Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › The New iRiver AK100: A High-End DAP
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The New iRiver AK100: A High-End DAP - Page 326

post #4876 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtUglyJeff View Post

Can someone explain the headphone out/optical output?  How does 2 functions share a port?

 

The mini-Toslink plug looks just like a 3.5mm (1/8") headphone jack, but it's a bit longer and has an optical interface at the end. The contacts for 3.5mm are down the side of the socket on the AK100 while the optical interface is at the end of the socket tube so both can live in the same place and there will be a switch somewhere to identify which type of plug is being used so the device can activate the right output.

post #4877 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post

The mini-Toslink plug looks just like a 3.5mm (1/8") headphone jack, but it's a bit longer and has an optical interface at the end. The contacts for 3.5mm are down the side of the socket on the AK100 while the optical interface is at the end of the socket tube so both can live in the same place and there will be a switch somewhere to identify which type of plug is being used so the device can activate the right output.

Btw this is not exclusive to AK design. Even cheaper Fiio amp/DAC has the same feature.
post #4878 of 8722
Oops double post
Edited by klipschman70 - 5/11/13 at 5:01pm
post #4879 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtUglyJeff View Post

Can someone explain the headphone out/optical output?  How does 2 functions share a port?
This is done on all Apple computers on the headphone out.
post #4880 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExpatinJapan View Post

As I posted in AK120 thread.
From Tokyo headphone show.

After my brief impressions today I would rank in this order of preference to my ears..

MS-AK100. Clear, clarity, lush mids, beautiful, slight emphasis on vocals.
RWAK100. Smooth, clear, more apparent highs than MF mod, subtle V signature.
AK120. Clear, no body, no real bass.
AK100

 

*check my sig!

 

It would be interesting to compare €840 Tera-Player with $850 MS-AK100 regarding different strengths in the SQ department.

 


 

Besides, I saw that someone in China sold this iMod with flagship WireWorld Platinum Eclipse before

 

http://ershou.taobao.com/item.htm?id=19587347533

 

Platinum Eclipse bulk wire here in Hong Kong costs only like HK$1,100/ft and that's actually an authorized dealer selling the genuine products.

 

I'm so tempted to get one from Japan because of the Forex exchange rates these days and then pay someone to mod that for me:

 

http://kakaku.com/item/K0000426815

http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B009O06X44

 

That could potentially cost less than MS-AK100 while end up being one of the best sounding portable source gear among other alternatives.

post #4881 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by seeteeyou View Post

 

It would be interesting to compare €840 Tera-Player with $850 MS-AK100 regarding different strengths in the SQ department.

 


 

Besides, I saw that someone in China sold this iMod with flagship WireWorld Platinum Eclipse before

 

http://ershou.taobao.com/item.htm?id=19587347533

 

Platinum Eclipse bulk wire here in Hong Kong costs only like HK$1,100/ft and that's actually an authorized dealer selling the genuine products.

 

I'm so tempted to get one from Japan because of the Forex exchange rates these days and then pay someone to mod that for me:

 

http://kakaku.com/item/K0000426815

http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B009O06X44

 

That could potentially cost less than MS-AK100 while end up being one of the best sounding portable source gear among other alternatives.

 

The request may be fulfilled sooner than you think.

 

L-R: RWAK100, Tera Player, MS-AK100 (plus misc cables)

 

As this point, I'd actually like to ask if anyone is interested in sending over their Indonesian AK100 Stage 2 (or whatever Stage you wish) to me, for a 3 way comparison for the AK100', if not happy to keep it a 2 way comparison with the above AK100' (and with the MS-AK100 w.r.t. the Tera Player too).

