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The Astell & Kern AK240 - Page 201

post #3001 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylafari View Post
 

 

O.o Just my opinion but that looks really silly xD

Reminds me of coneheads. You know, those people with cone shaped heads :)

post #3002 of 8541

Glad I saw this in time, was just about to pull the trigger on an AK240 too..  Will have to wait and see but guessing AK240 will still be the flagship DAP for them.. :popcorn:

post #3003 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by xinque View Post
 

Glad I saw this in time, was just about to pull the trigger on an AK240 too..  Will have to wait and see but guessing AK240 will still be the flagship DAP for them.. :popcorn:

Yeah, you never know, the AK360 may pop up out of nowhere.  

 

post #3004 of 8541

I was just about to cancel my trip to Munich. Might need to reconsider now.  :rolleyes:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

I don't know if you saw here this that will be announced at Munich : a AK100II and AK120II :eek:.

 

 

post #3005 of 8541

Just out of curiosity...

 

Would the "old school" Denon D2000 with full MarkL mod be a complete mismatch with the AK240? Would it be like trying to wear sneakers to a black tie event?

post #3006 of 8541
Catching up here...
Quote:
Originally Posted by kh600rr View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedaite View Post

True, not cheap at all. I actually aimed this question at people with $400 - $600 IEMs/headphones.

The AK240 is around $2,500 so at least you should pair it with some TOTL phones if you're spending all that money on a player.
Currawong did note in his AK-240 comparison/review, how the AK-240 really benefits from scaling up. He's forgotten more about audio, then I'll ever know.

 

I wouldn't say that. There is a heck of a lot I don't know, or haven't tried.   What I said in my video is that I think the AK240 is, in effect, going to be "worth it" more with a TOTL pair of IEMs (or even full-sized headphones) as I didn't find as much of a jump in detail from an X5 or ZX-1 with even my $800-900 IEMs as I did with the UERM or Roxannes. The Law of Diminishing Returns is fully in force here when it comes to sound quality, even if that is not just what you're paying for for that money. But it does deliver an obvious jump in clarity and an ability to drive even full-sized headphones that otherwise requires a chunky, non-pocketable stack.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

I don't know if you saw here this that will be announced at Munich : a AK100II and AK120II :eek:.

 

 

 

That is the blog of Sasaki on Head-Fi. The sneaky man got to let the cat out of the bag. I suppose he is kind-of The Man here in Japan. 

 

Oh, and crap, I posted before I had mentioned a nice combo I found at the show....

 

 

AK240 + the Stax portable.

post #3007 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Edwards View Post
 

I listened to the AK120 (which I already had) into Hugo and the AK240 side by side at the LA Head-fi Meet-up. For me it was a choice, and a difficult one, because I couldn't really justify both. My takeaway was that you wouldn't need the Hugo if you had an AK240. You've arrived at the current state of the art. You should wait for the next step forward before buying more. But if you haven't done balanced yet, there's more quality to be had from your AK240. I listened to my own HD800's and a pair with a balanced cable and the differential connection is a very big improvement.

I agree with Sam.  He is dead on with his comments...

Yesterday for a few hours I had a very amazing opportunity to listen to the brand new RWAK 240 modification from Red Wine Audio vs. the Cord Hugo.  Blind testing using conventional CD quality 16 / 44.100kHz all the way to higher resolution sources up to 24 / 176.4kHz DSD .  Blind testing was conducted 7 times between the two sources and 6 of the 7 times I picked the RWAK 240 over the Cord Hugo with regard to better SQ!!!  The differences were obvious and almost immediate to me. We were using the AK240's 2.5mm TRRS balanced output connector. The base AK240 without the mod using the balanced output and good cables is close to the Cord Hugo but in my humble opinion the Cord is just more musical!  That said, with the RWAK240 modification the AK has the edge over the Cord.  

 

I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Tom Boozebuttons and Vinnie from Red Wine Audio for helping me make this testing a reality. I was honestly so set on purchasing the Cord Hugo before the testing began.  I was really shocked after the testing but at the end of the day my own ears told me otherwise!  Both DAC players are really amazing and current state of the art.  You couldn't go wrong with either choice. 

