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The Astell & Kern AK120 - Page 230

post #3436 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by radi9red View Post

i got a loan set (AK120) and compared closely with AK100 , the Fiio X3 and my iphone5 - Same couple of tracks copied and i repeated the tests again with default settings -
Here's a short summary of the findings.
 

 

Nice observations. Just curious, what headphones/earphones were you using?

post #3437 of 6391

And also, what format is the 2 tracks?

post #3438 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post

Wish list for the "next" AK120:

 

- Dual WM8741s, software controlled and with the option to run MPF (minimal phase filter) in the software menus.

- Line out (can use the same jack as the optical in, as there is not signal going in/out of the contacts of this jack) and HP out.

- 3-ohm OI is not bad, but not ideal if you are using low impedance IEMs (like 8 or 16 ohm).

- Native DSD playback, since this is possible with the WM8741s

- Drop the bluetooth if it saves any battery life (probably not much if the bluetooth is turned "off", but I haven't tested it).

- Keep the thickness the same, but if playtime can be increased by making it a little longer (e.g. length of iPhone), then consider it if it adds

a few hours, as the AK120 is still plenty small. 

- Ideally, allow for some more voltage swing on the output stage so it can go a little louder on headphones like LCD2/3, HE500, etc.  But ONLY

if the quality of the output stage is not compromised in any way.  High/low gain setting would be ideal as well, so one doesn't have to attenuate

so much with sensitive IEMs.

- A bigger screen is always a plus, but not nearly as important to me as the above items.

 

This would make for a bas ass DAP, IMHO!

I am definitely all over this one! Those three are more than enough for me.

post #3439 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

What IEMs or headphones are you using with them? For me it's more than just a difference in signature. My iphone4 does not even being to compare to the AK120. Nor does a Sansa Fuze. Although the RWA AK100 did not impress me much either and I found issues with its upper mids, lower treble and bloated bass.
 

 

If the Itouch was in the mix, HiDef was not.

post #3440 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

 

This wasn't on the AK120 but directly on the PC. The same files converted over to PCM and then played back. I also took the dynamic range of both albums and in the original DSD from it had a higher dynamic range. Also sounded more well rounded with more depth.

If that's measured Dynamic range, there's a problem in the conversion. If it what's experienced, it could be a # of things. When you're using a PC to play music, there are so many things that can effect a compare. DSD may be better in your and other setups but I haven't found that to be the case in top kit. Perhaps it's easier to clock via USB etc. Something (usb DACs) I don't care for. Just IMO. smile.gif

post #3441 of 6391
I see what folks mean by the player opening up after a number of hours, so impressed with this player.
For out and about use in noisy coffee shops I see no need for amping but I am really looking forward to home use and using it with my tube amp and PF's.. I predict magic will happen.

Very much enjoyed the DSD album but in truth I think I will just stick in the main with 24/192 as my top level, of course that may change when my amp comes back..

Boy oh boy though DSD sure eats battery life!
post #3442 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

I see what folks mean by the player opening up after a number of hours, so impressed with this player.
For out and about use in noisy coffee shops I see no need for amping but I am really looking forward to home use and using it with my tube amp and PF's.. I predict magic will happen.

Very much enjoyed the DSD album but in truth I think I will just stick in the main with 24/192 as my top level, of course that may change when my amp comes back..

Boy oh boy though DSD sure eats battery life!

Ian, no regrets not to have purchased the RWAK120-S instead for an even better line-out connection to your TU-05 ? wink.gif

 

And do you REALLY hear an improvement between 24/96 and 24/192 ? I always try to buy 24/96 as the maximum resolution since I believe (IMO) 192 mHz only bring... bigger file size  


Edited by bmichels - 8/22/13 at 11:21am
post #3443 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb View Post

 

Yes indeed.  The 192khz and DSD files sound awesome on the AK120.  You'll love it.  I'll be interested in your digitizing of the vinyl.  I studied various methods to do it a few years ago, but haven't done it yet.  If you get the Tascam, I'll be interested in your assessment of sound played from the vinyl vs. the rip, particularly in light of surface noise.  It will be important to make sure you get your vinyl dust free before the rip.  This is one of my next projects too!!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post


Wow. Well if you have good equipment to rip those vinyl and they are in excellent condition., you're gonna be in for a real treat! ;).

