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The Astell and Kern AK240 Impressions Thread - Page 17

post #241 of 1681
Yes, I just finally got my AK 240 today, I guess some how I missed it, that the cradle did not come with it... And I really liked the way it looked, more money!!!
post #242 of 1681

First impression, using the balanced out, along with the Moon Audio Black Dragon V2 Premium cables , seems a bit underpowered , with the HD-800. It drives my IE-800 beautiful .
post #243 of 1681

Sorry for duplicating my feedback on AK240 vs Hugo. There are 3 different AK240 threads here on Head-Fi so I replicated my short review from the other thread here below for the benefit of some who are not following the other thread: 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zachchen1996 View Post
 

 

Is there going to be a showdown between the ak240 and hugo? (guessing the hugo will win) :biggrin:

 

I was at the Jaben Singapore "Meet the maker of Hugo" session. Brought my AK240 and 1plus2 along to do a side-by-side comparison. Since Jaben has lots of TOTL cans for demo testing, I manage to also get some first hand experience comparing AK240 to Hugo using Sennheiser HD800 and Fostex TH900. I was there for around 45 mins so I try my best to test out as much as possible. I don't have golden ears and not an expert in the listening arts, so what I can hear I try to put into words here as best I can. Here's some photos of the test setup: 

 

 

 

It's a pity I do not have a high-grade optical toslink cable to connect my AK240 line-out to Hugo, so I was given by Jaben/Chord the default toslink cable that comes with the Hugo which can only support up to 24-bit/96-kHz. Hence, I was mainly testing my redbook CD flac/wav up to 24/96 flac files on my AK240.

 

Setup: 

AK240 -> 1plus2

AK240 -> optical toslink LO -> Hugo -> 1plus2

AK240 -> TH900

AK240 -> optical toslink LO -> Hugo -> TH900

AK240 -> HD800

AK240 -> optical toslink LO -> Hugo -> HD800

 

Round 1 (16-bit/44.1-kHz redbook flac/wav): 

I threw modern pop songs like Hotel California, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, KPops SNSD/IU, Indigo Girls, Lindsey Stirling, Anime JPops, some heavy rock/metal/trance from Tiesto - Elements of Life and CPops at both. I also tried redbook quality classical tracks from Anne Akiko Meyers violin collection and pieces like Bach - Toccata in D minor. AK240 performs on par with Hugo on all redbook tracks. I couldn't hear much difference between them via 1plus2 and my amateur ears cannot detect SQ difference between AK240 and Hugo. Both sound just as good on my 1plus2 with similar quality in bass/mids/treble, decay, soundstage, instrument separation.

Next I put on TH900 to see if AK240's SE out can handle a TOTL closed-back cans as well as Hugo's amp. As expected from the easily driven low impedance of the Fostex cans, AK240 sounds just as good as Hugo to TH900. I detect obviously better depth/3D soundstage, fuller/meaty bass and softer highs on TH900 compared to 1plus2 on both AK240 SE out and Hugo out. SQ of AK240 and Hugo is similar with Hugo maybe having a slight almost insignificant edge over AK240 in terms of depth. I'm not entirely sure if it is my biased placebo effect here since I started off already thinking Hugo should sound better, but I just did not hear as much difference between them as I have anticipated. So kudos to AK240 having such a nice pairing with TH900.

Finally I put on HD800 and I immediately detected a difference in SQ. AK240 sounded a little hollow and lacking body with HD800 across all spectrum compared to Hugo. Again I have expected this because HD800 is really difficult to drive and it is impossible for such a tiny DAP like AK240 to be able to drive it as well as Hugo.

 

Round 2 (24-bit/96-kHz flac): 

Now this is the more interesting part of the test. Since I only happen to have loaded only one 24/96 flac (Ola Gjeilo: North Country II Ola Gjeilo) from 2L website on my AK240 (I have quite a few DSD and 24/192 but playing them on AK240 does not register on Hugo due to the toslink issue), I switched to it and try to see if there is a difference.

I immediately hear a difference on HD800 between them. The piano notes sound almost similar on both but when the Saxophone comes in the sound lacks body and feels like it went off-tuned towards the highs on AK240 -> HD800. AK240 -> LO -> Hugo -> HD800 sounded perfect on reproducing the Saxophone sound.

