ASTEL & Core Amp AK500AP in the Test

Piece by piece dares to keep Astell & core high fields. Literally: With the power amplifiers/power supply combo AK500AP to build one from the music Server AK500N sound as visually perfect noble plant.

The music Server AK500N by Astell & core goes a cube that is milled from a solid aluminium block, a flip-out touch screen and this striking, three-dimensional front – optically just from the usual 43-centimeter equipment frame. To make a “normal” amplifier on the side, this sculpture is although feasible, but just friends of unusual aesthetics should Rob the funny thing.

At iRiver, the mother behind the art stamp Astell & core, you can see that exactly. The amplifier for the first time presented at the year’s high end called AK500AP consequently there begins, where the player ends – visually as technically. Visually the characteristic three-dimensional surfaces and edges are milled also recorded such as length and depth of the aluminium box – but also from the full block.

The music server similar to solo with his volume knob ear already a stylized Robot head, he bought the appropriate fuselage now gets. Power amplifier and power supply are provided namely not just side by side, they can be – screwed directly together and to the solid server and result the probably most musical robot of all time together.


The extravagance can be even increased – with an optional foot including stainless steel bar with LED bar is recessed. The adjustable via touchscreen or brand new app (!) of the servers LEDs either release the sculpture with white, yellow or mixed bright light in scene – and memories of youth comics about gigantic fighting machines.

But mostly the Asian market should enjoy the light show priced for less than $1500, of moderate Europeans can have fun certainly pure with the anodised, available in black or silver design. The vertical Tower has a drawback, however: the round guides necessary to the piling are firmly anchored on the devices and make this music server suitable for solo operation without a extremely unattractive.

Energy supply

Technically, the Koreans continue their deeply held aversion to annoying noise from the power supply. The battery mode provides the music server during operation for rest, you outsourced the complete energy supply in a power supply in strengthening. The switching power supply that is borrowed for this purpose from space applications resembles a Japanese garden in its meticulous construction and gives the idea of cheap bar goods already at the first glance. Also stringently channel separated and accessible consistently only by XLR inside of the amplifier makes a good impression.

Up on the waiver of always more or less colouring capacitors in the signal path and a protective circuit via opto coupler separated galvanically from the amplifier stage, the Koreans were announced but unfortunately no further details about technical features. The obligatory question after a schematic probably still with the person in charge ensures nervous twitches.


Let we so decide the sound in the first place. The power amplifiers/power supply couple in realms of the T + A A3000 HV, acting work power amplifier in the Stuttgart-based AUDIO listening room is with at least 11,000 euros. Fed by the pre-reinforcing music Server AK500N and threatened the happy to impedance fluctuations, still highly enjoyable despite stately age KEF reference 207 directly suited started the AK500AP team. Balanced and of course in the soundstage, never in an extreme of the frequency response hitting, but always supremely neutral as the Switzerland even had the compact power amplifier the KEF speakers rock.

Minimalist occupied electronic female voice and bass effects such as Sylvan Essos’ “Hey Mami” could sound like the downright pompous, lovingly instrumented sound messy of the current favorite genius Owen pallet fanned just as impressive. Even moderately compressed recordings as “Fade away”, which although comes with real strings, but little dynamic room, worked on the music system by Astell & core Susan Stanfords big, full and silky and elegant.

The great A3000HV showed significantly greater bandwidth while up and down, and filled the stage further. But anyone looking for a visually spectacular, sound absolutely coherent and equipped with all refinements of a great server and streaming clients package, is right here.


Now let’s face it, you would want to have only this power amplifier, if you have the music server. Finally makes it not easy to accommodate the two block otherwise the extravagant design. If you however have the music server or think about a streaming/server complete system: voila! As a complete system, the AK team has more sense, but also great fun!