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Brand Spanking New A&K AK120II and AK100II - Page 14

post #196 of 6525
Quote:
Originally Posted by streetcar View Post
 

iriver is becoming like apple, with all these parallel releases alongside their flagship item.

Actually, they release far far far more than Apple. This marks the 7th revision to the AK series in 1,5 years. That is insane. If they are not careful, they will unravel their luxury pivot. Price isn't an issue; pricing and marketing top-flight items that are then upended by hardware revisions which amount to nothing more than --edit this post-- blog action, is the problem. They are churning these things out at every whim. 

 

What can succeed an 'ultimate' player? I was so happy with AK at first. But it's ludicrous to invest in a supposedly hi-end product that has less than a half-year's life before it is upgraded. Certainly compared to iBasso/Hifiman competition, these are classy looking devices. But in terms of upholding luxury appeal, the constant iteration of current hardware like 'oops'. It's ridiculous by now and makes the hi-end look like a laughing stock. 

 

Again, it's not the price; it's the complete assault on the image, esteem, snob appeal, etc., of the luxury market- a market that I believe in and support on many product fronts. In any other product category, this wouldn't float. 

post #197 of 6525
Quote:
Originally Posted by prosperone View Post
 


I wonder if it isn't a case of a good sounding product and a maturing interface trying to find an economically viable market.  The sales volume on the 240 must have been limited by its high price.  The interface on the 100/120 was behind that of the 240.  Now perhaps the best of both worlds come together.  Pricing still seems high, however if units are trading at 20% discounts to list then they are more competitive with the 1k price point of other top players.  They still seem open to heavy competition from the likes of a DX90 type unit. 

 

I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds.  I don't really understand the strategy.  Perhaps the age of rapid prototyping and product rollout is upon us?  Not sure how this plays into brand loyalty and quality control?

The problem with the above case is that interfaces can be reprogrammed. AK don't know what they are doing at the moment. They need to stop, take a deep breath, get their heads on straight, and build to a specific vision, stick with it, and make a brand. I'm seeing Lisa engineers throwing food at Mac engineers here, and it's not good. 

post #198 of 6525
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

Actually, they release far far far more than Apple. This marks the 7th revision to the AK series in 1,5 years. That is insane. If they are not careful, they will unravel their luxury pivot. Price isn't an issue; pricing and marketing top-flight items that are then upended by hardware revisions which amount to nothing more than --edit this post-- blog action, is the problem. They are churning these things out at every whim. 

What can succeed an 'ultimate' player? I was so happy with AK at first. But it's ludicrous to invest in a supposedly hi-end product that has less than a half-year's life before it is upgraded. Certainly compared to iBasso/Hifiman competition, these are classy looking devices. But in terms of upholding luxury appeal, the constant iteration of current hardware like 'oops'. It's ridiculous by now and makes the hi-end look like a laughing stock. 

Again, it's not the price; it's the complete assault on the image, esteem, snob appeal, etc., of the luxury market- a market that I believe in and support on many product fronts. In any other product category, this wouldn't float. 
Well put. I bought my to go 334s (because of you:) and if F. E. treated the Universal IEM market with new realeases every few months lots of folks, myself included would not be happy campers.

Btw thanks listening now AK240 > 334s w 000 cable to a 1967 recording made on a shoestring only on vinyl, and it sounds wonderful!

As I finished writing, next song up a DSD of Watanabe. WOW.
Edited by Saraguie - 5/21/14 at 7:08pm
post #199 of 6525

Saraguie, you warm my heart. I'm glad you are enjoying the TG334. They are a great earphone. And the AK240 is a very nice player; it's just that I don't trust the brand/company behind it to support it very long, or to even stay in the DAP business in the long run, or to even know what they're doing. I'm part of the market that believes hi-end must be supported, or rubbed against a luxury market. Luxury is necessary. But there's kitsch luxury (what AK is doing to the market) and there is stolid, brand-investing luxury. 

post #200 of 6525
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

Actually, they release far far far more than Apple. This marks the 7th revision to the AK series in 1,5 years. That is insane. If they are not careful, they will unravel their luxury pivot. Price isn't an issue; pricing and marketing top-flight items that are then upended by hardware revisions which amount to nothing more than --edit this post-- blog action, is the problem. They are churning these things out at every whim. 

