GAA1 will be my pick.
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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Portable Amps, DACs, & DAPs) (page 2)
Last edited: 1/22/15
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Astell & Kern AK120 impression thread - Page 45
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Balanced increases soundstage and makes things even more airier withouth losing punch and impact.
I doubt it, as the Pono cost even more than the DX90 with less functions, but of course someone might do it as an technical exercise.
I have both. You're not giving up that much sound quality with a Pono. I'm not big into A/B-ing. The differences are small. None of these are night-and-day. A lot of my listening is with high res flac files.
-I think the AK has a bit more detail, refinement. If you run the Pono balanced mode (you need a special cable for your headphones) you decrease the difference.
-The Pono is marginally more powerful in balanced mode. About the same single ended.
-Pono is a bit more bass heavy/warm, I suspect the AK120 is more neutral.
-Pono doesn't seem to have EQ, but using the EQ on the AK120 seems to take the SQ down below the Pono.
-The AK120 is capable of MUCH more storage, which is the deal breaker for me on Pono. I like being able to carry a large part of my collection around with me. I guess I could carry a bunch of micro SD cards, but they're very easy to loose.
Sounds pretty accurate. I can leave mine running overnight unplugged to burn in new headphones and the thing doesn't quit. I can also listen for an entire workday (9 hours or so) with plenty of battery left. The main reason I haven't upgraded to something else is the battery life would be a shame to give up since it's hard to match in the DAP world.
- Astell & Kern AK120 impression thread
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