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The Astell & Kern AK120 - Page 303

post #4531 of 6309
Oh, just playing with it now, I love the way it works now, you can charge the battery while its switched on.
post #4532 of 6309
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

listening tonight with my full rig I am finding what I heard before directly out but a few more things surface. I am finding that there is a little more depth in the soundstage revealing a little more of the subtleties also a tad more depth to the bass, more noticeable on acoustic bass.

Listening to Mozart's clarinet concerto, a high resolution file performed by Sir Neville and Andrew Marriner I notice there is a little more air around the clarinet, a little more ease and naturalness to my ears, no glare or grain.

On DSD I am finding that it again has a little more refined sound. I found the Lavinia Meijer Phillip Glass harp album sounding much more refined. In the previous firmware I found it a little glassy, in fact all the DSD files I have sounded that way so I did not listen to them as much but now that has changed to my ears and I am forming a new impression of them.

CD ripped to FLAC is lovely. There feels a little more weight and warmth to them compared to the previous firmware.

So those are my sonic thoughts so far. I am finding this a fairly significant upgrade in sound to my ears. Everything sounds more refined and even less digital. If you have the 24/192 of Kind Of Blue that will really show the differences in firmware I feel. I loved listening to it on the weekend with 1.33 and was astounded at the quality of the recording. With the new firmware that for me just went up 25% in quality. Maybe I am mad,maybe no one else will hear what I am hearing but there it is. I am very much liking this new firmware.

Technically. I find a little less lag in swapping over from DSD to other files however I do notice a small amount of lag when changing tracks in high resolution 24 bit mode which I did not notice before. I like there is a choice of screens now though personally feel the original has a bit more class than the new ones, not keen at all on the purple one but it is nice to have the choice I guess.

Hope that helps and I am looking forward to seeing if anyone else experiences what I am experiencing with this firmware upgrade.

Yes. I agree with you.
I'm listening to the same changes.
Very good audible changes at high frequencies. Now they are just great. Low frequencies become collected.
Better separation.
Sound even more moved away from the head.
Became more air.
Scenes became deeper and wider.
You rightly say that the sound became more refined.
The sound of this version I really like.

post #4533 of 6309
Oh thats great Wladrus, I think you describe it perfectly!
post #4534 of 6309
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post
 

 

 

 

 

 

All this talk about LO and RW smacking AK. RW uses the amp out stage as their LO. No different than turning it up on the stock unit other than the ability to also turn it down. It's great for the job and RW hasn't reinvented the wheel, I'm sure they'll tell you that. If AK switches to another DAC in an up model, it won't be the WM8741. RW uses it because it's what will easily work for those willing to accept the other limitations of play time and need of an additional amp for a bit more performance. I can appreciate what RW is doing for those that want that extra little bit and are willing to tote an amp but they're not making their own DAP. Enthusiasm is great but not when it puts the cart before the horse.

 

Just because some like the RW improvement doesn't make the stock AK120 any worse. It's making a silk purse into a gilded silk purse.

 

If you are referring to the S-mod goodvibes. They are completely different beasts in terms of audio quality. Pretty much they aren't comparable at that stage. The AK120 stock is a very good portable DAP. But it is in no way close to the audio fidelity you get from a good desktop rig. Not by a long shot. The S mod is and in many cases is better. That is what really sets them apart. Although the AK120 stock is considered portable still while the modded unit is semi-portable.

post #4535 of 6309
I upgraded to 1.37 (from 1.33) last night and listened quite a bit on my new Ultrasone Signature Pros. I have to admit that I was in two minds; there was too much focus on the top-end and an overall lack of body. To be honest, though, this is more than likely the Ultrasones (or me!), because I'm finding that on first listen they usually sound that way, and then settle in later (and sound wonderful when they do). It's almost like not getting a good seal with ciems....
Anyway, today I'm using UM Miracles, and I have to say, it's sounding really nice. The highs are very smooth, extended and not at all fatiguing, there's good body and presence resulting overall in an very engaging sound.
I can't read too much into this because I find these days that inconsistencies in my hearing probably affect my experiences more than the electronics. Spend half my time in Boots looking for drops/sprays etc; cheaper than regular vists to the audiologist!
I really like what I'm hearing so far, so I won't be going back to 1.33. I am a little disappointed, though, that they didn't extend the library limit from 10,000 tracks as I had requested. Maybe one day...
Cheers
post #4536 of 6309

I upgraded to 1.37....

I'm fan of the "Play All" function but .......

 

Still not Gapless on mp3 file :angry_face:

Shame on iriver  to not correct this defect ....

post #4537 of 6309

I wish they'd add true playlists support. I'd be set if they'd just get that right... :(

post #4538 of 6309

I just upgraded.  The OS and scrolling through songs seems faster and smoother.  

