Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Got the AK 120, but I have a problem...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Got the AK 120, but I have a problem...

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 

The Astell and Kern AK 120 sounds so amazingly pristine that I don't want to get rid of it, but it doesn't have enough power to drive my Sennheiser HD 650's well.

 

I'm wondering whether passing the audio through an external amplifier would degrade the amazing sound quality coming out of its dual DACs? (I don't know much about how the electronics work, so sorry if this sounds like a rube question.) If an external amplifier will not degrade the sound quality would something like this be suggested?: http://www.amazon.com/Output-Desktop-Headphone-Amplifier-Compatible/dp/B008J26ZL4/ref=pd_sim_e_1

 

Thank you very much for your time

post #2 of 59

Hey there buddy, since no 1 answers to that maybe i can give you my opinion. DAC aka Digital Analog Converter is the one that converts the digital files to analog which is 3.5mm. So you will still be enjoying the dual DAC in ak120. however which amp or how your amp gonna color the sound would be another story. A cheap amp would degrade the audio whereas a good amp would make the already good sound from Ak120 better. Hope it helps

post #3 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for your reply! I got some help from reddit and decided on the O2 from JDS labs. Thanks again!
 

post #4 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by hortisimo View Post

Thank you very much for your reply! I got some help from reddit and decided on the O2 from JDS labs. Thanks again!
 

That's the perfect choice. The O2 is renowned as a very transparent amp, so you'll get the same sound as you were getting from the AK120 alone but at greater volume.

post #5 of 59
AK 120 with the headphone out has no SQ degradation use external amp

With very good amps , your AK 120 improve the SQ

Please don't forget to buy very good mini to mini cable for your set up

My amp recommendation are :

Pico Power
RSA the Intruder

Source : AK 120
Amp : Pico Power or RSA The Intruder
Headphone : HD 650
Cable : mini to mini any good brand , better silver cable for your HD 650 or hybrid cable
SQ : audiophile SQ
post #6 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by rudi0504 View Post

AK 120 with the headphone out has no SQ degradation use external amp

With very good amps , your AK 120 improve the SQ

Please don't forget to buy very good mini to mini cable for your set up

My amp recommendation are :

Pico Power
RSA the Intruder

Source : AK 120
Amp : Pico Power or RSA The Intruder
Headphone : HD 650
Cable : mini to mini any good brand , better silver cable for your HD 650 or hybrid cable
SQ : audiophile SQ


AK 120 with Intruder + alo sxc = heaven SQ

Very nice recommendation Mr.Rudi

post #7 of 59
I'm using the ALO sxc mini to mini from my AK100 to my ALO international amp. I would highly recommend it. I used several other "stock" connectors and there was a dramatic improvement of clarity, warmth, dynamic range with the ALO sxc interconnect. It doesn't color the sound to my ears at all, the others I used sounded flatter and more dull. Cables make a difference for sure. I'm new to head-fi, but not to home systems and I nearly have as much money in my cabling as I do my components in my home loudspeaker system.
post #8 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by justin b View Post

I'm using the ALO sxc mini to mini from my AK100 to my ALO international amp. I would highly recommend it. I used several other "stock" connectors and there was a dramatic improvement of clarity, warmth, dynamic range with the ALO sxc interconnect. It doesn't color the sound to my ears at all, the others I used sounded flatter and more dull. Cables make a difference for sure. I'm new to head-fi, but not to home systems and I nearly have as much money in my cabling as I do my components in my home loudspeaker system.


Glad to hear that you like the sxc, of course there must be much improvement from the 'stock' cable

post #9 of 59

Hi rudi0504,

 

I am intrigue with Pico Power vs RSA Intruder.

For single ended, which one is your preference.

Have you compared between these two?

 

I was searching for Pico Power, Intruder and I was asking you about SRA 71a vs Intruder in other thread.

Many thanks in advance rudi. 

Seems like you have the most complete amps for our reference in headfi!

