Review: Astell & Kern SR25 Portable Music Player
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The SR25 is Astell&Kern’s latest entry-level portable music player and the second model in the A&norma standard line. Although aesthetically similar with an aluminum body and slightly angled design,the SR25 is an upgrade from the 2018 model SR15.
The SR25 offers up to 21 hours of continuous playback – which is more than double of the SR15 and the longest playback time of any previous Astell&Kern products. The SR25 also supports native DSD256 and 32-bit/384kHz audio, whereas the SR15 downsampled these formats. Additionally, the SR25 sports MQA full-unpack decoding capability. Thanks to the cutting edge DAC and processors, you’ll hear your MQA files at the best they can be: just as the artist intended.
This is not only a portable music player but also a portable music streamer. With the ability to stream high-resolution audio from top streaming services like Qobuz, you are able to take advantage of this unit's phenomenal DAC to enhance your music streaming experience.
In addition to 24-bit music playback via aptX HD Bluetooth as in previous Astell&Kern players, the SR25 adds LDAC support to give users more options to listen to high-resolution audio wirelessly. Now you can enjoy Astell&Kern's high-quality sound when paired to Bluetooth earphones, headphones and speakers!
And, For further protection and customization of the player, there is a case available in 3 colors that can be used with the SR25.
More SR25 Features:
- Quad-Core CPU
- Cirrus Logic CS43198 Dual DAC
- 3.6" 720x1280 Touch Display
- Aluminum Body
- Built-in Memory: 64GB [NAND]
"Hey, everyone. It's Adam with World Wide Stereo. Today, I want to show you a high-resolution, portable audio player from Astell&Kern;. This is the SR25. So, the SR25 is a portable, high-resolution audio player. And the first thing you see, why is the screen curved? Everybody sees that.
And I can tell you, you're not going to understand it until you put this product in your hand. So, I'm going to turn it around here. When I show it in my hand, because the way you hold things, your hand is kind of turned to the side a little bit. So, when you do that, now the screen is straight. The build quality is great. This is a real nice metal body right here. It's got some sharp edges and the design to it.
It's really, really sleek, and modern and cool looking. So, high-resolution audio player is just that. It's meant to handle high-resolution audio tracks, or it can support those. And this falls into, as you've seen on the back here, it says the A&norma; line, okay? The norma line, this is their normal line, and this is kind of a groundbreaking product for them. Because it's, at this price point, you normally don't get the feature set that you're going to see out of this point.
And it actually has the longest battery life of any of their products out there. This has a 21-hour battery in it, which is just absolutely amazing. That's a long time. The unit ships just as you see here, but you can get these great cases for them. There's a red one, black, or you have your kind of, you know, your brown leather. I like the red personally, and it goes in really, really easy. I'll show you.
So, you just open up the side here, and it's going to slide right in. A little bit of a snug fit, but that's a good thing. And then you just slide this in the back end like so. And you're in. And you still get a button, up top here, for the power button, to turn it on. And the side controls that are over here for volume up and down, and play and pause in the middle are still there.
You have the USB-C exposed, they cover up the micro SD card slot because that's not something you really need to access all the time. So, you do need to take it out of the case if you need to change the card or access it, whatever. And then, of course, on the side, they leave the volume control exposed too. So, nice touch. On the bottom, you do have a USB-C drive, and you have a micro SD card on it. They put the micro SD card slot on the bottom here because you're going to get 64 gigs of internal storage here.
But this micro SD slot, I mean, they make 1-terabyte micro SD cards, so you could load that in here, and put a ton of music on this. When you get your micro SD card, you want to make sure that you format it in the FAT32 format. That is what this unit needs to see. I love the volume control, when you do it, it's like this big pyramid, and you can use your finger to go up and down with it, or the volume control on the side. You can hear it maybe clicking.
Goes a little bit slower, but that's like a nice fine-tune adjustment. If you really need to ramp up the volume quick, you're going to want to use your finger on your slider here. Another great thing about this particular player, the SR25 and the price point that it hits, which is just crazy. You're going to get a 21-hour battery out of this, and you're able to do up to 32-bit tracks and DSD256, which is a format that you normally don't find from Astell&Kern; in this price point.
This is really an entry-level player for them. I think it's far from entry-level in its performance. It's actually fantastic. And I finally understand why a portable, hi-res player is really a cool thing. Let's talk about all the things you can do with this because, yes, it's a portable player, but there's actually a lot more you can do with it. Though, I'd say its main purpose here is to take those high-resolution audio tracks that you may have on a computer downloaded somewhere, and flip them over to here.
