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

Summer’s End: 10 Items to Soothe the Icy Sting of Reality

first_img Raleigh Denim Workshop Makes Jeans with Artistry and Ingenuity in the U.S.A. Behold the World’s Most Adventure-Ready Electric Motorcycle How to Shave With a Straight Razor Editors’ Recommendations Summer is almost over. Though we may try to fight the passage of time, the rising winds, and the swelling clouds, fall draws nigh. Instead of lamenting the dying of the light, the best we can do is snap ourselves out of vacation mode and prepare for classes or work (or both, as the case may be). We thought we’d share this list of excellent products to help soothe the icy sting of reality and boost productivity.1. Neo Smartpen N2 This neat little device will change the way you take notes, either in the classroom or the boardroom. It works as a normal pen, but it also makes a digital copy of everything you write down, which you can then access from your mobile device. Never again will you lose important notes from lectures or meetings; on the down side, it will be harder for your instructor to buy the “dog ate my iPad” defense.$169 2. Troubadours Whether you’re in a loud dorm room or a loud workplace, these cans can serve as a classy way to stay focused on the matter at hand. The zebra wood casing gives it an attractive appearance, while the plush cups help prevent headphone fatigue. These handsome headphones are $25 off on Huckberry, and every pair boasts a unique wood grain. Also, for every pair sold, LSTN helps restore hearing to a person in need through the Starkey Hearing Foundation.$125 3. Leather Business Card Case As you slip out of vacation mode and into work mode, you’ll find yourself at more and more business cocktail parties, networking events, and conferences. In other words, you’ll need to start whipping out those business cards again. This handsome leather case, hand-stitched in Philadelphia and made of 100% American materials, will prevent your business cards from being unceremoniously bent.$50Related: The Unspoken Suit Rules You Need to Know4. Smart Kapp Dry Erase Board If you’re looking for something for the whole office, you might give the Smart Kapp dry erase board a closer look. In addition to behaving like a normal dry erase board, the Smart Kapp makes a sharable digital copy of everything you write or draw on it. This way, you won’t have to worry about kids coming in and erasing your Q4 projections — nor do you have to worry about erasing said kids’ precious drawings. It’s a lot like the Neo smartpen, only it’s more collaborative and designed for commercial use.$8995. Dodgeball Eco-Fleece Pant Who says that all work attire has to be fancy? If you work from home, comfort is likely your number one fashion priority. Still, these pants are a bit more stylish than your typical sweatpants, and made from a blend of cotton, recycled polyester, natural rayon, and fabrics like Eco-Jersey and Eco-Fleece. You might be interested in pairing these comfortable mamma jammas with the Rocky Eco-Fleece Zip Hoody ($58) from the same company.$46 6. Filson Original BriefcaseIf you’re looking for a simple, non-pretentious briefcase, you might check out this black number from Filson. It’s got a sleek look to it, with plenty of straps and pockets for all your professional effects. And like any good briefcase in 2015, the Filson Original has a great spot for a laptop. It’s made with oil finish tin cloth and 100% genuine bridle leather. In short, it’ll do.$265 7. Infinity Alliance BackpackMany modern professionals eschew briefcases in favor of the backpacks of their school days. However, that old Scooby Doo backpack probably won’t cut it in the professional environment. This sharp-looking backpack from Hex has plenty of space for everything you need — including a 15-inch laptop. If you like the look but not the style, we suggest you look at the other 16 pieces in Hex’s Infinity collection, ranging from overnight travel bags to laptop sleeves to iPhone cases.  The tan waxed canvas is attractive, water-resistant, and well suited for fall.$808. Chuck Taylor All Star II Virtually everyone has owned a pair of the original Chuck Taylors in his or her life. If you’re looking to revisit the glory of Chuck Taylor All Stars, or want to check them out for the first time, allow us to suggest the updated Chuck Taylor All Star II. Purists may scoff, but the All Star II is really a pretty excellent update. Though the styling is roughly the same, the All Star II boasts more curves, more durability, and more comfort. It’s a pretty cool shoe for a new school year.$759. Dodgeville Leather Boots If you want more professional look for your feet, feast your eyes on these handsome devils. These durable boots can withstand the increase in moisture that inevitably comes with fall. The Dodgeville boot in particular has a stylish silhouette and ample ankle protection. Thorogood is an excellent company that has spent 120 years perfecting its leathercraft at its Wisconsin factory. Every boot is 100% American made.$37510. Mod Laptop Craft Edition If you’re looking to carry around some key pieces of technology, but would rather not haul around a bulky bag, you might check out the Mod Laptop Craft Edition from This Is Ground. This unique carrying case is extraordinarily useful, with a laptop slot, a phone slot, plus credit card slots, snap button loops, and much more. This comes discounted from Huckberry’s aptly named Back to Reality Shop.$425 What Wrangler Is Doing to Make Denim More Sustainable Patagonia Goes 100% Sustainable with New Line Called Shell, Yeah! last_img read more

UN rushes food medical supplies to survivors of Russian school attack

In response to requests from Russian doctors, the World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday begun an initial one-week food distribution to three hospitals in Beslan and the North Ossetian regional capital of Vladikavkaz, where many victims were taken. “What happened in Beslan is a terrible tragedy. WFP is determined to do all it can to alleviate the suffering of the victims,” WFP Country Director Chris Czerwinski said today. WFP’s ability to respond quickly to the crisis was partly due to the agency’s existing capacity in the north Caucasus region of southern Russia, where it has been providing emergency assistance since January 2000 to 290,000 people affected by the conflict in and around Chechnya. The WFP relief packages include sugar, flour, rice, yoghurt, milk, pasta, condensed milk, dried fruits and jam. For its part the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has sent 12 tons of medical and other supplies, including bandages, syringes, bed linens, mattresses, hospital beds and catheters to treat the hundreds of children injured in the school siege. read more