By Lam Seng Fatt
I dropped by E1 Personal Audio in Sungei Wang Plaza on Friday and was pleasantly surprised by a multi-DAC Astell & Kern DAP.
The Astell & Kern model was the A&futura SE200 (RM8,499) which has one AKM AK4499EQ and two ESS Sabre ES9068AS Digital-to-Analogue-Converter chips. There are two headphone jacks – one for the AKM and the other for the ESS Sabre output. It is marketed as the world’s first DAP with multi-DACs. Dual-DAC DAPs have been around in the market since A&K launched the Dual DAC AK120 player in 2013.
With the A&K A&futura SE200, it was a simple matter of unplugging the IEM from one jack and plugging it to the other jack to compare the sonic differences. I was quite surprised to find out that the AKM sounded better than the ESS – music from the AKM circuit sounded faster, more dynamic and clearer with a really punchy bass while from the ESS circuit, the sound was mellower and bit subdued.
I was using the Campfire Audio Equinox (RM7,239) solid-body custom-fit IEM featuring a single 10mm Full Range A.D.L.C. Diaphragm Dynamic Driver to test the A&K DAPs on demo which were the A&futura SE200, the new flagship A&ultima SP2000 (RM16,699) and the A&norma SR25 (RM3,499). The Campfire Audio IEMs on demo were the Equinox, the Andromeda 2020 (RM4,999) and the Solstice which features five Balanced Armature Drivers + T.A.E.C. (RM7,239).
Today (Aug 2) is the last day of the Astell & Kern and Campfire Audio event at E1 Personal Audio in Sungei Wang Plaza.