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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. JTori
    I've had my SR15 for about two weeks. Here are a few sound impressions:
    • Until yesterday I was listening single ended using my Audeze iSine 20s and Shure SE530s.
    • My impression upon first firing up the SR15 was that it sounded thin. I wasn't certain I had made a good purchase decision. After playing it a couple hours, it sounded fuller and really opened up. The change was not insignificant. No more uncertainty.
    • The iSines sounded good single ended, as did the SE530s. Both were full, rich and unconstrained.
    • Yesterday I received my new, balanced Reference Silver headphone cables from Lavricables. To say I was blown away by the improvement in sound from my iSines would be an understatement. It's a whole new ballgame! The 20s sound natural, punchy, full, dynamic and spacious. I would not have believed the difference would be so great.
    Tomorrow I will receive the Astell&Kern Beyerdynamic Special Edition AK T5P 2nd Generation headphones I ordered earlier this week. I plan to use them with both the SR15 and my Bottlehead Mainline amp. I'll report back once I've had a chance to give them a good listen.
     
    Swoti and bgtip like this.
  2. JTori
    For s*&%s and grins:
    • The New - SR15 with iSine20s and balanced Lavricables
    • The New and Old - SR15, etc. vs. iPod Nano 3rd Gen. + RSA Tomahawk + Shure SE530s

    IMG_1718.jpg IMG_1720.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
    abitdeef and bgtip like this.
  3. Swoti
    Anybody here from Germany who can give a recommendation where to buy the Sr 15. Thank you.
    PS. Compared to the fiio M9. Where do you see advantages that justify the doubled price?
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  4. Pilot370

    I too am looking forward to using my 20’s balanced in the 15! I have the Sennheiser 660 S balanced and it was a first listening to to the 15 through balanced and was blown away at the soundstage and the increase in dynamics that are heard!
     
    AndyGer75 likes this.
  5. atmasphere
    I have the M5S and am trying to decide if I should have gotten the SR15. I see you have both ... What's the real battery life difference? How are you finding charging speed on the SR15 ... that micro USB vs type-c thing bugs me, but not sure if it really even matters. Local dealer has the SR15 and am debating just heading back today to swap.
     
  6. dakchi
    Amazon.fr
     
  7. abitdeef
    The real battery difference is about 3 hours more on the M5s from what I remember. I get about 8 or 9 on SE out on SR-15 and maybe 7 ish or 6ish on balanced. I didn’t keep M5s- I liked ST-15 more despite the lesser battery life.

    I liked the sound better and having Tidal. The SR15 sounded more livelier- especially on bakanced. Not that M5s sounds bad, I just like the presentation more on the AK.
     
  8. atmasphere
    Thank you. Think I’m making myself crazy.
     
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  9. abitdeef
    Lol yep lots of us do that :wink:you can always give the SR15 a listen and demo it.
     
    atmasphere likes this.
  10. atmasphere
    I have some questions about the SR15 I was hoping people could answer ...

    First I've been having some strange issue with my SD Card on the Shanling M5S and it's making me crazy ... mostly the card won't fully index. It's a 400GB Card with about 330GB of tunes on there mostly FLAC with some DSD as well. When it does index the process takes forever ... like many many minutes. How is that on the AK?

    On the interface .. if you are looking at a song, can you pivot to an album or an artist? I love doing that on the desktop via Roon and miss the flexibility as much as I am enjoying the concept of so much in my pocket.

    Thanks!
     
  11. Tsukuyomi
    I had the X5III and was considering going for the X7II but after dealing with fiio's glitchy software i couldnt take it.
    i'm now in A&K camp for portable DAP.
    And im loving it lol! eventually when the SR15 has ran its life cycle (maybe in 2-3 years from now) i'll buy another A&K DAP but at a higher price point because i feel a bit reassured in the quality which i didnt have in Fiio.
     
    buonassi likes this.
  12. bgtip
    I'd owned M9. The price difference is fair if you want very detailed sound imaging and airy and musically sounding DAP especially on the balanced output. If you are happy with mostly neutral sound and lacklustre sound imaging M9 is actually an excellent DAP, again better on the balanced out.
     
    Swoti likes this.
  13. atmasphere

    Went back into NYC today and swapped myShanling M5s for the SR15. This thing is superior on every level so far. Build quality is phenominal, hand feel is terrific (got the case) and control and navigation are awesome. My card was indexed immediately and even though there was only 17% battery on first power-up I was prepared in the car and enjoyed some tunes on the way home. Since getting home, I'm just continuing to realize how well considered this product is compared to what I've seen from other brands. The level of touch across things is great! I love that the AK Connect apps see my network devices with zero effort and that I can choose to control the SR15 from an iPhone or iPad simply as well. I cannot detect any half measure here ... A+

    Of course the sound, the most important aspect is also excellent. I appreciate it will likely warm up a bit with some use, but out of the box compared to the shanling it's just better. Richer, deeper and tonaly impressive by comparison. It is almost 2x the price, but the value certainly appears to be there!

    I'm listening to my Sennheisser HD6xx (3.5) and was using the Campfire Comets balanced earlier. Just great!
     
    AndyGer75, bgtip and abitdeef like this.
  14. abitdeef
    That’s exactly how I felt, the M5s is very nice but after hearing and using SR15 it just doesn’t cut it. The layering and positioning in the sound stage is much better on the SR15 and the tone is also better, the treble is more resolving as are the mids.

    I don’t think there is much that can compete with it in it’s price range. Especially since it has that musicality and AK perfect timing. And I don’t like too neutral like ibasso 200 or Fiio x7ii either. Build quality is really excellent also.

    Sony wm 1A is good but no tidal, and tidal sounds utterly fantastic on SR-15.

    Anyways enjoy, and it will get better :wink:
     
  15. atmasphere
    Right on - yeah the only price competitor I think is the not the WM 1A, but the ZX300. In the end though having a few extensible bits like Tidal and soon Roon put me towards the AK and I'm very pleased with the decision!
     
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