 

P.S. Due to the number of AK100 mods coming out, I'm classifying the mods as AK100' (short for "AK100 prime") for myself.

post #4882 of 8722
I have a Tera and an Ak100 stage 2 mod and they are totally different in sound. The ak100 mod pairs with anything and sounds wider and more airy. The Tera sounds more natural. They really have different flavors.
@Anak, going to NY for a month and taking mine so not so easy....
Edited by Mimouille - 5/12/13 at 9:44am
post #4883 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post

 

The mini-Toslink plug looks just like a 3.5mm (1/8") headphone jack, but it's a bit longer and has an optical interface at the end. The contacts for 3.5mm are down the side of the socket on the AK100 while the optical interface is at the end of the socket tube so both can live in the same place and there will be a switch somewhere to identify which type of plug is being used so the device can activate the right output.

 

So does the amp get bypassed when using the mini-Toslink plug on the AK100, or are both the amp and DAC bypassed, turning it into merely a transport?

 

Thanks for the detailed answer, btw...

post #4884 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtUglyJeff View Post

 

So does the amp get bypassed when using the mini-Toslink plug on the AK100, or are both the amp and DAC bypassed, turning it into merely a transport?

 

Thanks for the detailed answer, btw...

It is a transport. 

post #4885 of 8722

Most people are remarking on the sound/hardware/mods, so I decided to share my thoughts on the software side of the unit. These are my observations using the 1.33 software. I am a software developer by profession and have an idea of their underlying implementation. It's mostly complaints.

 

 

Startup time is still to slow, even with auto sync turned off. It's not as bad as it was initially, but still painful. It doesn't need to be instant-on but should be close to it.
 
(Auto) Sync is still to slow and should be smarter about what it needs to scan. Rescanning the entire library each time is inefficient.There are better ways...
 
Navigation is still to clunky and inefficient. I hypothesize that the clunky-ness comes from a cheap touch display component. The navigation could be improved greatly if they tried to stay close to the three-click rule; it's not just for the web anymore. Also, an easy way to return to the main menu from any location would be useful.
 
Poor id3 tag recognition. Some tracks have to be re-encoded (yes, re-encoded) entirely even though they work fine with other players.
 
Bad disc/track ordering within the UI. Disc 2 Track 1 should not come before Disc 1 Track 2.
 
Useless feature: Bluetooth, who uses this? Audio over bluetooth is attrocious. No self-respecting audiophile (that I know) would use it.
 
~These are mostly my complaints from developing my own sync tools for my non-windows machine. It's easy to get around and I know they did it because they were lazy.
Poor image data storage. 8bit unicode string in an a dat file indexed from the track db... this isn't 1995. Even just using the filesystem would be better.
Poor (non-existant) playlist format support. That thing they call a playlist, they shouldn't be trying to do their own thing especially when there is no benefit.
 
Overall my verdict is that everyone is paying 700$+ for a player that has a excellent 3.50$ DAC. The device likely cost <$50 total in parts. I would expect the software to be amazing at that price range. Right now, I can't recommend it to anyone (with or without a mod) and if I worked on the software for it I would be embarrassed to claim that I did. Of course I shouldn't hate, the software is par for the course for products directed toward the high-end audio market... poor quality.
 
Not to be all hate, some things I do like about it. The Sound. The Form Factor & Shell, HW controls (except that ****ty volume knob). USB Charging, Expandable storage, although the sd slot needs to be more shallow for easier access.
post #4886 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chank View Post

....

 
Useless feature: Bluetooth, who uses this? Audio over bluetooth is attrocious. No self-respecting audiophile (that I know) would use it.
 
 

 

RE Bluetooth.  It is actually pretty handy when using it as a transport paired with a car deck....  Not ideal, but handy.

post #4887 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by GloryUprising View Post

 

RE Bluetooth.  It is actually pretty handy when using it as a transport paired with a car deck....  Not ideal, but handy.

