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Why The AK240 Is A Bad Idea - Page 2  

post #16 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by truckdriver View Post
 

The price didn't jump for the W4. If the price is higher for a brand new product, so what? You can still buy the W4 (and probably for cheaper). You are not required to buy the new product on launch day (or ever).

 

My examples were how new stuff of today will soon become the cheaper stuff of tomorrow. Phone manufacturers are gradually shipping better earphones with the phones. The phones themselves are sounding better. My brother got a Nokia 1520. It sounds pretty damn good with just the Windows Phone 8 standard player and EQ.''

 

I can remember many years where improvements at this pace was a pipe-dream. Nowadays, there's a cheap knockoff version of Beats (that Tyll says) sound better than the original (which probably wasn't hard—but still). I don't care what they come up with and how they price it, they will be undercut by choice in the marketplace.

 

Read my first post again, then look at where I quoted myself. Standard market principles do not readily apply to this hobby.


Edited by eke2k6 - 1/26/14 at 3:48pm
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

Again, people it's not specifically just about the AK240 as a product. It's about the trend it will spark.

 

The SE846 may be good, but it's from a legendary manufacturer with pull in the industry. Other large manufacturers followed Shure's lead. Westone was not to be outdone, so they pushed out their own 6-driver $1k iem. Unlike Shure's there's almost zero new tech in it, just a  3-way crossover and a couple of extra drivers. Price jump from the W4? and extra $500. 

 

Huge price jumps without equal/similar steps in quality are bad because they inspire a wave of me-too pricing. Have you not noticed how the standard pricing for top-tier iems has now risen to over $1k? A flagship isn't a flagship anymore unless it's >$1k. Using Westone again, look at the difference between the W2 and W4. They had to redesign the crossover and add an extra couple of drivers, yet they managed to do it for just $200 extra. 

 

Again, not just the product but the trend.

 

 

If you really want to cry, look up the actual cost of parts for many of these iems and DAPs.

 

You seem to be ignoring the well known fact that in any industry once you approach the high end you'll see relatively small increases in performance for large increases in price. Graphics cards double in price once you reach the top tier. 25 year old scotch will cost you $300 and a 30 year old one will cost you $500, $200 for an extra 5 years. An LCD2 will cost you about $1k and an LCD3 will cost about $2k and from reviews I've read you're only getting a 10-20% increase in performance for that $1k. You can get a high end tube amp for 2k but a couple of monoblock amplifiers will cost you 16k. Does it sound 14k better than 2k amp, doubtful.

 

Your example of the 4 vs 6 drivers in an IEM and you're freaking out over the price jump while completely ignoring the fact that they are trying to fit 6 drivers in the same space they fit 4 the last time. And the chances are very high they are using different drivers in those models since now they have to fit more into the same space, and you usually have to sacrifice price to fit the same high quality components into a smaller package.

 

Just because AK releases an ultra high end priced DAP doesn't mean FiiO and iBasso are going to go out and do the same. They are targeting completely different segments in the market. And it would be awesome if other companies start to push the limits like AK is doing. Right now hardly anyone is even trying, in fact all the other companies seem to be perfectly happy setting their high end devices at 1k and then building their tiers below that. The high end at 1k is great but the problem is all those devices are seriously lacking something, they all lack storage and the Hifiman and iBasso offerings are chunky and suffer from their buggy UI's.

 

If only the cost were parts with no engineering and R&D. JH Audio has already shown us the cost of Carbon Fiber and if their cases are any indication getting that stuff smooth without pitting isn't an easy task. The AK240 actually fits right in line with what you'd expect it to cost when you look at the rest of their lineup and it'd be best for the entire DAP industry if the 240 is successful. Because then that'd attract the attention of a lot of the true High End companies into the DAP market like Calyx has done with their first venture.


Edited by JackDiesel - 1/26/14 at 4:07pm
post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post
 

This fear of expense if ill founded.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

It's not a fear of expense. 

 

Here's another analogy:

 

You have a young, impressionable child. Your next door neighbor has a slightly older, poorly behaved child. This child swears like a drunken sailor, and is incredibly rude. Its parents don't seem bothered by it, but all the other parents in the neighborhood keep their own children away for fear that they may pick up their bad habits.

 

I realize this example is a bit of a stretch, but hopefully it gets the point across.

I don't think that's an appropriate analogy. I wish other would mimic AK and just do it for less. Oh wait! That's happening! The horror!

post #19 of 46
Thread Starter 
I guess all we can do is wait and see. I'll bump this thread when the time comes.
post #20 of 46
While I agree that it is ludicrous to charge $2,500 for a DAP and I will do my part by not purchasing it, as an economics major at university I great faith in the market to correct these aberrations. I also feel as Truck said, the AK 240 may lead to more innovative products down stream and at a lower price.