What can succeed an 'ultimate' player? I was so happy with AK at first. But it's ludicrous to invest in a supposedly hi-end product that has less than a half-year's life before it is upgraded. Certainly compared to iBasso/Hifiman competition, these are classy looking devices. But in terms of upholding luxury appeal, the constant iteration of current hardware like 'oops'. It's ridiculous by now and makes the hi-end look like a laughing stock. 

Again, it's not the price; it's the complete assault on the image, esteem, snob appeal, etc., of the luxury market- a market that I believe in and support on many product fronts. In any other product category, this wouldn't float. 

I think a better comparison is with Samsung considering Iriver's founders were initially Samsungs staff.
If compared with Samsung then their strategy isn't that different. Samsung releases many mobile variants for the market, and far frequent compared to other manufacturers as well.
post #201 of 6525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post

I think a better comparison is with Samsung considering Iriver's founders were initially Samsungs staff.
If compared with Samsung then their strategy isn't that different. Samsung releases many mobile variants for the market, and far frequent compared to other manufacturers as well.
Not being a snobbish, the moble market is not quite the same as the high end audio market.
I understand what Shigzeo means.
post #202 of 6525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post


I think a better comparison is with Samsung considering Iriver's founders were initially Samsungs staff.
If compared with Samsung then their strategy isn't that different. Samsung releases many mobile variants for the market, and far frequent compared to other manufacturers as well.

I think comparing with Samsung is unfair. I lived in Korea for two years and god... that company. They own the entire country. Literally: life insurance, cars, apartments, construction, fishing, ship building, the tallest buildings in the world- all theirs or stuff they built. And they started out as a sugar importer. Headless, humoungous, ridiculous companies like Samsung I don't even want to bring up next to iRiver.

 

But even ***sung support current products better than AK. The apt part of the comparison is that ***sung and AK overrelease and it's hard to see what they are shooting for or even if they are. They make 'ultimate' products only to supplant them with 'ultimate 2' products, as if ultimate didn't mean end, final, or most extreme. I can only imagine the marketing copy in a three years:

 

iRiver AK100 MKXXVI: THE MOST ULTIMATE DIAMOND FECKING MILF MILKING BEAUTIFUL SUPERCALAFRAGILEISTICEXPYALADOCIOUS PLAYER YOU EVER WILL HEAR MKII

 

The whole things stinks of low-end thinking trying to do luxury. At least the cases are made well.

post #203 of 6525

I think the most ridiculous aspect of all this is that despite the 7 updates, they are still sticking with USB 2.0. It would be easier to live with the reduction the number of MicroSD slots if it were quicker to swaps songs out of the device. 

post #204 of 6525

I dont own hi-end hifi. But I never see iriver in any high end hifi showrooms before. I think they just want to get all the market shares. In 2013, 1000usd for a DAP would be scolded as "overpriced". After the success of Ak240, people would think 1000usd for AK100II is a bargain. There are many people who are not willing to spend so much for AK240 but have enough to spend on AK100II to enjoy a piece of portable luxury. They are the same people who don't want to take the risk of buying Chinese DAPs because build quality and are more trusting to Sony, IRiver or Cowon. It is normal to continue to churn out new things to keep the revenue flowing in when people are always looking for the next big thing.

post #205 of 6525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saraguie View Post

Not being a snobbish, the moble market is not quite the same as the high end audio market.
I understand what Shigzeo means.

Apple is mainly a mobile market as well, yet AK is compared to them. I don't see any reason why they can't be compared to Samsung as well?
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

I think comparing with Samsung is unfair. I lived in Korea for two years and god... that company. They own the entire country. Literally: life insurance, cars, apartments, construction, fishing, ship building, the tallest buildings in the world- all theirs or stuff they built. And they started out as a sugar importer. Headless, humoungous, ridiculous companies like Samsung I don't even want to bring up next to iRiver.

