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Astell & Kern AK120 impression thread - Page 31

post #451 of 750
Originally Posted by ken6217 View Post

Upgraded sound system, not upgraded car. :)

Yep! I wish it was a Dinan though :biggrin:

post #452 of 750
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

I still do not know how Vinnie achieved balanced out from the Ak120. Meaning I am skeptical on whether it is possible to even do that. 


Please expand on this... shouldn't it be easy enough to test? Comparisons between an unbalanced 120 and a balanced one can be made if people are willing to assist with the signals each produces.


Am about to send off my AK120 for a RW-B mod and thought to open the box and have a look peek before I did, just incase there were goodies inside I was unaware of... decided to give the sample audio tracks a whirl and was blown away, vocals were amazing through my £80 AKG's alone, left me stunned thinking what a better pair of headphones could do let alone modifying the device and amplifying its signal to give those headphones a bit of a boost. Had intended to go for the ibasso PB2 to sooth my wallet after spending so much on new music for the device as well as the device itself but now feel as though a DAP of this quality is in need of an amp of similar quality so I've returned to comparisons between the MkIIIB+ and the RSA 71B... is likely my habit of taking things apart will lean me toward the ibasso again at some point but still... one thing I noticed straight away when using it is the fine quality and control of the volume knob, this was all late at night and I'm now at work without it but while messing around I didn't notice another way to adjust the volume, granted the RW-B mod is to have it function as a source player to an amp but this morning I rushed past the device on my way to work wondering whether to repackage it to ship out to RW this week and I recalled sitting in my chair at 1:30am clumsily trying to adjust the EQ settings using the touch screen... will have to wait to get home and see but doesn't the volume knob double as a fine adjustment for the EQ?


Not that I'm a fan of knobs, mine is the only one I tend to play with but the AK120's knob is a fine one and I'm weary of it serving other purposes and loosing functionality with it being converted into a TRRS out. The battery life is another concern and in reading up on iRiver/Astell&Kerns disapproval of their device being modified another was/is that a software upgrade might be brought out that would hamper some aspect of the modded version, denying it a feature such as control over the EQ with the volume knob if it isn't already part of its feature set.

post #453 of 750

... confess to feeling like a bit of a chicken, going to take some courage to have the AK permanently wired to an amp.... oh yeah, how are people finding the 'pro eq' setting when the player is paired with an external amp, is obviously set for the unmodded device, changing so much from the DAC's to it being balanced and being output to another amp will no doubt impact this setting.... thinking you can probably still count RW-B users with less that ten fingers :-/

post #454 of 750

Ok.... just got in and to state the obvious for anyone who has one already but give insight to those who haven't (yet), no the volume knob doesn't seem to be used for anything other than the volume, the EQ settings are on a freaky touch screen tip reminiscent of the swipe function of tablets. Granted RW would have mentioned it if it had any other purpose, was a second thought of mine in considering the RW-B mod weighing its advantages/disadvantages.

post #455 of 750



No problem with the volume knob when connected to an external amp.


BUT I have purchased an RWAK120-B near Vinnie and made different tests as it appears that the mod alters the AK120 sound.

When the RWAK is connected in balanced mode to an Rx-Mk3, sound crakles (saturates) on the high trebles and on low bass (for example hearing Sade: The Moon and the Sky or Allessandro Striggio Mass).

Same problem when using SE output.

Got good sound connecting the TosLk RWAK output to a DAC then to the ALO Mk3.

Seems that SE output and TRRS one have too much voltage or current which saturates the Mk3.... ??


I wrote to Vinnie about the problem.


See what he can do.

post #456 of 750
Wow, thanks for the info please let us know how it goes... connecting with the optical out means not using any aspect of the RW mod of course so there'd be no point in having had the DAC's upgraded... is it worth having another thread for the RW mod perhaps? Is a different device.
post #457 of 750
Wow, thanks for the info please let us know how it goes... connecting with the optical out means not using any aspect of the RW mod of course so there'd be no point in having had the DAC's upgraded... is it worth having another thread for the RW mod perhaps? Is a different device.

A&K boast about having listened X amount of times to the device in order to get its sound right, its chips and amp are tuned and paired accordingly... need to be affirmative that RW can make it sound better than it already does if that's to change.

Holding back on it for now.
post #458 of 750

Vinnie told me to post him back my unit and share different files sounding distored. Will see what comes out.

Using the TosLk still have the two Wolfson chips upgraded but by-passes the modified SE or Balanced outputs electrical circuits (thus the internal amp I suppose..??). Here could be a voltage/impedance/current change wich saturates the external amp ... ???

Vinnie will test at these.

post #459 of 750

Yeah... its a digital out so it wouldn't be converting the signal through the twin converters... some people are using the digital out to pass the signal through an amp like the Centrance Hifi M8 to then get a balanced signal but the converter in the HIfi M8 isn't as good as the two in the AK120 so the RW mod should be best here in theory.


Will have to run a test if.when I get mine, hope its not a common problem.

post #460 of 750

.... you did try and listen to the same tracks with a different amp, right? Kind of took that for granted... the RXMIII is known to have problems on its own with in ear monitors.... would try it with larger headphones as well....

post #461 of 750

About TosLk I didn't know that this output was by-passing the two Wolfson chips. Thanks for the info.

Yes, I tried the RWAK SE output connected to a WooAudio WA6-SE and two cans: TH900 and HD800. Same sound distortions on high trebles and low bass.

post #462 of 750

Think it bypasses the amp also, it meant to put a digital signal out to an external converter and amplifier.


Thanks for letting us know about issues you've had with the device, have decided to buy a pair of Alpha Dog headphones this month and wait until next month for the RW-B upgrade.

post #463 of 750




There might be a chance the issue would be with your source files. The RWAK120-b would, in theory, be an extremely revealing source hence very minor distortions or poorly recorded tracks would have them amplified. I've experienced this issue before with my different sources. 

post #464 of 750


I understand you but I use very high level tracks bought on Qobuz (French HQ store similar to HDTracks in the US). Files 24/88 up to 192 FLACs.

post #465 of 750
I am just getting used to my AK 120.

I'm wondering, is there a way to transfer iTunes music over to the Astell and Kern?

Also, regarding this Micro SD cards; are these something that you could potentially keep five or six around to store music on and use interchangeably? Is there a preferred type and/or brand by users here?

Edited by captacoustic - 11/4/13 at 4:35pm
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