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The Astell & Kern AK240 - Page 207

post #3091 of 4964
Quote:
Originally Posted by speedracer1 View Post

Boozebuttons explained the set up we used and most of the evaluation was done using the hifiman headphones.  That said, the only IEM's I personally own are the Shure SE-846's and the only way I could listen to them was thru the 3.5 mm (unbalanced) output jack of either the Red Wine Audio RWAK240 or the second base (non modified)  AK240 we had.  We simply copied the exact same music I am personally very familiar with to both players and I moved the IEM jack between the RWAK240 and the AK240.  Honestly for the few minutes I listened this way I hardly moved to the base AK240 unit as I was already very familiar with how my source music sounds using this device.  I concentrated my efforts on the sound quality of the RWAK240.  The obvious difference to me using my IEM's was in the mid-range area (voice).  The sound was simply more musically correct and accurately described on the Red Wine Audio website.  

I also wanted to mention that Vinnie does a beautiful job with these mods!  He is very methodical man.  I very carefully inspected the RWAK240 regarding gaps, blemishes or scratches on the unit. I even looked carefully at the base jeweler screws and everything was literally perfect!  Trust me if something is even slightly deviated from a factory perfected unit (which I just got last week) it would drive me crazy!!!  Yes he is that good!  

Also as already mentioned in my previous post and in my humble opinion both units (AK240 and Cord Hugo) are truly current "state of the art" players however that being said, "thank goodness" for this upgrade path (RWAK240).  As I would have purchased already purchased the Cord Hugo if this path did not exist and for my application it would have been much more difficult for me to truly enjoy this beautifully sounding unit. 

Thanks for the review. Have you try the balance out with some low impedance IEM/cans and compare with the 3.5mm jack? smily_headphones1.gif
post #3092 of 4964

No I have not tried the balance out with some low impedance IEM / Cans and compared it with the 3.5mm output jack. Sorry...   I wish I had more time to do that.  However, later this week I may in-directly have a chance too as I'm scheduled to listen to:

 

  • Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne
  • Ultimate Ears (UE) Ultimate Ears Personal Reference Monitors (with custom tuning)
  • Ultimate Ears UE  18 Pro Custom

 

all the above using the new AK240 with my very well know sourced music and I will compare and contrast against my personal Shure SE-846 IEM's   I'm looking forward to to see which ear piece comes out on-top.  

 

If I keep my Shure IEM's the next logical  step is to purchase the Double Helix DHC Symbiote SP Pure OCC Sliver Litz IEM Cables to get the most from the Shure IEM but before I drop another $574 usd  I would take a look at these other IEM's to confidently ensure I didn't miss anything. Just got the IEM brand new on March 4th.  They are beautiful and sound amazing but you never know...   

post #3093 of 4964
Quote:
Originally Posted by speedracer1 View Post

No I have not tried the balance out with some low impedance IEM / Cans and compared it with the 3.5mm output jack. Sorry...   I wish I had more time to do that.  However, later this week I may in-directly have a chance too as I'm scheduled to listen to:
  • Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne
  • Ultimate Ears (UE) Ultimate Ears Personal Reference Monitors (with custom tuning)
  • Ultimate Ears UE  18 Pro Custom

all the above using the new AK240 with my very well know sourced music and I will compare and contrast against my personal Shure SE-846 IEM's   I'm looking forward to to see which ear piece comes out on-top.  

If I keep my Shure IEM's the next logical  step is to purchase the Double Helix DHC Symbiote SP Pure OCC Sliver Litz IEM Cables to get the most from the Shure IEM but before I drop another $574 usd  I would take a look at these other IEM's to confidently ensure I didn't miss anything. Just got the IEM brand new on March 4th.  They are beautiful and sound amazing but you never know...   

Thanks for the info! In your opinion, over all the RWAK240 is an improvement of the stock AK240 right? Does the 3.5 jack of RWAK240 still sound as musical (Astell& Kern's sound signature) as the stock AK240's?
post #3094 of 4964

I'd love to know what the sonic differences are between the stock AK240 and Vinnie's mod.

post #3095 of 4964
Quote:
Originally Posted by madFloyd View Post

FLASH POLL!!!

I own an RWAK100 with Shure SE535's.

On Sunday night after a few drinks I was thinking about my upcoming vacation (starts Saturday!) and thinking how great it would be to try out something new.   I never had the courage to go for the AK120 but with liquid courage I pulled the trigger on the AK240 (woke up in a cold sweat the next morning!).

Now, thinking I'm already in kinda deep, I'm considering the Shure SE846 or the Sennheiser IE800's.  I listen to everything from classic rock, old and new jazz, classical, prog rock etc.