 

Sincerely,

Speedracer1  (aka Tom)    

post #3008 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by kantana View Post
 

AK240 solo is very nice, with Hugo it sounds more natural.  Though if you use the AK240 with balanced out it is much closer to the Hugo.  I leave the Hugo at home when going out since it won't fit in my pants pocket.  Maybe I'll take it with me in winter with a jacket but for summer I'll travel light.

I agree with kantana...

 

Yesterday for a few hours I had a very amazing opportunity to listen to the brand new RWAK 240 modification from Red Wine Audio vs. the Cord Hugo.  Blind testing using conventional CD quality 16 / 44.100kHz all the way to higher resolution sources up to 24 / 176.4kHz DSD .  Blind testing was conducted 7 times between the two sources and 6 of the 7 times I picked the RWAK 240 over the Cord Hugo with regard to better SQ!!!  The differences were obvious and almost immediate to me. We were using the AK240's 2.5mm TRRS balanced output connector. The base AK240 without the mod using the balanced output and good cables is close to the Cord Hugo but in my humble opinion the Cord is just more musical!  That said, with the RWAK240 modification the AK has the edge over the Cord.  

 

I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Tom Boozebuttons and Vinnie from Red Wine Audio for helping me make this testing a reality. I was honestly so set on purchasing the Cord Hugo before the testing began.  I was really shocked after the testing but at the end of the day my own ears told me otherwise!  Both DAC players are really amazing and current state of the art.  You couldn't go wrong with either choice. 

 

Sincerely,

Speedracer1  (aka Tom)  

post #3009 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by speedracer1 View Post
 

I agree with kantana...

 

Yesterday for a few hours I had a very amazing opportunity to listen to the brand new RWAK 240 modification from Red Wine Audio vs. the Cord Hugo.  Blind testing using conventional CD quality 16 / 44.100kHz all the way to higher resolution sources up to 24 / 176.4kHz DSD .  Blind testing was conducted 7 times between the two sources and 6 of the 7 times I picked the RWAK 240 over the Cord Hugo with regard to better SQ!!!  The differences were obvious and almost immediate to me. We were using the AK240's 2.5mm TRRS balanced output connector. The base AK240 without the mod using the balanced output and good cables is close to the Cord Hugo but in my humble opinion the Cord is just more musical!  That said, with the RWAK240 modification the AK has the edge over the Cord.  

 

I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Tom Boozebuttons and Vinnie from Red Wine Audio for helping me make this testing a reality. I was honestly so set on purchasing the Cord Hugo before the testing began.  I was really shocked after the testing but at the end of the day my own ears told me otherwise!  Both DAC players are really amazing and current state of the art.  You couldn't go wrong with either choice. 

 

Sincerely,

Speedracer1  (aka Tom)  

 

Were you using the coaxial input of the hugo?

post #3010 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by speedracer1 View Post
 

I agree with Sam.  He is dead on with his comments...

Yesterday for a few hours I had a very amazing opportunity to listen to the brand new RWAK 240 modification from Red Wine Audio vs. the Cord Hugo.  Blind testing using conventional CD quality 16 / 44.100kHz all the way to higher resolution sources up to 24 / 176.4kHz DSD .  Blind testing was conducted 7 times between the two sources and 6 of the 7 times I picked the RWAK 240 over the Cord Hugo with regard to better SQ!!!  The differences were obvious and almost immediate to me. We were using the AK240's 2.5mm TRRS balanced output connector. The base AK240 without the mod using the balanced output and good cables is close to the Cord Hugo but in my humble opinion the Cord is just more musical!  That said, with the RWAK240 modification the AK has the edge over the Cord.  

 

I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Tom Boozebuttons and Vinnie from Red Wine Audio for helping me make this testing a reality. I was honestly so set on purchasing the Cord Hugo before the testing began.  I was really shocked after the testing but at the end of the day my own ears told me otherwise!  Both DAC players are really amazing and current state of the art.  You couldn't go wrong with either choice. 

