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REVIEW: Astell & Kern AK240 - Page 4

post #46 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post
 

 

 

 

 

Yup.  Edwood, are you going to have a chance to check it out anytime soon?

 

 

Lol, I don't now the model designation for that piece, but they better get it out there soon before "box thingy" sticks.

 

I don't think I'll be early adopting this one this time.  I've paid my early adopting dues last year too much.

 

Box Thingy™ ®‎

post #47 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood View Post


Which is awesome for the handful of quality music in DSD. 

Argh, damn you, music industry.   **shakes fist**  frown.gif

Trust me, I know quite a few in the industry, your going to see a huge increase in DSD in the next couple of years. There are lots of things happening in the background as in home HiFi CD is virtually dead as far as future products to play them are concerned. The focus is now sharply on high resolution and DSD. The next two years are going to be very exciting for recorded music!
post #48 of 109

If the AK240 can strike a truly neutral and transparent sounding with authority power, then you got a winner all-in-one piece dap. With transparency, everything else takes care of itself. It's really that simple. Some people like colored sounding, but I hate it.

 

You know you got a winner when you hear the hiss from the recordings which you didn't hear from other daps.

post #49 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood View Post
 

 

Comparing the two head to head at CES, in a nutshell, HM-901 has better sound quality overall for less than half the cost.  The AK240, however has a vastly superior UI and physical build quality.  I find the AK240's implementation of balanced output being a separate 2.5mm jack and requiring a menu change to be much more awkward than the HM-901 using a standard 4 pole 3.5mm jack that can use both single ended and balanced.  The HM-901 has a physical switch for switching between balanced and single ended, but it's rather easy to accidentally switch.  But it doesn't break anything, just sounds weird.

 

So in the end, it's whether or not the the superior UI of the AK240 is worth the money is up to you.

 

I'm thinking the upcoming Calyx M may be a better competitor, but who knows.  It sounds better on paper, but I guess we'll have to see.

 

WOW! I have been listening to an AK240 for a couple of days now and I am blown away by its effortless, open, natural, neutral and transparent sound for everything I have thrown at it, as well as an impressive sound stage. A truly audiophile Hi-Fi reproduction. Unfortunately, I have never heard an HM-901 but it must be absolutely incredibly amazing to be better than that. What amp module were you using for it and what phones, and where can I hear one?

 

BTW I am coupling it directly with Beyerdynamic T5p's and Shure SE846's. Both sound incredibly amazing when coupled with the AK240 as a source.


Edited by piercer - 3/2/14 at 3:49am
post #50 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by piercer View Post
 

 

WOW! I have been listening to an AK240 for a couple of days now and I am blown away by its effortless, open, natural, neutral and transparent sound for everything I have thrown at it, as well as an impressive sound stage. A truly audiophile Hi-Fi reproduction. Unfortunately, I have never heard an HM-901 but it must be absolutely incredibly amazing to be better than that. What amp module were you using for it and what phones, and where can I hear one?

 

BTW I am coupling it directly with Beyerdynamic T5p's and Shure SE846's. Both sound incredibly amazing when coupled with the AK240 as a source.


With HM-901 I have both balanced amp card and the IEM card (OPA 627 OP Amps).  Headphones, I've used HE-6 with EF-6 Amp.  IEM's I've used my JH Audio JH13 Custom and JH Audio Roxanne Universal.

 

With AK240 I used I've used my JH Audio JH13 Custom and JH Audio Roxanne Universal, both balanced and single ended at CES.

post #51 of 109

has someone being able already to compare the SQ of the HUGO  v/s the A&K 240 ?      (dac + amp)

 

 

Indeed, my choice may be between   A&K240  "only"   and   HUGO + "a" source    (that may be my AK100...until I find another more appropriate source)

 

 

thanks


Edited by bmichels - 3/2/14 at 6:19am
post #52 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 

has someone being able already to compare the SQ of the HUGO  v/s the A&K 240 ?      (dac + amp)

 

 

Indeed, my choice may be between   A&K240  "only"   and   HUGO + "a" source    (that may be my AK100...until I find another more appropriate source)

 

 

thanks

 

Jude said Hugo sounds better.

 

Check earlier posts.

post #53 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

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.