If I'm going to get new IEM I gotta act quick.

What mates with the AK240 better?  I don't plan to use an amp.

Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kh600rr View Post

If you go for a new iem, make sure you take advantage of the balanced out. I'm using it with IE-800, single out. Sounds fantastic, but you can't upgrade the cable.

The benefit of not being a current IE800 owner is that you can go straight for the balanced IE800 without worrying about "what am I gonna do with my existing IE800". Anyway, for SE846 vs IE800, in the case of AK240, I think the "ultimate" comparison should be balanced vs balanced unless for some reason you don't want to go balanced. Does anyone here own both SE846 with balanced cable and the balanced IE800 though? If you can wait a few days, I plan to demo SE846 with balanced cable and I can tell you how it turns out comparing to balanced IE800.
post #3096 of 4964
Quote:
Originally Posted by my-2000 View Post


The benefit of not being a current IE800 owner is that you can go straight for the balanced IE800 without worrying about "what am I gonna do with my existing IE800". Anyway, for SE846 vs IE800, in the case of AK240, I think the "ultimate" comparison should be balanced vs balanced unless for some reason you don't want to go balanced. Does anyone here own both SE846 with balanced cable and the balanced IE800 though? If you can wait a few days, I plan to demo SE846 with balanced cable and I can tell you how it turns out comparing to balanced IE800.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/704698/the-astell-and-kern-ak240-impressions-thread/645#post_10442299
post #3097 of 4964
piercer is only talking about SE846 there unless I'm missing something.
post #3098 of 4964

yes, your not missing a damm thing. enjoy

post #3099 of 4964
Quote:
Originally Posted by madFloyd View Post
 

I'd love to know what the sonic differences are between the stock AK240 and Vinnie's mod.

post #3100 of 4964

As per the Red wine Audio Web site:  Sorry I don't know how to copy the link...

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 #3101 of 4964
Quote:
Originally Posted by archeryc View Post


Thanks for the info! In your opinion, over all the RWAK240 is an improvement of the stock AK240 right? Does the 3.5 jack of RWAK240 still sound as musical (Astell& Kern's sound signature) as the stock AK240's?

Yes an absolute improvement over the stock AK240 and the 3.5 mm is more musical too.

post #3102 of 4964

It has been a week now (with nearly 100 hours burn in) with my Tralucent Ref.1 (converted to 2.5mm TRRS balanced for AK240), I am happy with the performance in all areas and highly recommend fellow headfiers to give this combo a trail audition, really satisfying experience.

 


Edited by flymetothemoon - 5/13/14 at 10:33pm
post #3103 of 4964
Quote:
Originally Posted by speedracer1 View Post
 

No I have not tried the balance out with some low impedance IEM / Cans and compared it with the 3.5mm output jack. Sorry...   I wish I had more time to do that.  However, later this week I may in-directly have a chance too as I'm scheduled to listen to:

 

  • Jerry Harvey Audio Roxanne
  • Ultimate Ears (UE) Ultimate Ears Personal Reference Monitors (with custom tuning)
  • Ultimate Ears UE  18 Pro Custom

 

all the above using the new AK240 with my very well know sourced music and I will compare and contrast against my personal Shure SE-846 IEM's   I'm looking forward to to see which ear piece comes out on-top.  

 

If I keep my Shure IEM's the next logical  step is to purchase the Double Helix DHC Symbiote SP Pure OCC Sliver Litz IEM Cables to get the most from the Shure IEM but before I drop another $574 usd  I would take a look at these other IEM's to confidently ensure I didn't miss anything. Just got the IEM brand new on March 4th.  They are beautiful and sound amazing but you never know...   

Is that $574 for a cable?

post #3104 of 4964
Quote:
Originally Posted by kh600rr View Post

yes, your not missing a damm thing. enjoy
That doesn't sound right ^^;. Don't take it wrong, for someone who's used to listening to a certain IEM, it makes sense that he would think an "upgraded" version of it sounds oh-so-good, so imo it's only fair if the "upgraded" versions of two IEMs are compared side by side. As much as I don't feel like burning a bigger hole in my wallet, I would consider sparing money for a balanced SE846 if it does amaze me more than balanced IE800.
post #3105 of 4964
Congratulations madFloyd on your choice - for what it's worth I felt exactly the same. The Sennheiser IE800 IMO is a great match for the AK240. Sings well across many Genres. Can be bought with big saving second hand (handy if you've just bought the AK240). You'll love it.
Edited by Rumpelstiltskin - 5/13/14 at 11:31pm
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