 

Sincerely,

Speedracer1  (aka Tom)    

Could you please share what mod that has been made to the stock AK240.

 

Cheers

post #3011 of 8541

No we were using the optical cable supplied with the Cord Hugo with a base AK240 connected to it... 

post #3012 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by speedracer1 View Post
 

No we were using the optical cable supplied with the Cord Hugo with a base AK240 connected to it... 

 

Exactly,

 

According to some Hugo owners, the hugo sounds best through it's coaxial & HD USB input, and not its optical input.

Maybe you should redo the comparison, except this time, use the hugo's coax input. Yeah the mod may improve the ak240's sq, but I highly doubt it would make it surpass a dedicated DAC.


Edited by zachchen1996 - 5/11/14 at 7:52pm
post #3013 of 8541

I'm glad to provide you the information regarding the modification.  As per the Red Wine Site:

 

RWAK240

The RWAK240 is a modified version of the Astell & Kern AK240 digital audio player (DAP):

Overview

When comparing the headphone output (both the SE and BAL outputs) of the AK240 to some of the best dedicated, portable headphone amplifiers, it becomes apparent that the AK240 lacks in bass impact and extension.  While the AK240 bass is nimble, it is missing foundation and authority when called upon, especially with lower impedance headphones.  There is also some missing body.  The main reason for this has nothing to do with output voltage swing or output impedance.  It entirely has to do with the fact that the power supply rails for the headphone output stages are quite low on reservoir capacitance, so they have a hard time delivering the needed instantaneous current that high-end, dedicated portable amplifiers can deliver.  Inside the AK240, space is very limited and there isn’t the room for a respectable amount of power supply rail capacitance if it is to be installed on the board as needed for mass production machine assembly.  Fortunately, there IS a way to hard-wire increased capacitance directly to the rails of the output stage FETs by way of the modification process, and this is exactly what is done with the RWAK240 modification:

RWAK240 Modification: 

2,000uF of super-low ESR power supply rail capacitance is hard-wired directly to the headphone output stages.

Result: 

With this modification installed, the AK240 delivers the bass weight and scale that is now on par with high-end portable headphone amplifiers.  It extends deeper, hits harder when called upon, and is tighter and more responsive throughout the entire volume range – but is most welcomed at medium to higher listening levels where more instantaneous current is required (especially with lower impedance headphones).  This modification also helps add more depth so certain recordings.

Another area where the stock AK240 headphone outputs can be improved upon is in both the midrange and top-end.  While it does a good job at keeping the sound neutral, the tends to sound a little dry at times – siding towards being more analytical instead of delivering the right amount of richness and musicality that makes you want to listen longer and longer.  While not “hard” or “digital” sounding in its stock form, there is still a certain lack of emotion in the midrange, and lack of naturalness in the top-end that is so important for taking this DAP’s sonic performance to the highest level possible.  After much experimentation, another solution was devoloped with the RWAK240 modification to improve both SE and BAL headphone outputs equally:

RWAK240 Modification: 

Pure Class-A biasing of the headphone input stages via an installed JFET cascaded constant current source (CCCS). The JFET CCCS’s are bench-tested and matched to be better than +/- 0.5% tolerance.

Result: 

This greatly improves the midrange by making it sound more seductive and natural, and does not harm the transparency and micro detail retrieval of the stock player.  Treble becomes very open, extended and effortless sounding – and these improvements, along with the improvements to the bass response (mentioned above) work together to elevate the stock AK240’s SE and BAL headphone output performance to a level that is competitive with some of the best source + portable amp pairings!

post #3014 of 8541
Quote:
Originally Posted by flymetothemoon View Post
 

Could you please share what mod that has been made to the stock AK240.

 

 

http://redwineaudio.com/mods/rwak240

post #3015 of 8541

Based on reading the Cord Hugo thread according to Mr Watts (designer of the DAC) he himself preferred the optical cable over the coaxial input

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