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The Astell & Kern AK120 for Mac users

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 


I am a new AK120 user and have been trying to collect info on how to move wav files from Mac to AK120 without losing the Artist and Album info and the artwork. The AK120 seems to have a lot of issues with Macs. So far, I have been able to move audio and cover artwork from my MacBook Pro when it is in mp3 format and bought from eMusic.com. However, when ripping CD's to iTunes in 44/16 wav format, I lose the artwork and both the artist and album names become Unknown. If I am happy to listen to mp3 audio, I might as well stick to my iPod, so what is the point of high end gear if convenience is lost. Same with some 96/24 wav files that was received in connection with a vinyl LP purchase. Flac seems to work better, so I purchased some flac files. However, the cover art does not show.


Also, I wonder how AK120 firmware can be updated if there is no PC, only Mac, available.


I am sure there are a lot of frustrated Mac users facing the same problems with their AK120. And I am pretty sure that someone has been able to figure out how to go around at least some of the obstacles. So, I wanted to create a new thread for us who are spoiled with the great integration between a Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, but who still would like to enjoy the audio benefits of AK120.


Any concrete help and hints are more than welcome!

post #2 of 67

- Cover art for the album should a jpeg file placed within the same folder in 500x500 format.

- To update your AK120, save the new firmware in the root folder of the player eg AK120. The player will update automatically once it detects the new firmware.


Not sure about WAV files since I use FLAC/ALAC mostly

post #3 of 67
You can't embed the id3 tags in wav files. I converted all my waves to alac or aiff. They they were recognised fine by the ak120 as far as displaying artist album was concerned. Hope that helps
post #4 of 67
Thread Starter 

Thank you, tm.chen!


Upgrading the firmware following your advise worked, and I now have 1.33 installed.

It took a few tries to get the .zip file unzipped correctly on my Mac, but when the .hex was good, AK120 indeed recognized the .hex file in the root and did the upgrade automatically.

post #5 of 67
Thread Starter 

Thank you, wasily!


I have tried different conversions from wav, but have not been able to decide yet, which would be the best sound wise. Have you noted any difference in SQ between alac and aiff converted from wav? In theory aiff should be as good as wav.

post #6 of 67
Honestly I can't tell the difference but I haven't done a direct test. I inks the consensus of this board is that there's no discernible difference
post #7 of 67

Similar problems with my Mac :-(


Have a large library of flac files purchased form Hdtracks. Some of the titles show up as albums, but most just in folders. When playing from folders the play order is not kept. ie 1,10,11,2...etc


Anyone having idea what I should/could do?




post #8 of 67

Rename the songs with numbers in the front.

post #9 of 67
Originally Posted by Mhuusko View Post

Similar problems with my Mac :-(


Have a large library of flac files purchased form Hdtracks. Some of the titles show up as albums, but most just in folders. When playing from folders the play order is not kept. ie 1,10,11,2...etc


Anyone having idea what I should/could do?




That's because it's looking at each number character in turn rather than the whole number - you need to name them 01 02 etc to get them to play before track 10.  Easytag will do this automatically in Linux or MP3tag if you use Windows, I have never used a Mac so can't make any recommendations for it.

post #10 of 67
Renaming song sound like a really bad advice ;-(...work with all other players...

thought this might be something the developers an iriver should fix, or...

post #11 of 67

Unfortunately the AK120 is not the first player to count in this way and I doubt it will be the last, so the few minutes it would take to download a program and run your music library through it would be time well spent, in my opinion.


It's advice that works - if you can live with the problem until the maker decides to fix it feel free to ignore :smile:

post #12 of 67

Hey Folks,

Here's the short answer: Flacs that are properly tagged with jpeg art work very well on the AK120 and it's fairly easy to do on a mac. You get sorting by album and artist (the AK120 only reads the tags, not the file or folder names) and you get nice album art on the screen while playing the music. There is currently no way to create playlists on the mac for the AK120.  


I finally bit the bullet to get my music together on my mac for the AK120.

First of all, I did listening tests. Flac and WAV were indistinguishable. But downsampling and further compression sounded ever so slightly worse through the UltimateEars Reference Monitors.  

DSD files did not sound better than flacs to me and they made the AK120 hot, sluggish and reduced battery life.

I have tons of HD music from DVD-Audio Extractor (my collection). Some of these are at 24/192, which I consider overkill, but I haven't taken the time to downsample them to make more room.

I've also been ripping SACD's using a PS3 and Korg Audiogate to create flacs in 24/88.2. 

Then there are my Vinyl rips, using a Sound Devices 702 (my old 'portable' player), and various downloads from HDTracks. Most of this was in WAV format. 

(If any of the above is technically illegal they can come and arrest me. These are my disks and my personal use!)

I created a new folder called HDMusic and copied all of the music I wanted on the AK120 to it. Since it's a copy I felt bold enough to experiment. I used xACT to create flacs from all of my WAV and other non-flac files and deleted the WAV's.

I used Tag to fix all of the tagging problems and add Album art. 500x500 Jpegs in the folders did not work for the WAV files on the AK120. But it made sure I had everything handy when I used Tag. 

Then I made four subfolders of <62GB to copy to the various storage devices. - I have 3 cards and the internal memory. Unfortunately I have to rescan the library every time I change cards. But I try to keep that to a minimum. Be sure to leave enough room on the internal memory for the catalog. It gets big when you have 192GB of music with album art. 

I also ordered a SD>MicroSD adapter that I'll experiment with when it arrives. Maybe I can get everything loaded at once. 

Vox is a great mac flac player and very helpful in flight checking your tracks to make sure that everything will work on the AK120. So far if something is properly tagged it shows up the same in Vox as on the AK120. There is one exception here. If your art was a png file you need to convert it to jpeg if you want to to show up on the AK120.

Vox and Tag are available on the iTunes App Store, and you can google the other software. I checked, it comes right up. 

Now my AK120 works exactly as it should and I have the bonus of enjoying flacs directly on my mac. (The Meridian Explorer sounds slightly better than the AK120, but it's not portable.) Yes, this took several hours but that's why they call this a hobby. 

I hope this helps. Good Luck!


Edited by Sam Edwards - 11/25/13 at 9:59am
post #13 of 67

One thing I'd like to add to the above. Album art that comes from a '.png' file appears to work fine in Tag and Vox but doesn't show up on the AK120. The solution is to double click the png, which will open it in 'Preview'. There you can hold down the option key and select 'save as...' in the file menu, and select '.jpeg' in the drop down. Then in tag you have to remove the old album art, and drag and drop the new jpeg in it's place.


post #14 of 67

Hi, Thanks for all the informative postings above. I've done all that has been mentioned about getting album art on, but still nothing is working, even when it shows on 'tag', I've reduced the size, etc. Tried on a number of different files too, mp3, AIFF, DSD.. All don't seem to work! Any other suggestions?  (And while it hasn't been mentioned by anyone yet, if ANYONE knows about how to get Japanese characters to show properly also, that would be great :)

post #15 of 67
Hey White Surf,
Have you tried flac? Did you do a library scan after you made changes?
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