I'm deliberately quoting this because it echo's my feelings precisely. I'm an AK240 owner. The AK240 is great for me (for all sorts of practical reasons) but I keep telling everyone who asks that it's a bit 'Hi-Fi'. A bit smooth, lacks an emotional feel, even over my AK120. But, you can't have everything (maybe next time?).

Bah h h h h h h h h (or whatever a sheep sounds like). Spoken from one in the 'herd' too. Why are we in just 2 camps of Lovers or Haters?


Edited by Rumpelstiltskin - 3/2/14 at 7:35am
post #54 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumpelstiltskin View Post
 


I'm deliberately quoting this because it echo's my feelings precisely. I'm an AK240 owner. The AK240 is great for me (for all sorts of practical reasons) but I keep telling everyone who asks that it's a bit 'Hi-Fi'. A bit smooth, lacks an emotional feel, even over my AK120. But, you can't have everything (maybe next time?).

Bah h h h h h h h h (or whatever a sheep sounds like). Spoken from one in the 'herd' too. Why are we in just 2 camps of Lovers or Haters?

Damn, my Roxanne is very smooth sounding as well... I hope its a good pairing.

post #55 of 109

Funny you should say that.

I'm looking at the Roxanne because I read that JH is a great fan of bands like Pink Floyd who I still listen too and I was wondering if a move to the Roxanne would be a move to bring the emotion back. Will read your matching comments with interest.

post #56 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumpelstiltskin View Post
 

Funny you should say that.

I'm looking at the Roxanne because I read that JH is a great fan of bands like Pink Floyd who I still listen too and I was wondering if a move to the Roxanne would be a move to bring the emotion back. Will read your matching comments with interest.

Sure, will post back as soon as I get my hands on this beauty!

post #57 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumpelstiltskin View Post


I'm deliberately quoting this because it echo's my feelings precisely. I'm an AK240 owner. The AK240 is great for me (for all sorts of practical reasons) but I keep telling everyone who asks that it's a bit 'Hi-Fi'. A bit smooth, lacks an emotional feel, even over my AK120. But, you can't have everything (maybe next time?).
Bah h h h h h h h h (or whatever a sheep sounds like). Spoken from one in the 'herd' too. Why are we in just 2 camps of Lovers or Haters?

I really appreciate your thoughts on this, it helps me a great deal. My local dealer should have the 240 in soon so I can have a listen and am very excited to. If I were still living in Dawlish I would have been just down the road from you. You could have listened to the 240 through my TU-05. That amp adds not only transparency but oodles of musicality and emotion to anything fed it. I love the 120 on its own but think of increasing that emotional content by a good margin and that is the TU-05 effect!
post #58 of 109

Please let me know what you think about it sans TU-05.

I'm very happy with my AK240. It's just that I feel a little more introspection is needed.

We've all (including me) got a bit emotional about it at the moment.  Very understandably.

post #59 of 109
Yeah, I know what you mean. I think anything that challenges preconceived boundaries does that which is why I am glad things like the 240 are about as it shakes up the world a bit. I love the Astell & Kern sound as it seems do many pro reviewers none of whom even bother to write about the 901!

I liked my 801 but the 120 was a considerable improvement in musicality to my ears ( not to mention moving from stone age to 21st century with the UI!) I have heard the 901 on a number of occasions now and I can see why people like it as its HiFi and has the wow factor but it left me cold emotionally I am afraid and I would rather trade a pound of detail and transparency for an ounce of emotion any day!
post #60 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmedium View Post

Yeah, I know what you mean. I think anything that challenges preconceived boundaries does that which is why I am glad things like the 240 are about as it shakes up the world a bit. I love the Astell & Kern sound as it seems do many pro reviewers none of whom even bother to write about the 901!

I liked my 801 but the 120 was a considerable improvement in musicality to my ears ( not to mention moving from stone age to 21st century with the UI!) I have heard the 901 on a number of occasions now and I can see why people like it as its HiFi and has the wow factor but it left me cold emotionally I am afraid and I would rather trade a pound of detail and transparency for an ounce of emotion any day!

May be the  Calyx-M will offer us the best of booth worlds ?  emotion & transparency ?  we will see....   (plus it has a gorgeous UI :-)

 

Calyx-M  +   TU-05 ? :D  :D

 

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