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Brand Spanking New A&K AK120II and AK100II - Page 15

post #211 of 6527
It is moving faster compared to few years back. The emergence of Calyx with their M, Sony with their ZX1, Cowon with the new Plenue P1 and Pono is a proof of that. If it wasn't for AK, I doubt the high end portable audio market would move as fast as it has today. Mostly due to their widespread marketing despite how some of us might cringe at that.

The term luxury is subjective. Some would see the price as a factor, or branding, or build quality, etc.
If so, the AK would have fulfilled all criteria except for their customer/product support. I doubt any DAP has fulfilled ALL criteria to be termed as luxury, except maybe for Sony ZX1.
post #212 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post


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.

 

Sorry for being slightly off topic, but where is this information from?

post #213 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by likearake View Post

Sorry for being slightly off topic, but where is this information from?

Haha I think we are the ones who have been strayingoff topic.
Gotten from one of their AK Facebook page.
post #214 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post

It is moving faster compared to few years back. The emergence of Calyx with their M, Sony with their ZX1, Cowon with the new Plenue P1 and Pono is a proof of that. If it wasn't for AK, I doubt the high end portable audio market would move as fast as it has today. Mostly due to their widespread marketing despite how some of us might cringe at that.

The term luxury is subjective. Some would see the price as a factor, or branding, or build quality, etc.
If so, the AK would have fulfilled all criteria except for their customer/product support. I doubt any DAP has fulfilled ALL criteria to be termed as luxury, except maybe for Sony ZX1.

I'm probably annoying a number of users, so I will step out after this. The DAP market is slower than it was in all the years up to the release of the iPod touch. After that, only Apple kept the middle alive. Hi-res has fuelled a FEW makers to get back into the game. But in no market where a hi-end brand exists, do self-respecting hi-end brands devalue their own products, nor their customers- that is, unless they come from markets where there is only one choice and that company/service can do whatever they wish. But luxury brands/services do NOT exist in those markets. 

 

AK's decision to update/upgrade/devalue their products is arbitrary. It is not a good reaction to the low end of the market, and is ridiculous against the hi-end. They are not making products that people will swear by. They are making products that people will swear at. 

post #215 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post
 

I'm probably annoying a number of users, so I will step out after this. The DAP market is slower than it was in all the years up to the release of the iPod touch. After that, only Apple kept the middle alive. Hi-res has fuelled a FEW makers to get back into the game. But in no market where a hi-end brand exists, do self-respecting hi-end brands devalue their own products, nor their customers- that is, unless they come from markets where there is only one choice and that company/service can do whatever they wish. But luxury brands/services do NOT exist in those markets. 

 

AK's decision to update/upgrade/devalue their products is arbitrary. It is not a good reaction to the low end of the market, and is ridiculous against the hi-end. They are not making products that people will swear by. They are making products that people will swear at. 

 

Precisely the reason I am returning mines. It's unfortunate really. The advertisement for the AK240 is "Be the ultimate" and yet I have a feeling just a few months down the line the AK240 MK II is gonna come out so we can all "Be the ultimate, again!". 

post #216 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

I'm probably annoying a number of users...

Shigzeo I think you are spot on with iriver possibly starting to self destructing the high-end/luxury brand image they successfully built with AK100/120/240. As a customer who bought 100, 120, and "ultimately" 240 I'm really appalled by seeing a 100/120 Mark 2 that are gonna perform very close/identical to my "ultimate" purchase just a few months ago. Instead of a loyal customer who would always go for their product, I am becoming a skeptical customer who will rather wait for the cheaper alternative to whatever ultimatimities they drop on us next.

From my business world, I often assess company performances and their strategic and financial viability. While not in this specific segment, to me, in my rational mind, iriver just signalled that maybe they aren't that bullish on even the medium term of profitability in this market and is trying to squeeze out the most bucks with their AK brand and hype in the short term. They either aren't confident the audiophile DAP market has much headroom to grow, or they aren't confident they can produce meaningful improvement upon what they have done thus far, or they fear disruptive competition will be here too soon to make it worthwhile to continue to build the brand and loyalty, and decided to cash out as much as quickly as possible.

Or they are simply THAT arrogant thinking they have so much command in the market and that no they can have their cake and eat it too, thinking they can invent a "fast-food luxury market".... :angry:
Edited by kkcc - 5/22/14 at 12:04am
post #217 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkcc View Post


Shigzeo I think you are spot on with iriver possibly starting to self destructing the high-end/luxury brand image they successfully built with AK100/120/240. As a customer who bought 100, 120, and "ultimately" 240 I'm really appalled by seeing a 100/120 Mark 2 that are gonna perform very close/identical to my "ultimate" purchase just a few months ago. Instead of a loyal customer who would always go for their product, I am becoming a skeptical customer who will rather wait for the cheaper alternative to whatever ultimatimities they drop on us next.

From my business world, I often assess company performances and their strategic and financial viability. While not in this specific segment, to me, in my rational mind, iriver just signalled that maybe they aren't that bullish on even the medium term of profitability in this market and is trying to squeeze out the most bucks with their AK brand and hype in the short term. They either aren't confident the audiophile DAP market has much headroom to grow, or they aren't confident they can produce meaningful improvement upon what they have done thus far, or they fear disruptive competition will be here too soon to make it worthwhile to continue to build the brand and loyalty, and decided to cash out as much as quickly as possible.

Or they are simply THAT arrogant thinking they have so much command in the market and that no they can have their cake and eat it too, thinking they can invent a "fast-food luxury market".... :angry:

What's the name of the AK employee that often posts on the 240 thread?  Perhaps he would care to comment here?

post #218 of 6527

Finally, some A&K customers are starting to wake from their hypnotic trances. Why its taken so long is a mystery, but at least it's finally happening.