And now, I can use this product to maybe connect to my stereo. I can certainly plug headphones in it on the top here, you're going to get two different headphone jacks. You're going to get your standard 3.5-millimeter stereo headphone jack. And you also get a 2.5-millimeter balanced, headphone out as well. So, if you have some higher-end headphones that use the balance connection, you can connect them to this too.
This also has Wi-Fi built into it, and you can actually load streaming services on this as well, which is really cool, because now you have a device right here that was engineered and designed for music, your iPhone, your droid, love them to death. Don't get me wrong. But it wasn't engineered to be an audio file grade product, this is. So, the power supplies, the DACs, the design in the boards and the PC boards, everything, okay?
This was designed to be a musical product only. You know, your iPhone is meant to do or your droid is meant to do tons of stuff. So, having a dedicated music product I think is great. When you put your music on here or you're at home, maybe using the streaming service, you can connect this to your existing stereo system. So, that's one thing you can do with it. Certainly as described, it's a portable player, so you could take this with you, and listen to your music that you've downloaded to this, or from one of those streaming services, if you have a playlist that you've created, you can download that playlist, and play it back if you're at the park or something like that where there isn't really any Wi-Fi or what have you.
You could play it back that way. Certainly, you could use your hotspot on your phone if you wanted to give yourself a internet connection, so you could stream while away from your house. That's always an option too, or on the airplane, when you're up in the airplane and you want some great music to listen to, pop this in. Another great use for this device is using this as a DAC for my computer. So, I grabbed this, and I connected it to my MacBook.
And then I was using Qobuz on my MacBook feeding it to the USB-C connection here and then connecting my headphones here. So, this is another portable DAC unit that I can use for my MacBook and it sounded awesome. It was a really great DAC. There's a really good DAC chipset built into this thing. And I was very impressed. I also have at home...
Most of you have seen my videos, you'll see that I have a DragonFly Cobalt that I like to use a lot. So, that was my A/B test with this. I went back and forth with that. And I found there was a lot that I like about this. There was a smoothness to the sound that I was very, very intrigued by. And I enjoyed listening to this a lot. I also connected this to my main system, and it sounded great there.
And I also put it in my car. Now, maybe you guys out there can help me out with this, when I connected it in my car, my car only has a USB connection, and when I did that, I was hoping to possibly hear my downloaded playlists from Qobuz, but my car system kind of took over, and I was only able to listen to the downloaded content, like the hi-res music files that I put onto this.
So, if any of you are out there, you know, let me know if your car works the same way, or I would know that if your car has a headphone jack, you know, a standard 3.5-millimeter input as your aux's connection in your car, you'll probably be able to listen to it then because your car system isn't really taking over control of this. So, let me know what your experience is.
Another thing to consider is that, when you're using your phone as your music device, is that you can get interrupted, okay? You can get a phone call, you can get a text, you can get an email, and you could say that "Ah, I'm not going to look at that," but the temptation is still always there, right? When you're using your phone to maybe answer that text or that email. So, if you're looking to escape and get away and just listen to music, having one of these allows me to put my phone away, and I can just take this with me, and sit and listen to music, and not be tempted to answer that email or that text.
If you are a droid user, you'll be very familiar with how this works. It is very droid-esque in its control for sliding down to get to things like your Wi-Fi setup. You have a parametric EQ that's built into this thing that you can play around with, or you can change the USB mode from the fly here to again, be either a player or a DAC, excuse me, connected to your computer, or just your straight player. If you have a MacBook, an Apple product that you're trying to connect to, you will need to download, and it's free, Android File Transfer.
This is an Android-based system. So, it won't recognize it until you get that software. And when you plug it in, the Android File Transfer pops up, and you can start dragging and dropping your music into it. And it's really that simple. Once it's there, you can drag and drop all your music right into the music folder that pops up on your computer.
So, that's easy. This is the Astell&Kern; high-resolution, portable audio player. The SR25. It will be available online at worldwidestereo.com, or if you happen to be in the area and you have some follow-up questions about it, you can come into our Ardmore or Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania, showrooms. We offer a 60-day return policy, free shipping, and we're authorized dealers for everything that we sell here. If you have any questions about the products, you can leave those in the comment sections below, or please call or email us at any time.
Please remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel. This is
Adam with World Wide Stereo, reminding you to listen to music every day. So
long. ♪ [music] ♪"