Astell & Kern has partnered once more with beyerdynamic, this time to produce the AK T8iE in-ear monitors. The AK T8iE is the first IEM to feature beyerdynamic’s popular Tesla driver technology, designed specifically for portable audio and mobile listening. The AK T8iE will make its world debut at IFA Berlin, September 4-9, 2015 at the beyerdynamic booth, Hall 1.2, Stand 204. Pricing and availability will be announced soon.
A&K and beyerdynamic’s first headphone collaboration was the special edition, hi-res-centric AK T5p headphones. For the AK T8iE, Astell & Kern engineers worked with beyerdynamic to tune the IEM’s sound output to match the sound characteristics of Astell & Kern’s hi-res portable players, particularly the new flagship AK380. The AK T8iE is terminated in a balanced, 2.5mm 4-pole jack for use with A&K players. Also included is a 3.5mm adapter for use with other portable players.
Tesla drivers are known for providing neutral and natural sound with great efficiency, and the ones used in the AK T8iE are one-sixteenth the size of previous Tesla drivers, yet they are said to deliver the exact sound characteristics of larger beyerdynamic headphones in a very small package. Every pair of AK T8iE IEMs is built by hand at the beyerdynamic facility in Heilbronn, Germany.
In terms of comfort, the AK T8iE features a concha design, with the cable running over the ear. A somewhat larger housing was deemed necessary to accommodate the 11mm Tesla driver inside, and the oval-shaped concha molds sit comfortably in the ear without any pressure. They are easily inserted, instead of needing to be pressed forcefully into the ear canal. As the cable doesn’t pull, they don’t fall out. The cable is covered with Aramid, a strong and heat-resistant synthetic fiber, for high durability, and it comes in a chrome-plated case for storage.
Astell & Kern measured a variety of ear canals of people from around the world, and, as a result, ergonomically optimized the eartips. Five different sizes of the silicone tips are included, as well as foam tips in S, M, and L.
The AK T8iE features distinct acoustic advantages, transmitting the entire audible frequency spectrum with a single driver. In contrast to other headphones with Balanced Armature (BA) technology, there is no separate transducer for bass, midrange, or treble, and the AK T8iE can be matched to a 4-way BA system.
Henry Park, CEO of iriver, the parent company of Astell & Kern, says, “Astell & Kern players demand top-quality headphones. That’s why beyerdynamic also fits us so well. The brand epitomizes the ‘Made in Germany’ quality concept like almost no other brand does. Products from Germany enjoy a great reputation all over the world, especially in Asia, Astell & Kern’s home market. So after the A 200 p, we collaborated on a limited edition of the beyerdynamic T 5 p headphones, the AK T5p, which was built according to our specific requirements.”
Wolfgang Luckhardt, managing director of beyerdynamic GmbH & Co. KG, adds, “We were connected by a common goal. Both companies strive for uncompromising high-end sound, and thus pursue a similar philosophy: Results count, even when they demand a lot of effort. There has been regular contact between Heilbronn and Korea since 2013, when beyerdynamic collaborated with Astell & Kern on the portable high-end DAC and headphone amplifier, the A 200 p. The experience was so positive then, that we wanted to do more with each other.”
This is the third product collaboration between Astell&Kern and Beyerdynamic. The first, the beyerdynamic A 200 p portable high-end DAC and headphone amp powered by Astell&Kern, was released in 2013. The second, the aforementioned Astell&Kern AK T5p headphones, released in 2015, is the first Astell&Kern-branded headphones specifically tuned for Astell&Kern’s line of hi-res portable audio players and are terminated in a 2.5mm balanced output to provide A&K owners the best possible sound.
For more information about beyerdynamic, go to www.beyerdynamic.com.