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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Portable Amps, DACs, & DAPs) (page 2)
Last edited: 12/22/15
Review under construction.
The Astell & Kern AK120 - Page 268
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Even though they are all physically located in the AK120, they still mount as individual volumes. They are each listed in the side dock in the finder window. Hit the little eject button next to each one. I've never had issues following that procedure.
I do that every time and use an authorized by A&K card, likewise I formatted it correctly before use and use FLAC's ripped from CD via XLD on the cards (I use the on board memory for HiRes albums) and yet every once in a while it happens. Perhaps the next firmware update will sort it and also at last show DSD album art as the last update did not do that.
Still, this player seems to be almost as reliable as my old iPod classic in every day use and of course a whole lot better sounding!
Did you do a library scan? Can you see the content when you browse by folder? Do you see the card in question when you attach to your computer by USB? Some users have had issues with certain brands of cards and with normal insertion errors. If the card is truly not showing up in folder view, shut the player down, reinsert, and boot. Is the card xFAT?
I have not done a manual library scan? It does this when I switch it on, on it's own. I can see content when I browse one of the cards, not the other. And indeed can not always see one of the slots at all. Reboot fixes this, but still no content.
No problem seeing the card when out of the player in a reader. Both cards are exFAT Sandisk Ultra 64GB Micro XC I any known compatibility issues??
Going to try fresh reformat at start again, I think...
Thanks for response.
My reserve Source......
The RWAK 120-S does a stellar job sourcing the Cavalli LAu to the Abyss headphones
Edited by spkrs01 - 10/7/13 at 5:57am
Oh boy Oh boy Oh boy! Looks wonderful Gavin.
Here is my set up:
RWAK 120-B > Balanced connector > RSA Intruder (balanced)> Moon Audio Silver Dragon IEM Cable (balanced) > UE Pro 18. IEMs. All FLAC. Mix of standard and higher res files.
I've had the 120-B for two weeks. Punchline -- it's terrific. As you well know, the incremental price of all these gadgets and mods don't produce a linear return...the gains are not only small to medium relative to price, they are 'to taste'...meaning, what I may define as 'awesome' and 'significant change' someone else may find minor and/or not like it at all. With those disclaimers in mind, I'll offer the following re: my impression of this set up:
** "Balanced" is a new thing for me in headphone land. Prior to the RWAK 120B I had a standard AK120; SE Out to RSA balanced intruder amp. The reason I bring this up is that I liked the balanced sound in that original config, whereas this fully balanced set up (RWAK120B) is far better. It's a better balanced experience. It's more natural to my ears.
** This set up offers more natural attacks and resolution of notes. Subtle but real. "Pre-ringing" (or lack thereof) was a new term for me, and as I understand it, the 8741s have this advantage over the other Wolfson DACs. I'm not sure if this feature or some other part of the chain is responsible for the attack/resolution improvement, but I thought it worth mentioning. Come to find out I have these DACs in my home system (Linn Klimax, VTL/tube amps, Wilson) and I've been trying to replicate that sound in my head...silly goal, as these are completely different animals, but this SS is closer to my home system, which I happen to like.
** Burn in. I don't believe in it, but I certainly do believe in aural acclimation. And I can tell you it is better now than it was 20 listening hours ago. Whereas some set ups never seem to 'fit', this one keeps getting better.
** Blend/balance. Slightly better balance and blend of instruments and voices across all forms of music, but particularly in acoustic oriented folk/bluegrass music. While you can still pick out each instrument with absolute ease, the separation isn't so stark that it becomes distracting. I'm not sure why this is happening, or why this particular genre of music makes it more apparent, but it does.
** Sibilance. There is less of it. I get distracted by it, so I'm glad this set-up tamps it down.
I came from a hifiman 801 (selling by the way) to an AK120 with a stock IEM cord running straight out of the headphone jack to my UE PRO18. And that experience was terrific! This little guy is excellent and needs no amp or other mods. That said, I'm glad to have the set up I have. In the end this may all boil down to perception, post purchase rationalization, etc. I don't care. Sounds better to me so I'm happy.
Finally, I echo the other comments on here re: Vinnie. Good guy. Put up with all my stupid questions without ever making me feel dumb.
Thanks to all of you for your posts -- I enjoy your perspectives.
I finally got my AK120 last week, I have it paired with ALO's The National, connected via ALO's Reference 8 Mini- Mini and I'm using W4R's with Toxic Cables Viper IEM cable ( & X10's for in the office for isolation purposes) It sounds Sh'amazing!!! :-)
Never heard DSD before either, only heard a couple of samples but I'm liking very much indeed.
As i'm using the amp, is it best to have the AK120's volume set to 100? Does this matter? It's set to 75 atm.
Secondly, do you think the AK120 will ever support Double DSD in the future? Could this be implemented in firmware upgrades? I'm guessing so as standard DSD was.
100 or 75 won't matter as long as you are not over amp and up wall your sound. The AK120 was designed to have a variable line out, so even at 100 you will be fine. 128 DSD is always an option for the firmware as long as the DSD to PCM decoding is fast enough, but I can't be sure of this one.
- The Astell & Kern AK120
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