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Astell & Kern AK10 portable DAC and amp - Page 3

post #31 of 328
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoSUV View Post

I just picked up an AK10 and a new 64GB iPod Touch yesterday. I have not compared it with the AK100/AK120 before as I wasn't prepared to leave the iOS ecosystem, and I'm glad that A&K released this product so that I can still enjoy music without using the iPod's built in DAC.

Initial impressions are that it is a significant improvement over the iPod's internal DAC, as the music is much smoother, and the sound is better controlled. Couldn't believe it is very light, despite with a built-in battery. The included leather case is a nice touch also.

I placed a pre-order for the same reason that I did not want to leave the Apple and iOS ecosystem. However for those of us here in Singapore the launch has been delayed from end of the month to mid-November.

I see from the website that the micro (mini?) USB terminal on the AK10 looks recessed so it might not fit other cables. Is this true?

And do post more impressions, please, as you are the first person on this thread that's actually taken delivery. Thanks.
post #32 of 328
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoSUV View Post
 

I just picked up an AK10 and a new 64GB iPod Touch yesterday. I have not compared it with the AK100/AK120 before as I wasn't prepared to leave the iOS ecosystem, and I'm glad that A&K released this product so that I can still enjoy music without using the iPod's built in DAC.

 

Initial impressions are that it is a significant improvement over the iPod's internal DAC, as the music is much smoother, and the sound is better controlled. Couldn't believe it is very light, despite with a built-in battery. The included leather case is a nice touch also.

Whoo! Nice impressions! I want one for my android so I don't have to carry a separate AK100. I want to do a comparison/review with AK100, but I'm broke right now.

post #33 of 328
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgelai57 View Post


I placed a pre-order for the same reason that I did not want to leave the Apple and iOS ecosystem. However for those of us here in Singapore the launch has been delayed from end of the month to mid-November.

I see from the website that the micro (mini?) USB terminal on the AK10 looks recessed so it might not fit other cables. Is this true?

And do post more impressions, please, as you are the first person on this thread that's actually taken delivery. Thanks.

The USB terminal on the unit is recessed, so it appears that only the supplied cables will fit. Also the port does not seem to be the standard USB micro-B either (it's definitely not mini-B), but I will try my local computer arcades to see if such a connector or cable is available (USB-A to AK10). But getting such a cable that fits the recessed port may still not get the unit to work with legacy iOS devices that uses the 30-pin connector with the CCK either, as the manufacturer specifically mentions only the iPhone5 (s/C) and the iPod Touch 5G as being supported for Apple. So for example if you have an iPhone4S that runs iOS 7 or an iPad4 or older, you may still be out of luck.

 

Sonic impressions I'll reserve for later, as the unit is still brand new and breaking in.

 

But I can share some more usability impressions.

 

This morning I worn the unit to work on my commute. I clipped the unit to my jeans belt, slipped the iPod in my jeans pocket, and it is almost weightless. Portability is unbeatable. Also, it is very convenient to pause the music, forward/backward skip tracks, and adjust volume, without removing my iPod from the pocket, and you can just directly access the unit with buttons. In fact, all you need is just to connect up the cables and you can just hit play/pause on the unit without fiddling with the iPod's touch screen at all. This is excellent when you put your entire library on the iPod on shuffle and just let the music flow.

 

Since the unit is so small, the leather case will only fit belts that are not too big or thick. You can remove the small elastic band that's supplied with the case, so it is easier to slip the flap onto your belt.

 

P.S. I use the unit with a pair of Shure SE530 IEM. I don't hear hiss at all, and the output impedance being 1 ohm, matches well with the IEM nicely. Later I will try with my laptop and my Beyer T5p full size headphones.

post #34 of 328
Thread Starter 
Actually it sounds perfect in both sense of the word because I intend to use it with my iPhone 5. It is the recessed jack that worries me as it limits us to only their cable whose length (what is it by the way?) may not suit different purposes e.g. iPhone 5 in pocket, in backpack, etc. Thanks again.
post #35 of 328

The Lightning to AK10 cable is only about 6 inches long, and the USB-A to AK10 cable is about 1 meter long.

 

And it looks as though you are limited to only the supplied cables as the shape of the plastic casing of the connector is molded into the shape of the recess in the unit itself.

