Astell&Kern is the leader in high-end digital audio players (DAP). Priced at $599, the new AK70 features 64GB of internal memory + 1 microSD expansion slot and is positioned between the Jr ($499) and AK300 ($899). The AK70 is designed with an oblique angle on one side of the body so that it can fit the contour of the user's thumb, the finger used most frequently when controlling the screen with one hand. The volume wheel is designed to be protruding slightly from a concave surface so that you can control volume with a simple motion of sliding your finger up and down. With slim 13-mm thickness and 132-gram lightweight, the palm-sized device is easy to carry anywhere. The AK70 has adopted a pastel-color anodized aluminum casing, which makes it look high quality with its light mint color and glossy silver tone. The smart-looking exterior and smooth color make the device look more casual and simpler.
The AK70's DAC is based on the market-proven CS4398 chip from Cirrus Logic. It has been used for years in Hi-Fi audio and second generation Astell&Kern devices. The AK70 plays back 24bit/192kHz signals into bit-to-bit type, 32bit audio is down-sampled using a sample-rate converter and DSD 64/128 can be played back through conversion to PCM.
Outputs are 3.5mm 3-pole unbalanced (2.3 Vrms) and 2.5-mm 4-pole balanced (2.3 Vrms) that has been in use since the second generation of the Astell&Kern players. AK70 can be used as a USB DAC by connecting to a PC/Mac through the USB port with support up to 24bit/96kHz providing much richer sound through superior ambience and resolution way beyond the limits of an embedded sound card on the computer.
The new AK70 also supports USB audio digital out, a first among Astell&Kern devices. Alex An (marketing director) shared in a Facebook Q&A post that USB audio digital out is coming to AK2XX and AK3XX series in the near future via a firmware update.
Inherited from its higher priced siblings, the AK70 allows the user to rip CDs with ease by linking with the AK CD-RIPPER and AK Connect.