Astell&Kern makes impossibly good digital audio players. Within some 10 years, the brand has set a supreme standard for how an audio file should sound. They call this “Mastering Quality Sound”. Interestingly, Astell means ‘Stars’ in Latin and Kern means ‘Center’ in German. Astell&Kern is mindfully designed to getting audiophiles & purists alike to feel an irrefutable connection with music.
The history of the Korean brand begins in 2000. At that time, Reigncom Corp. creates the iRiver brand, under which multimedia players, portable players and electronic books are produced. The first such device is the iriver iMP-100 CD player. Further development of the model range of devices leads the company to the leaders of portable audio. Players under the brand iRiver are among the best in sound and in functionality.
Astell&Kern is the ultimate digital music source that brings you Mastering Quality Sound or MQS. Astell means ‘Stars’ in Latin and Kern means ‘Center’ in German. We believe Astell&Kern is the center of music.
And in 2012, the company produces rebranding, relying on the production of Hi-Fi devices. Now Astell & Kern is a legislator in the field of Hi-Res audio systems. And then, at CES 2013, the company showed its first product – AK100. The Wolfson WM8740 built-in DAC player was capable of reproducing an audio stream in 24-bit / 192 kHz resolution, optical output, the ability to be used as an audio interface, all in a compact metal case with a strict design. Needless to say that the device has become the best in its class? And then the colossal success and development of the Astel Kern brand, cooperation with other well-known brands and people in the field of creating the perfect sound. The range of its on-ear headphones, the company develops in collaboration with audio engineer Jerry Harvey.
In August, the all-in-one system AK T1 was released, along with the Super Junior x AK Jr collaboration and the Beyerdynamic-produced AK T8iE monitors. In November, Hyundai Card collaborated with Astell&Kern to create the AK100II x HCC model, as well as the AK320’s debut and Beyerdynamic-produced AK T1p. In 2015, Astell&Kern collaborated with Japanese voice actress Kana Hanazawa to create the limited AK100II Kana Hanazawa edition, which would include a special song titled “Tadoritsuku Basho” (A Place to Reach) pre-installed in the player.
In 21 January 2016, the company released a Copper Edition of the AK380. In February, the company released four sets of monitors co-produced with Jerry Harvey Audio: Layla II, Roxanne II, Angie II, and Rosie. In July, the company developed a new media player: the AK70.
Today, the crown of the portable Hi-End is A & ultima SP1000, which reproduces 32-bit / 384 kHz quality recordings with uncompromised sound. The music is played exactly as intended by the artist and sound producer.
Nowadays, original music performances can be captured in digital almost exactly as they were performed due to new, advanced recording technology currently available. However, these high quality recordings are mainly listened to through inferior sound formats, such as MP3 or through streaming services. With the debut of the MP3 format, music lovers sacrificed sound quality for the convenience of being able to carry their music collection wherever they went.
Because the MP3 format heavily compresses files for the sake of convenience, the vocals and instruments you hear are only an inferior version of the original. The soundstage and the ambience of the original performance often disappears when listening to compressed MP3 music. After pondering these issues, Astell&Kern was our solution to poor sound quality for the sake of portability, and our way in reviving the original sound quality of music, MQS, for music artists, recording engineers, and professionals.
Astell&Kern’s pursuit is to provide natural and original sound without distortion. It showcases the presence of the original recording with miniscule details you may not have noticed from other music systems, while playing back high-resolution music bit by bit, exactly as it was recorded. The ability to play back the exact recording of any live performance is what Astell&Kern is known for.
The power of true sound from Astell&Kern can now be experienced and has been part of many famous audio exhibitions around the world. Astell&Kern is now admired by music lovers from many countries, including the USA, China, Japan, UK, France, and many more around the world.