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Astell&Kern introduces USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable

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Goh Beng Yeow
Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp. Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

Astell&Kern introduced today its USB-C Dual Digital-to-Analogue (DAC) Amplifier Cable, an ultra-compact accessory that allows music enthusiasts to experience better sound quality from one’s computer or mobiles devices on-the-move.

With leading smartphone manufacturers increasingly omitting 3.5 mm headphones jacks and relying on codec chips or low-performance DACs for digital-to-analogue audio conversion, it has been increasingly difficult to enjoy high-resolution music playback on-the-go. The USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier cable becomes an essential audio accessory that allows one to immerse in detailed and dynamic music by connecting a pair of earphones or headphones into its 3.5 mm headphone jack.

The USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier cable is equipped with a pair of CS43198 MasterHIFi™ DACs from Cirrus Logic, which supports high-resolution audio playback up to native DSD256 and 32 bit / 384kHz. Each DAC is paired with an independent analogue amplifier with sufficient power to drive various high impedance headphones with a 2 Vrms (no-load condition) output level.

Leveraging Astell&Kern’s years of expertise in the audio circuit and amplifier design, the product development team created a complex and highly integrated circuit design featuring a six-layer PCB measuring just 14 mm x 41 mm. The USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier cable also sports micro resistors and tantalum capacitors. Exclusively created for the brand, the same capacitors are used in the brand’s range of high-performance DAPs to optimise the audio circuit to suppress power fluctuations and provide stable operation towards a best-in-class audio performance USB-C Dual DAC cable.

Aesthetically, as many would expect from an Astell&Kern product, the USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable exhibits a stunning, angled surface design that is in-line with the ‘light and shadow’ concept employed across all the brand’s products.

The team also developed a custom-made 4-core cable for the USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable; the cable is made by wrapping silver-plated copper wire and the copper wire in a spiral form around a centre core made of Technora aramid fibre to block external noise. Simultaneously, a separate shielding treatment is applied to the cable to block distortion and noise of digital and analogue signals from the playback device. Interestingly, the Silver-Plated Copper wires used in the cable are more than twice the thickness of typical Silver-Plated Copper wires, which the brand claims aids to provide clear and rich spatial sound.

The Astell&Kern USB-C Dual DAC Amplifier Cable will retail at an SRP of USD 149 (SGD 189) and be available in Singapore from May 2021.

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