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Astell&Kern A&norma SR15

High-resolution portable music player with Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth®

2 Reviews | 2 questions - 3 answers

Item # 838SR15

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Our take on the Astell&Kern A&norma SR15

The first thing you notice about the Astell&Kern A&norma SR15 portable player is the screen. It's slightly angled compared to the rest of the aluminum body. The reason is elegantly simple: it lets you hold the player comfortably without your fingers blocking the screen. That level of thoughtful design is applied inside the player as well. The SR15 treats your high-resolution music files right, for remarkable clarity and detail from an on-the-go player.

Why tilt the screen?

Astell & Kern A&norma SE15

The first thing you notice about the Astell&Kern A&norma SR15 portable player is the screen. It's slightly angled compared to the rest of the aluminum body. The reason is elegantly simple: it lets you hold the player comfortably without your fingers blocking the screen. That level of thoughtful design is applied inside the player as well. The SR15 treats your high-resolution music files right, for remarkable clarity and detail from an on-the-go player.

Made for high-resolution audio

The SR15 has a quad-core processor for fast and accurate decoding. Dual built-in high-performance DACs — one for each stereo channel — give you bit-perfect playback of high-res files up to 24-bit/192kHz. You can also play 1-bit high-res DSD64 and DSD128 files (up to 5.6MHz), which are converted to PCM for playback. And the player is compatible with MQA, a high-resolution format.

Couple the SR15 with a set of high-performance headphones and you're in for a real listening experience. The player has both a standard 3.5mm stereo minijack and a 2.5mm balanced 4-pole output.

Outstanding sound quality

You can play high-resolution downloads from sites like HDtracks without any additional equipment. Even with CD-quality files or compressed formats like MP3, the SR15 can help your music sound its best.

The player's high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion let the subtle details of your music come through. Plus, its high-fidelity, low-impedance output gives your headphones more power than most portable music players.

Wireless options

Bluetooth 4.1 lets you stream a high-quality signal to compatible wireless speakers or headphones. And it's backward compatible, so you can use the SR15 regardless of the type of Bluetooth your gear has built-in. You can also connect it to your home Wi-Fi network to make the most of your streaming music subscription services.

Expandable memory

To add music to the SR15, connect the player to your computer with the included USB cable. Then just drag and drop your selections to the player while its built-in battery charges. The player comes with 64GB of internal memory. A microSD card slot lets you expand the storage up to 464GB. And of course, you can have more tunes on extra cards and bring them along for easy swapping.

Product Highlights:

  • compact high-resolution portable music player
  • plays MP3, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AIFF, MQA
  • plays Direct Stream Digital (DSD) files (.dff and .dsf formats up to 5.6MHz resolution)
    • DSD files are converted to PCM for playback
  • supports PCM files up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • dual high-performance Cirrus Logic DACs (one each for left and right channels)
  • frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
  • Bluetooth 4.1 with aptX® for high-quality streaming to compatible headphones and speakers
  • built-in Wi-Fi to access home wireless network and internet
  • 3.5mm unbalanced headphone output
  • 2.5mm balanced 4-pole output for compatible headphones
  • 64GB internal flash memory
    • microSD card slot for cards up to 400GB (up to 464GB total memory)
  • angled 3.3" color touchscreen
  • analog volume wheel provides fine level adjustments
  • high-speed USB interface (cable included) for drag-and-drop file transfer and battery charging
  • output impedance: 1.1 ohms (3.5mm headphone output), 1.6 ohm (2.5mm balanced output)
  • signal to noise ratio: 122db @ 1kHz, both unbalanced and balanced
  • aluminum casing
  • built-in rechargeable battery
  • 2-1/4"W x 3-15/16"H x 5/8"D
  • weight: 5.43 oz.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Portable digital music player
  • Protective film
  • microSD card slot cover (installed)
  • USB cable (Type A USB on one end and Micro-B USB on other end)
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card

Astell&Kern A&norma SR15 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(2 Reviews)

