Astell&Kern – HC4 USB-DAC
A&K HC4 – Your Gateway to Hi-Fi Sound
Astell&Kern presents a range of Hi-Fi USB DAC cables designed for an authentic Hi-Fi experience on smartphones and PCs. The compact design of Astell&Kern’s Hi-Fi USB DAC cables has earned accolades from numerous audiophiles and media outlets.
The AK HC4 builds on the success of its highly praised predecessors, offering further refined sound in various usage scenarios through advanced design elements. With Dual Output compatibility for a wide range of IEMs and headphones, the inclusion of the AK4493S DAC for genuine Hi-Fi sound, and the integration of Digital Audio Remaster technology, the AK HC4 brings the elevated Hi-Fi sound quality previously reserved for Astell&Kern’s digital audio players to a USB DAC cable. Immerse yourself in a Hi-Fi sound experience like never before.
Sophisticated Design Harmony in a Compact Form
Despite its compact size, the AK HC4 embodies Astell&Kern’s signature design philosophy, Light and Shadow, incorporating simple yet intricate design elements. The adoption of a unibody structure minimizes bonding lines, resulting in a smooth and clean appearance that enhances the overall aesthetic.
The product’s design skillfully mitigates the visual impact of the simultaneous 3.5mm and 4.4mm Dual Output, minimizing the perceived size burden. Notably, the symmetrical left and right front edge lines converge at the center, creating a balanced visual focus.
Concave lines on the sides contribute to an ergonomic design, ensuring ease and comfort in handling, naturally tailored to the human hand. The keys on the sides are either raised at both ends or feature dot-embossed details, facilitating intuitive use with the sensation of fingertips. The AK HC4 is a harmonious blend of form and function, embodying Astell&Kern’s commitment to both style and usability.
- 3.5mm, 4.4mm Dual Output
- AKM AK4493S
- DAR (Digital Audio Remaster)
- Supports iOS devices
- Interchangeable Cable (Type-C / Lightning Cable Included)
- Supported UAC1.0 (For Gaming System)
- Roon Tested
Experience ultra-high-resolution sound with A&K HC4
In an effort to achieve the pinnacle of audio quality in USB DACs, the AK HC4 stands out as the first in the USB DAC Cable lineup to feature AKM’s DAC. While AKM’s DAC has garnered admiration in Astell&Kern’s digital audio players, integrating it into USB DAC Cables has been challenging due to size constraints and amp design complexities—until now.
The AK4493s DAC, employed in the AK HC4, undergoes further enhancement with improved noise control, a lower power design, and ultra-precise amp design technology. This results in delivering exceptionally high-quality Hi-Fi sound. Moreover, the AK HC4 supports Native DSD256 and up to 32bit/384kHz, catering to any high-quality audio source and allowing you to immerse yourself in the superior sound quality synonymous with Astell&Kern.
Crafting High-Fidelity Sound: Precision DAC and AMP Design
To ensure a stable output power and deliver an unparalleled Hi-Fi sound experience with Dual Output capability, the AK HC4 introduces an exclusive AMP circuitry that surpasses standard built-in DAC AMP configurations.
Maintaining a compact form factor of 29.5 x 64.5 x 14.5mm, we have employed micro resistors and capacitor parts, allowing us to achieve a small footprint without compromising performance. Our meticulous selection of ultra-small tantalum capacitors, a hallmark of AK player products, ensures a stable system and impeccable audio performance by effectively managing power fluctuations. These capacitors are integral to our optimal audio circuit design. Furthermore, Astell&Kern’s unique power management technology enhances output and audio performance, minimizing current consumption in consideration of the connected device.
3.5mm, 4.4mm Dual Output
The AK HC4 boasts Dual Output functionality, featuring both 3.5mm and 4.4mm connectors. This design allows seamless compatibility with a wide range of Hi-Fi IEMs and headphones, eliminating the need for adapters or additional cables.
The 4.4mm Balanced output delivers a robust output of 3Vrms, optimizing the performance of sensitive headphones and IEMs. This configuration ensures clear channel separation and minimal noise for an enhanced audio experience.
On the other hand, the 3.5mm Unbalanced output is designed to work with the majority of existing IEMs and headphones. With a substantial output of 2Vrms, it provides ample power to fully unleash the capabilities of your IEMs.
Enhanced Original Sound with Digital Audio Remaster Technology
Unlocking a new dimension of audio fidelity, the AK HC4 features Digital Audio Remaster (DAR) technology, previously exclusive to the latest digital audio players by Astell&Kern.
DAR technology is designed to upsample the sample rate of the playing sound source, surpassing the limits of the original format. This elevated sample rate enables a more refined playback, delivering delicate and analog-like original sound. Immerse yourself in the richness of the source audio, discerning subtle nuances and enjoying a higher level of rich, vibrant sounds.
For added convenience, the DAR slide key on the product’s side provides an intuitive selection of DAR options, putting enhanced control at your fingertips.
Versatile Compatibility and Dual UAC 1.0 & 2.0 Support for Gaming
In the gaming landscape, where compatibility varies, the AK HC4 stands out by accommodating both UAC 2.0 and UAC 1.0 connections. While modern smartphones, tablets, and PCs seamlessly support UAC 2.0, many gaming devices remain exclusive to UAC 1.0 connections.
To ensure a universal fit, the AK HC4 caters to both scenarios, delivering cross-platform high-quality sound experiences. Whether connecting to your PlayStation, Switch, or other gaming devices, the AK HC4 provides low latency and enhanced audio for an immersive gaming experience.
Silent Rear Output Architecture
The AK HC4 adopts a noise-minimizing rear audio output design, distinguishing it from conventional USB DAC products. In typical setups, DACs are often situated within the USB terminal directly connected to the device for audio processing and output.
In contrast, the HC4 employs a unique approach. Digital signals from the device traverse a dual shielded cable, reaching the audio circuit before undergoing conversion to an analog signal by the DAC. This sequential processing of the digital signal ensures a superior, noise-free sound experience, setting the AK HC4 apart from other USB DAC products.
Dual Noise-Shielded Cable for Universal Connectivity
Designed for seamless compatibility with both Android and iOS devices, the AK HC4 comes equipped with an interchangeable cable supporting Type-C and Lightning connections, eliminating the need for additional adapters.
The dual shielded cable of the AK HC4 is engineered to minimize noise and deliver a more vibrant, original sound. Its copper core wire is coated with tin, preventing corrosion and fortifying tensile strength for enhanced durability.
Furthermore, the entire cable is enveloped in an aluminum film to block noise, with an additional layer of shielding around the power cable to further reduce noise – a significant concern in audio quality. To mitigate noise interference to sound, the tin-coated copper wire is intricately woven. The cable is finished with a fabric jacket on top of the TPE jacket, combining enhanced durability with a visually appealing design.