Costs more. Worth it?
What to get the person that listens to vinyl?
I mean, it's sort of hard to listen to a record player at the gym.
And there's no way on earth you want to get them an iPod. After all, she probably already has a smart phone, but she's not using it to listen to music because of the sad screechiness of an MP3 over a cheap DAC.
And if you don't know what a DAC is, you can bet that your friend who doesn't like MP3s does.
The Astell & Kern (a little like Haagen and Dazs, they might not be actual people, in fact, I'm betting they're not) is a digital music player for people who think they don't like digital music.
First, instead of compressing the music and losing the juice, the Astell lets the user store the original digital file, even the hard to find but magical DSD format files that sound, ahem, an awful lot like vinyl or at least the original master tape.
Second, the Astell (poor Kern, he doesn't get mentioned as often) puts that digital file through separate D to A converters (one for each ear) that really sing. Just about anyone can listen to this and come to the conclusion that it sounds better. Some people might even say it sounds a lot better. A few people believe it sounds good enough to justify the price.
And if you're buying it for one of those people, isn't that exactly what a present is for? I think so. Happy listening.
For half the price, you get a player that's almost as good. Almost.