 

Now before anyone shouts "RIP OFF!" and mourns that we cannot just use cheap off-the-shelf cables with a length of our choice, but I really do think the recessed port idea is a brilliant design. The AK10 is a portable device, and is designed to be used as such, and with a connector this small, tremendous stress is going to be put on the electrical contacts themselves in daily use where the unit is going to be flopped around, pulled and crushed. In no time either the cable or the port itself is going to break. But it seems this design is making the weakest link strong by having the molded part of the plastic casing share the load across the recessed part after insertion. And it is evident that it feels very robust in the hand. I do not fear that the cable or the connector would break after moderate use. You just have to see and touch the real thing to see what I mean.

 

I don't work for A&K, but it is curious why this isn't in their marketing material.

 

However I do appreciate good designs when I encounter them.

post #36 of 328

This is unofficial, but:

 

The AK10 does work with the iPhone4S and iPad2 with the USB Camera Connector, running on iOS 7.

 

You do not need a powered USB hub as with some other USB DACs who draw power from USB itself, as the AK10 does have its own built-in battery.

 

Obviously, you cannot use the Lightning cable as both the iPhone4S and iPad2 (or iPad3) have the old 30-pin connector, so you'll need the USB-A to AK10 cable that is 1 meter long. Also, one caveat I found is that the volume levels seem to be quite a bit lower than compared to the iPod Touch 5G (Lightning). I set the volume to be around 50-60% on the iPod Touch 5G, but need to go up to 80-90% on both the iPhone4S and iPad2 for the same listening levels. That's not a big problem to me, but may be an issue for people who have less sensitive headphones.

 

Note that the rotary volume pad on the AK10 is a "drive-by-wire" design, and moves in step with the visual slider on your iDevice.

 

The other hard buttons all seem to work properly, such as play/pause, skip/back etc.

post #37 of 328
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoSUV View Post

The Lightning to AK10 cable is only about 6 inches long, and the USB-A to AK10 cable is about 1 meter long.
I
And it looks as though you are limited to only the supplied cables as the shape of the plastic casing of the connector is molded into the shape of the recess in the unit itself.

Now before anyone shouts "RIP OFF!" and mourns that we cannot just use cheap off-the-shelf cables with a length of our choice, but I really do think the recessed port idea is a brilliant design. The AK10 is a portable device, and is designed to be used as such, and with a connector this small, tremendous stress is going to be put on the electrical contacts themselves in daily use where the unit is going to be flopped around, pulled and crushed. In no time either the cable or the port itself is going to break. But it seems this design is making the weakest link strong by having the molded part of the plastic casing share the load across the recessed part after insertion. And it is evident that it feels very robust in the hand. I do not fear that the cable or the connector would break after moderate use. You just have to see and touch the real thing to see what I mean.

I don't work for A&K, but it is curious why this isn't in their marketing material.

However I do appreciate good designs when I encounter them.

I totally agree with your observation regarding the design. In fact initially I was annoyed that it wasn't the standard USB size so I could use my normal cables but indeed the USB plug would have been disproportionately big. I think 6 inches is about right.

Although I'll still wait to get mine and then explore aftermarket cables tongue.gif
post #38 of 328

worked great on my iPhone 5c with the included Lightning to micro-USB cable.

 

 

 

Reply
post #39 of 328
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiGuy528 View Post

worked great on my iPhone 5c with the included Lightning to micro-USB cable.



Looks wonderful.

So, do you think an aftermarket cable will be able to fit into the AK? Is it mini or micro A/B terminal?



post #40 of 328

The length of the included cables (and that they dont end in USB-A so I can use my own) is off putting for me.

post #41 of 328

Is there a place I can pre-order this right now in the US?

post #42 of 328

Can anyone comment if it also works on other Android phones?

post #43 of 328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rage038 View Post
 

Can anyone comment if it also works on other Android phones?

iRiver says it works with GS3,4.

post #44 of 328
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimvictor View Post
 

iRiver says it works with GS3,4.

Yes, but I have an HTC and I wouldn't switch over to Samsung to use this device. On the other hand, I really want to use this device.

post #45 of 328
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rage038 View Post
 

Yes, but I have an HTC and I wouldn't switch over to Samsung to use this device. On the other hand, I really want to use this device.

I guess you can try contacting iriver. Ask them if they have tested with HTC phones. Otherwise, you may also choose to wait for user responses(but know that not that many head-fiers own HTC phone+AK10).

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