The After Credits Scene

All in all, Astell and Kern did a good job but need to really take a step backward and get off this ultra pricing for their portable players. Then again, so do all the other Hifi Dap makers. iBasso reset the bar and bargain price to performance ratio and I hope everyone else tries to best them somehow. The AK120, even modded is not 8x the clarity of the AK100 or the Ibasso DX50, despite having 8x the price tag. You are paying a huge premium for a marginal upgrade, but still the best you can get in my opinion despite being 25% better than the AK100. That 25% makes a big difference to me and if your wallet can manage it, I’d recommend it. Boasting exceptional build quality, an excellent software experience, a free Dac as well as a portable music player, dual micro sd card slots and a great leather case included, I’ve nothing really to complain about. It’s a great player…it’s the only wisely designed hifi player on the market beyond $1000. Everything else seems oddly…not at all portable despite the claims of the product being portable. Great job, Astell and Kern, but an even better job to Red Wine.

4

Technical Specifications

Display 2.4inch QVGA (320 x 240) IPS Touchscreen
Supported Audio Formats WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, APE, MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, DSD
Sample rate WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC : 8kHz ~ 192kHz (8/16/24-bits per sample)
Output Level L: 1.5Vrms + R: 1.5Vrms (Condition No Load)
DAC Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DAC (High-End Audio DAC) x2
Decoding Supports up to 24-bit / 192kHz Bit to Bit Decoding
Charging InterfaceMicro USB Type-B
Interface USB 2.0, OPTICAL IN/OUT, Headphone Out
Dimensions 2.33 ”(59.2 mm) [W] x 3.50 ”(89 mm) [H] x 0.57 ”(14.4 mm) [D]
Weight 5 oz (143 g)
Feature Enhancements Firmware upgrades supported

Links

http://www.astellnkern.com/

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7 Responses

  1. dalethorn

    Is this (the stock 120) another case where the mfr. diddled with the sound to try to produce one of those “headphone soundstage” signatures to sound more like speakers? I’m not suggesting a specific DSP or whatever here, since I’ve heard 100 different versions of those soundstage processors and all were different. But I expect some of these mfrs. to sneak that stuff into their product, hoping it will get a good review.

    Reply
      • dalethorn

        Then how could they get such an awful signature? I was about to buy a FiiO X3, and I expected it to be sonically neutral. The only reason I didn’t get a AK120 is due to limited memory and the need to swap cards, which I won’t do.

      • 24bit

        I’m a bit confused by what you said at the moment, Dale. The presence of something inside the chip structure to help with sound staging would make it sound better than it is. It sounds “only good” and not great because it doesn’t have what you mentioned. The AK120 has the largest memory capacity in a hi fi portable player and the newest version comes stock with 128gb of internal memory. You get two micro sd card slots for an additional 64gb + 64gb. The 128gb micro sds are overdue, probably going to appear in 2014. The X3 can only support one micro sd card and the AK120 supports two at the same time. Also, the X3 isn’t as good as the iBasso DX50, which itself is pretty much the same in most qualities except tonality than the AK100.

      • dalethorn

        What I said was a comment on the review here which didn’t like the stock sound. As I read it it didn’t say “I dislike the stock neutral sound”, it seemed to say “The stock sound isn’t neutral or an improvement on neutral either”. But I don’t know how to evaluate that, so for all I know it might be the best sound in the world. Anyway, assuming the sound works out in the end, the memory interests me more. It seems you’re saying when the 128 gb MicroSD’s appear the player will support two of those for a total of 384 gb? That would be enough to hold my WAV tracks with some room to grow.

      • 24bit

        I don’t think the stock sound signature was neutral, it had a shimmer, it was colder than what i felt comfortable with. I don’t see why the portable players wouldn’t be able to support a 128gb card with a firmware update.

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