EXTREME BLUETOOTH, AK XB10
High-quality Bluetooth, AK XB10
We added high sound quality to the wireless freedom!
Now it's possible to use aptX™ HD, the latest Bluetooth codec of Qualcomm to receive 24bit high-quality data wirelessly, and it's designed to faithfully play back the transmitted high-quality data using Astell&Kern's own sound technology.
Music via Bluetooth without compromise
The AK XB10 delivers a distinctive difference in sound from conventional Bluetooth products. The moment you hear it, you wonder "Does this sound really come from Bluetooth?"
Astell&Kerns outstanding technologies are throughout aptX™ HD to support 24bit/48kHz Bluetooth performance, along with DAC and AMP, essential components of fine audio.
The utmost in Bluetooth listening pleasure: AK XB10.
Qualcomm® aptX™ HD
While the AK XB10 is a device that wirelessly transmits audio data from smartphones via Bluetooth, it is quite different from conventional Bluetooth devices, in that it supports the aptX™ HD Bluetooth codec.
Just as the display resolutions of televisions evolved from standard to high-definition to 4K ultra-HD for sharper image quality, we are now in the era in which Bluetooth now supports 24-bit audio resolution.
24-bit HD audio that was simply not possible with previous Bluetooth technologies can now be fully enjoyed with aptX™ HD.
Typically used in professional broadcasting, the original aptX™ audio codec is widely used for 16-bit near-CD quality sound.
The benefits of the aptX™ codec include superior compression, low computational cost, and low transmission delay.
Launched in early 2016, the next-generation aptX™ HD codec is capable of transmitting up to 24-bit/48 kHz audio that is faithful to the original audio file.
* Devices connected to the AK XB10 must support the aptX™ and aptX™ HD codecs for 24bit audio playback.
Bluetooth codecs can be easily compared to data packet efficiency.
Comparing data packet capacity in a Bluetooth transmission to passengers on a bus, the SBC codec is only capable of seating one passenger per bus. The aptX™ codec can seat three passengers, while the aptX™ HD codec can seat five.
Just like having the ability to fit more people on one bus, the aptX™ HD is far more efficient than other audio codecs.
More information and data can be transmitted if lesser data is lost in a given transmission.
The AK XB10 is equipped with a Hi-Fi DAC capable of reproducing high-quality sound up to 24-bit/192 kHz. Its analog amplifier was tuned using Astell&Kern's own sound technologies to complete the package.
A digital-to-analog converter (DAC) converts digital data into analog signals in a digital media player (DMP).
The AK XB10 is equipped with a dedicated DAC for the best digital-to-analog signal conversion that significantly improves Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) and Total Harmonic Distortion (THD).
While a typical analog amplifier simply amplifies and outputs low level audio signals, the Astell&Kern amplifier in the AK XB10 is different.
Rather than simply amplifying the audio signal, the amplifier was designed with a "driving" concept to amplify weak signals and power difficult to drive high impedance headphones. A strong signal is required to drive headphones with a high impedance. The AK XB10's analog amplifier is more than capable of handling the task.
For example: when comparing the amplifier to a camera, using the zoom function to enlarge small objects in a viewfinder is much like how a common amplifier performs. However, the AK XB10's amplifier is similar to the way a pan focus function clearly focuses blurry images.
Simply put, the Astell&Kern amplifier focuses on the weak signal.
Dual Audio Output
"Oh, no! My earphones aren't compatible!"
Have you ever seen a tiny headphone jack where ordinary earphones cannot be plugged?
This is known as a 2.5 mm "sub-mini" audio connector. It's also known as a balanced connector. Modes of transmitting an analog signal can be divided into balanced and unbalanced. An unbalanced connection typically consists of a signal (L + R) and the ground. The ground is supposed to prevent external noise, but noise can still be introduced to the signal and can affect transmitted signals that causes variations and noise in sound.
The balanced connection was developed to reduce ground noise as the signal is transmitted. This connection adds a reverse phase signal (L + R) to an unbalanced signal (L + R) to diminish the noise.
The balanced connection has several advantages compared to an unbalanced connection. The same noise (common-mode noise) that occurs in a signal + reverse-phase signal can be eliminated and output is increased since two separate signals are transmitted.
Thus, it is only natural that we include a 2.5mm jack on the AK XB10 for audio enthusiasts. Enjoy a deeper level of sound through the AK XB10's balanced 2.5mm output.
iOS & Android Compatible
The AK XB10 is compatible with all iOS and Android devices.
The AK XB10 supports the SBC, aptX™, and aptX™ HD codecs for Android devices and the AAC codec for iOS.
Forget about device compatibility issues, turn on your smartphone’s Bluetooth, and connect the AK XB10. You can also connect any laptop/notebook that supports Bluetooth.
You will be transported to a new world of sound the moment the AK XB10 is connected to your smartphone.
When you receive a call while listening to music with the AK XB10,
should you turn off the Bluetooth function before answering?
Should you unplug your earphones from the AK XB10 and connect them to your phone?
NO! Of course not!
For the ultimate in convenience, the AK XB10 supports voice calls and features a built-in microphone so that you can receive calls when using earphones without a microphone.
Press the button once to receive a call while connected via Bluetooth and press and hold the button to reject a call. Easy peasy.
The AK XB10's design was inspired by Astell&Kern's principal design motif of light and shadow.
With this design concept, the AK XB10 was shaped to mimic the appearance of the scattering of light from a star (astell in Greek means star).
The top surface of the AK XB10 is split into quadrants, which allows easy operation with just a touch of the hand. It may look simple, but the AK XB10 was produced only after careful consideration of both design and usability.
The AK XB10 has one more defining feature – its clip.
When you want to enjoy your music but don’t want to be tied down, simply mount the clip to the AK XB10 and clip it to your shirt or bag. This simple clip further enhances the portability and keeps your hands free. The AK XB10 is even lighter than the energy bar you eat while exercising.
Now, are you ready for the ultimate convenience in Hi-Fi audio?
Want more? Here are some reviews to check out:
Sorry for your loss: iPhone life after 3.5mm with the Astell&Kern XB10 - digitalaudioreview.net, By John H. Darko
Astell&Kern's XB10 Lets You Use Your High-End Wired Headphones Wirelessly - Digital Trends, By Kirk Wouk
Astell&Kern's Bluetooth DAC Makes Any Headphones Wireless - The Verge, Micah Singleton