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The Astell & Kern AK120 - Page 15

post #211 of 6309

I will be doing a review of one of these soon, just after i finish my AK100 review!

post #212 of 6309
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

I will be doing a review of one of these soon, just after i finish my AK100 review!

Have you got it? in Uk? sounds good?

post #213 of 6309
Quote:
Originally Posted by tupac0306 View Post

Have you got it? in Uk? sounds good?

No it will likely be in a few weeks but i will certainly keep you posted. I freaking hope it is a big enough improvement on the AK100 and it will also have to straight up sound better than the likes of the DX100, C4pro and my MA9!

post #214 of 6309
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mython View Post

It seems to me that the whole 'Astell & Kern' thing looks rather like a cynical exercise in marketing the perception of uber-high-end, when, in reality, the actual product electronics may be somewhere between upper-mid and high end. But push the perception of uber-high-end, with slick marketing and a pretentious-sounding name and there will always be some who will swallow that kool-aid every time. Apple have been doing it for years with the iPhone, making a 'nice' product with 'nice' engineering, but charging outrageous prices and spending vast sums of money on marketing, so that all the kool-aid drinkers believe they 'simply must' have each iteration of the device and that they'll be the envy of all their friends, and that it 'must be' better than less-glamourous competing devices. And what happened to the iPhone? The wheels have started to wobble on that particular kool-aid wagon, as competitors such as Samsung GS2/3/4 and HTC One are offering at least equal performance, and, in some aspects, superior performance, and all at a significantly lower price.

 

I'm confident that the AK120 is probably 'quite a good product', and I do like the smaller form factor than the DX100 and HM-901, but whilst (in terms of pricing) some of the kool-aid drinkers may be fooled, it doesn't fool me. I personally view this pricing structure as a cynical exercise in influencing the marketplace's perception of the performance of the 'Astell & Kern' branded products. IMO, €1299 euros is greedy. Just because it contains 2 DACs and has a €1299 euro price tag does not make me automatically believe it is worth €1299 euros in terms of componentry, engineering, and performance.

 

So shocked was I by the pricing of the AK120, that the following imaginary scenario ran through my mind, of a fictitious board meeting (let me stress that these words are from my imagination, not from actual reality anywhere else on planet earth):

 

 

"What is the latest uber-high-end product in the DAP marketplace?"

"The HM-901"

"OK, what is the main USP of the HM-901?"

"Dual DAC implementation. Oh, and oversized manual volume control wheel"

"OK, and what other features are becoming more desirable in high-end DAPs at the moment"

"Dual SD/MicroSD card slots"

"OK, so if the existing AK100 design were to be modified so as to include 2 DACs, could it be marketed heavily so as to elicit close to $1500 bucks?; By including 2 DACs, could people be made to perceive it as superior to the HM-901, if it's made to look shiny and slick enough? If the HDP-R10s DSD playback was thrown in for good measure, people would probably throw their cash at it, no matter how much mark-up was demanded, wouldn't they..?"

 

 

I apologise for my cynicism but it's only in response to what I perceive to be exceptionally cynical pricing.

 

 

If the AK120 truly sounds better than the DX100 (and I don't mean just one or two enthusiastic fans; I mean a broad, time-matured, consensus of opinion), then I'll eat my hat. Slick appearance is nice but it counts for very little if the SQ may (perhaps - it remains to be seen) not match something costing $500 bucks less. It also counts for very little if the device has a relatively high output impedance making it struggle to drive low-impedance multi-BA CIEMs to a standard one should rightly expect of a €1299 euro DAP, and, after all, many well-heeled DAP-buyers will commonly use low-impedance multi-BA CIEMs whilst out and about. The whole AK100 after-market mod debacle is a case in point, and instead of admitting the issue, it appears iRiver chose a less friendly approach.

 

 

For the record, I would not be giving the AK120 a hard time if it was't being marketed at such an outrageous price. This is not anything to do with whether I can afford it or not. It is purely and simply to do with the fact that I view the price tag as cynical and greedy, having seemingly insufficient substance to justify it.

 

If the AK120 was marketed at, say, $950, many people (of those fortunate enough to be able to afford it) would be keen to give it a try. iRiver and their agents, retailers etc. would still have a healthy mark-up at that price-point.