Great mobile music device

Steve from Davidson, NC on 10/11/2018

This player is definitely a significant step up from my iPod and iPhone. I had been using my 6th generation iPod Classic for mobile music, primarily due to its 160Mb storage capacity. I grew up listening to albums in the late 60's and 70's, so I still prefer to listen to an entire album as opposed to jumping around to different songs like a radio. The SR15 has the ability to store and play music from a MicroSD card, so I purchased a 400Gb card that gives me plenty of room to store a very large collection of music files that represent entire albums from an artist. There is a noticeable difference between the music from FLAC and other hi-def files (ALAC, AIF, DSF, etc.) versus 320Kbps MP3 files, especially when listening with a good quality set of headphones (I use B&W PX). Anything below 320kbps, I would recommend leaving on your iPhone or iPod. Try to use a music organizer, such as JRiver Media Center to transfer your files. It will keep them organized and tagged properly when transferred to the SR15, making the whole process very easy. My only negative comment is that the unit runs hot, especially during the file transfer process and when moving around to different artists or albums. There have been times where it was actually too hot to touch, but if you stick with one set of music and leave the screen off then it is only slightly warm during operation. Overall, I would definitely recommend this item.



Astell&Kern A&norma SR15

Thomas from Hampton, VA on 8/15/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Ok, I finally broke down a purchased a Hi Def music player. I'm not an audiophile but I do have an extensive collection of music. First the good, it is a small, attractive, well made device. Music does indeed sound better than on my amplified Iphone. The 200GB microSDXC card I purchased was recognized immediately and is an ample size for me. I have over 2TBs of music but was already planning downsize to 2,000 - 4,000 of my favorites. Transferring music from a computer is pretty easy, but wish I could find a better program, other than simply drag-n-drop from Exployer. The menus is relatively easy to use. And now for the not so good: it's almost too small. Good for a mobile device I suppose, but the menu font is almost too small for my 54 y/o eyes. While the misuc is better than from my Iphone, I can't say it's worth the price. While the balanced output is noticeably louder, I needed to purchase an adapter to use it. I also am surprised that most of my FLAC files don't sound much better than the majority of my MP3 files, if at all. I have well over 1,000 Hi Def albums and thousands of additional songs, but I'm not sure that the FLACs will be my go-to music. What I find most frustrating is that I need to modify nearly all of my music's ID3 Tags to allow the player to display them in an organized fashion. I've read hundreds of reviews about Hi Def players and in the end I decided on the SR15. I'm not disappointed, but don't expect too much.




Hands-on research

Product Research


Overview: The Astell&Kern A&norma SR15 from iRiver is a portable high-resolution music player that delivers high quality playback. The SR15 features dual DACs (digital-to-audio converters) with balanced and unbalanced analog outputs. It has an internal memory for storing your high-resolution music files, plus a microSD slot for external memory. The SR15 has a 3.3" LCD touchscreen display, plus built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Construction: The compact SR15 is only 2-1/4"W x 3-15/16"H x 5/8"D, and weighs 5.6 ounces. It is made from dark gray aluminum, and features an angled LCD touch screen. The SR15 comes with a protective film to help prevent scratches. Analog controls include a rotary volume knob on the right side, and Play/pause, Previous/rewind, and Next/fast forward buttons along the left side.

Digital Storage: The SR15 has a built-in 64 GB internal memory. You can also insert a microSD card in the memory card slot on the side of the device to bring the total memory capacity of 400 GB.

Dual DACs: The SR15 is equipped with two MasterHIFI class DACs, Cirrus Logic CS43198 for a dual-DAC configuration. The device plays any resolution of digital files up to 24-bit/192kHz, bit-for-bit. 32-bit/384kHz audio files are downsampled to 24-bit/192kHz, while 32-bit/352kHz is downsampled to 24-bit/176kHz for playback. In addition, DSD 128 MHz is converted to PCM for playback. The SR15 supports the following Audio Formats and Bit Rates:

  • Audio Formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF
  • Sampling Rates:
    • PCM: 8kHz - 192kHz (8/16/24 bits per sample)
    • DSD Native: DSD64 (1-bit/2.8MHz), Stereo; DSD128 (1-bit/5.6MHz) Stereo

Quad-core CPU: The A&norma SR15 utilizes a Quad-core CPU to provide extra processing power for your digital music. The Quad-core CPU makes your digital files sound better by removing noise and reducing distortion. It also provides a faster, more intuitive user interface to give you a more pleasing listening experience.

USB DAC: The USB DAC function lets you connect the SR15 for use as a sound card for your computer for better sound quality, compared to the built-in sound card. Connect the unit via USB from your computer and listen to your stored digital music with headphones, powered speakers, or home stereo. The USB DAC is compatible with Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows 8 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows 10 (32-bit/64-bit), and Mac OS X 10.7 or later. Supported formats include WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE (Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, and DSF. Sample rates: 44.1kHz - 96kHz; Bit Rate: 16-bit/24-bit.

