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Astell & Kern AK HC4: Ultra portable DAC

Astell & Kern AK HC4
Astell & Kern AK HC4

The South Korean audio manufacturer introduced its new Astell & Kern AK HC4 DAC as a successor to the HC3 and Astell & Kern AK HC2 models , featuring a new internal DAC chip and a whole bunch of connectivity options – to compete in this market, you have to go big.

The main news is the unique model of the internal DAC chip (AK44993S), and the HC4 is the first product equipped with this new technology. According to the manufacturer, this “advanced technology” provides “refined sound reproduction” thanks to improved noise control.

The A&K HC4 offers native support for DSD256 as well as PCM files up to 32-bit / 384kHz, and is also equipped with Digital Audio Restoration (DAR) technology that upscales the sample rate to go beyond the original limitations of the source format. This, along with the introduction of updated internal circuitry from Astell & Kern , aims to produce a more faithful, textured sound.


In terms of inputs, the new portable DAC features a USB-C input, as well as 3.5mm and 4.4mm outputs, which should comfortably fit most headphone models. The DAC also comes with USB-C and Lightning cables so you can be sure you can connect to any device, including the new iPhone 15, without a problem. You can even connect your portable gaming device like the Nintendo Switch thanks to the UAC 2.0 and UAC 1.0 connections in the HC4.

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