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Mezzo Hifi - New AK120/AK100 Mods (WM8741 in software mode)

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 

Hi Head-fiers

 

Just wanted to alert people to these new mods. I was just about to finally dive in and buy an AK120 so had been doing some research. I've found some (very favourable) reviews of the MS-AK100 mod on head-fi so I headed to the website and found this new mod...

 

It looks as if this new mod combines all I had hoped for! Upgraded WM8741 dacs as well as maintaining the headphone out / volume control of the AK100 or AK120. Also the option to swap the optical in for a balanced out!

 

Here is an image of the mod from the website: (http://www.mezzohifi.com/)

 

 

 

I've e-mailed Mezzo Hifi and have also been informed there is a similar mod for the AK120. Hopefully I can afford one of these soon as it really ticks all my boxes.

 

 

Has anybody already gotten a hold of one of these? Would love to hear about how it sounds.

 

(Just a note: I'm obviously not affiliated with Mezzo Hifi since I have to save up for this before hearing it...)


Edited by likearake - 4/30/14 at 10:10pm
post #2 of 94

Phanom will be coming to the Tokyo Fujiya event next weekend. Hopefully I'll be able to give this a listen when he's here.

post #3 of 94
Thread Starter 

Lucky!

 

Phanom has also mentioned to me that it is possible to grab some deals on second hand A&K gear for him to mod while he is in Japan. Here is the link I got for it:

 

http://www.e-earphone.jp/shopbrand/063/X/

 

If anyone is feeling generous I would happily accept either A&K gear or a trip to Japan :p

post #4 of 94

1, keep the optical line out and replace the optical in with the 3.5 TRRS  instead.

2, the mode switch makes it almost impossible to use the stock leather case.

post #5 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSheep View Post
 

1, keep the optical line out and replace the optical in with the 3.5 TRRS  instead.

2, the mode switch makes it almost impossible to use the stock leather case.

 

Isn't the optical in/out combined into the one connection on the AK100 and AK120?

 

The mode switch does make it a bit difficult I agree, I can imagine it in my pocket flicking the mode switch by accident too. But then again I think having that option is really cool.

 

I'm guessing you could probably set it to one or the other and not have the switch installed too if that is your preference.

post #6 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by likearake View Post
 

 

Isn't the optical in/out combined into the one connection on the AK100 and AK120?

 

The mode switch does make it a bit difficult I agree, I can imagine it in my pocket flicking the mode switch by accident too. But then again I think having that option is really cool.

 

I'm guessing you could probably set it to one or the other and not have the switch installed too if that is your preference.

The headphone and optical outs are one, but the optical in has its own port.

post #7 of 94
DrSheep. Thank for correction. It optical in that to be replace with balance out.

Anyway both balance out and switch is optional.
Some of our customer select to retain optical since they are not using external amp.

For the filter switch, there are two options

Option 1: Select only one filter and donot install the switch. If you are listen to audiophile or vocal and would like to get sweet sound, we can default to Minimum phase soft knee. If you are listen to pop rock, we can default to Minimum phase apodising filter to get more bass impact

Option 2: Send us the case and we will make small hole on it

Phanom
Edited by Birdoffice - 4/30/14 at 9:42pm
post #8 of 94
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdoffice View Post

DrSheep. Thank for correction. It optical in that to be replace with balance out.

 

 

Sorry about that, I will update the opening post! Even better than I thought...

post #9 of 94
Thread Starter 

Did anybody manage to hear one of these bad boys at the Tokyo Fujiya event?

post #10 of 94

My bad, I have the Mezzo Soprano  AK100 and AK120 mods with me at the moment but I've not been able to spend any time with them at the moment.

post #11 of 94

Hey Anak - Just checking to see if you had any brief impressions re: your Mezzo Modded AK100 or 120??  I just picked up a 120 and am uber tempted - but feel like I'd be walking on blind faith.  (Also if you could possibly give a quick note re: battery life and if it's generally the same as the RWAK120 (I think they say 10-20% decrease??)

 

Thanks so much

post #12 of 94
Thread Starter 

I'm in the same position! Itching to hear Anak's thoughts. Got the AK120 about a month ago and really enjoy it. If this mod pushes it a decent amount further (which I don't doubt it will) it will be extremely tempting!

post #13 of 94

I'm truly sorry to both you and BirdOffice. I've actually not spent much time listening to them at all. I did bring them to show them to a Japanese audio enthusiast who sat down and listened to it for a couple of hours quietly by himself jotting down notes.

 

I haven't owned the (RW)AK100 and AK120 for 6 months and more and therefore reluctant to make any comparisons of these MS-AK1x0's to the original AK versions, instead this year I've been playing with the ZX1 & AK240 more.

 

I can comment a few things about the non-technical aspects of these products but please bear in mind that these versions I have in my hands are pre-production. Some of the changes I'm already aware Mezzo Soprano has done include improving the volume dial which I had some concerns with. In these versions I have with me, there was a delay into the volume dials which are quite sensitive (and now have a limit to the turn). The delay has been fixed and therefore reduces the chance of overblasting your ear.

 

The other is the digital filter toggle switch at the bottom of which I'm concerned of breaking.

 

 

 

 

 

post #14 of 94
Few customers in South East Asia plan to provide review soon.

Many thank for AnakChan on your help so far.
post #15 of 94

So I'm doing some very brief comparisons of the MS-AK120 with the HM-901 (balanced amp module but used with SE-terminated FitEar MH335DW-SR). Live notes therefore please take with a large pinch of salt. My thoughts aren't reviewed, rereviewed, nor aggregated.

 

Note I do not have the AK120 with me anymore therefore no AK120 <-> MS-AK120 comparisons. I only have my HM-901 which I feel is a closer fair comparison whilst the NW-ZX1 has a different (brighter by comparison) signature.

 

Firstly though it's an MS-AK120 vs MS-AK120 comparison, more precisely just comparing with the digital filter off & on.

- With the filter on, I find the sound seems more analogue-ish and smoother however the trebles seem a little more veiled.

- With the filter off, the track sounds a tad more "fresh out of the recording studio" clean. It's not exactly clinical but feels more "produced". Tonally feels more balanced though compared to the filter on (but not as tonally balanced as the HM-901...more on that later). I think I do prefer with the filter off.

 

Compared to the HM-901 (low gain, HD setting)

- the HM-901 has more body, a little more forward in the mids and extends further in the trebles

- overall the HM-901 has the "bigger sound" (i.e. fills the stage more robustly) & more fluid

 

I'd like to think the MS-AK120 is a step improvement from the stock AK120 but without a side-by-side I can't confirm that. It's however still a step behind the HM-901/balance amp module. This is at least with my sonic preferences. However other non-sonic aspects, HM-901 user interface is cumbersome compared to the (MS)AK120.

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