The AK240 has unbelievable design and sound quality for a DAP, but that doesn't come cheap.

A Review On: Astell & Kern AK240

Astell & Kern AK240

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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Battery Life
Design
User Interface
Value
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23 Comments:

Great review, Currawong
 
Did you do it all in one take? Impressed with how consistent your speech was throughout the 20 minutes. Not something many can pull off - I for one would start sounding like an incoherent stoner 5 minutes in.  Also, thanks for reminding me to check out Rave Tapes.
 
I too was surprised with the size when I saw the AK240 in the metal. Definitely a much smaller sized unit than I expected. Didn't know it came with such a fugly coloured case though.
 
So far, my only reservation (aside from price) is the battery life. Most sources - warrenpchi, AnakChan, posts in the AK240 thread, real life acquaintances,  - report less than 10hrs, which in my opinion is a bit tragic. Then again, I have no idea how long the AK120 or Sony ZX1 last either.
Excellent overview - given how it compares to imod stacks, the price doesn't seem so outlandish anymore (still out of my range, though). Hopefully the trickle down effect will make something like this affordable in a few years time. I liked the design from the beginning even though most said it was awful...
What an ugly unit! It looks like a mixture of a canvas and something from Krypton. Otherwise, looks pretty good and a great review! 
Out with the old and in with the new.
 
What is the wifi streaming technology used in the 240? 
What a fantastic review Currawong.  Selling the AK120 for sure.  Covered everything I need to know.  Will watch again and again until I can visualize the AK240 in my hand.  So I won't need to buy the Chord Hugo to go with it?.  I like the idea of the Audeze xc.  Would you say the AK120 sounds more digital than the AK240 or would it depend on the recording.  Do flac and wav sound good.  Once again excellent video.
Sooooo interested in buying an AK240, but that price is just stopping me, cold, in my tracks...I am a big-time fan of IEM's and taking high-quality music on-the-go. My thing is: I am just not that interested in replacing my pairs of WESTONE (W4 and UM3X) to make this $2500 player sound better. I feel like the AK120 may be a better step-up for me.
Very good overview from construction thru UI.  Wanted you to spend more time with sound quality and some of your comparison listening.  The lighting was a little too harsh sometimes wiping out the picture but your sarcasm made up for it....Keep up the good work !
"come in any color as long as you like drab olive"
 
Lol!
@kurochin I do a lot of takes. Some I can splice so you don't notice. If I know what I want to say and in what order I can do it in one take though. 
 
@AJHeadfi Good question! You'd have to ask Iriver what technology they use.
 
@spitfire777 I'd get either the Hugo or the AK240, not both. Getting an AK240 to use it just as a digital transport is crazy IMO.
 
@refault My lavier mic is crap. Then it decided to buzz for the last takes, so I switched to recording from my desk, for something different.
@uncle b You might be interested in my DAP-off then. The Sony has become a strong contender in that for the best balanced of sound quality, features and value (in the absence of the AK120).
@speedracer1 The lighting is definitely something I need to work on. Unfortunately at the moment the whole thing is a bit of a kludge. Also, I received my loaner Audeze and other DAPs only after I'd finished the video, so I want to do a followup with comparisons.
@Currawong I'm concerned about the AK240's battery. Obviously, the battery isn't user-replaceable; can it be changed at a service center? Companies such as HTC and Apple have recently released deplorably designed products, containing batteries that even manufactures can't replace (see the One and the iPod Touch as examples).
@bcarr112281 You'd have to ask iRiver. It does seem the case can be opened though. About Apple: The reason they seal their cases is because of warranty issues and to prevent issues with dodgy third-party batteries. Customer-caused faults are a HUGE issue with electronics companies. Even so, iDevices have batteries good enough (now at least) that they should last the effective lifetime of the device. For something like the AK240 the situation would be different.
Actually, my understanding is that Apple technicians can swap the batteries of most products, even the devices that are sealed. Unfortunately, the iPod Touch itself is apparently designed differently enough it's simply discarded when its battery fails.
currawong can you explain how the mark/space "missing sync for android" works with the ak240?
syncing itunes playlist from macbook pro to the ak240 player? 
I would like a dedicated line-out, especially if the quality of the DAC component is marvellous and for such a price. Probably the only drawback, price is acceptable if it represents the quality of product. I think the software would have been a great labor to create and significant part of the cost.
ajheadfi- vinnie from red wine audio has a dedicated line out mod for the ak240
decur - thank you, I didn't notice the 2nd modification. Seems others consider this a significant omission. 
Excellent review with enough detailed information about its features. It definitively makes it harder to ignore the AK240. More I watch video reviews more I am in awe to the level of engineering that has been put into the design. You've said that there were some software bugs (issues) with the AK240. Anyways to find out what they are? The bottom line, if money is no issue, it's truly a player worth owning.
At the moment the only gripes I have with the software are: The keyboard covers the last search results (which may be that I don't know how to get rid of it) and the sound stops occasionally during DSD 128 playback. 
Well....i dont think it is worth the price anyway