Although, I do agree with eke's main point which is the spiraling cost of high end equipment in this hobby. We have no one to blame but ourselves. If no one bought the AK 240 iRiver would cease to exist. Honestly, the AK 240 is what a high rez iPod with a balanced amp. I have a Cirrus Logic chip in my iPod touch and RSA's newest balanced amp (Lightning) and that cost me $800 total oh and I have a UI that actually works.
post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackDiesel View Post


Just because AK releases an ultra high end priced DAP doesn't mean FiiO and iBasso are going to go out and do the same. They are targeting completely different segments in the market. And it would be awesome if other companies start to push the limits like AK is doing. Right now hardly anyone is even trying, in fact all the other companies seem to be perfectly happy setting their high end devices at 1k and then building their tiers below that. The high end at 1k is great but the problem is all those devices are seriously lacking something, they all lack storage and the Hifiman and iBasso offerings are chunky and suffer from their buggy UI's.

If only the cost were parts with no engineering and R&D. JH Audio has already shown us the cost of Carbon Fiber and if their cases are any indication getting that stuff smooth without pitting isn't an easy task. The AK240 actually fits right in line with what you'd expect it to cost when you look at the rest of their lineup and it'd be best for the entire DAP industry if the 240 is successful. Because then that'd attract the attention of a lot of the true High End companies into the DAP market like Calyx has done with their first venture.

Doing what exactly?
How are they pushing any limits here to the tune of doubling the cost?
I just don't see it. Throw out some hard facts maybe so i'd understand the position.

They could price it at whatever they want obviously. I'm just a bit surprised that people see something in here that took some miraculous R&D and materials effort to think this is worth $2,400 on a fundamental level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

That's justified but it doesn't make it a bad idea. It does quantify your choice to not consider it as personal considerations do for us all. 

You are cherry picking a bit on your cars by pointing at a loss statement vehicle as opposed to what allowed them to make it. Exceptions don't prove a rule. Most Lexus are glorified Toyotas with better bits and goodies. Bentleys don't have to be hand made. They choose to be and some (not me) would berate them over the lack of value in doing so. It's all relative and the market does a fine job of sorting it out.

Most halo vehicles if not making a loss statement have something to show for their price tag at the least. I cherry picked for the sake of a direct example of a similar situation. The car industry is far from innocent here but halo products are called halo products for a reason and the AK240 is not glowing in a beam of light for any reason I can see from my pov.
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by vwinter View Post


Doing what exactly?
How are they pushing any limits here to the tune of doubling the cost?
I just don't see it. Throw out some hard facts maybe so i'd understand the position.

They could price it at whatever they want obviously. I'm just a bit surprised that people see something in here that took some miraculous R&D and materials effort to think this is worth $2,400 on a fundamental level.

 

By combining everything in one small, portable, attractive (up for debate) package. Twice the amount of onboard storage as any other DAP currently on the market (a must for hi-res audio which some manufacturers can't understand), balanced out, 1 ohm impedance, a good UI on a big screen, dual high-end DACs (same one found on Marantz's high end SACD players), wifi streaming from a PC, USB DAC, all packed into a relatively small package with a scratch resistant shell and a carbon fiber back. It's the closest DAP yet to having it all (my gripe is that there seems to be no pure line out). Sure the HM901 is close and I'm still waiting for Jude to compare the sound of the two, but that thing isn't known for its looks and has a buggy UI. If you can live with those and less storage then buy it, no one is twisting your arm to get an AK240.

 

I'm still curious on what exactly you guys were expecting for the price given that the AK120 is $1300, and the AK120 Titan is $1500? You really think they'd price the AK240 at 2k or under given all the serious advances it has over the AK120? 3 ohm out, no balance out, no DSD, smaller screen, no wifi or bluetooth, weaker amp and half the onboard storage.

post #23 of 46
All I got from that tbh is that the AK120 is overpriced as a starting point lol. I'm really not trying to be obnoxious. The only things I really see there that's interesting and maybe worth some money is the storage space, balanced out, and wifi streaming.

Everything else they are piggybacking off of prior R&D from iriver, off the shelf relatively cheap parts, and nothing that hasn't been done separately. They put a lot together into a decent sized package, that might be worth something too but I dunno. Those dual high end DAC's would cost no more than $40 a set I'd wager.

I have no planned investment here so there's that. I have heard the 901 for a spell and thought it sounded really good fwiw.
post #24 of 46

to me i dont really agree with the ak240 as a bad idea, sure it may enact a jump up in the high end dap market , but thats what people say about the ak120 as well, but as we can see now , there isnt that much dap that tried to challenge that price ceiling, daps still hoverat the same price2, some of you may still remember that they priced the c4 with its simple ui, and brick sized body at around 800 ish? this is a niche hobby industry thus, the price is set at whatever level the manufacturer feels it worth to be, or at least at the price themanufacturer thought it will be bought a t

post #25 of 46

I still have these open questions in mind about AK240....