 

I initially tried bluetooth with my car deck with other sources and it always sounded horrible so just I switch to just using the line-in. Though I realize some people may not have that option. Also, I went through a phase with BT speakers none of wich sounded good. I realize it has it's use, but it's a niche thing IMO. Id rather drive around w/ headphones on than use the bluetooth, but that's me.

post #4888 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chank View Post

 

I initially tried bluetooth with my car deck with other sources and it always sounded horrible so just I switch to just using the line-in. Though I realize some people may not have that option. Also, I went through a phase with BT speakers none of wich sounded good. I realize it has it's use, but it's a niche thing IMO. Id rather drive around w/ headphones on than use the bluetooth, but that's me.

gotta remember, bluetooth is still a digital signal so you'd be limited by the your headunit's implementation...

post #4889 of 8722

The software thing is more related to their culture. They are only interested in developing hardware in Japan and almost ignored the software stuff under most circumstances

 

http://it.sohu.com/20130420/n373363456.shtml

 

That's why a fairly large number of consumer electronics companies in Japan are struggling as mentioned in the article above. They seemed to be contented with what's going on and I really don't see where will be any changes in the future.

 

Let's face it, the only game in town is either iOS or Android when it comes to multi-touch devices with relatively decent hardware spec. Even giants in Korea such as Samsung and LG have to go for Android instead of relying on their own programmers.

 

In addition, we really don't see that many non-Asian audiophile players except for Tera-Player / The Open Pandora on this particular forum these days. Acoustic Research M1 should be closer to a Chinese effort even though that's a subsidiary of VOXX International Corp.

 

Just not enough incentives for decent OS / firmware so basically Android and Rockbox are the ideal interfaces for now, at least from the perspective of manufacturers in Asia.

post #4890 of 8722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chank View Post

Most people are remarking on the sound/hardware/mods, so I decided to share my thoughts on the software side of the unit. These are my observations using the 1.33 software. I am a software developer by profession and have an idea of their underlying implementation. It's mostly complaints.

 

Startup time is still to slow, even with auto sync turned off. It's not as bad as it was initially, but still painful. It doesn't need to be instant-on but should be close to it.
 
(Auto) Sync is still to slow and should be smarter about what it needs to scan. Rescanning the entire library each time is inefficient.There are better ways...
 
Navigation is still to clunky and inefficient. I hypothesize that the clunky-ness comes from a cheap touch display component. The navigation could be improved greatly if they tried to stay close to the three-click rule; it's not just for the web anymore. Also, an easy way to return to the main menu from any location would be useful.
 
Poor id3 tag recognition. Some tracks have to be re-encoded (yes, re-encoded) entirely even though they work fine with other players.
 
Bad disc/track ordering within the UI. Disc 2 Track 1 should not come before Disc 1 Track 2.
 
Useless feature: Bluetooth, who uses this? Audio over bluetooth is attrocious. No self-respecting audiophile (that I know) would use it.
 
~These are mostly my complaints from developing my own sync tools for my non-windows machine. It's easy to get around and I know they did it because they were lazy.
Poor image data storage. 8bit unicode string in an a dat file indexed from the track db... this isn't 1995. Even just using the filesystem would be better.
Poor (non-existant) playlist format support. That thing they call a playlist, they shouldn't be trying to do their own thing especially when there is no benefit.

I agree with a lot that is said, but I will go into more detail after my reply to the next post

Quote:
Originally Posted by seeteeyou View Post

The software thing is more related to their culture. They are only interested in developing hardware in Japan and almost ignored the software stuff under most circumstances

 

http://it.sohu.com/20130420/n373363456.shtml

 

That's why a fairly large number of consumer electronics companies in Japan are struggling as mentioned in the article above. They seemed to be contented with what's going on and I really don't see where will be any changes in the future.

 

Let's face it, the only game in town is either iOS or Android when it comes to multi-touch devices with relatively decent hardware spec. Even giants in Korea such as Samsung and LG have to go for Android instead of relying on their own programmers.

 

In addition, we really don't see that many non-Asian audiophile players except for Tera-Player / The Open Pandora on this particular forum these days. Acoustic Research M1 should be closer to a Chinese effort even though that's a subsidiary of VOXX International Corp.

 

Just not enough incentives for decent OS / firmware so basically Android and Rockbox are the ideal interfaces for now, at least from the perspective of manufacturers in Asia.

