High end audio experts Astell&Kern appear to be on a roll right now: fresh from the launch of their first portable Class-A amplifier last month, they've just announced another big leap forward for serious music fans.
The new Astell&Kern ACRO CA1000T is the world's first device to include the latest ESS flagship dual DAC and Dual Tube Triple Amp system. In plain English, that means it delivers even better noise reduction, modulation and power consumption than previous headphone amps, which means even more immersive audio.
Serious hardware for serious music fans
The CA1000T is a bit beyond my budget – it's £2,299 / $2,300 / €2,599 / AUD$3,699 – but then it's not really designed for listeners like me; it's for people who are serious about their sound and who'll happily spend serious amounts of money to get as close to the music as possible. And for that market this is a really big deal.
In addition to the amp and DAC, the CA1000T has multiple connections including XLR and RCA as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to connect external audio devices and speakers. That means it can be a hub for all your audio, not just your high end headphones.
It supports four-stage Gain Level settings of up to 15Vrms to drive even the most demanding in-ear monitors and headphones. And with native DSD512 and 32bit/768kHz, MQA 16X full decoding via the hardware renderer, aptX-HD and LDAC over Bluetooth 5.0 it delivers high-res audio even on wireless headphones.
According to Astell&Kern, "The ACRO CA1000T features dual Twin Triode KORG Nutube tubes and a complete balanced circuit that separates left and right channels with two vacuum tubes, creating even more natural and softer sounds. The high-performance device also benefits from its Triple Amp System, allowing listeners to select between Tube Amp and OP Amp mode, or both, to experience the unique, signature sound of Astell&Kern."