Astell & Kern is still best known for keeping high-end MP3 players alive, but it's now branching out into Bluetooth speakers — and there might be reason to take notice. The Iriver (now Dreamus) brand's new Acro BE100 includes a 32-bit DAC to preserve the audio quality regardless of the source. Accordingly, it's also billed as the first Bluetooth speaker to support both the aptX HD and LDAC 24-bit codecs — you might not have to lose audio fidelity or limit your collection to one audio format.
The BE100 centers on a 55W class-D amp and boasts both a four-inch Kevlar woofer as well as two silk dome tweeters. A 3.5mm aux input jack provides wired audio if wireless just isn't pristine enough.
Not surprisingly, you can expect to pay for the extra quality. Astell & Kern will ship the Acro BE100 for $499 in black and white models when it ships on March 7th, with pre-orders starting February 25th. That's a huge outlay, but the BE100 also exists in a relatively niche space. Most wireless speakers approaching this price range are either party-oriented models like UE's Hyperboom or convenience-focused smart speakers like the Sonos Five. This might do the job if you're more interested in appreciating the subtle nuances of a classical piece than blasting audio around the house.Continue Reading