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Astell&Kern’s USB-C Dual DAC cable aims to transform smartphone audio


Astell&Kern is here to rescue your mobile device from poor audio with the AK USB-C Dual DAC Cable. Well, unless you have an iOS device…

Astell&Kern has introduced the AK USB-C Dual DAC cable (£109), which it claims will enable “music fans to experience the best sound quality” from a computer or mobile device. It joins the company’s line-up of well-regarded portable music players and headphones, and is currently only slated to support Android smartphones, Windows 10 PC, tablet PC or MacOS computers.

The lack of any iOS device support is down to the amount of current required to power the cable. As it is a dual cable configuration, it needs more current to run than single cable would and current iOS devices limit the “amount of current exported”, so it’s a case of no dice with mobile iOS devices.

The introduction of the USB-C DUAL DAC Cable is down to the continuing trend of smartphone OEMs omitting headphone jacks and including low performance DACs in the set-up, affecting the playback quality of high-quality music (especially with all that competing noise in a smartphone’s circuitry). Plug the dual DAC cable in, connect a pair of 3.5mm headphones and you’re ready to start your hi-fi listening experience in the way it should be heard, according to A&K.

Inside the Dual DAC are two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHIFi DACs, which support Hi-res audio playback up to native DSD256 and 32-bit/384kHz. A&K has managed to fit the componentry needed into what it describes as the size of a chewing-gum packet (17 x 50 x 10.3mm), so it shouldn’t be too much bother to carry in a pocket. Bespoke designed capacitors are integrated to optimise the audio circuit “to suppress power fluctuations” for a stable performance.

The sound quality, A&K says, should be distortion free, “live, warm and clear” in the manner the artist intended, with the Cable able to sufficiently drive a variety of high impendence headphones with a 2Vrms (Condition No Load) output level.

Priced at £109, the Astell&Kern AK USB-C Dual DAC Cable is slated to go on sale from April onwards.



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