Astell & Kern for all

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Astell & Kern for all
Thursday, May 12, 2022

The Astell & Kern AK HC2 Dual DAC cable is a portable DAC for iOS and Android smartphone and tablet and Windows or Apple laptop computers. Following on from the AK HC1 (PEE51), this DAC hash a 4.4mm balanced headphone for high-resolution headphones on-the-move or listening at home. 

With digital-to-analogue conversion circuitry in laptops, tablets and smartphones remaining a secondary focus, and headphone jacks becoming a rarity in smartphones, making the most of the high- resolution audio offered by the most popular streaming services might not appear straightforward. “But thanks to the AK HC2 it can be achieved, easily and effectively”. 

Key features: 
Supports 4.4mm balanced output for improved channel separation and reduced noise 
Powerful 4Vrms output to drive a wide variety of headphones 
Equipped with a CS43198 Dual DAC to deliver a hi-fi grade sound 
Dual Shielded cable minimises distortion and signal noise 
Compatible with iOS and Android devices 
Optional Android app to enable detailed volume control 
Balanced audio for iOS and Android devices 
Size: 17mm x 50mm x 10mm 

At the heart of the AK HC2 Dual DAC cable are two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHiFi DACs, high- performance DACs that feature in Astell & Kern’s A&norma range of digital audio players, and support hi-res playback up to native 32bit/384kHz and DSD256. “The dual DACs are paired with a high-performance analogue amplifier, powerful enough to drive even high impedance headphones without difficulty - and the 4.4mm balanced output means lower noise, higher output and clearer channel-separation”. Bespoke capacitors optimise the audio circuit, suppressing power fluctuations and optimising output performance, while also minimising the power consumption of the connected device. 

“Most USB DAC products have the DAC positioned in the USB terminal connected directly to the device to process and output audio. However, with the AK HC2, digital signals from the device pass through the dual-shielded cable to the audio circuit before being converted to an analogue signal by the DAC. By processing the digital signal at a later stage, the sound performance is superior and noise-free sound compared to other USB DAC products.” The Astell & Kern AK HC2 USB-C Dual DAC is priced £169 / $170 / €199 and available from mid-June 2022.