Astell&Kern has again partnered with beyerdynamic to produce the AK T8iE In-Ear Monitor. The AK T8iE is the first IEM to feature beyerdynamic’s popular Tesla driver technology, designed specifically for portable audio and mobile listening.
Astell&Kern engineers worked closely with beyerdynamic to tune the sound output of the AK T8iE to match the sound characteristics of Astell&Kern’s high-res portable players, particularly the new flagship AK380. The AK T8iE is terminated in a balanced, 2.5mm 4-pole jack for use with Astell&Kern players. Also included is a 3.5mm adapter for use with other portable players.
The most important technological achievement in the AK T8iE is the implementation of tesla technology in the size of earphones for the first time. Tesla drivers are known for providing neutral and natural sound with great efficiency. The tesla drivers used in the AK T8iE are one sixteenth the size of previous Tesla drivers, yet deliver the exact sound characteristics of larger beyerdynamic headphones in a very small package. Every pair of AK T8iE IEMs is built by hand at the beyerdynamic facility in Heilbronn, Germany.
Just as important as sound quality is comfort. The AK T8iE features a concha design with the cable running over the ear, which has several advantages. On the one hand, a somewhat larger housing is necessary, to accommodate the 11 millimeter Tesla driver inside. On the other hand, the oval-shaped concha molds sit very comfortably in the ear without any pressure. They are easily inserted, instead of pressing them forcefully into the ear canal. And because the cable doesn't pull, they can't fall out. The cable is covered with Aramid, a strong and heat resistant synthetic fiber, for high durability that will stand up to long term use on the go and come in a chrome-plated case for storage.
Astell & Kern also measured a variety of ear canals of people from around the world, and ergonomically optimized the eartips. Five different sizes of these unique silicone tips are included as well as foam tips in S, M and L.
The AK T8iE features distinct acoustic advantages when compared with other high-quality in-ear headphones. It transmits the entire audible frequency spectrum with a single driver. In contrast to other headphones with Balanced Armature (BA) technology, there is no separate transducer for bass, mid-range or treble tones. With this single driver design, there is no crossover filter that may cause uneven sound reproduction. This avoids phase problems and the loss of sound quality that results from this.
From deep bass to the highest trebles, the AK T8iE sounds like an integrated whole. Additionally, the efficiency of the beyerdynamic Tesla transducer is so high that the AK T8iE does not need a multi-way system. It can easily be matched to a 4-way BA system.
Henry Park, CEO of iriver, parent company of Astell&Kern said, “Astell & Kern players demand top quality headphones. That's why beyerdynamic also fits us so well. The brand epitomizes the “Made in Germany” quality concept like almost no other brand does. Products from Germany enjoy a great reputation all over the world, especially in Asia, Astell & Kern's home market. So after the A 200 p, we collaborated on a limited edition of the beyerdynamic T 5 p headphones, the AK T5p, which was built according to our specific requirements.”
Wolfgang Luckhardt, managing director of beyerdynamic GmbH & Co. KG said, “We were connected by a common goal. Both companies strive for uncompromising high-end sound and thus pursue a similar philosophy: Results count, even when they demand a lot of effort. There has been regular contact between Heilbronn and Korea since 2013, when beyerdynamic collaborated with Astell & Kern on the portable high-end DAC and headphone amplifier A 200 p. The experience was so positive then, that we wanted to do more with each other.”
This is the third product collaboration between Astell&Kern and beyerdynamic. The first product, the beyerdynamic A 200 p portable high-end DAC and Headphone amp, powered by Astell&Kern, was released in 2013 and has been praised by consumers and press around the world. The second project, the Astell&Kern AK T5p Headphones, released in 2015, is the first Astell&Kern-branded headphones specifically tuned for Astell&Kern’s line of high-res portable audio players and are terminated in a 2.5mm balanced output to provide A&K owners the best possible sound.
The AK T8iE will make its world debut at IFA Berlin, September 4 – 9, 2015 at the beyerdynamic booth, Hall 1.2, Stand 204. Pricing and availability will be announced soon.