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Astell & Kern Bows High-Res Server

LAS VEGAS — The 500N Network Music Player is the first high-resolution music server and first home audio component from Astell & Kern, which previously focused on high-resolution portable audio players.

It’s available at $12,000 MAP with 1TB SSD drive.

The server connects to a network via 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11 b/g/n, and it can be controlled from an Apple or Android phone or tablet or top-mount 7-inch 280×800 resolution IPS LCD display that lets users view and play back music stored on the device or streamed from DLNA-connected computers or NAS drives.

The server stores and plays back lossy formats, Apple lossless and high-resolution audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz, including single and double-rate DSD files. A front-loading CD slot lets users rip CDs to multiple formats, including WAV and FLAC files.

The unit features three additional drive bays to expand storage up to 4TB or for placement in a RAID configuration for backup purposes.

It also features dual Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC chips to output audio signals independently to each channel, creating a dual-mono setup. It also features dedicated DSD chipset for DSD playback, and it converts PCM data to DSD through its proprietary audio engine. Users can enjoy single-rate and double-rate DSD playback without down-sampling. The AK500N also upconverts high-resolution 32-bit/384kHz WAV PCM and 24-bit/352kHz FLAC PCM data to DSD in real-time.