 

Hope they fix the USB DAC for usb 3.0.  I'll have to try when I get home.


Edited by Hiyono - 11/28/13 at 1:26am
post #4539 of 6309
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

 

If you are referring to the S-mod goodvibes. They are completely different beasts in terms of audio quality. Pretty much they aren't comparable at that stage. The AK120 stock is a very good portable DAP. But it is in no way close to the audio fidelity you get from a good desktop rig. Not by a long shot. The S mod is and in many cases is better. That is what really sets them apart. Although the AK120 stock is considered portable still while the modded unit is semi-portable.

It's relative, Lee and I know the different DACs very well. I agree the filter change should be better but completely different beasts is an overstatement. Put an amp that meets your personal flavor profile on a stock unit and you're 1/2 way there.

 

Consider also that AK is still improving the voicing of the stock unit along with function in their FW updates. Do we know that the sonic improvement will be as copacetic with a modded one? Look, I never doubted it could be made better as a more limited use item. It's the nature of the beast but I think it's a bit off putting to imply that the work AK has done here is anything but great because something else that has chosen a different set of compromises can be better for a smaller segment of consumers, especially when that something else is already an AK120.

 

I have no issues with the upgrade. I have issues with those diminishing the product that upgrader could never have made in the 1st place and that's not a slight on Vinnie in the least. He deserves his credit as well but enthusiasm often clouds perspective..

post #4540 of 6309

Well there is a big difference between enthusiasm and experience. I'll be sure to follow suite on my experience with this modded unit whether it be bad or good. But I do trust the source of the information. He hasn't lead me a stray yet. If the unit indeed is up there with desktop setups then no other portable DAP really compares to it goodvibes. I'll compare it to my Triad rig once I have it in hand and will report back my findings. That even goes for the DX100 amped. Still not on the same level as my desktop rig.

 

That doesn't mean that iRiver hasn't done a good job on their product because they surely have and for it's intended purpose it does do a good job indeed. That doesn't mean that others unites (including modded ones) can't be a lot better than it, or that it can't be improved a lot by modding it. I'm just simply gonna call it how I hear it.


Edited by lee730 - 11/28/13 at 3:32am
post #4541 of 6309
Updated mine hear no difference in sound, my ears are broken. Also can't say anything in our hobby worth the price we buy them for, these days my god old Sansa clip sounds quiet lovely, sure ak120 is lovely too but at the end eels is just a nice band to listen too.
post #4542 of 6309
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

Well there is a big difference between enthusiasm and experience. I'll be sure to follow suite on my experience with this modded unit whether it be bad or good. But I do trust the source of the information. He hasn't lead me a stray yet. If the unit indeed is up there with desktop setups then no other portable DAP really compares to it goodvibes. I'll compare it to my Triad rig once I have it in hand and will report back my findings. That even goes for the DX100 amped. Still not on the same level as my desktop rig.

 

That doesn't mean that iRiver hasn't done a good job on their product because they surely have and for it's intended purpose it does do a good job indeed. That doesn't mean that others unites (including modded ones) can't be a lot better than it. I'm just simply gonna call it how I hear it.

 

 

Again, Never doubted it is better. It just doesn't make an AK120 any worse. It's not about comparing units.:wink_face: They've become different appendages.:ksc75smile: 


Edited by goodvibes - 11/28/13 at 3:32am
post #4543 of 6309

Of course it doesn't make the AK120 any worse. The AK120 is as good as iRiver made it ;). Just that doesn't mean it can't be improved or significantly improved for that matter. Of course if one is comparing the differences in sound quality between these units there is most likely going to be clear cut differences. I see nothing wrong in that for people who are interested in taking their portables to the extreme (or at least for people who are interested in knowing how these units differ).


Edited by lee730 - 11/28/13 at 3:39am
post #4544 of 6309

Nor do I. Please stop making me out to be dissing RW. I am clearly not. I simply responded to RW owners treating the stock unit like a ugly stepchild. AK built the house, RW upgraded the HVac. Not insignificant. You just need to bring your own generator.


Edited by goodvibes - 11/28/13 at 4:01am
post #4545 of 6309

Hello
I got the Astell & Kern AK120.
I've several IEMs, old and new (E3c Shure, Etymotic ER-6i, Ultimate Ears Super.Fi 5 Pro, Philips Fidelio S2) and I also have the Grado SR80 and AKG K701.
But I would like a new IEM that I can do to better appreciate the quality of the player.
I am particularly interested in the definition of the sound and the spatiality of the scene. What do you recommend with a price within $ 500? Westone 4R? Etymotic ER-4PT? Shure SE535? Or the new Sony XBA-H3? Other universal models easily purchased in Europe?
Thank you for your help.

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