Hi-Fi Corner: Astell&Kern’s new AK Jr portable makes hi-res affordable(ish)

first_img Editors’ Recommendations World Beard Champion Madison Rowley is Cutting His Beard to Fight Addiction 12 Best Seiko Watches for Men, From Flashy to Functional The Burger Show’s Alvin Cailan Shares His Burger-Making Secrets Astell&Kern makes some of the most gorgeous pieces of high resolution portable gear  — inside and out — that you’ll find on the market. But for many listeners, even the company’s entry level units have approached the point of being cost prohibitive. Not anymore. AK today introduced the newest member of its high-resolution brood, the AK Jr, priced at $499.If $500 seems like a pretty penny for a portable player, it’s actually extremely competitive in the world of high resolution audio on the go. The Jr matches well with Neil Young’s $400 Pono Player (if you can find one) and it’s practically a steal in comparison to the company’s flagship AK240, which comes in at around $2,500. And although you won’t find the AK240’s sprawling feature set, or glistening internal components like a double shot of Cirrus Logic 4398 DACs, the new upstart is no slouch.Related: Trade out your clunky gear for this silver sonic jack of all tradesWhile the name might not inspire loads of confidence outside of Indiana Jones fans (Junior!), the AK Jr boasts the same Wolfson WM8740 DAC as the original AK100 offered, which is also a preferred chip for top quality digital audio conversion throughout the hi-fi world. The device also offers 64GB of native storage, as well as a microSD slot for up to 64GB of add-on storage to accommodate your high-resolution files. As you’d expect, the resolution tops out at 24bit/192kHz, and the player can handle most common file formats like WAV, FLAC, and Apple’s ALAC, as well as single-rate DSD files.There’s no balanced output like you’ll find with the AK240, so the AK Jr won’t be as ideal as the hub of your home’s hi-fi system, but the player does include unbalanced 3.5mm output with an impedance of 2 0hms, which should be enough to push most high end headphones. And like the rest of AK’s line, the player can also double as a USB DAC for your PC to bypass your internal sound card.While no word has been given yet for the AK Jr’s release date, the device will be on display at High End Munich from May 14-17, and at the T.H.E. Show Newport from May 29-31.This post first appeared on our brother site, Digital Trends.Image by Alex An The Best Flip-Flops for Men that are Both Stylish and Practical The Dive Motel Brings Legit 70s-Era Swagger to Nashville last_img read more

Marking International Day top UN officials urge greater investments in women

8 March 2008Top United Nations officials commemorated this year’s International Women’s Day by calling on countries to invest more in women and girls, warning that failing to do so will undermine efforts to achieve global development targets. In his message for the Day, Secretary-General drew attention to the “serious” gap between policy and practice in many countries when it comes to gender equality, as reflected in a lack of resources and insufficient budgetary allocations. “This failure of funding undermines not only our endeavours for gender equality and women’s empowerment as such; it also holds back our efforts to reach all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” he said, referring to the global pledges to slash poverty and other social ills, all by 2015. “As we know from long and indisputable experience, investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity and sustained economic growth,” he added, noting that no measure is more important in advancing education and health, including the prevention of HIV/AIDS, or as likely to improve nutrition, or reduce infant and maternal mortality.Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), agreed that “if we want to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we need more investments in women and girls.“Whether we are looking at it from a human rights, political or economic point of view, the conclusion is the same: It makes sense to invest in women. The returns are high for women themselves and for the world at large,” she said. However, not only were investments still not being made to the extent they should be, they were actually declining in some areas, such as maternal health and family planning. “Improving women’s well-being cannot be accomplished without improving their health, particularly their reproductive health,” she stressed, noting that by ensuring universal access to reproductive health, it will be possible to reduce poverty, reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, and meet the need for family planning. “By investing in women’s reproductive health and well-being, we will stand a better chance of achieving the MDGs and making gender equality a reality.”Part of the struggle for women’s rights and gender equality is the urgent need to end violence against women in all of its forms, a point highlighted by the acting Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), who drew attention to the UN campaign launched by the Secretary-General on 25 February, UNiTE to End Violence against Women. “The campaign will add value and visibility to the efforts that Governments, women’s and other civil society organizations, UN and donor partners are making to combat gender-based violence and send the message that ending violence against women stands on par with other critical development goals,” said Joanne Sandler.She added that it also comes at a time when the world’s leaders are renewing their commitment to financing for all national development goals, including the MDGs.“Ending violence against women was a missing indicator in the MDGs, owing to the lack of comparable data,” she stated. “It is encouraging, therefore, that the United Nations has also committed to assist countries in efforts to generate the data needed to measure the extent of violence against women and girls. “Together with proven evidence of what works and the financial and technical resources needed to support countries to meet the implementation challenge, there may indeed be an end in sight to the pandemic of violence against women and girls ? and genuine progress on achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment,” Ms. Sandler said.From Afghanistan to Sudan, women around the world are celebrating the Day through events at the local and national levels. In the strife-torn Sudanese region of Darfur, staff of the new African Union-UN mission there (UNAMID) handed out T-shirts and posters to women in the central market in El Fasher, and held a procession along with Sudanese female police officers and local residents. Hundreds of women in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar marched for peace, while their sisters in the capital gathered in Kabul’s women’s garden to mark the Day with a UN agency fair, which included films and a performance by child artists. Female counsellors from UN agencies were also on hand to provide advice on health, education and social issues facing the country’s women. read more