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The Astell & Kern AK240 - Page 149

post #2221 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by daseinpdx View Post
 

 

A balanced cable keeps the signals from the left and right channels completely separate.   An unbalanced cable has a common ground wire.   This can lead to noise and crosstalk.  AK240 has separate DACs for each channel.   An unbalanced cable with a shared common wire might defeat or partially defeat the purpose of having 2 separate DACs.

 

Thank you, I think I've just got it :-)

 

A normal single ended cable has Ground and signal - i.e. a direct potential difference between the ground and the positive line controls the volume you hear. In the 3.5mm headphone out of single ended amps you do have a common ground and the left and right singals on separate wires.

 

In a 4-pin balanced output, like the 2.5mm TRRS from the AK240, there is no ground atall, instead there is an additional inverted signal for both sides. This increases (doubles really) the potential difference between the signal and inverted signal, but also removes any interference that has the same sign on both lines. Hah, simple and cool.

 

thanks,

 

Conrad

post #2222 of 8541
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Edited by Aktersnurra - 3/6/14 at 5:50am
post #2223 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebear View Post

I fully agree with this. Unless I am already stuck with either of those, else I will pick up an AK240 instead. Better UI, smaller and more portable and native DSD. Only part it may lose out is its internal amp may not be as powerful as the rs71b for cans. I don't own the rs71b so I am not sure how good it is driving cans like HD800 or planar cans. But if we go from unbalanced to balanced out for cans it may be decent enough since balanced gives double the power.
Rwak120s is 1895 and i allready have the amp, and I don't see the need to go balanced from source to amp since the sr71b will give me a true balanced signal anyway. And that amp can drive HE6 (if balanced) to loud enough levels easily.

And again, DSD means buying my collection of records all over again. And DSD does not mean that mastering is properly done which imho beats high-Rez every time.

But still, I'd go for the 240 if I did not allready have the amp.
post #2224 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElDeejei View Post
 

Is there any official word on the true advantage of the balanced out for the ak240 by A&K? Is it listed somewhere that it will maximize sonic performance & improve clarity to warrant a significant or at-least distinguishable audio listening experience? Is balanced truly the way to go for this player?  Will it use both DAC chips to it's true potential? I kinda get this feeling that it might be another gimmick of cable overkill that will only make a difference if my DAP was on the 1st floor and I run a cable to listen to it from the 2nd floor. I know it's an extreme example but from what I understand balanced cables simply reduce noise by a small margin and it's the preferred method, if say you was running a wire across a room to ensure maximum signal quality for big rigs. I don't understand how having a custom cable matter for such a short length.

That's a saying I have heard from one of my friends in a music circle when AK240 just came out. Answer is, you have to hear it for yourself. Not that I'm saying A&K will always be doing right things per se, but you would imagine they wouldn't just come up with this balanced out idea which turns out to be "haha guess what, this fancy thing we offer actually only gives you a 5% better listening experience than regular unbalanced out". And truth is, that's not the case. I just got the chance today to listen to AK240 with balanced IE800 and I'm still trying to get used to it. It's like I'd been driving a GT-R and it's now switched to a Lamborghini Aventador - both stock, of course. :)

post #2225 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by my-2000 View Post
 

That's a saying I have heard from one of my friends in a music circle when AK240 just came out. Answer is, you have to hear it for yourself. Not that I'm saying A&K will always be doing right things per se, but you would imagine they wouldn't just come up with this balanced out idea which turns out to be "haha guess what, this fancy thing we offer actually only gives you a 5% better listening experience than regular unbalanced out". And truth is, that's not the case. I just got the chance today to listen to AK240 with balanced IE800 and I'm still trying to get used to it. It's like I'd been driving a GT-R and it's now switched to a Lamborghini Aventador - both stock, of course. :)


Was the balanced IE800 the ALO version?

post #2226 of 8541

Hi all,

 

I'm getting my AK240 early next week and I'm also ordering a pair of Audeze LCD-XCs. Has anyone tried this combination yet? I understand both the AK240 and the LCD-XCs depart from the warmish sound that previous designs from both these companies have employed, and I'm wondering if the top end will be a bit too much with my anticipated purchase. I realize there is an EQ in the AK240, but my preference is to not use this feature.

 

I'm also considering the LCD-X since I've read they are not quite as detailed as the XCs.

 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated ...

post #2227 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post

 

 

Today, I've been listening to the AK240 for the first time outside of a show environment--right now (as pictured) with the OPPO PM-1 (a more recent prototype of the PM-1 than the RMAF one)--and it is...just...wow. In terms of performance, features, user interface (which is responsive, intuitive, and has search), the AK240 is well beyond an evolutionary step above the AK120, which I have and love. Whereas I often use my AK120 optically connected to a CEntrance HiFi-M8 LX, I strongly suspect I’ll be using the AK240 far more often—and maybe exclusively—on its own. Versus the AK120, the AK240’s specifications show a more powerful amp section. While that’s certainly part of the equation, there seems to be more to it, as the AK240 via its headphone output has a more detailed, more full sounding presentation with the different headphones I've pushed with it so far—it’s unquestionably better.