But even ***sung support current products better than AK. The apt part of the comparison is that ***sung and AK overrelease and it's hard to see what they are shooting for or even if they are. They make 'ultimate' products only to supplant them with 'ultimate 2' products, as if ultimate didn't mean end, final, or most extreme. I can only imagine the marketing copy in a three years:

iRiver AK100 MKXXVI: THE MOST ULTIMATE DIAMOND FECKING MILF MILKING BEAUTIFUL SUPERCALAFRAGILEISTICEXPYALADOCIOUS PLAYER YOU EVER WILL HEAR MKII

The whole things stinks of low-end thinking trying to do luxury. At least the cases are made well.

As you've said, Samsung practically owns the whole country. They have decades of experience, resources and technologically superior in many electronic areas. AK is only a small and newly set up company. For what they've been releasing so far, their products build quality is definitely way higher than Samsung although i agree their support sucks.
And while many complain on the prices of DAPs, I don't see the same level of criticism aimed at headphones. There are headphones that cost way more than the 240 which I think are even more ridiculous.

Besides, hyping and marketing their own product is normal. I see Apple and Samsung do that every so often.
post #206 of 6525

Levanter: I don't think people would complain about price if AK supported their devices through seasons. If Shure released the SE846 at 999$, calling it the best ultimatest earphone EVAR, then released a MKII just months later, calling it the best EVAR, and using different technology, people would be out of their pants with rage. There is no analogue in the non-Xin non-DIY audio world for what AK are doing. It's not just price: it's the complete ignorance of their own products, the inability to stick with it, and a complete lack of control over every ejaculatory urge to upgrade/change a part. 

post #207 of 6525

Bcos it is really just a mass produced product with off-the-shelf parts and price/tag as high end. it is unlike there were years of research going into it. Correct me if I am wrong.

post #208 of 6525
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

Levanter: I don't think people would complain about price if AK supported their devices through seasons. If Shure released the SE846 at 999$, calling it the best ultimatest earphone EVAR, then released a MKII just months later, calling it the best EVAR, and using different technology, people would be out of their pants with rage. There is no analogue in the non-Xin non-DIY audio world for what AK are doing. It's not just price: it's the complete ignorance of their own products, the inability to stick with it, and a complete lack of control over every ejaculatory urge to upgrade/change a part. 

Well the DAP market is moving fairly fast. I don't blame them for coming up with something better and innovative in a short time frame to compete with other manufacturers. They are a business seeking tomake profits after all.
I see the AK100 and AK120 as a separate market segment, I agree they're both expensive but the 120 targeting to a higher end market, now superceded by the 240.
And I have criticised in their FB page several times on their ****ty support on their devices. I think that's poorly done on their part.
that being said, they have announced there will be a big firmware update for the 100 and 120 soon, so I guess we'll see how that plays out.
post #209 of 6525

I'm mad as hell at Astell & Kern. I've only had the AK-240,a few months, and they go ahead and release these new models already.it doesn't show any loyalty,to there customers.it will be a very long time before I buy one of there products again.

post #210 of 6525

The DAP market isn't moving as fast as you think it is. iBasso release yearly updates, if that. Hifiman, less than that. Each has tiers it supports. Apple the same. You don't rush to market because of what competitors are doing unless you want a flip-flapping customers, who run to the latest thing, you, someone else, or no one. You make products that stand on their own feet, fill out a market only they can fill, and you say no to side projects that only ruin your brand or lose focus for your. 

 

Again, price isn't an issue: engineering ejaculation and low-end marketing, in inability to wait, a team that hit 'edit' every time they want- these are symptoms that DON'T affect high-end. That is, haven't affected hi-end. I understand that the relevance of European/American business standards and practices is falling in the world and I see that as a problem. Asia still hasn't recovered from the progress-at-all-costs mentality and that impacts poorly image, support, marketability. 

 

iRiver are currently the only producer of a 'hi-end' DAP. Calyx are entering the market. I fear for Calyx, too, because it comes from the same place. If luxury only means price, then ejaculatory production is A-okay. Have at it, iRiver. But if luxury has a deeper meaning (and it does), then AK are failing. It's not about competition; luxury rarely is. It's about doing things right: by your customers, by your brand, by the market niche you profess to belong to.

 

AK fail all luxury litmus tests. 

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