To narrow down if this is also a problem also on TH900 and 1plus2, I switched over to them. On AK240 -> 1plus2, I hear the same off-tuned weak sound of the Saxophone blowing. Here is the interesting part. It sounds just as bad from AK240 -> LO -> Hugo -> 1plus2. However when I switched over to test TH900, the weak-sounding off-tuned Saxophone issue is gone from both. AK240 manages to reproduce the Saxophone as well as the Hugo when listening through TH900.

So after hearing this, I conclude that the issue first arises because AK240 cannot drive HD800 well from its SE out. Secondly, 1plus2's quality cannot match that of cans and suffers in that area (albeit other instruments sound fine and very clear on 1plus2; somehow only Saxophone has a problem. Maybe Gavin can address this for us). Thirdly, once AK240 pairs with a TOTL cans like TH900 which it can drive well it can pretty much match Hugo's SQ IMO.

 

Conclusion: 

I do not have time to test other IEMs within the 45 mins I was there since I was too busy testing the 2 TOTL cans against various tracks on my AK240. My main take away is that both seem on par when listening through IEM (in the case of 1plus2) to my ears. Gavin may be able to give us a better comparison since he is having 1 entire week to listen to both of them at his leisure and he can probably test out DSD tracks for us too. Even cans like TH900 sounds just as good on both AK240 and Hugo. The main edge of Hugo over AK240 is when they are called to drive high impedance cans like HD800. That is when Hugo has the upper hand over AK240. Maybe the 2.5mm TRRS balanced out on AK240 can close this gap for us. We will see when I can get my hands on a 2.5mm balanced cable.

post #244 of 1681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebear View Post

 

Conclusion: 

I do not have time to test other IEMs within the 45 mins I was there since I was too busy testing the 2 TOTL cans against various tracks on my AK240. My main take away is that both seem on par when listening through IEM (in the case of 1plus2) to my ears. Gavin may be able to give us a better comparison since he is having 1 entire week to listen to both of them at his leisure and he can probably test out DSD tracks for us too. Even cans like TH900 sounds just as good on both AK240 and Hugo. The main edge of Hugo over AK240 is when they are called to drive high impedance cans like HD800. That is when Hugo has the upper hand over AK240. Maybe the 2.5mm TRRS balanced out on AK240 can close this gap for us. We will see when I can get my hands on a 2.5mm balanced cable.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kh600rr View Post


First impression, using the balanced out, along with the Moon Audio Black Dragon V2 Premium cables , seems a bit underpowered , with the HD-800. It drives my IE-800 beautiful .

 

So it seems even with the 2.5mm balanced out it is still not powerful enough to drive the HD800 on AK240. I guess people will have to settle for the TH900.

post #245 of 1681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebear View Post


So it seems even with the 2.5mm balanced out it is still not powerful enough to drive the HD800 on AK240. I guess people will have to settle for the TH900.

The only pocketable setup I can listen my HD800 with is the HM901 with the discrete amp and I like it over HD800 with Hugo (dx50 coaxial as source) as it is apparent 901 has much more power.

Thanks @bluebear for testing and sharing your impression. I would be really interested in comparing the DAC-only performance of them with an external amp as I can't really see using Hugo on the go. The onboard amp for both might be more of a limiting factor with the test setup.
post #246 of 1681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saraguie View Post

Well the SQ you report being so much better than the AK240 is music to my ears smily_headphones1.gif  I have the 120 and my 240 will be delivered (fingers crossed) tomorrow and can't wait to hear myself.

AND, I bought mine from Ted also. Good guy, knowledgeable who talks straight. We got to speak for a while on the phone today......we are Da-kine Bra's.   Looking forward to tomorrow!

Aloha Saraguie
Congrats forYour New AK 240
I follow you In One hours Time i want take My AK 240 from Jaben, i Can not wait , but Jaben open at 12 O clock Indonesia Time or 12 O clock mid nite USA time.biggrin.gif
post #247 of 1681
Hi Rudi. I think you are going to like the AK240. To my ears, it all around better than the AK120.
More air, definition, and sound range. I have not tried full size headphones and only the UM Mentor so far.
From what I read the 240 is plenty powerful by itself for IEMs.

