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REVIEW: Astell & Kern AK240 - Page 2

post #16 of 104

Wise 'old' ears.

post #17 of 104

Great review guys, excellent work!!

post #18 of 104

One question guys:  You mention the exceptional synergy between the AK240 & LCD-XC, but have you tested the AK240 with the AlphaDOG, the SignaturePro or the TH-900 ?

 

I have indeed a TH-900 and I am looking for a 2nd headphone that will provide a far better isolation than my TH900.

 

--> I am looking at the AlphaDOG or SigPro for this next acquisition.

 

thanks in advance

post #19 of 104
Looks great!
Edited by AUDIOBREEDER - 2/26/14 at 2:18pm
post #20 of 104
Thread Starter 

 

Thanks PhilW and Steph86, hopefully we've given people a decent overview for now.  We'll be covering more in the addendum/update.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fafner View Post
 

I really hope A&K is going to add capability to stream from a NAS soon

 

I'm hopeful, as I've been told they are working on that.  If/when that happens, then it changes a lot of things.  Because then it won't just be a desktop/computer component - but rather something that can serve as a source for a modest home rig (especially since the DAC in the AK240 is quite competent).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fafner View Post
 

I agree with the reviewer about not having included a balanced adapter being a let down: for the price they ask they could have included one imho.

 

Yeah, that was a bit of a bother.  I can see the reasoning for why and why not (because not everyone will be running balanced).  But it not being a standard balanced connector (and thus not being easy to source), was one of the bigger drawbacks for us.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post
 

Great review, by the way. The Hm901 comparison will be interesting but they are different animals seeing how the 901 is difficult to pocket.

 

Thanks goodvibes.  Both tend to run warm as well, though from my understanding, the HM-901 tends to run warmer (hot?) making it even less pocketable.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

Great Review, but as a AK100 owner, I am disapointed that the UI of the AK240 is not that much improved. 

 

Oh I would definitely disagree here.  The AK240's UI - especially in terms of daily usage - is FAR superior to the AK100/AK120.  I'm not just talking about visuals.  In terms of responsiveness, accessibility, etc. - it kicks some ass.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post
 

Great review guys, excellent work!!

 

Thanks bro!  :smile:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

One question guys:  You mention the exceptional synergy between the AK240 & LCD-XC, but have you tested the AK240 with the AlphaDOG, the SignaturePro or the TH-900 ?

 

I have indeed a TH-900 and I am looking for a 2nd headphone that will provide a far better isolation than my TH900.

 

--> I am looking at the AlphaDOG or SigPro for this next acquisition.

 

thanks in advance

 

I have not as I don't have those cans here at the moment.  But with the AK240, you're getting a neutral and fairly flat signature.  So pairing it with an Alpha Dog - which I would say has a neutral-bright signature in default bass setting - you'd probably wind up with something that is a bit thin, though detailed with excellent soundstage.  That's a guess though.  Doesn't seem like that'd be your cup of tea if you enjoy your TH900.  If you've narrowed it down to an Alpha Dog or a SigPro, I'm pretty sure the SigPro will be much more to your liking.  :o

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AUDIOBREEDER View Post

Can the outer edge of the dap be removed? Meaning the side guard & that below. They should have made that part detachable if not.

 

Not sure I follow?  But given that it's a unibody casing, I would say that nothing can be removed from it.

post #21 of 104
Never mind. I though the right side and bottom of the ak-240 was detachable but realized its to give it a 3-D look?
post #22 of 104
Thread Starter 

Oh lol, okay.  Actually, that part of the form factor makes sense to me.  The section with the screen is raised from the rest of the player, which allows for internal room for electronics.  I can't say that exact bevel design is what I would have gone with, but I know that leaving it plain and unsculpted would have been fugly.

post #23 of 104

Good job with the detailed write-up of the AK240.  I was fortunate to give it a couple of spins at CES, and really enjoyed the full-touchscreen interface/UI, thought I think they still have a bit of work ahead to get it up to the standards of Poweramp on Android.  I find the WIFI streaming capabilities of the AK240 very appealing, but didn't have a chance to try that at CES.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

Thanks goodvibes.  Both tend to run warm as well, though from my understanding, the HM-901 tends to run warmer (hot?) making it even less pocketable.

 

I wouldn't describe the HM-901 as running hot, even with the balanced amp card, where it does get fairly warm.  The HM901's fairly thick profile is what makes it a bit awkward to pocket, as compared to the AK240.

post #24 of 104
I own an AK120 and I often use it to play DSD files thru my Denon receiver via the optical out
The manual of the AK240 seems to say it will not play DSD files thru the optical port
This would really be a major block for me because I have a lot of DSD files and outputting to my speakers via the receiver is very important
Has anyone tested this ?