Interesting you say this. I was not aware of this issue with software in Japan. I am a former Tera Player owner and am actually surprised I've moved to a device that has worse UI than that, considering it didn't have a screen. It always worked and I managed.

 

The AK100 is another beast though. I find it a great device to listen to. I won't compare it with the Tera Player as I did not own them at the same time to do a true comparison. The fact is that this device is 95% there in terms of a lot of stuff. Their seems to just be a few things that could be fixed with a simple focus on software. 

 

Some suggestions:

  • Scrolling: When scrolling through artists or albums, if their were some arrow i could put my finger on and drag up or down to skip through a whole bunch of artists or albums quickly, I think that would make the overall experience a lot better.
  • Tag recognition needs improvement. I managed to get all my music in FLAC to be recognized how I want them. It took me a few hours as I could not find any tutorials. If at least I had found an easy tutorial explaining how to do it, that would've helped. I My main thing is I would like to have on your website a list (hopefully a growing list) of music formats that have tag support on the AK100 and a little information on what may be coming soon.
  • While tags could be useful, when a tag doesn't exist, if you were able to infer things from the folder structure, that would be good too. I have my files in a folder on the root called "Music". Inside that, are folders for each artist. In each folder for "artist" is a folder for each album. And inside each album folder, I have the files for that album. I think even if tags don't exist if their was a formal folder structure one could fall back on to make up for the lack of tag support, it would make everything a lot better than just having them all dumped into a folder that you can't scroll through easily.
  • Charging: I am a new owner and I charged the device for the first time last night. I don't particularly like that when It's charging I am not able to turn the device off. And if I unplugged it to turn it off and then plug it in to charge, that their is no indication of how much longer it needs or that I need to press on the power button just to be told it's still charging. Just a small issue that if it isn't fixed isn't a huge deal, but if their is something you could do, that would be nice.
  • Battery Meter: I would really love to see a percentage next to the battery meter so I could estimate how much longer I have. Even a little warning pop up on the screen when it is close to dying would be nice as well. I fell like this being the first time I've run it down, I didn't really realize how much time I had left with it, but then again I wasn't paying that much attention to it at the time. 
  • Startup time is annoying, but I don't consider this a big deal. I think their could be better way to handle recognizing the music, like when loading in music through the iRiver Plus4 program that it indexes the music and makes a small file on the root for each card with the information the AK100 needs. But if it stays the same way it is now, It won't be the end of the world, and it won't really take away from my overall happiness with the device. I think more of it's shortcomings are from other software decisions/improvements that could be made but aren't yet.
  • I would love support for mp3HD tracks. Lossless tracks hidden in mp3 id3 tags so if the device can't play lossless it plays the 320kbps mp3. No DAP seems to support it but it is an interesting format and would be nice for those times I get tracks like this straight from music artists.
  • Gapless playback: it deserves a mention but I know iRiver is working on it and frankly, I can wait a little. I don't see it as the worst thing in the world if it takes a while to get or doesn't ever come. 
  • Emotions: I have no idea where this comes into play. I see on the iRiver Plus4 program I can set the emotion for songs and I can understand how it could be useful for smart on the fly generation of random plays or playlists. But once music is on the AK100, their is no way to set the emotion of a song, and as a mac user with desktops that have windows on them, i don't load in music through the application most of the time. I also don't see any place where this gets used on the device, but maybe that is coming in a future update.

 

I understand it takes time for these things and I have come to understand that iRiver has come out with updated firmwares to make improvements as it can. I think this would be an even better device if the suggestions of the people that use it on a regular basis are taken to heart and worked on to gradually improve the device. I think the GUI has a lot of potential and with some tweaks it could be one of my favorites. I hope the people at iRiver see this post and appreciate some of my commentary. I am a computer science major and from what I see it seems the major problems are software based, which thankfully are the easiest to fix considering most AK100's are spread throughout the world and the internet is the only way to really get to each one

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Source Gear
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › The New iRiver AK100: A High-End DAP