1. Does the "Line out" actually bypass the phone amp or is it a psuedo line out? We would either need some experts like Vinnie to take the 240 apart or have a mega shoot out to compare the line out between AK240 vs. HM901 vs. RWAK120S to see which sounds the best.


2. The choice of 2.5mm trrs balance plug seems to be of worry at the moment.


3. Will we get aftermarket balance line out adapter that can connect to portable balance amps or we must use the stock bulky one?


4. is the balance phone out capable to drive full-sized like LCD3 or HD800?


5. Is the choice of DAC chip truly high end like ESS9018? Some members do not feel so.

post #26 of 46

I am not an AK basher at all, but I trully believe, as I stated much to the dismay of certain people, that AK thinks we are imbeciles with the AK240. The AK100 and 120 have great designs BUT:

  • The AK100 was overpriced IMO as it needed modding to have the true versatility a product at this price should have. And even modded, it was a bit weak with some iems
  • The AK120 was also overpriced IMO as it did not have reference sound IMO (a bit dark and muffled) compared to 901 or even ZX1.

 

I think AK has some good things going on, mainly in terms of design, but I am not a fan of the sound so far. This all leads me to doubt that the AK240 will be able to bring me an SQ so much better than ZX1 or 901 to warrant the value.

post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mimouille View Post
 

I am not an AK basher at all, but I trully believe, as I stated much to the dismay of certain people, that AK thinks we are imbeciles with the AK240. The AK100 and 120 have great designs BUT:

  • The AK100 was overpriced IMO as it needed modding to have the true versatility a product at this price should have. And even modded, it was a bit weak with some iems
  • The AK120 was also overpriced IMO as it did not have reference sound IMO (a bit dark and muffled) compared to 901 or even ZX1.

 

I think AK has some good things going on, mainly in terms of design, but I am not a fan of the sound so far. This all leads me to doubt that the AK240 will be able to bring me an SQ so much better than ZX1 or 901 to warrant the value.


Yes, for what reasons AK100 had high output impedance we'll never know, if it was intended in the design or an error from AKs' side (most likely). For that reason alone and what Mimouille states next to other DAP's (I trust his opinion) regarding AK's value/money ratio who's to say they're creating decent products that warrant such a cost. Then for AK to bring out an AK100 MK2 correcting the output impedance kind of answers the question whether it was their error. I think that's where they lost me for any purchases right from the start. If they can't even get the output impedance right in one design well, kind of sours the milk. And to add every AK player since the topic was brought up here has been low OI, what's that say about their research and development. I guess what I'm saying is, if a company can over look something that's spoken about by rookies here on Head-fi daily such as high output impedance then........

I do believe AK are dangling water to men in the desert dying of thirst here, they're targetting those who have tried every DAP on the market and luring them in and they will buy it. I have no doubt the AK240 probably sounds great but to warrant such a high cost is a little out there and it's going to effect DAP's pricing overall in the future. Usually when a product comes that's in the summit hifi price range there's some humming and haring from some members about the price but the high rollers go ahead and purchase regardless. Yet this time round with AK240 pricing even the high rollers are taking a step back thinking twice about the purchase.
 


Edited by H20Fidelity - 1/27/14 at 2:31am
post #28 of 46

My opinion the large potion of the AK brand is just an experiment as they go. There was no reason for them not to include a volume guard on the AK100, but because of an after market product they decided to have one. 

There was no reason for them not to enable the USB DAC on the AK100 from day one but they did eventually when they realised someone found a way to do so. (Purposely handicapping the AK100 so it can give more room for AK120?)

 

There was no reason for AK120 to not to have the quality the Titan has but for some reason they decided not to do that. 

 

Now their current argument is scratch free body, but my question is is the screen scratch resistant? (not that matters but if anything I would worry the most is the screen getting scratch).

 

Pricewise I cannot argue but I think there is a reason why all the high end DAP price their product hight, they want to remain niche as they know if they are to reduce their price margin they will not be welcomed into the main stream as they are to than deal with the UI of apple. 

post #29 of 46

I've never really liked AK's products or their pricing but what I hate the most is their marketing. First they push out the AK100 for something like $600 or $700 and it has a huge 22 ohm impedance. And later on, they even had the cheek to make the MK2, which corrected the issue which should not have even been there in the first place, and charge even more for it. That brings me to the AK120... It basically adds one DAC chip and they charge double for it. 

 

I doubt the AK240 will be better than the HM-901 or any of those top DAPs but people will still buy them regardless. Like others said, to justify their purchase they will write glowing reviews which will mislead even more people into buying their new $2500 DAP that probably cost $300 or less to make. If they want to charge so much they should have at least used a truly high end chip like the ES9018, or perhaps even 2 like the HM-901. 

 

Anyway, this is what I think. 

post #30 of 46
We should all learn from AK marketing in our jobs
Just tell the bosses "you know i made a little mistake but perhaps you can pay me a bit more so that I will give u a MK II of myself.."
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