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Astell & Kern 120 and IEMs/Headphones

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi

 

Anyone with good AK120 knowledge able to see if below seems right (highly considering buying one tomorrow and hoping to clarify what will/will not work and if just AK120 and phones needed etc?

 

AK120+SE535s = should be very nice sound with lossless CD Rips and 24bit HDtracks.

AK120+Sein HD650 = not so good pairing.

 

AK120+AMP+SE535s=even clearer sound

AK120+AMP+Sein HD650=should sound very nice.

 

AK120+SE846=no-one really knows yet but most believe a good AMP is required?

 

(for the AMP - I currently have the JDS C5.....I guess this is not enough for any above scenerio).

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 
Couldn't wait any longer. Picked up AK120 today. Will do some testing as per above post results.
post #3 of 9

Hi kerrys30

 

Regarding your point:

 

AK120+AMP+SE535s=even clearer sound

 

I was asked about how the AK120 fares vs the AK100/Vorzugge Pure in a private message (I have both)

 

For the direct comparison I found this: 


I finally got around to comparing the AK100/Pure vs the AK120. In a nutshell; the 120 sounds better overall; the main differences I hear are initially that it's brighter, which it is, but there is a lot more detail and ambiance too. Switching back to the AK100/Pure, the same initial impression suggests a richer, fuller bass; but to these ears it's not the whole story, it's more of a closed in and darker balance. Less ambiance and detail. So, overall v pleased with the 120.

 

I then tried the '120 into the Pure amp:

 

I tried the Pure.  I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that the effect is very similar i.e. the AK120 alone is brighter, with more air and detail - whereas via the Pure, it's a lot richer but it feels a bit more closed in.  The initial impression I had was that the Pure is more musical, it being warmer sounding, but that's at the cost of detail.  Swapping between the two (I was listening to Foals) there isn't a lack of bass on the '120 - it's just the balance leads to that impression. With further listening I'd say it's bass is a few % down on the Pure. 

 

For the first time (on either AK) I tried the EQ function - that helped to redress the bass balance somewhat.  It has a more detailed filter beyond the 5 slider bars, but I didn't try that.  Whether the best solution is to boost the bass or tame the mid top - I'll need to experiment - provided I conclude the balance is wrong (when not comparing the two setups)

 

In conclusion, I'd say the '120 is a better long term bet for me - I like the detail and the bass and balance is only an issue when comparing the two (it's obviously smaller too).  While the Pure adds an appealing degree of richness and warmth, it's at the expense of ambiance and detail.  

 

So, my conclusion is that an amp doesn't guarantee an improvement.  It most certainly sounds different, but whether it's an improvement, each to their own.  It most certainly wasn't clearer to my ears. I did find the AK100 benefited overall with the Pure - it added a level of dynamics and punch (to an already great performance IMO) but I think the '120 directly addresses those shortcomings and the Pure takes more away than it gives.

 

I'm listening via FitEar MH334s BTW

 

I hope this helps

regards

Andy

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for that.  Really appreciate your post.  

 

I have just started running in the AK120....only had a couple hours play so far.  I will try it with the C5 just to see if any difference once it has had quite a bit of play.  And also the HD650s.......

 

I didnt get a chance to demo the AK120 but did demo an AK100 against (my second option) ipod->CLASS -db->Alo RXMKIII.     The thing that struck me with the AK100 was the wideness of the sound stage.   Dont get me wrong.....both setups sounded great but I really likes that wide perspective.

 

But, I havent had the same experience with the AK120 yet........I am hoping this is just because I need to run it in a bit! 

 

I will post some details in a week or so......sooner, if work and famaily let me get some more listening time!!

post #5 of 9
Wonderful, my next day.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonemanty View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

Hi kerrys30

 

Regarding your point:

 

AK120+AMP+SE535s=even clearer sound

 

I was asked about how the AK120 fares vs the AK100/Vorzugge Pure in a private message (I have both)

 

For the direct comparison I found this: 


I finally got around to comparing the AK100/Pure vs the AK120. In a nutshell; the 120 sounds better overall; the main differences I hear are initially that it's brighter, which it is, but there is a lot more detail and ambiance too. Switching back to the AK100/Pure, the same initial impression suggests a richer, fuller bass; but to these ears it's not the whole story, it's more of a closed in and darker balance. Less ambiance and detail. So, overall v pleased with the 120.

 

I then tried the '120 into the Pure amp:

 

I tried the Pure.  I suppose it shouldn't come as a surprise that the effect is very similar i.e. the AK120 alone is brighter, with more air and detail - whereas via the Pure, it's a lot richer but it feels a bit more closed in.  The initial impression I had was that the Pure is more musical, it being warmer sounding, but that's at the cost of detail.  Swapping between the two (I was listening to Foals) there isn't a lack of bass on the '120 - it's just the balance leads to that impression. With further listening I'd say it's bass is a few % down on the Pure. 

 

For the first time (on either AK) I tried the EQ function - that helped to redress the bass balance somewhat.  It has a more detailed filter beyond the 5 slider bars, but I didn't try that.  Whether the best solution is to boost the bass or tame the mid top - I'll need to experiment - provided I conclude the balance is wrong (when not comparing the two setups)

 

In conclusion, I'd say the '120 is a better long term bet for me - I like the detail and the bass and balance is only an issue when comparing the two (it's obviously smaller too).  While the Pure adds an appealing degree of richness and warmth, it's at the expense of ambiance and detail.  

 

So, my conclusion is that an amp doesn't guarantee an improvement.  It most certainly sounds different, but whether it's an improvement, each to their own.  It most certainly wasn't clearer to my ears. I did find the AK100 benefited overall with the Pure - it added a level of dynamics and punch (to an already great performance IMO) but I think the '120 directly addresses those shortcomings and the Pure takes more away than it gives.

 

I'm listening via FitEar MH334s BTW

 

I hope this helps

regards

Andy

 

 

 

I think you were listening to the mini 3.5mm connector, more than anything else, when you were amping with the Duo, unfortunately.

 

Both the Duo and Pure, I have found are big and bold sounding with a slight touch of euphony........

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerrys30 View Post

Thanks for that.  Really appreciate your post.  

 

I have just started running in the AK120....only had a couple hours play so far.  I will try it with the C5 just to see if any difference once it has had quite a bit of play.  And also the HD650s.......

 

I didnt get a chance to demo the AK120 but did demo an AK100 against (my second option) ipod->CLASS -db->Alo RXMKIII.     The thing that struck me with the AK100 was the wideness of the sound stage.   Dont get me wrong.....both setups sounded great but I really likes that wide perspective.

 

But, I havent had the same experience with the AK120 yet........I am hoping this is just because I need to run it in a bit! 

 

I will post some details in a week or so......sooner, if work and famaily let me get some more listening time!!

 

For portable audio, the ability for a DAP to widen the soundstage has many benefits.....Most importantly, less density in the soundspace, after all we are just listening to a perceived space of approximately w4' x d3' x h2' ........Less density provides better air and spacing of images in the sound space and better texture of bass.....

 

I find that both the AK players has this intrinsic quality.........

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Cool. Thanks sparks. I do hope it is just that my ak120 isn't run in yet!!

It was a new experience to hear it (or perceive to hear it) so wide. Had a 24/96 copy of credence Clearwater. When listening to Susie Q the singing was so far to the right and guitar on left it was a bit strange at first.....
post #9 of 9
The best universal iem with ak120?
Se846,ie800,akg3003?
Witch and does the ie800 block the outside noise?smily_headphones1.gif
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