iRiver's AK100 losslessfriendly music player heading to the States December 4th

Sure, it may not have Neil Young's seal of approval, but iRiver's getting ready to bring its new high-def media player to the US next week. The AK100 will be hitting online retailers and "high end audio stores" under the Astell & Kern name on December 4th, carrying a $700 price tag. The player is a capable of handling Mastering Quality Sound (MQS) lossless audio playback, as well as MP3, Ogg, FLAC, WAV, WMA and APE audio files. There's 32GB of memory built-in, expandable via two microSD slots. According to iRiver, the built-in battery should give your around 16 hours of playback on a charge. More info can be found in the press release after the break.

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iriver Debuts First High Definition Portable Audio Player in the U.S. under the Astell & Kern brand

iriver announces the launch of its Astell & Kern AK100 MQS High-Definition Portable Audio System for the U.S. marketplace on December 4, 2012.

The Astell & Kern player is the first portable hi-fi audio device capable of Mastering Quality Sound (MQS) playback. MQS files are sound or music files saved as a lossless format, straight from the studio mastering source. Because less data is lost during the digital mastering process and the sound quality is distortion-free, a dramatic difference from the 24bit source data from MQS files and CD (WAV)/MP3s can be heard and felt. MQS files are often in 24bit WAV or FLAC formats. With the encoding process in the AK100 MQS Portable System, MQS music and sounds are more refined and pure.

Henry Park, CEO of iriver, says, "The Astell & Kern audio player is the first portable music player that delivers recording studio quality sound. Music lovers will finally get the quality they have been longing for ever since the MP3 was introduced. The reason why the Astell & Kern player is so much better is because the MP3 music file has only accept a small percentage of the data of the original recording. We go all the way."

Park describes the player as "a small, light, and portable product that meets the same exacting standards found in expensive hi-fi audio systems. Our mastering quality sound (MQS) is considered as the last phase of sound produced in mastering studios and uses ultra-high resolution sound quality (24 bit, 192 kHz). MQS provides the highest digital music without distortion and loss through sampling (sampling rate) and quantization (bit resolution).

A four minute song in the MQS source format takes about 200 MB of memory space and in a typical Compact Disc (CD), gets down sampled to 16 bit, 44.1 kHz that takes up about 40MB. Lossy compression digital music files, such as MP3s, take up about 6 to 7 MB. MQS provides high-resolution music that represents a rich, spacious, detailed, and dynamic sound that cannot be replicated from a MP3 or a CD," explains Park.

Iriver's President, Chulmin Lee says, "The MQS encoding process gives the music a refined and pure sound. Consumers have never heard a deep and rich musical experience in a portable player like the one that is found on the Astell & Kern. In addition, consumers will now be able to listen to high-resolution music anywhere and at any time, previously found only in recording studios that music industry professionals have access to."

The iriver Astell & Kern portable Hi-fi Music Player contains 32GB of internal memory and can be expanded via two (2) microSD card slots, each supporting an additional 32GB microSD card. The iriver AK100 is compatible with FLAC, WAV, WMA, MP3, Ogg, and APE audio files. Its 2,000 mAH battery provides up to 16 hours of playback on a single charge. The AK100 offers numerous connection options, including micro-USB, optical in/out and headphone out.

Iriver has partnered with HDtracks to provide users with albums encoded with Master Quality Sound. HDtracks is a high-quality music download service offering an exciting catalog of Master Quality music from every major label across all genres. They have several formats available for fans of all types of music. If you would like genuine CD-quality sound, HDtracks offers both AIFF and FLAC lossless files. For those who wish to carry their music in a portable mp3 player, they have 320kbps files that far exceed the quality of standard MP3 files. For audiophiles, HDtracks has a large catalog of ultra-high resolution 96kHz/24bit and 192kHz/24-bit titles from legendary rock, jazz, and classical artists as well as emerging artists. This is true DVD-audio sound quality for music lovers that demand the very best!

The player also includes the iriver plus 4 software for Windows users, which allows users to convert tracks to a variety of formats and to manage music on the device.

The AK100 is $699 and is available at high-end audio stores and online at Amazon.com, Buy.com and www.iriverinc.com.

For a complete list of high-end audio retailers in your area carrying the iriver AK100, please visit www.iriverinc.com.

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iRiver's AK100 lossless-friendly music player heading to the States December 4th