Piggybacking off of the SE200’s arrangement with two discrete DAC and Amp channels, the all-new Astell&Kern SE180gives us replaceable All-in-One Sound Modules that permit you to have possibly limitless assortment in your DAC/Amp determination in one DAP. While Astell&Kern isn’t quick to attempt this kind of measured framework, it very well may be the most eager execution we’ve seen at this point.


With each new player, Astell&Kern further exhibits their obligation to having a significant degree of masterfulness in the plans, just as the best form quality in the business. The SE180 is no special case, and it has both magnificent craftsmanship and a staggering visual plan. The player is genuinely enormous, and highlights a similar 5″ 1080p screen as the SE200, however with some additional room expected to oblige the modules.
While the execution is first class, I do dislike the SE180’s plan. As opposed to utilizing the standard three buttons for play/respite, skip, and past on the unit, the SE180 utilizes a solitary button which takes 1 snap for play/stop, double tap for skip, and TRIPLE-click for past track. I don’t know whether we’ve quite recently concluded that all buttons are terrible, and we want less of them, however – while the absence of buttons might support giving a sleeker outline – it’s a little ease of use issue for those of us who love our buttons. Obviously, the actual button, just as the volume wheel, are very great and give great material input. It’s simply the capacity that I’m not an enormous devotee of.

The removable All-in-One modules are held solidly set up, and can be eliminated by all the while squeezing buttons on the two sides of the unit, and afterward delicately hauling it out. There’s a touch of protection from it, and the buttons require a touch of power and accuracy to press to make the delivery. In principle, most clients will not be transforming it out too as often as possible, yet there’s certainly a touch of skill needed to do it.


The SE180 has some minor UI refreshes, yet generally keeps a similar Astell&Kern interface we as a whole know and love unblemished. On the off chance that you’re inexperienced with A&K DAPs, the gadget consistently opens to the media player application where you can play music put away on the player. You can duplicate music onto the player with a SD card or by associating it to a PC over USB. You can likewise introduce various supported streaming applications by sideloading them onto the gadget.
The huge update to the UI is the expansion of a control bar to the lower part of the screen. The control bar shows the information for the current track alongside a home button, and controls for play/delay, skip, and past track. The control bar to some degree mitigates the absence of the three actual buttons, however the screen actually should be on to utilize it.

For streaming applications, Astell&Kern has a “whitelist” of applications which you can introduce, and you’re restricted to having eight complete introduced on the player at some random time. The majority of the famous ones including Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, and Qobuz are accessible. Flowing and Deezer are incorporated out of the case, however the included TIDAL application doesn’t give the full usefulness of the standard application, so most clients wind up introducing the standard TIDAL application independently. Lamentably the control bar at the base doesn’t work with streaming applications, so it simply gives the home button to any application other than the primary player.

The SE180 additionally has Bluetooth capacities and can both get Bluetooth input from one more gadget to work as a decoration and communicate music over Bluetooth to another gadget – like earphones or a Bluetooth decoration. It can likewise be utilized as a USB DAC when connected to a PC.


While we’ve been guaranteed numerous All-in-One sound modules – and the SEM2 is coming soon – at the hour of this survey, we just have the SEM1 standard module with the ESS9038Pro DAC, so we’ll base our impressions off this “standard” setup. For testing purposes, I utilized the Empire Ears Odin, Noble Sultan, Campfire Audio Andromeda, and 64 Audio Nio as reference IEMs, the Focal Utopia and Meze Empyrean for over-ear earphones, and contrasted sound and execution and the Astell&Kern SE200, KANN Alpha, SA700, and the iBasso DX300.
The tuning of the SE180 with SEM1 is fairly reminiscent of the SP2000. While the sound is comprehensively unbiased, there’s a striking smooth, fluid nature to the high pitch and upper reaches which restrains more splendid earphones like the Utopia – in any event, furnishing a non-exhausting involvement in violin weighty Vivaldi pieces – without compromising the detail. It doesn’t exactly navigate the precarious situation among nonpartisan and melodic just as the SP2000 however, nor does it give similar degree of definition in the highs, and it falls somewhat erring on the unbiased side.

The soundstage and 3D picture given by the player is very great, giving a fair of room and situating both with earphones and IEMs. While it’s not ready to furnish work area levels of headroom with the Meze Empyrean, it actually gives a major open sound befitting the earphones.
Exchanging between the reasonable 4.4mm and 2.5mm and the 3.5mm single finished, it appears to be that each channel is similarly vigorous. I couldn’t perceive any distinctions in the show between the three with IEMs, yet the extra power most certainly had an effect with over-ear earphones.

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