Astell & Kern’s AK USB-C Dual DAC Cable is a key peripheral if you use wired headphones with a USB-C laptop or Android phone or tablet. Both Apple Macs and Windows 10 PCs are supported.
The Korean company is known for its high res audio products and this 50mm-long device serves to significantly improve the quality of sound output from such devices while also being highly portable.
The cable feeds the audio through two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHIFi digital-to-analog converters (DACs) that support high res signals up to 32bit/384kHz and outputs via the traditional 3.5mm connector. Bespoke capacitors ensure there are no power fluctuations for stable audio output. A custom four core cable is used, too.
The device is housed in a high-quality zinc alloy enclosure that echos the design of Astell&Kern’s other gear. The AK USB-C Dual DAC Cable costs $149/£109 and will go on sale in April.
The cable isn’t currently compatible with Apple’s iDevices though it is compatible with the Mac as we said above. Astell & Kern says this is because of the current required to support the dual DAC cable – Apple devices don’t currently provide enough, presumably software-limited for reliable performance.
Of course, while iPhones don’t have USB-C, recent generation iPad Pros and the latest iPad Air do.