Headphone compatibility wasn’t an issue with the SE100. It had sufficient gain, even from its single-ended output, to drive Abyss Diana headphones and Beyerdynamic DT-990 600 Ohm headphones with no issues. At the other extreme, the SE100 exhibited no extraneous noise or hum when playing music through a set of 115 dB-sensitive EarSonics EM10 CIEMs.
Sonically the SE100 delivers the goods. If you want to tailor the sound, you can make and save your own EQ settings. My early Rolling Stones albums especially benefitted from some EQ adjustments. When I compared the default “normal” EQ settings with EQ off, the normal EQ setting had slightly lower volume coupled with a tighter, more controlled low end. I made several “UserEQ” configurations for “bad” recordings such as my Charlie Christian box set. I especially like the fact that you can easily erase especially egregious EQ experimentations.
While the SE100 is certainly not inexpensive, it delivers a premium experience, with its physical style, ergonomic elegance, and sonic prowess. With its extensive networking, USB connectivity, and firmware updatability, the SE100 should remain a musical constant companion for many years in the future. Maybe that’s why it’s in Astell&Kern’s A&future line…
Type: High-resolution digital audio player
Inputs: 2.4Hz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1/aptX, A2DP, and AVRCP, playback from onboard storage, USB 3.0
Balanced 2.5mm and unbalanced 3.5mm headphone outputs.
Supported file formats: PCM to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD to DSD128 (native DSD)
Storage: 128GB ROM, and one Micro SD card slot capable of 400gB card
Balanced output: 4.1 Vrms
Single-ended output: 2 Vrms
Battery: 3700mAh Lithium Polymer
Accessories: USB type C cable, micro CD card slot cover, protective film 2x for front and back, warranty card, Quick Start User Guide.
Dimensions (H×W×D): 15.3 × 75.8 × 132.7
Price: $1699 US, £1499
ASTELL&KERN, iRIVER LTD.
IRIVER House, 18-gil 5, Bangbaero, Seocho-Gu,
Seoul, Korea 06664
19600 Fairchild Road, Suite 125, Irvine, CA 92612 USA
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Tel: +44(0)3301 222 500