There is something about analogue sound that no digital technology has been able to replace, but Astell & Kern is trying to deliver perfect analogue sound with its desktop network audio product, the AK500N. It features a one-click CD- ripper with perfect noise isolation achieved by using a battery for its operation; that is, you charge the device and use it on battery. AC power supply is the point of entry for unwanted external noise and exit of device noise; the AK500N does not even allow 1 per cent of external noise. The battery is designed to run for 7 hours on a full charge, and it starts charging on its own when its power reserve is less than 4 per cent.
Using a highly optimised ripping engine, the AK500N provides you with flawless CD rips through enhanced jitter and error correction support. You can rip your CDs at two speeds—normal and fast—and your tracks can be saved as WAV or FLAC on its internal 1 Terabyte SSD drive, and just in case you run out of capacity, the AK500N can take up to four drives of 4 TB capacity each.
A dedicated DSD chipset converts PCM files to DSD64, converting high resolution 32bit/384 kHz WAV PCM and 24 bit /2352 kHz FLAC PCM files to DSD64 without any down sampling, ensuring pristine sound. With digital inputs and outputs that include AES/EBU, coaxial, optical and BNC, the AK500N analogue output supports both fixed and variable signals for a direct amplifier hook-up.
You can hook up the system via ethernet if you want to use it as a DLNA player or access files stored on your NAS device. There is onboard Wi-Fi too, and you can remotely control the system using an iPhone, iPad or an Android device.