 

 

I also feel the Tera player is overpriced, BTW, even though it's made by more costly German labour and may well sound wonderful. The same goes for some of the after-market speciality cable vendors (some of whom are some of the very worst offenders, in terms of mark-up).

 

iRiver are therefore, not the only vendors charging (in my view) over the odds, but that still doesn't justify the practice.

 

 

Thank goodness for the likes of Fiio, who keep things real by seeking to provide customers with features the desire, and at a very fair price. They may not be perfect, but their way of doing business with their customers is an object lesson for many other vendors in the DAP marketplace.

 

.

 

Agreed. While one can charge more for a premier product that it is just so perfect regardless of price, which is obviously not the case for AK120. Despite the fact that it is improved in a few ways compare to its predecessor, AK100, a lot is left to be desired (from choice of dac chip, to UI, output stage, etc.). IMHO THE R&D EFFORT CONTRIBUTED TO IMPROVE THE PRODUCT IS SIMPLY NOT ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY ITS "MONEY-NO-OBJECT" PRICE TAG (For those of you who say a grand is peanut for home audio, you should compare the performance of such "peanut" to the home audio on the same ground, and see if they belongs to the same league).
post #215 of 6309
I will wait for as many reviews as i can and to see other high end offering from the other companies, before deciding on a target, none of the previous gen(dx100,801, the ak100) is perfect imo, so i picked up one that i know have the better ui and form factor and run with it
post #216 of 6309

Add the HDP-R10 to your list. It's an upgrade from the DX100. 

post #217 of 6309

Its one of the variants,  depending on what counted as an upgrade i gueas,  i for one want poweramp on the dx100 to know i have the best ui available ( i dont have one of the fancy  high res music,  all of mine is in 16 bit losless or lossy),  the dx100  and its family is still on a consideration when i have the money though.  Even better if i can see the dx200 first

post #218 of 6309
Listening with ToGo! 334 to some 24/192 files.....

Really very impressed with the AK120. Beautiful sounding, enveloping, coherent and very balanced. Can listen all day to music presented this way:)
Edited by spkrs01 - 5/13/13 at 1:58am
post #219 of 6309

Spkrs so what do you think of it compared to other daps you own?  Is it just snake oil and  bloated

price like what everyone says? 


Edited by Retrias - 5/13/13 at 2:47am
post #220 of 6309
Quote:
Originally Posted by spkrs01 View Post

Listening with ToGo! 334 to some 24/192 files.....

Really very impressed with the AK120. Beautiful sounding, enveloping, coherent and very balanced. Can listen all day to music presented this way:)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrias View Post

Spkrs so what do you think of it compared to other daps you own?  Is it just snake oil and  bloated

price like what everyone says? 

 

If it makes him feel that way, can it be a waste of money?

post #221 of 6309
I really like it a lot...... But still a little early but it is the sense of ease in which music is delivered, very high end type of sound! How it seems the music has slowed down because you are hearing so much more detail:)

I reserve jugement but excellent with all the (C) IEMs that I have tried so far.
post #222 of 6309

spkrs01. So far you've been trying with the warm FitEar models. There's another that I'd like you to try but I fear you may not be able to comment on (happy to bring it to PM). What about other IEMs you have that are more, say, either neutral, reference-y or even U-shaped? in particular low impedance IEMs, I'm wondering how big the impact the 3 ohm OI would do to such low impedance IEMs with typical signatures?

post #223 of 6309

Hi Gavin, would really like to know how it performs with a certain set of earphones as well (ahem...1+...) etysmile.gif

post #224 of 6309
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

spkrs01. So far you've been trying with the warm FitEar models. There's another that I'd like you to try but I fear you may not be able to comment on (happy to bring it to PM). What about other IEMs you have that are more, say, either neutral, reference-y or even U-shaped? in particular low impedance IEMs, I'm wondering how big the impact the 3 ohm OI would do to such low impedance IEMs with typical signatures?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Decreate View Post

Hi Gavin, would really like to know how it performs with a certain set of earphones as well (ahem...1+...) etysmile.gif

 

In all honesty I have yet to try, I will try later this week and Whatsapp younormal_smile%20.gif and email Anakchan.............

post #225 of 6309

ALO Audio, the US distributor for the AK100, indicated to me that they have no information at this time about the US release of AK120.  This probably means that it is still a ways off.

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