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Astell & Kern AK 100 Mk2 - Page 3

post #31 of 45

I'm impressed with the AK100 and really enjoying getting to know it.

 

I can't compare with other high end DAPs because this is my first step beyond lower spec MP3 players. I did compare playback of an MP3 track (320 kbps) on my old Creative Zen with the AK100 and there was no earth shattering difference (music slightly clearer on the AK100).

 

However with CD quality files and above the AK100 is great. It's able to drive all my headphones really well, i.e.:

 

*  Sennheiser HD595

*  Beyer Dynamic DT770 pro 80 ohm

*  Grado SR225 (comfort pads with the middles cut out!)

*  Grado GS1000

*  UE triple fi 10 pro (6N OFHC cable)

 

Each of the phones retain their usual characteristics but these are the things that I'm most pleased about:

 

* The GS1000s can be driven really well by the AK100 without amplification

* The UEs sound far better than I was expecting given that they are IEMs

* I can now get good volume and great sound from the DT770s when travelling (without disturbing others of course) 

* The HD595s still sound quite subdued compared with the other phones, but this is the best they've sounded for me

 

Some other conclusions from trying different things:

 

* using my headphone amp with the AK100 degrades rather than improves sound quality (it's a Naim HeadLine with Flatcap2 power supply)

* I know there's a lot of debate about this elsewhere, but to me higher res files (24/96) do sound noticeably better than CD quality files (16/44); for example when testing with Donald Fagen's Morph the Cat:

·         mid-range was more assured

·         vocals were more rounded

·         bass was better controlled

* GS1000s sound wonderful for many types of music but at times are a bit too bright for me

* The AK100 sounds great as a source for my main amp and speakers (a "vintage" set up of Naim NAIT2 amp and EPOS ES14 speakers) and I'm delighted with how high res music sounds. While for CD quality music the AK100 is not as capable as my Naim CD3.5, with higher res music it sounds wonderful, noticeably better than the same music on CD.

* Comparing headphones: for some music (e.g. dreamy Kate Bush stuff) the GS1000s are unbeatable, however there will be times when only the HD595s will do (and now they are viable to use when travelling on trains etc), but my best all-rounders remain the SR225s

 

By the way, the music I played when comparing phones was:

 

Donald Fagen – Security Joan from Morph the Cat (24/96); Bruckner Orchestra – Tchaikovsky Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker (24/96); Richard Hawley – Time will bring you winter from Standing at the Sky’s Edge(16/44); Peter Gabriel – Mercy Street from Live in Athens (16/44). 

 

post #32 of 45

I don't really agree with some of those comparisons . I don't think it has the prat of a CD3.5 or the solidity of a headline which may just be showing you things you may not prefer more clearly. Doesn't mean you can't prefer it.:bigsmile_face: Always nice to find something that rings your bell and it's possible some of your old kit is getting tired and due for a once over.


Edited by goodvibes - 1/23/14 at 7:11am
post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post
 

I don't really agree with some of those comparisons . I don't think it has the prat of a CD3.5 or the solidity of a headline which may just be showing you things you may not prefer more clearly. Doesn't mean you can't prefer it.:bigsmile_face: Always nice to find something that rings your bell and it's possible some of your old kit is getting tired and due for a once over.

 

Hi,

 

When you say "I don't think it has the prat of a CD3.5", do you mean that you would expect the CD3.5 playing a CD to sound better than the AK100 playing a higher resolution recording? For me the CD player was clearly better when both were playing CD quality files, but the AK100 playing a higher res file was better than the CD3.5 playing a CD.

 

I'm sure you're right about the old kit, perhaps the CD3.5 is showing its age.

 

I must admit I was surprised that the Headline didn't improve the sound but that's what I found.

 

What have you found with the AK100?

post #34 of 45

It should be better in some important ways when playing a CD vs HiRes on the AK. There are obviously trade offs and us not agreeing on which are more important is perfectly fine.:smile: Could be your headline is the original version as well which may make your comment correct anyway. The newer version is clearly better. Not something to get all involved in here. Different animals. I'll PM you.


