of them. Getting my Portapro's terminated in balanced for kicks :p

    I'm currently stoked with the sound of the SR15.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
    pilgrimbilly likes this.
  8. pilgrimbilly
    Now have 150+ hours on my SR15 and it's sounding magnificent. Soundstage has really opened in the last few days. Using AKG N5005s via balanced and can't fault it. Still not loving the UI, screen or battery life, and I really must find a case, but they're quibbles. Beats my cousin's M9 so easily that he's going to buy the SR15 too:ksc75smile:
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
    T.R.A.N.C.E. likes this.
  9. vokey
    I’ve been using the SR 15 for about a month now. For the money, it’s a very musical DAP and has great dynamics.

    I’ve always set it to power off after 10 minutes on standby mode. Over the last week or so, I noticed that it doesn’t switch off(after 10m) and remains on standby mode and gets very warm(sometimes hot) and it drains the battery considerably.

    Can Jason advise what should I do? I’ve done the soft reset (holding the power button for 10 seconds).

    Anyone else experienced this?
     
  10. Tsukuyomi
    called my local shop, and they mentioned because of the re-structuring for A&K in North America (Canada primarily) they'll be sending products to othorized dealers first party no longer through 3rd party exporters. however the store i go to despite being an authorized dealer, is on a waiting list of approval from A&K :frowning2: so.. the store manger said they should get more info in about a month... *sigh* even more waiting time...
     
  11. Maxistallone
    Hi @JasonNYC any thoughts on when the Roon app will be rolled out?
    I had thought from the US website blog entries that it was targeted for end of 2018
    No complaints from me just keen to see the bringing together of A&K and Roon two of my favourite tech companies
    Also would it be the full Roon Remote app or something ‘thinner’ ?
    Obviously feel free to keep cards close

    Thanks
    Scott
     
  12. emrelights1973
    Roon and MQA offline and i will buy another AK after sp1000 and sr15

    They are both great......
     
  13. aklwarrior
    I experienced the same a few times, but didn't find the reason nor the solution.
     
  14. JasonNYC
    We were targeting the end of December, but with the holidays assumed it would get pushed a bit. Last update I had before the holidays was that it was close. Our dev team had to make a change that the Roon team requested, then it needed to go back to Roon for testing which can take a few weeks. I should hopefully have an update this week.

    I haven't gotten any details on exactly what will be available with the Roon update. Again, hope to get that info and share over the next week or so.
     
    Astell&Kern Stay updated on Astell&Kern at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
     
    https://www.facebook.com/astellnkern/ https://twitter.com/astell_kern https://instagram.com/astellnkern https://us.astellnkern.com support.inc@iriver.com
  15. vokey
    Hi @JasonNYC , any fix for this issue?
     
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