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Astell & Kern AK120 impression thread - Page 15

post #211 of 607

Thanks for some insights, Sam! I am considering buying one of these but have heard some rumbles about it not working as well with IEM. You seem to have had good experiences with just about any headphone so far?? I own a pair of Heir Audio 3.Ai right now as my main listening headphone and want to be sure it sounds good with the Ak120.

 

Also, any experience with using it as a DAC? I am really interested by the Ak120 because it could serve as a great DAP, DAC, and portable headphone amp...

post #212 of 607

I had my first experience listening to DSD through the AK120 FW 1.32 with Sennheiser IE800's yesterday. I downloaded Mahler #1 and #2 from www.bluecoastrecords.com.   All I can say is that this is the most amazing sound I have ever heard through a DAP.  The dynamic range and resolution are unparalleled.  Here is the link to the downloads:

 

 

http://sanfranciscosymphony.downloadsnow.net/mahler-symphony-no-2

 

http://sanfranciscosymphony.downloadsnow.net/mahler-symphony-no-1

 

They are pricey but bluecoast is offering them 2 for 1 and also a 20% discount on Mahler #2.  

post #213 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by harryb View Post

I had my first experience listening to DSD through the AK120 FW 1.32 with Sennheiser IE800's yesterday. I downloaded Mahler #1 and #2 from www.bluecoastrecords.com.   All I can say is that this is the most amazing sound I have ever heard through a DAP.  The dynamic range and resolution are unparalleled.  Here is the link to the downloads:

 

 

http://sanfranciscosymphony.downloadsnow.net/mahler-symphony-no-2

 

http://sanfranciscosymphony.downloadsnow.net/mahler-symphony-no-1

 

They are pricey but bluecoast is offering them 2 for 1 and also a 20% discount on Mahler #2.  

 

No harryb it's impossible to achieve such sound from lowly DSD. It's just a figment of our imaginations that it sounds significantly better than red book. ;).

post #214 of 607
Thread Starter 

DSD and vinyl make a difference when you have setups costing 6 figures. The most important thing is how the album is mastered, how it is compressed. I did my best to compare few DSD and redbook and i cannot tell the difference. 

post #215 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

DSD and vinyl make a difference when you have setups costing 6 figures. The most important thing is how the album is mastered, how it is compressed. I did my best to compare few DSD and redbook and i cannot tell the difference. 

 

[OT] This is funny 'cos I was just doing this test yesterday on my new(ish) SACD/Amp setup - Oppo BDP-105 -> XLR -> MC275LE -> N804. On Dave Brubeck's Time Out I had to listen quite carefully but could hear a difference (CD vs SACD). I also compared Norah Jones' Come Away With Me 2003 SACD vs 2012 SACD and there was a very apparent difference there too. For those who weren't aware, the early version of Norah Jones' SACD had a lot of complaints that sounded the same as CD (i.e. just CD converted to SACD - not even upsampled). Last year I bought the re-release which was meant to be a better version (presumably addressing complaints and this time off a proper master) and it was (night & day) clearly different.

 

As I was PMing some folks, "Not all SACDs are equal" - some are just CD -> SACD, some are upsampled, some whose masters are of lower quality in the first place (yes these do exist).

 

Also the assumption that "SACDs are better" is just wrong. All SACDs, if done properly, are just one step "truer" to the source/master. If the master is bad, so will the SACD be. It's therefore even theoretically possible for CDs to "mask" away the "faults" and sound "better" than the SACD equivalent.

[/OT]

post #216 of 607
Agree, mastering is the most important. I'd rather listen to gold disc redbook format by dcc than a doubtful 24bit remastered.
One good example is Nirvana - Nevermind 24/96 in hdtracks. Sounds like crap, brickwalled to the max. http://www.head-fi.org/t/573638/nirvana-nevermind-96-24-on-hdtracks
post #217 of 607

True but it can go the other way around and the compression and poor mastering of the original tends to be the culprit in our music sounding like **** these days :). For me being truer to the source especially when the source is of high quality is very important. I understand though that if you have a turd there's only so much polish to shine it up with :P.
 

post #218 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazzyfi View Post

Agree, mastering is the most important. I'd rather listen to gold disc redbook format by dcc than a doubtful 24bit remastered.
One good example is Nirvana - Nevermind 24/96 in hdtracks. Sounds like crap, brickwalled to the max. http://www.head-fi.org/t/573638/nirvana-nevermind-96-24-on-hdtracks

 

But even the original wasn't that well mastered (well that also depends on the album as there are different ones with some having decent dynamic range for rock). I still love the album though. But at the same time it was produced in the loudness wars craze. I understand where you are coming from with the fools gold. It's sad that people would stoop so low.

 

 

http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/index.php?search_artist=nirvana&search_album=


Edited by lee730 - 7/19/13 at 3:45am
post #219 of 607
Thread Starter 

I should admit that I only have two SACD that I asked someone to rip for me into 24/88.2 flac. One is from stockfish audio and the other sting brand new day.

 

I really hated the sting album as I found them super bright where as stockfish SACD and its 24/88.2 sounded great both.

 

My DSD is limited and I admit my experience is limited and what I posted before is based on the theory of what DSD files suppose to do. I am just skeptical on whether our portable DAP will care much about background noise floor which is why people like DSD. 

post #220 of 607

It's all about potential.

 

Yes SACD is of a higher specification than standard redbook CDs, but that does not mean that the material that has been put on the SACD utilises that potential.

 

This applies to all formats, be it vinyl, cassette tape, CD or DVD. If the master wasn't up to scratch in the first place, the delivery format won't save it.

 

There have been plenty of albums that have been badly mastered (especially during the last couple of decades, throughout the loudness wars) and most albums have multiple releases, many with different mastering. Therefore there will be many scenarios where there are redbook CDs of one master that sound better than SACDS or Vinyls of a different master

 

let's face it people... You can't polish a turd  biggrin.gif

post #221 of 607

True. The original Nevermind was already not well mastered but still much better than the 24 bit remastered.

From the dr loudness chart, it seems that the Japanese SHM never disappoints. I have some Deep Purple Japanese SHM and all of them are really good. 

Like what you said, loudness war modern mastering is just crap. The newest Van Halen album is really really good, I like the materials a lot.. but the mastering destroyed a potentially good CD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

 

But even the original wasn't that well mastered (well that also depends on the album as there are different ones with some having decent dynamic range for rock). I still love the album though. But at the same time it was produced in the loudness wars craze. I understand where you are coming from with the fools gold. It's sad that people would stoop so low.

 

 

http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/index.php?search_artist=nirvana&search_album=


Edited by Jazzyfi - 7/19/13 at 4:26am
post #222 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraftyClown View Post

let's face it people... You can't polish a turd  biggrin.gif

 

It can be done ;).

 

post #223 of 607

Coming into work this morning listening to my AK120 with the new firmware update coupled with my IE800's...sun was shining, listening to my favourite tracks....was thinking, it just doesn't get better than this.smily_headphones1.gif

post #224 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSARider View Post

Coming into work this morning listening to my AK120 with the new firmware update coupled with my IE800's...sun was shining, listening to my favourite tracks....was thinking, it just doesn't get better than this.smily_headphones1.gif

I think it can get better then that.

Try Tera+Korta modd and you will be amazed.basshead.gif

post #225 of 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicday View Post

I think it can get better then that.

Try Tera+Korta modd and you will be amazed.basshead.gif

 

Comparing the Tera to the AK120. I prefer the AK120 by a nice margin. DSD has taken the sonics to a whole other level personally. But to each his own. wink_face.gif

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