Edited by goodvibes - 1/23/14 at 8:05am
post #35 of 45

My Headline is 9 years old so I guess it's the original version!

post #36 of 45

So is the main difference between AK1000 and the Mk2 the impedance?  If so, will the AK100 or the Mk2 be better to drive a pair of Shure SE-535s?

post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidW View Post
 

So is the main difference between AK1000 and the Mk2 the impedance?  If so, will the AK100 or the Mk2 be better to drive a pair of Shure SE-535s?


Definetely the MK2. 

AK100 MK2 is Astell & Kerns not so sneaky answer to correcting the very high out impedance on their first gen AK100, which may or may not effect low impedance IEMs such as your Shure SE535. Rather than correct the issue on the first generation AK100, they continued to let it sell, basically waited for sales to drop and brought out the MK2 with the issue corrected and threw a higher price on top. 

Welcome to the world of Astell & Kern.

post #38 of 45

I've been reading for two days straight about innovations in audio tech and essentially the basics of sampling, bit depth, audio quality, etc. I knew that MP3s sounded like garbage and I prefer the sound of FLAC vinyl rips. I listen to a lot of Brubeck, Coltrane, Miles Davis, etc as well as Zeppelin, Floyd, etc and I got tired of the crap that Spotify (probably like 96k or something) is playing and the subpar headphone DACs in my beat up iPod and Android mobile so I decided to splurge and bought an AK100 for $400 open box on eBay. So far I am happy with my purchase (it was basically new). I now am looking at some nicer headphones but I can't tell for the life of me which version I have. I have a feeling the seller knew almost nothing about the device because he didn't put much details in the listing and some of the music on here is garbage but he listed it as an AK100. He did ship it with a leather case but I can't find a model number beyond AK100 really on this device. Is there some clear way to tell? The volume seems very low (good thing) but the headphones are $35 Sennheisers. It sounds pretty clear without much noise so I'm guessing this is the higher impedance version. Any thoughts?

post #39 of 45

As easy as going to: Settings (the configure button), Advanced and System Information.

 

RTFM!!!!

 

:-p

post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post
 


Definetely the MK2. 

AK100 MK2 is Astell & Kerns not so sneaky answer to correcting the very high out impedance on their first gen AK100, which may or may not effect low impedance IEMs such as your Shure SE535. Rather than correct the issue on the first generation AK100, they continued to let it sell, basically waited for sales to drop and brought out the MK2 with the issue corrected and threw a higher price on top. 

Welcome to the world of Astell & Kern.

 

 

Sneaky like Sennheiser with the changing of the drivers of the HD600 and the HD650?? I can get the AK100 mkII for around $525 cash (P23500/a lot of our money here and we all know the importance of solid cash). I'm just not sure if I should pull the trigger

post #41 of 45

I am thinking of getting a DAP. Heard the AK100 recently and quite impressed by the SQ (I am coming from iPod background). I would like to know SQ difference between MK2, MK1 and AK120. Is it worth the extra money for MK2 and AK120?

post #42 of 45

You have to be aware that there are some if not many head fiers here that are complaining about - non existing - customer service be iriver. 

 

You can read more about this in the main AK100 thread. 

post #43 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by piksnz View Post

I am thinking of getting a DAP. Heard the AK100 recently and quite impressed by the SQ (I am coming from iPod background). I would like to know SQ difference between MK2, MK1 and AK120. Is it worth the extra money for MK2 and AK120?
Currently I am also looking for the same answers. How would A&K100m2 hold up against dx50 or Fiio X5?
post #44 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by fabian005 View Post


Currently I am also looking for the same answers. How would A&K100m2 hold up against dx50 or Fiio X5?

 

I'm excited to see comparisons between the mkII vs the newly released DX90!!

post #45 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by maricius View Post

I'm excited to see comparisons between the mkII vs the newly released DX90!!
Much cheaper and those specs look very enticing, dual mono dac! I think I'll wait and see how this holds up.
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