Astell&Kern wants the sound to be as close to the original recording as possible. That’s why the AK UW100 MKII is equipped with a 32-bit DAC and a full-range balanced armature driver.
Usually, balanced armatures are used in the higher frequency range because they have the advantage of being faster and having lower distortion than typical dynamic drivers. But they often don’t have as much energy in the bass and an equally high sound level, so we’re curious to see how A&K has handled this as the armature goes from the deepest bass to the clearest treble.
Better stability, longer battery life
For better sound, the AK UW100 MKII is equipped with aptX Adaptive codec, which adjusts the sound quality according to the signal strength. This should provide better stability over longer distances.
Compared to the first version, the MKII variant has more advanced electronics to reduce distortion and noise.
Battery life has also been increased and is now up to 9.5 hours in the earbuds alone and 29 hours of maximum playtime when including charging from the travel case. The case has also become smaller since last time, and you can now get an hour of playtime out of 10 minutes of fast charging.
AK UW100 MKII supports multipoint and multi-pairing. This means that a pair of earbuds can be connected to two devices at the same time, but also that the earbuds can remember even more devices for quick pairing.
No noise cancellation
With the latest Clear Voice technology from Qualcomm, A&K promises that your conversation partner will be able to hear you better during conversations. Especially in noisy environments, because the new chipset has effective digital ambient noise cancellation.
However, A&K hasn’t put any effort into general noise cancellation, or active noise cancellation. You get ambient sound, but not noise cancellation. Very brave if you ask us, considering the earbuds cost the same as many top models – including the excellent Sony WF-1000XM5.
The UW100 MKII can be used with Astell&Kern’s smartphone app, which includes an adjustable 10-band EQ. This gives the user ample opportunity to customise the sound to their liking. The app also allows you to change the touch controls on the earbuds and change the ambient sound level.
The unique shape of the UW100 MKII is designed to fit snugly in the listener’s ears, thanks to the seamless transformation of the earbud shape from a pentagon to a circle for increased comfort, especially during long listening sessions.
Otherwise, we’re promised that the pentagonal shape will provide really good comfort and fit.
Astell&Kern AK UW100MKII: Price and availability
The earbuds will be available in early October and will cost 319 euros.
More information: astellnkern.com