 

Cheers mate

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rudi0504 View Post

AK 120 with the headphone out has no SQ degradation use external amp

With very good amps , your AK 120 improve the SQ

Please don't forget to buy very good mini to mini cable for your set up

My amp recommendation are :

Pico Power
RSA the Intruder

Source : AK 120
Amp : Pico Power or RSA The Intruder
Headphone : HD 650
Cable : mini to mini any good brand , better silver cable for your HD 650 or hybrid cable
SQ : audiophile SQ
post #10 of 59

I strongly suggest you look into the VerntureCraft SounDroid Typhoon, as it can takes optical directly from your AK120.  In fact, they demoed this feature with an AK100.

post #11 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post

I strongly suggest you look into the VerntureCraft SounDroid Typhoon, as it can takes optical directly from your AK120.  In fact, they demoed this feature with an AK100.

Wouldn't that be using the dac in the SounDroid rather than the AK120?
post #12 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post


Wouldn't that be using the dac in the SounDroid rather than the AK120?

Actually that is a good question, because the SDT uses the same port for analog line in and optical in.  However, since the AK120 has an analog line out, the OP can use that instead.  But again I don't think getting a optical to analog convertor would work, as it also bypass the internal DACs from the AK120.  So either way the OP will have to bypass the internal DACs by using the optical out, unless s/he choose to stick with the headphone out and double amp.  One key point to note is that the SDT does support DSD, and I think it will work well with the AK100/120.


Edited by DrSheep - 7/26/13 at 5:46am
post #13 of 59
So in conclusion, the 120 cannot be used as a conventional DAC (as in without going through a variable gain stage)? Is there a way to get a fixed line-level out?
post #14 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

So in conclusion, the 120 cannot be used as a conventional DAC (as in without going through a variable gain stage)? Is there a way to get a fixed line-level out?

http://www.astellnkern.com/eng/htm/feature/04_feature_120.asp

 

I think the AK120 can only function as a DAC if only use in USB or Optical in mode, then the headphone / optical out will turns into a line out.  However, straight from the device the port should only act as an headphone out, as no where in the manual mention that the AK120 has an analog line out function.

post #15 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by lescanadiens View Post

Hi rudi0504,

I am intrigue with Pico Power vs RSA Intruder.
For single ended, which one is your preference.
Have you compared between these two?

I was searching for Pico Power, Intruder and I was asking you about SRA 71a vs Intruder in other thread.
Many thanks in advance rudi. 
Seems like you have the most complete amps for our reference in headfi!

Cheers mate

Sorry for late reply
Battle of 3 single ended high end amp :

Source : AK 120
Amp : from left to right
RSA RS 71 A > RSA Intruder > Pico Power
Headphone : Ultrasone Sig Pro
Cable : oyaide headphone cable
Wagnus mini to mini

RS 71 A :
High : similar to Pico Power , below Intruder
Mid : the sweetest midrange from these 3
Bass : the best bass impact and slam from these 3
Soundstage : very depth , is not as wide as these 2
Separation : the other 2 has better instrument placement .

Intruder :
High : is more open than RS 71 A and Pico Power
Mid : is not as sweet as RS 71 A , is on par with pico power has a bit sibilance
Bass : has less bass impact compare to RS 71 A , is below Pico Power too
Soundstage : wider than RS 71 A , is on par with Pico Power
Separation : better than RS 71 A , is on par with Pico Power.

Pico Power :
High : on par with RS 71 A
Mid : below RS 71 A , is on par with Intruder
Bass : less impact compare RS 71 A , but better than Intruder .
Soundstage : wider than RS 71 A , on par with Intruder .
Separation : is on par with Intruder , better than RS 71 A.

Power wise : RS 71 A > Pico Power > Intruder
Clarity : Intruder > Pico Power > RS 71 A
Mid : RS 71 A > Intruder > Pico Power
Bass impact : RS 71 A > Pico Power > Intruder

IMO

These 3 high end portable amp has their strong and weak point .
Nobody is perfect biggrin.gif

88f14c713f1a1cad7b25de786ab469f6_zps69affd80.jpg

4ae8d46e4fbed30cbdce94c2dba1f90c_zpscc484d96.jpg

4b611f8edc83ebba0f5d23e0fa5dfb26_zps02405e4d.jpg
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Headphone Amps
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Got the AK 120, but I have a problem...