Thanks in advance
post #25 of 104
I really enjoyed the review though I am a little concerned at this comment..

"If we were to sum up the AK240's overall presentation in a single word, we'd have to say it's honest. In reducing the AK120's presentation to a single word, we'd say it's evocative."

Having hung around the high end in home audio for a long time it goes like this. As people get into it they strive for the honest presentation which showcases the technical prowess of the components so well. At demonstrations this equipment is often the equipment that garners the most praise and attention then people buy it and take it home and start long term listening and something happens.

Its not about the music but getting the last ounce out of the performance from the equipment but that is a never ending quest as it does not exist and each year something comes along to trump it.

Now, what happens in my experiences in the high end stuff is this. Those same folks after a couple of years go to another dealer, this time the dealer has a wider range of equipment, often at less cost and usually tube and vinyl based.

Said listener sits down to this inferior equipment ( inferior as they are not the top performers, they are far from neutral and do not have all the bells and whistles) and something strange happens. The listener is once again listening to the music, not the equipment.

It makes no sense to him as what he is listening to is as far as the reviews and technology goes, an inferior product without the last ounce of transparency, detail, resolution or neutralness and yet his feet are tapping, the world is vanishing and all that is left is the music.

It feels.. EVOCATIVE!

This is my concern with the 240 which only listening to it will allay my fears is this. I have no doubt in HiFi terms it is much better than the 120 (it ruddy well should be seeing as it cost $1200 more than the 120). I am sure it will trounce everything with its detail, transparency and resolution but once the allure of that fades will it entertain, will it show the emotional aspect of the music which after all is why we listen to music in the first place.

What I have seen in the high end are any number of folks who initially took the HiFi route but then ended up with something not HiFi in terms of how you describe the 240 but instead when for something like the 120 because it played music with emotion and grace, not only that but it played all the music you could feed it, not just DSD or high resolution but even the humble CD's ripped to WAV or FLAC and it played them so well you forgot you were listening to CD.

I have read two other reports of CD ripped music sounding bad compared to high resolution on the 240. This is not good. A truly great player should be able to make you feel like all your music sounds spectacular, not just the good stuff.

Again, I come back to what I mentioned earlier, in the long run and with maturity musicality, ease and grace always trounce the last ounce of detail.

Its why I went for the 120 over the 901 (which also has cirrus chips). The 901 sounded like HIFi, the 120 sounded like music!

I think another point from now on. It is important to have compared it to the 120 as naturally people like me who own it are interested in the 240 but now that is done I think it not fare to do the comparisons anymore.

For a comparison to be valid the equipment has to be of similar price as obviously the more expensive machine is likely to trounce the cheaper one. Now we have the price this is almost double the price of the 120 and from reading your review and what others have said it leaves me thinking suddenly the 120 is somewhat a bargain considering the incredible musicality and how it will treat all resolutions with grace and get the best out of them.


To me, in the real world and not looking just for HiFi thrills that still makes the 120 a true high end performer and leaves me wondering about the 240 and where it stands. It has to not trounce the 120, it has to trounce the Hugo and from what I have read thus far it does not look like its doing that.

Still, I will give it a listen but I think your review may have saved me an awful lot of money and I don't think my chum Mike Mercer need to worry about sleepless nights or wastes of money!

Just some thoughts and I hope they make sense.

Thanks for a great review.
Edited by ianmedium - 2/26/14 at 10:26pm
post #26 of 104
I have heard My Friend AK 240 out the box yesterday night

My First impresion more or less like The review on The First page

Soource : AK 240
AK 120 Titan mod
Music file : HI Res 24 Bit and WAV
Headphone : Audio Technica ATH ESW 11 LTD

High : better micro detail and better clarity than AK 120 Titan mod
Mid : is not forward as AK 120 Titan , more Clear and very clean mid
Bass: is not so tight as AK 120 Titan , but better detail and cleaner
Separation : is better than AK 120 Titan , My opinion like home rigs level
Soundstagspe : The widest soundstage i Ever heard in DAP , you feel like you sit In
Big concert hall , AK 120 Titan is more Depth

Overall :
AK 240 is more neutral and more balance and Fiat than AK 120 Titan
First out The box i heard so thin No body overall , After 2 hours sounding better has better pronounce In The midrange
But is still not Powerful like AK 120 Titan
I Think AK 120 Titan has coloration , i like AK 100 Better than My AK 120 Stock , i feel AK 100 more neutral and Flat than AK 120
AK 240 is The improvement from AK 100 than AK 120
For Long listening ak 240 is The best never get fatigue
Minus : Only very High price

Note : i havent heard DSD file , should Be more Shining In DSD file

IMO


Edited by rudi0504 - 2/26/14 at 11:01pm
post #27 of 104
Thanks so much Rudi, I trust your ears greatly, what you have written has renewed my interest in the 240, thank you!
post #28 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer View Post
 

Good job with the detailed write-up of the AK240.  I was fortunate to give it a couple of spins at CES, and really enjoyed the full-touchscreen interface/UI, thought I think they still have a bit of work ahead to get it up to the standards of Poweramp on Android.  I find the WIFI streaming capabilities of the AK240 very appealing, but didn't have a chance to try that at CES.