No problem with the UI for the time I used it.

We'd love to hear your impressions.
post #248 of 1681
I've spent a little more time with the AK-240 and my IE-800, so far just the few Flac files I've listened too, the soundstage is fantastic, crisp, clear treble, boomy bass. Just a real opened up soundstage , compared to the X3.
post #249 of 1681
Quote:
Originally Posted by kh600rr View Post

I've spent a little more time with the AK-240 and my IE-800, so far just the few Flac files I've listened too, the soundstage is fantastic, crisp, clear treble, boomy bass. Just a real opened up soundstage , compared to the X3.

 

AK240.....$2,400

     X3.......$200

               =  lol

post #250 of 1681
There's no doubt the AK-240 is a much superior source then the X3, It updated the firm ware flawlessly, I did have one issue where it hung , but I just restarted it.
post #251 of 1681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saraguie View Post

Hi Rudi. I think you are going to like the AK240. To my ears, it all around better than the AK120.
More air, definition, and sound range. I have not tried full size headphones and only the UM Mentor so far.
From what I read the 240 is plenty powerful by itself for IEMs.

No problem with the UI for the time I used it.

We'd love to hear your impressions.

I have posted in other ak 240 thread , ak 240 sound not as all rounder Dap

I posted my first impression here :

http://www.head-fi.org/t/697166/the-astell-kern-ak240/2400
post #252 of 1681

Did someone tested the AlphaDOG with the AK240 (direct, NON Amped) ?  it is a good synergy ?  enough power from the AK240 to drive the Alpha ?

 

Thanks

post #253 of 1681
I have tried My AK 240 pair With LCD XC

Source : AK 240
Music file : WAV 16 bit / 44,4 KHz
Headphone : LCD XC
Cable : SAA Endorphin balance 4 Pin > use 4 Pin adapter to mini plug > AK 240
Equaleiser : Off
Power / volume control : 65 - 70

My impression :

Like what i Said in my previous impression in another AK 240 thread , that AK 240 sound quality is Only Good to very Good to drive Low Impedance headphone like LCD 3

My analogy
The amp on AK 240 is like 1500 cc motor Engine , i can drive My 1500 cc motor Engine to Speed until 120 km / h.
But The Power is just enough .no reserse Power to drive more Speed .
If i have more Power / bigger Power like in My car 2400 cc , For sure i can drive to The Speed 120 km/H , the result is different , more stabil , has more Power reserse
Compare to 1500 cc motor Engine .

I heard The sound quality from LCD XC is not so optimal like i drive use external amp

IMO

post #254 of 1681
Quote:
Originally Posted by rudi0504 View Post

I have tried My AK 240 pair With LCD XC

Source : AK 240
Music file : WAV 16 bit / 44,4 KHz
Headphone : LCD XC
Cable : SAA Endorphin balance 4 Pin > use 4 Pin adapter to mini plug > AK 240
Equaleiser : Off
Power / volume control : 65 - 70

My impression :

Like what i Said in my previous impression in another AK 240 thread , that AK 240 sound quality is Only Good to very Good to drive Low Impedance headphone like LCD 3

My analogy
The amp on AK 240 is like 1500 cc motor Engine , i can drive My 1500 cc motor Engine to Speed until 120 km / h.
But The Power is just enough .no reserse Power to drive more Speed .
If i have more Power / bigger Power like in My car 2400 cc , For sure i can drive to The Speed 120 km/H , the result is different , more stabil , has more Power reserse
Compare to 1500 cc motor Engine .

I heard The sound quality from LCD XC is not so optimal like i drive use external amp

IMO

 

Thanks for the feed back.

 

But from the picture it looks like you are using the 3,5mm NON-BALANCED headphone output ?  Have you tried with the 2,5mm BALANCED HO that is supposed to offer much more power ? 

post #255 of 1681
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post

Thanks for the feed back.

But from the picture it looks like you are using the 3,5mm NON-BALANCED headphone output ?  Have you tried with the 2,5mm BALANCED HO that is supposed to offer much more power ? 

You are welcome
At The moment i Dont have The adapter Balance 4 Pin to Balance TRRS
I must ask My diy Friend to make For Me , should Be more Power and more weight compare to,SE
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