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- productAstell & Kern AK240tagged by dbsaffor, 2/9/14
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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Portable Amps, DACs, & DAPs) (page 2)
Last edited: 7/6/14
The Astell and Kern AK240 Impressions Thread - Page 6
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Not sure where you are in the world but I am in Canada. I asked A&K via their FB page and they were intimating sometime next month in North America.
Last night I happened to turn on wifi on the device and saw the 1.07 update. As I don't check everyday, I was thinking it might not be exactly new anymore but seems like it was actually new. So far I haven't noticed a single difference yet visually. Just because AK240 supports direct wifi update, A&K should still put up a version history on their site instead of having the users playing a guessing game on what has changed.
Went to hear the AK240 today and just posting some thoughts:
1. I personally think they are a good step up from AK120 in terms of performance in most areas. Sound stage, imaging, details and refinement was quite nice as far as a DAP goes. Bass was good enough, though not very authoritative.
2. Sound signature is slightly different than AK120 which is good - I thought they were less colored than the AK120 which is 'warmer' or 'darker'. Overall it's more lively sounding although not aggressive, retaining the generally 'polite' sound from the AK series. I thought the AK240 was adding some smoothness into the mix as well, which made it lose a bit of micro-details I thought, but it's probably not unpleasing to most people.
3. Just stating, I do not think 16/44.1 sounds bad with the AK240. However, I do admit I'm a bit biased because I personally do not quite fancy DSD all that much with my home speaker rig (despite owning a dsd dac like the emmlabs dac2x).
4. This is very subjective, but this is the first DAP I've heard that I thought is worth upgrading from an ipod. I didn't think what I heard such as the AK120 and Hifiman 901 were all that worth it. Hifiman 901 is a nice DAP which suits more genres than AK and is more versatile, but performance-wise I think it loses out especially in clarity (ok I know it's a fraction of the cost). We all have our own 'sweet spot' and I guess this met it for me.
In summary, I feel the AK240 is a good DAP, but is suitable for some genres more than others due to its smooth and polite character. Really worth a listen if you can live with this character and like milder genres. I personally like trance on the go, and feel it lacks the aggressiveness, though still nice (Hifiman is more enjoyable to me here). However, since this is the only DAP I've heard that sounds within my 'sweet spot', it's still a consideration for me even with this limitation as it's quite easy to listen to. The wisest thing for me to do though, is to wait to hear all the other latest DAPs (Fiio X5, Calyx M, etc) first.
Talking to people who own the AK120 (and are happy with it) though, I sense most feel yes, it is better, but do not feel it a real big leap for the money, so that's something to consider. You know the whole spiel about hifi and 'diminishing returns'.
I guess the caveat to my thoughts is that I primarily heard it with a Fitear 111 which is not the most revealing, and that the set may not be fully run-in.. and the fact that I'm not startled by its price.
On other thoughts non-related to audio:
- User interface was nice enough to me, and responsive, but not as responsive as what we get on a mobile phone.. I admit we are getting spoilt, but it could have been better.
- Network streaming seems to be done via a custom app instead of something like DLNA.. this does not allow me to leverage my NAS which is not good.
Edited by Quest88 - 2/22/14 at 9:44am
I tried installing the MQS Streaming server on my computer but when I try to run it afterwards an error that says AKMediaLauncher.exe - Entry Point Not Found would pop up. Does anyone else have the same problem?
just got the AK240 this morning.
First day so early impressions but good so far.
Big difference to me over the AK120 is I preferred the AK120 with an external amp. The AK240 doesn't need an external amp.
Currently listening to Bob Marley - Legends HD Tracks with Final Audio Design FI BA SS and sounds so sweet. So much body to the tracks over the AK120.
Will try with my Shure 846 tomorrow.
I think part of the problem I have been having with loading tracks and sd cards is caused by my impatience.
It seems every time I connect the AK240 to my MAC I have to wait awhile whilst Android File Transfer lets the AK240 talk to it.
I never use Playlists or Artist listing as all I want to do is search folders and play certain albums.
With the AK120 you could turn off automatic scan and just search folders.
Though you can search folders with the AK240 it still seems to want to scan your tracks every time you switch the machine on,
there is no option to turn this facility off. I guess cos the front operating system is not bespoke like the AK120 but because it is an Android machine basically.
I like on the AK120 that you just connect to the MAC and it appears as an external drive. With the AK240 you have to use Android File Transfer which is a bit of a drag.
So in terms of day to day usage I find the AK120 a lot better. I hope I can learn to love the GUI on the AK240 as much as I do on the AK120.
I would like to simplify the menu and get rid of those items I will never use, like Artist, Album and so on. You can change the order of such items but not delete.
I always liked the option on the iPod Classic were you could just have the items you wanted showing in the main menu.
Still, early days early days.
Edited by cheznous - 2/23/14 at 1:32am
I posted this in the AK240 thread, but I realise it should have been in this:
As we all know, often "synergy" between the AMP and the Headphone is more important than the specs & quality of each element considered separatly, and is not only a mater of AMP's output or Headphone sensibility.
--> Can someone start a list of the Headphones proven to offer good synergy with the AK240 ( UN-Amped)? and also which Headphone to avoid with the AK240...
- Can the AK240 can get the most of my TH-900 and also of a SigPRO or Alpha DOG ?
- Has someone experienced an SQ difference between SE & Balanced HO (with same headphone) ?
- The Astell and Kern AK240 Impressions Thread
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