A&K Portable Players Now Roon-Ready

Tuesday, 16 March 2021
by Lee Heron
Astell&Kern A&ultima Players Now Roon-Ready | Audio Sanctuary

A&K + Roon

Astell&Kern, one of the worlds foremost manufacturers of portable high-resolution audio players and accessories, has today (March 16th 2021) announced that two models in their flagship A&ultima line of players have now received Roon Ready certification.

From today, owners of the SP2000 or SP1000 portable music players are able to download and install an official over-the-air (OTA) firmware update which will allow your A&ultima player to be be used as a Roon Endpoint.

With the addition of Roon Ready certification, Astell&Kern has added great new features for portable high-resolution audio players providing audiophiles with yet another reason to enter their ultimate audio experience.

Roon is a rich and engaging way to browse, organise, and listen to music. Artist photos, credits, bios, reviews, lyrics, tour dates, and composers are located automatically, then interconnected by links to build an easily-browsable, surfable digital magazine.

Roon is also a multi-room, multi-user networked audio platform, it offers features such as bit-perfect playback, DSD and PCM upsampling, multichannel support, and Signal Path display.

Being Roon Ready means that Astell&Kern players transparently discover and connect to Roon without any configuration, and bit-perfect audio is delivered from Roon to the player.

More Information

Astell&Kern Announce New SE200 Portable Player

Friday, 26 June 2020
by Lee Heron
Astell&Kern Announce New SE200 Portable Player | Audio Sanctuary


Astell&Kern have announced their new A&futura SE200, the latest addition to their portables lineup, including new cases in two different colours.

The estimated release date is currently Monday July 20, 2020, however as always please be aware that such dates may change.

Pre-Order SE200 From Audio Sanctuary Here.


SE200 is the second model from the Astell&Kern A&futura premium line of Digital Audio Players.

After the first A&futura model, the SE100, A&K were once again thinking about the nature of the word premium and asked themselves, "What is the value of premium in Hi-Fi and how can we express it in a product?"

They decided to make one device that nobody would be able to duplicate, something no one else has tried before, including Astell&Kern. The result is their SE200.

Key features include:

  • Equipped with the world's first Multi-DAC (2 x ESS ES9068AS + 1 x AKM AK4499EQ)
  • Independent AMP structure designed to compliment each DAC's characteristics
  • DAC Filters to choose your preferred sound profile
  • Audio performance to feel premium Hi-Fi sound presented by A&K
  • Upgrades that add a Premium value experience
  • Every single element and feature of the SE200 has been updated to make it the best of the A&futura line.

HDV820 By Sennheiser Announced - New Amplifier

Thursday, 19 July 2018
by Lee Heron

Sennheiser have announced their successor to the HDVD800 with the launch of the HDV820 digital amplifier. It was 2013 when Sennheiser first launched their HDVA600 analogue and HDVD800 digital headphone amplifier to pair with their HD800, HD700 and HD6xx range of headphones. They were incredible feats of engineering and the sound was amazing from both of the units. Wind on 4 years and Sennheiser are now replacing their much loved HDVD800 with the brand new HDV820 digital amplifier.

Choosing to stick with the amazing and highly regarding ESS brand of DAC chipsets Sennheiser have chosen to up the anti and selected the DAC capable of receiving data from any source outputting up to 12.3MHz. The previous HDVD800 was capped to 24/192 so this will be a big step up.

A bold move has also been taken by Sennheiser with their range of outputs levied on this new amplifier. With a breadth of audio outputs that include XLR3, XLR4, 6.3 mm- and a 4.4 mm Pentaconn socket, it is easy to find the optimal way to connect your headphones with the HDV 820. It performs brilliantly with digital sources, whether optically via coax or via USB, and features balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) analogue inputs.

We are keeping an eye out at this years Munich High-End show in May as we will then have further details in relation to price. I speculate that it will be around the £1500 - £1600 mark and release date is still to be announced.

Chord Hugo 2 Announced

Thursday, 19 July 2018
by Lee Heron

Alongside Poly the Chord Hugo 2 was also officially unveiled at CES 2017. The new Hugo 2 features the latest WTA filters, better performance. This new breed of Hugo kicks off from where the original outstanding Hugo was. Increased performance and new filters take the Hugo series up another notch.

The Hugo 2 has been dramatically redesigned with all-new casework, flexible new features, plus next-generation technical and sonic performance at £1,800. Chord have announced both the Hugo 2 Silver and Hugo 2 Black

The precision-machined aircraft-grade aluminium case has a sharper, lower profile design than the original Hugo and four spherical control buttons. The spheres, which are top-mounted, allow for future expansion side-modules. The top-mounted volume-control sphere that was found on the original Hugo has been retained and made larger for more intuitive operation.

The stylish new design and additional functionality has further made the Hugo a device for both indoor and outdoor usage and with the inclusion of a full-function remote control adds further flexibility and the practical line-level output mode of the original has also been retained.

New levels of technical performance

All areas of the original Hugo have been improved upon with performance gains having been made in timing accuracy, noise reduction, headphone amp power and dynamic range. Chord Hugo 2 DAC / Headphone Amp

Four digital inputs

Akin to Hugo the Hugo 2 offers four digital inputs (optical, coaxial and HD USB) plus extended-range Bluetooth, with high-resolution file playback up to 768kHz and up to DSD512 (Octa DSD), via its HD USB input. Analogue outputs include 2x RCA, plus 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone outputs.

User-selectable filtering option

A new addition comes in the form of four-function switch filter, operated by its own control sphere. This offers the user a useful degree of user-selectable frequency-shaping, bringing warm and soft or transparent and incisive presentations, giving additional flexibility and user control.

Battery life improved

Battery playing time has increased to c.14 hours and USB fast charging over micro has been included: fast (1.8 amperes) and slow (less than one ampere). An indicator shows charging and battery-charge status.

Lower distortion, better output stage

To further improve of the output stage and reduce distortion even more brand new digital DC servos have replaced the inline capacitors which helps power-drive performance and capability of the output stage.

Technical specifications


  • 1x Optical TOSLink 24-bit/192kHz-capable
  • 1x RCA coaxial input 24-bit/384kHz-capable
  • 1x HD USB input 32-bit/768kHz and DSD512-capable
  • 1x aptX Bluetooth (extended range)


  • 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 1x 6.35mm (1/4 inch) headphone jack
  • 1x (pair) stereo RCA phono output


  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.0001% 1kHz 3V RMS 300 ohms
  • THD and noise at 3V RMS Ref 5.3V: 120dB @ 1kHz 300 ohms A Wt
  • Noise 2.6 uV A Wt: no measurable noise floor modulation
  • Signal to noise ratio: 126dB A-weighted
  • Channel separation: 135dB @ 1kHz 300 ohms
  • Maximum output level (to clipping at 1% distortion): 94 mW 300 ohms; 740 mW 33 ohms; 1050 mW (8)
  • Output impedance: 25 milliohms (0.025 ohms)

Technical features

  • Advanced digital volume control
  • Crossfeed filter network
  • Four-stage frequency-shaping filter
  • Fast-charging batteries via Micro USB giving c.14 hours operation
  • 49,195K tap-length filter (near double the original the Hugo)