 

I can’t complain about my vinyl setup. It happened that I invested more into my vinyl rig than in the rest of my system. The Ortofon Windfeld MC cartridge and Whest PS.30RTD SE make absolutely fantastic combination both in terms of music reproduction and dead-quite background. Over the past 2-3 years I was waiting for suitable equipment to digitize my vinyl collection and Tascam DA3000 seems to be the ticket and the price is right (about 1000 Euro here in Europe and even cheaper in US). Korg MR2000S (now discontinued) was the only option before, but was not able to record to SD cards like Tascam does. Anyway, it will take me some time till all equipment will be acquired, but once I’ll do first vinyl rips I’ll definitely share my impressions.

post #3444 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post

Ian, no regrets not to have purchased the RWAK120-S instead for an even better line-out connection to your TU-05 ? wink.gif


And do you REALLY hear an improvement between 24/96 and 24/192 ? I always try to buy 24/96 as the maximum resolution since I believe (IMO) 192 mHz only bring... bigger file size  

No, none whatsoever!

I really like the idea of ultra portable now. I did the separate amp thing out and about and though I was fine with it but sitting in my local coffee shop this morning listening right out of the 120 with my DT1350's I do not miss my SR71-B one bit.

Also, life is a compromise and from what I have heard the stock line out is very clean and will do for me.

I love Vinnie's work and have the highest regard for it but the modification is simply something I do not need with my present requirements. Knowing now what is involved in the modification I do wonder how he does it for what he charges, that is a lot of work involved and I feel somewhat of a bargain and I reckon if your always going to use an external amp it is well worth while.

As to the 24/96 versus the higher rate. I have a couple of albums that I had to buy as 24/192/176 and convert them down to 24/96 using my Weiss Seracon softwear. Listening to them back to back there is a small improvement I feel on the albums I have (Time out and Wilson Audio's new Beethoven/Enescu recordings) in terms of being ever so slightly more at ease and natural in their presentation but the higher res formats are a crap shoot I find.

I just downloaded the Van Morrison Astral Weeks album in 24/192 and I must admit I do not hear a great deal of difference between it and my old CD copy ripped to WAV, perhaps I will hear more with the amp in place as it does reveal quite a bit more as you know!
Edited by ianmedium - 8/22/13 at 12:17pm
post #3445 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexberg View Post

 

 

 

I can’t complain about my vinyl setup. It happened that I invested more into my vinyl rig than in the rest of my system. The Ortofon Windfeld MC cartridge and Whest PS.30RTD SE make absolutely fantastic combination both in terms of music reproduction and dead-quite background. Over the past 2-3 years I was waiting for suitable equipment to digitize my vinyl collection and Tascam DA3000 seems to be the ticket and the price is right (about 1000 Euro here in Europe and even cheaper in US). Korg MR2000S (now discontinued) was the only option before, but was not able to record to SD cards like Tascam does. Anyway, it will take me some time till all equipment will be acquired, but once I’ll do first vinyl rips I’ll definitely share my impressions.

 

Wow this is cool.  I will be very interested to hear about the how the Tascam DA3000 works for this.  I just got a PS3 to rip my SACD collection, and then will move on to vinyl.  By the way, if anyone needs any SACD's ripped, send me a note via PM.  I'd be glad to help.  

post #3446 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

If that's measured Dynamic range, there's a problem in the conversion. If it what's experienced, it could be a # of things. When you're using a PC to play music, there are so many things that can effect a compare. DSD may be better in your and other setups but I haven't found that to be the case in top kit. Perhaps it's easier to clock via USB etc. Something (usb DACs) I don't care for. Just IMO. smile.gif


I'll drop you a PM. Maybe I can make you a believer ;).

post #3447 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexberg View Post

 

 

 

I can’t complain about my vinyl setup. It happened that I invested more into my vinyl rig than in the rest of my system. The Ortofon Windfeld MC cartridge and Whest PS.30RTD SE make absolutely fantastic combination both in terms of music reproduction and dead-quite background. Over the past 2-3 years I was waiting for suitable equipment to digitize my vinyl collection and Tascam DA3000 seems to be the ticket and the price is right (about 1000 Euro here in Europe and even cheaper in US). Korg MR2000S (now discontinued) was the only option before, but was not able to record to SD cards like Tascam does. Anyway, it will take me some time till all equipment will be acquired, but once I’ll do first vinyl rips I’ll definitely share my impressions.


Nice! :)

post #3448 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post


No, none whatsoever!

