By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Irvine, Calif. – iRiver said Monday that it has added a software update with a host of new features and enhancements for its Astell&Kern AK100 high-fidelity portable audio player.
Among the enhancements is the ability to use the Astell&Kern AK100 as a USB DAC, gapless playback support, a redesigned user interface (UI) and choice of four UI themes.
The update also carries increased support for different MicroSD card manufacturers, a sleep timer function and improved boot-up and overall OS speeds.
The latest AK100 firmware version 2.10 update is available for download at http://www.iriverinc.com/lounge/loungeList.asp.
The AK100 is the first portable audio player from the Astell&Kern line. It was designed for high-fidelity enthusiasts of all ages, who need to carry their music with them where ever they go.
It is the first portable hi-fi audio device from iRiver, capable of Mastering Quality Sound (MQS) playback. MQS files are sound or music files saved as a lossless format, straight from the studio mastering source.
Because less data is lost during the digital mastering process and the sound quality is distortion-free, a dramatic difference from the 24bit source data from MQS files and CD (WAV)/MP3s can be heard and felt, iRiver said.
MQS files are often in 24-bit WAV or FLAC formats. With the encoding process in the AK100 MQS Portable System, MQS music and sounds are more refined and pure.
“Music is an important part of life. Music creates passion and emotion in people,” said Henry Park, iRiver CEO. “We wanted to give people the ability to listen to music on the go the way it was meant to be heard, how the artist and sound engineers envisioned it.
“People need to hear every nuance, every instrument, every subtle sound without compromise to the sound quality that is present in current portable players. We feel the Astell&Kern line of high-resolution portable audio players achieves this goal,” Park continued.
The AK100 is equipped with a Wolfson WM8740 DAC. It contains 32GB of internal memory and can be expanded via two MicroSD card slots, each supporting an additional 32GB microSD card.
Supported audio file formats include: FLAC, WAV, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC and AIFF.
A 2,000 mAh battery provides up to 16 hours of playback on a single charge. Connection options include MicroUSB, optical in/out and headphone out. Other features include multiple home screen themes, gapless playback and the ability to use the AK100 as an external optical and USB DAC.
iRiver has partnered with music download service HDtracks to provide users with albums encoded with Mastering Quality Sound. HDtracks offers both AIFF and FLAC lossless files and up to 320Kbps files that exceed the quality of standard MP3 files.
For audiophiles, HDtracks has a large catalog of ultra-high-resolution 96kHz/24bit and 192kHz/24-bit titles from top rock, jazz, and classical artists as well as emerging artists.
The AK100 is $699 and is available at high-end audio stores and online at Amazon.com, Buy.com, eBay.com and iRiverinc.com.
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