A&K CA1000 desktop amp to go


Astell&Kern has introduced the ACRO CA1000 headphone amplifier which combines with digital audio player (DAP) capabilities in a compact desktop and “carriable-friendly” form. Claimed to deliver the optimal performance from any type of wired headphone it features an array of digital/analogue inputs and outputs that mean it can integrated with a system for head-fi fans. 

The ACROCA1000 (£1,999 / $2,100 / €2,299) supports a four-step gain level setting that can run high-impedance headphones with a 15Vrms (condition no load) output level – without deterioration of sound quality. Equipped with balanced 2.5mm and 4.4mm and unbalanced 3.5mm and 6.35mm outputs, the ACRO CA1000 can accommodate a wide variety of headphones. Using ultra-small relay parts, circuits for each output are physically separated from each other to minimise any internal noise interference that can adversely affect the quality of the signal and sound.

The ACRO CA1000 arrives with a high-quality, high-performance Quad ES9068AS DAC that supports high-resolution audio playback up native DSD512 and 32bit/384 kHz. It features Astell&Kern’s patented Teraton Alpha technology which uses power noise removal, efficient power management and amplification with minimal distortion.

In a headphone environment where the left and right channels are clearly separated, ear fatigue can increase when listening over long periods. Activate the crossfeed function and a more comfortable listening experience is revealed. This mode has the effect of blending the left and right channels, relieving ear fatigue by creating a more natural sound akin to listening to speakers. In this setting Shelf Cutoff, Shelf Gain, and Mixer Levels are adjustable according to listening tastes.

The ACRO CA1000 also features DAP capabilities, transforming it into the go-to-system for head-fi aficionados. A titling 4.1-inch touchscreen (up to 60-degrees) enables easy control of the player and amp settings with an intuitive Android OS and feature set taken from Astell&Kern’s portable DAPs. Although not entirely mobile, this amp player hybrid system is compact and portable. Equipped with an 8,400mAh large capacity battery, the ACRO CA1000 can provide up to 10.5 hours playback without a separate power supply. It also supports USB-PD 2.0 (9V/3A) fast charging, so anyone with a charger that supports USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) can experience improved charging times – a one hour charge provides 50% battery, while it takes 2.5 hours for a full charge. A green light on the CA1000 will indicate when USB-PD fast charging is active.

An array of inputs and outputs allows connection of digital and analogue sources to expand the systems capabilities. These include optical, coaxial, type-C USB digital inputs/outputs and RCA analogue input/output.

The ACRO CA1000 has 256GB on-board memory that can be expanded up to 1TB via a microSD card slot, meaning users can stockpile thousands of hi-res albums. Elsewhere, Replay Gain functionality automatically and uniformly adjusts volume playback from sound sources up to 24-bit/192 kHz so playlists can be enjoyed throughout without reaching for the volume.

A BT sync function connects the ACRO CA1000 to an external device, such as a smartphone, via Bluetooth with Bluetooth 5.0, providing greater range and a more stable wireless connection to headphones and, along with support for 24-bit aptX HD and LDAC codecs, offers the best possible wireless sound quality.

Alongside dual-band Wi-Fi support, the ACRO CA1000 features AK File Drop for easier wireless file transfers. Users can wirelessly transfer files through a PC, smartphone, or FTP program located on the same network. The Astell&Kern ACRO CA1000 will be available from February.


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