Balanced/Unbalanced Outputs: The Astell&Kern SR15 offers both balanced and unbalanced outputs on the top of the device. Balanced outputs have an additional "cold" signal to compliment the hot signal, which reduces external noise and increases output. The balanced output is a 4-conductor 2.5mm port. You can also connect an external audio device to the SR15 by connecting to both the earphones port (ground) and the balanced port (LR), using an optional balanced cable available from Astell&Kern. Output voltages: Balanced 4.0V (1.6 ohm), Unbalanced 2.0V (1.1 ohm).

User Interface: The SR15 features a high-quality user interface to make it easy to find and select your music files, change the volume, and adjust the sound:

  • 3.3" LCD Touchscreen: The full-color 3.3" LCD touchscreen has a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. The screen displays the title and artist of the currently playing song, along with elapsed and remaining time, with the album art in the background. On the touchscreen, you can touch the Play/Pause, Previous/Rewind, or Next/Fast Forward icons to control playback. You can make adjustments to the EQ, set the repeat and random modes, and add the song to a playlist, all using the touchscreen interface.
  • Rotary Volume Knob: The SR15 has a side-mounted analog-style rotary volume knob. As you adjust the volume, the volume range is shown numerically on the display. You can change the output to "Line Out", which locks the volume level at maximum.
  • Hardware Control Buttons: There are four physical buttons on the unit: a top-mounted power button, along with side-mounted Play/Pause, Previous/Rewind, and Next/Fast Forward buttons.

Micro-B USB: The SR15 has a Micro-B USB port on the bottom of the unit for connecting the unit to your computer for downloading music files and for charging the battery. The SR15 is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10, as well as Mac OS X 10.7 and up.

Wi-Fi Capability: The SR15 features built-in Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n--2.4GHz), allowing you to connect the device and your computer to the same network for streaming and downloading music. With the MQS Streaming Server software installed on your PC or Mac, you can use the SR15 to access music files stored on your computer's hard drive or a connected HDD. In addition, the Wi-Fi connection allows you to receive notifications of new available firmware updates (OTA Upgrades), allowing you to download them on the spot.

Bluetooth: The SR15 also has built-in Bluetooth V4.1 with A2DP and aptX HD profiles for connecting a Bluetooth device to listen to music wirelessly. DSD playback is not available via Bluetooth, and performance may be limited for high-res playback; 48 kHz or lower resolution is recommended). You must maintain a distance within 8" of the paired Bluetooth device for best audio quality and connection quality. Car audio Bluetooth connections are not supported.

AK Connect: The SR15 can stream or download music files stored on a computer on the same network. Using the AK Connect app (available for iPad running iOS 8.0 or later or Android devices running version 4.2 and up), you can connect to a NAS or PC and control it with a smartphone or tablet.

Power Requirements: The SR15 is equipped with a 3150 mAh 3.7V Lithium-Polymer battery. The battery charges via USB in about 8 hours. A fully charged battery can provide up to approximately 10 hours of continuous playback time (based on FLAC, 16-bit, 44.1kHz, unbalanced output, volume 80, EQ off, LCD off).

Protective Film: The unit includes a protective film to keep the touchscreen and the rear panel scratch-free.


  • Frequency Response:
    • 20Hz-20kHz (±0.030dB Unbalanced, ±0.024dB Balanced)
    • 10Hz-70kHz (±0.038dB Unbalanced, ±0.065dB Balanced)
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (@1kHz): 122dB (unbalanced and balanced)
  • Crosstalk (@1kHz): 137dB unbalanced, 131dB balanced
  • THD+N (@1kHz): 0.0008% unbalanced, 0.0009% balanced
  • Clock Jitter: 70ps

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Good reviews [ DEVENDRA N  Feb 12, 2019 ]
Guidance from Mark Crutchfield--wifi connectivity and USB connectivity [ Scott  Feb 06, 2019 ]
brand reputation [ BRIAN  Aug 27, 2018 ]
quality, innovation, read reviews its good stuff....tim [ timothy  Aug 16, 2018 ]
Current technology and reviews. [ D  Aug 04, 2018 ]

2 questions already asked

The B&W PX Wireless offer excellent performance and support the aptX HD profile for the best wireless sound quality with the SR15: [ Ryan  Jan 16, 2019 ]  Staff
No [ Rafael  Dec 20, 2018 ]
Yes [ Thomas  Dec 19, 2018 ]

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