Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 MKII


Nov 20, 2022
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I've spent a few weeks with the player, and it fits some of my needs. I'm a HiFi neophyte, so I my take on the sound specs would not be very relevant (let's leave it at "I love the sound of it on all my albums: metal, pop, country, hip hop etc.).

A couple of things I could live without:
  1. the player doesn't seem to handle multi-disc albums properly (basically, it crushes the disc tags, and plays it in whatever order it feels like, which is not necessarily the order the track are displayed on the device);
  2. the player handles SSD rather strangely, making it read-only and mishandling some of the metadata associated to the tracks;
One thing that's just not acceptable from a high-end brand: their support sucks. It's awful, unhelpful, and when they decided your problem is solved (even when it's not) they'll stop answering.


Mar 7, 2024
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Great article commenting on the quality of the device but as Tromatojuice reported the customer support is not at the expected standard level. Here is my reply to A&K regarding a battery replacement.

A big thanks to A&K Customer service as they have no idea how useful they were for the SR 25 battery problem!

Customer service department is the face of an organization by which customers can evaluate the professionalism of the company they have done business with.

Few days after buying an A&K SR 25, the device overheated and became so hot that it was not possible to even touch it, With the help if the internet seller the defective product was replaced. Later the battery of the new replaced player swelled and lifted the glass cover. From internet seems that many other buyers faced the same issue about swelling battery, an issue certainly known by A&K.

Trying to find this specific battery proven to be more difficult as some of the Chinese providers offered a 2 months delivery period(????) or simply never send the battery. I asked A&K customer service to send me a replacement battery to fix the defective device since for me and many others replacing a battery is a simple task.

“Kindle note AK products are not user replaceable. Hence, we do not provide/sell spare parts for repair. If repair is required you may need to send the device directly to Astell&Kern HQ in Korea for repair. The estimates repair cost is around USD$102 including shipping ».

This is about 15% of the cost of the device for a simple battery that cost about $12-16. Quite a huge shipping carbon footprint for a small battery as a solution.

Regarding A&K environmental policy, they strongly recommend in the SR 25 user manual to use a 2V charger, not provided with the device while declining any liability for any problem related to charging. I asked the Customer service, since this charger seemed so important, why they not included it with the device when we bought the player; they simply replied « for environmental consideration and saving». I am still trying to figure out the saving as I had to drive back and forth to the store, buy the charger with its own extra package and extra shipping cost to the store. For me it looks like an environmental displacement cost more than a saving one. For the high price of the SR 25, one will expect this inexpensive but important charger to be include in the purchase of the device.

I succeeded in finding a new battery for $16. It took me 5 minutes to install it by pushing the battery connector down on the connector of the player. A bit of glue to secure the black plastic cover… et voilà.

This is how A&K Customer service helped me save money by forcing me to look at alternatives. They were helpful…. without knowing it.

As said earlier, the customer service is the face of a business; now I have seen the real face of Astell & Kern.


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