Astell&Kern also sent their new AKR02 in-ear monitor, which, like their first IEM, is being offered in partnership with Final Audio Design, but this one based on Final Audio Design's high-end FI-BA-SS model. (I don't have the FI-BA-SS, so I can't tell you what the differences are between it and the AKR02.) My understanding is that the AKR02 was tuned for use with the Astell&Kern players, and though I'm not sure what that entails, the AK240/AKR02 combo sounds to me like a very potent, pocketable high-res system. (I expect the AKR02 will also work well with my other non-Astell&Kern portable setups, but I haven't tried it with any of them yet.) I'll have more to say about the AKR02 after more use.

 

In terms of its design: at CES, I wasn't quite sure what to expect of the AK240 ahead of my visit to Astell&Kern's exhibit. Every photo I'd seen of it confused the living daylights out of me--the design is hard to "get" until you actually hold it in your hands. At least to me, the photos were very confusing. Once in hand, though, the design really does make sense. We shot a video of it there, showing it in-hand, but the lighting wasn't great. We'll be shooting a video of it in the studio, spinning it around in-hand, and you'll see what I mean--video should help you understand what's actually going on with the design a lot more than photos have so far done.

In hand--in person--the AK240 is actually a very attractive, very striking design, to my eyes. The initial photos I saw made it look a lot chunkier than it is. In my hands, it doesn't look or feel chunky to me, though it is thicker than their previous models. Here's a size comparison photo, showing its size compared to other devices. (From top to bottom, Astell&Kern AK120, AK240, iPhone 5S, HiFiMAN HM-901, Chord Hugo.)

 

 

I haven't yet directly compared the AK240 to any other players other than its AK120 sibling, but I will.

 

Early reservations I have include price--I'm not sure what the MSRP is going to be, but I get the impression from the numbers I'm seeing in this thread that it's going to be very expensive. I also am not crazy about the choice of a 2.5mm jack for the balanced output. While time may prove my concerns about the 2.5mm jack unjustified, I'm just having a hard time envisioning some full-size headphones and their hefty cables terminated in 2.5mm, without at least the potential for issues; and with a balanced output, I think there'll be many who want to drive full-size headphones with it.

 

(I haven't used the AK240's balanced output since CES, but I will soon--Moon Audio made me a balanced 2.5mm end to go with my Moon Audio adapter cables, and that'll allow me to use several of my headphones balanced with the AK240.)

 

Outside of those concerns, so far the AK240 has been nothing but amazing. I still have a lot music and a lot of headphones to try with it--and I haven't yet tried it as a USB DAC--so there will still be much more to say about the AK240 going forward. (We'll start with a CES highlights video we're working on now.) So far, though, like I said: Wow.

 


 

UPDATE 014-01-26 18:48 EST: Quick notes, including firmware update, DSD playback, self-noise (or complete absence of it),...(click here).

Convincing impressions!  Thanks

Would be nice if you could scale down the images on this post, 15MB takes some time to load

post #2228 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yazen View Post
 

Convincing impressions!  Thanks

Would be nice if you could scale down the images on this post, 15MB takes some time to load

 

I'm sorry about that, Yazen. You're right, and I downsized them by using the standard image uploader.

 

Thanks.

post #2229 of 8541

Hey, Jude.  The design finally made sense to me when you see a top down view like this one.  It looks like an Isometric 3D image.  Almost like a sculptor literally interpreted an Isometric 3D view in a CAD drawing.

 


It makes it look like the chiseled bezels on the right and bottom look like the sides of a perfectly rectangular brick.  So it's an interesting optical illusion.  As much as I don't like this shape ergonomically, it's very interesting from a design point of view.

post #2230 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood View Post
 

Hey, Jude.  The design finally made sense to me when you see a top down view like this one.  It looks like an Isometric 3D image.  Almost like a sculptor literally interpreted an Isometric 3D view in a CAD drawing.

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 


It makes it look like the chiseled bezels on the right and bottom look like the sides of a perfectly rectangular brick.  So it's an interesting optical illusion.  As much as I don't like this shape ergonomically, it's very interesting from a design point of view.

 

 Yep...http://www.head-fi.org/t/697166/the-astell-kern-ak240/210#post_10138463

T
hat, with a combination of F117 Stealth angular looks - not that anyone wants to bounce radar off it.

post #2231 of 8541

I read somewhere that It is the design of shadow and light..

post #2232 of 8541

The beveled edge allows you to grip the device without your hand blocking the screen.   I like that they found a way to make the extra size work for the user.   Reduces some of the impact of the larger size.

post #2233 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by daseinpdx View Post

The beveled edge allows you to grip the device without your hand blocking the screen.   I like that they found a way to make the extra size work for the user.   Reduces some of the impact of the larger size.

Yes, this is actually a clever design that make it FEELS so much smaller in your hand and is much more ergonomical than just the rectangular box.

It is definitely weird at first sight or from ANY photos I have came across but kudos to the AK team to go for an unorthodox but very usable design.
post #2234 of 8541

can any one get any .AIFF to play onto the AK240?

 

Mine doesn't seem to work for some reason.. tho it plays in my AK120 and AK100.

post #2235 of 8541

Dear All,

 

I have just had confirmation that testing has been completed with 128GB microSD cards by the A&k development team - results as below:

 

AK240 - Working

AK100/AK120 - Working when card file format FAT32

 

Regards

Steph 

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