I really like the idea of ultra portable now. I did the separate amp thing out and about and though I was fine with it but sitting in my local coffee shop this morning listening right out of the 120 with my DT1350's I do not miss my SR71-B one bit.

Also, life is a compromise and from what I have heard the stock line out is very clean and will do for me.

I love Vinnie's work and have the highest regard for it but the modification is simply something I do not need with my present requirements. Knowing now what is involved in the modification I do wonder how he does it for what he charges, that is a lot of work involved and I feel somewhat of a bargain and I reckon if your always going to use an external amp it is well worth while.

As to the 24/96 versus the higher rate. I have a couple of albums that I had to buy as 24/192/176 and convert them down to 24/96 using my Weiss Seracon softwear. Listening to them back to back there is a small improvement I feel on the albums I have (Time out and Wilson Audio's new Beethoven/Enescu recordings) in terms of being ever so slightly more at ease and natural in their presentation but the higher res formats are a crap shoot I find.

I just downloaded the Van Morrison Astral Weeks album in 24/192 and I must admit I do not hear a great deal of difference between it and my old CD copy ripped to WAV, perhaps I will hear more with the amp in place as it does reveal quite a bit more as you know!

Commercial recording are always a crapshoot. When we do dubs on the Nagra VI, the 192 is consistently better. If you get a chance try 24/48. It a great compromise for space.

post #3449 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by radi9red View Post

i got a loan set (AK120) and compared closely with AK100 , the Fiio X3 and my iphone5 - Same couple of tracks copied and i repeated the tests again with default settings -
Here's a short summary of the findings.

AK120 Observations : Sound is clean - background extremely clean and quiet , no distortions, no hiss... I'ts just done rightly , not too airy , nor too dark. Bass were well controlled and tight. Mids were sharp & clear, treble were tight. Sound overall has good slight warm and with tight impact. Sound stage : medium size - mids were centric (sound stage very similar to iphone 5 - unmodded)

Ak 100 Observations : Changing from AK120 -to Ak100 - immediately noticed that the sounds (mid/treble) sounds brighter - there's an additional sparkle on the Ak100 comparing to Ak120. Sounds oveerall were looser comparing to Ak120. After closer inspection - i realised that the Ak100 sounded thinner with lesser control - especially on the mids. Some of the tracks - the mids sounds a bit harsh - which i didn't observed that on the AK120. Sound stage : appears larger than Ak120 which is medium size - mids were not so centric

Fiio X3 : Observations : Immediately - you can get a feel of the 3D and wider soundstage. All sounds (bass/mid/treble) felt lighter. The background sound of X3 is airy and a little open sounding. Bass has similar depth , comparing to Ak120. Mids of x3 is slightly distant and softer due to the airy nature and wider soundstage. Overall x3 sounds lesser impact comparing to the Ak100,and ak120.

Iphone 5: Oberservants : extremely clean output similar to ak120 . no distortions, no hiss . clean quier background. Music has good bass impactful , tight mids - mids appear quite forward and impactful but not to the extend it became harsh. still within controlled. treble : very similar to Ak100. Brighter than ak120.


Summary : which would i prefer ?

Ak120 - would suits folks who like clean controlled sound - almost none distortions - extremely balanced - does nothing out of the norm - it will not excite you , it will not bore you too.
Ak100 - brighter signature version of the ak120 (mids/treble) all sounded brigher - more consumer style sounding - musical & fun, however sounded thinner across all frequencies
Fiio x3 - wide soundstage , airy . deep bass , excellent treble , above average mids - sound were thinner as it sounded more distant due to wider soundstage.
Iphone 5 - Just one word - musical and clean - very mid centric sounding - average soundstage. very close resemblence to ak100 - but better controlled.


Which is better for bucks ?
i wouldn't want to start a spam war by commenting on this - but each has it's pros and cons. Really depends on your earphones that you are using , any AMP or external DAC that you are going to use - or just listening it straight from the DAP. All the 4 of them are strong performers - trust me. I also had the 1st generation Sanclips.. honestly for DAP players that forummers has been raving about , the differences are mostly signature sounding and slight differences if you nitpick - more importantly , you can consider the weight , battery life , connectivity , storage options, price etc...

 

We rather sell all the AK120s and go back to the Iphone 5. It is perfect for daily use  darthsmile.gif

post #3450 of 6391
Quote:
Originally Posted by midnightwalker View Post

 

We rather sell all the AK120s and go back to the Iphone 5. It is perfect for daily use  darthsmile.gif

With the Apple EarPod.

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