 

Thanks Iron!  Oh before I forget, a note on the Wi-Fi:  the range could be better.  I would say that it has half the range of my laptop or tablet when line of sight is not available.

 

BTW, coming to the SoCal meet?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer View Post

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

Thanks goodvibes.  Both tend to run warm as well, though from my understanding, the HM-901 tends to run warmer (hot?) making it even less pocketable.

 

I wouldn't describe the HM-901 as running hot, even with the balanced amp card, where it does get fairly warm.  The HM901's fairly thick profile is what makes it a bit awkward to pocket, as compared to the AK240.

 

Gotcha.  For the record, the AK240 running at full-tilt for an extended period reminds me of a person's forehead when they have a slight temperature.  It's not uncomfortable, but it couldn't be mistaken for anything other than warmer-than-normal.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarainfo View Post

I own an AK120 and I often use it to play DSD files thru my Denon receiver via the optical out
The manual of the AK240 seems to say it will not play DSD files thru the optical port
This would really be a major block for me because I have a lot of DSD files and outputting to my speakers via the receiver is very important
Has anyone tested this ?

 

I'm sorry, I haven't.  Maybe Jude or Michael Liang (hifiguy528) has?  :confused:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

Again, I come back to what I mentioned earlier, in the long run and with maturity musicality, ease and grace always trounce the last ounce of detail.

 

I can respect that.  :smile:  And I think that if you were to ask Mercer, he'd tell you that I'm not one of those guys seeking the last ounce of hi-fi-ness.

 

FWIW, I don't feel that the AK240's increased fidelity disconnected me from the music.  But as someone who listens to a wide range of genres, I appreciate the AK240 as it is more accommodating of multiple genres by not imparting as much of it's own flavor.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

I have read two other reports of CD ripped music sounding bad compared to high resolution on the 240. This is not good. A truly great player should be able to make you feel like all your music sounds spectacular, not just the good stuff.

 

Actually, I did not find this to be true.  On the AK240, I listened to 16/44.1 about a third of the time, and I have no complaints about how it sounded.  :o

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

I think another point from now on. It is important to have compared it to the 120 as naturally people like me who own it are interested in the 240 but now that is done I think it not fare to do the comparisons anymore.

For a comparison to be valid the equipment has to be of similar price as obviously the more expensive machine is likely to trounce the cheaper one. Now we have the price this is almost double the price of the 120 and from reading your review and what others have said it leaves me thinking suddenly the 120 is somewhat a bargain considering the incredible musicality and how it will treat all resolutions with grace and get the best out of them.

 

Lol, I don't think any Astell & Kern player would ever be considered a bargain.  That said, I just wanted to agree that the comparison was offered - not to someone without either who is choosing between the two - but for existing AK120 owners trying to decide whether an upgrade is warranted.  In other words, it was supposed to be uneven.  :p

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

Still, I will give it a listen but I think your review may have saved me an awful lot of money and I don't think my chum Mike Mercer need to worry about sleepless nights or wastes of money!

Just some thoughts and I hope they make sense.

Thanks for a great review.

 

Thanks!  As long as it helped in some way, then I'm glad.  :smile:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rudi0504 View Post

Note : i havent heard DSD file , should Be more Shining In DSD file

 

That I can verify.  For the first time that I can remember, it actually makes we wish that more of the music I like is in DSD.  Thanks for the impressions!  :smile:

post #29 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarainfo View Post

I own an AK120 and I often use it to play DSD files thru my Denon receiver via the optical out

The manual of the AK240 seems to say it will not play DSD files thru the optical port

This would really be a major block for me because I have a lot of DSD files and outputting to my speakers via the receiver is very important

Has anyone tested this ?



Thanks in advance

 



Toslink (Optical) can't pass DSD.

From my understanding, Denon receivers can only process DSD via HDMI. You may be getting PCM with your setup.
Reply
post #30 of 104
PCM is fine as long at it plays
If I playing my music files to my speakers via the denon , I don't want the music to stop every time the AK240 hits a DSD file
The AK240 is much snappier than the AK120 and it's got wifi download
But if I'm playing a long playlist with both flac and DSD files to my Denon connected speakers via the optical out
It's unworkable if it stops playing when it gets to a DSD piece of music

Thanks for your response
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