 

The A&K branding exercise has been artificially choreographed, all along, as an attempt to sell slick, but technically ordinary, hardware at exorbitant prices, to those with money to burn.

 

I've always objected to this contrived and disingenuous approach to business, but have nonetheless had respect for the engineering staff who, for the most part, have produced some very nicely-engineered compact DAPs, which isn't easy to do. My issue with A&K is not with their engineers, but with the marketing, overall ethos, and attitude towards their customers as nameless, faceless cash-cows.

 

The AK120 infamously doubled the asking price of the AK100, just for adding a 2nd Wolfson chip. Many cried 'foul' but still it sold by the thousands.

 

'Be The Ultimate' was the tagline for the AK240 release, which, to anyone with even a basic understanding of psychology, glaringly smacks of deliberately exploiting people's Freudian insecurities.

 

I've been unpopular for stating some of these opinions, in the past, invariably being shouted-down by A&K fans, who've told me if I can't afford an AK DAP I should leave it to those who can afford it. There's a degree of legitimacy to that argument, but it has always overlooked the core point that it is not the cost of A&K DAPs, per se, which is the issue, but rather whether that cost is legitimately justified by the hardware, and, even more than that, whether the company is ethical in it's marketing, ethos, and attitude towards customers.

 

Although I've been shouted-down by many A&K fans, I actually have some sympathy (not much, but some) for those A&K customers who've shelled-out close to $3000 bucks for an AK240, only to have their 'Ultimate' purchase devalued, mere months later, by the recent product announcements.

 

I don't like seeing people treated with casual disregard, even if those people have not necessarily seen eye-to-eye with me, in the past.

 

 

But, rather than wishing iRiver would crumble, I would be happy to see them seriously revise their company ethos and, with some humility, start remembering to treat their customers with more respect, in all aspects of their business. There is a place for AK DAPs, priced less-exorbitantly, hardware-revised less frequently, and supported better by customer services, and if these things were to come-to-pass, many more people would be amenable to their presence in the market place, and I would actually expect their yearly profits to increase as a consequence.

 

Until, and unless, that happens, the only way to make them listen is to wake from trance and start voting with one's dollars.

post #219 of 6527
Well the AK240 is still their ultimate and flagship product. AK120II is just a stripped down to some degree of the ultimate.

btw the AK120II is now on sale in iriver Korean website for 1,980,000 won.
Edited by Levanter - 5/22/14 at 3:06am
post #220 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post

Well the AK240 is still their ultimate and flagship product. AK120II is just a stripped down to some degree of the ultimate.

btw the AK120II is now on sale in iriver Korean website for 1,980,000 yen.


should it be "won" instead of "yen"? so just under 2000usd

post #221 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicHolyGhost View Post


should it be "won" instead of "yen"? so just under 2000usd

Oops my mistake lol. Yep won biggrin.gif
They have an event deal which includes IE800 and some 24 bit tracks for less than 3 million won..
post #222 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post

Well the AK240 is still their ultimate and flagship product. AK120II is just a stripped down to some degree of the ultimate.

btw the AK120II is now on sale in iriver Korean website for 1,980,000 won.

The original AK120 was "AK120, The Ultimate Joy of Music". Somehow, AK have both stripped down and pumped up, the ultimate. Which is why the next version will be, as I said, the:

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

post #223 of 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

The original AK120 was "AK120, The Ultimate Joy of Music". Somehow, AK have both stripped down and pumped up, the ultimate. Which is why the next version will be, as I said, the:


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

I doubt AK will survive before they release that version :P
post #224 of 6527
While I personally would not pay for a product from ak, I don't find what they're doing insulting or offensive. Yes they have released quite a number of products, but if you do think about it, the ak100 has been around for 2 years? The mk2 for a year perhaps. So this would be the second update. And this would be the first update to the 120 which was announced a year ago. The ak240 would still be the flagship unless i am wrong.

In essence, they have a yearly update cycle, which is about what every other big electronics company does unless i am much mistaken. Apple released a new phone each year, samsung does for each model, so does lg or htc or sony. So even if they do release the ak240 II next year, I don't see what is wrong.

After all, given a choice, I would rather have a company update their products regularly as opposed to one that sits on its butt for a few years before making a new product. Because this means that they are making innovations, improvements. Of course this is provided the revisions are improvements, and of course until we hear the new products, we have no right to comment on that.

So currently the way i see it, the only dap which i really really like now is the ak240, because it is so functional, balanced amp for headphones, the nicest sounding amp section i have heard of all daps so far, a great responsive touch interface, wireless streaming, and yes i do like the volume knob. Don't get me wrong, I'm using the fiio x5 because of its great value, but if i could afford the ak240, would i want it? Of course i would. Its the first dap IMO that doesn't make me feel like I'm using a product from the last decade.

And if i was in the market for a dap now, would i be happy? Extremely. Why? Because i get the functional capabilities of the ak240 in two much cheaper models. They aren't cheap but hey, i knew that when i decided to get an ak product. So imagine if i was a user that was willing to pay the 100/120 price, but looking for functionality of this decade, these two new products would make me really happy.

So in my opinion, the rate at which they update their products is not wrong, and the fact that they have multiple products at different price points isn't wrong either. As for the pricing, of course i wish it could be lower, but come on, I also wish that an SLK isn't going to cost a couple of hundred thousand like it is in my country.

If anything, I feel that this update has come at a good time. Why? The ak100 and 120 have nothing over their competitors now, while costing so much more. So its time to give something more, its a huge upgrade imo, and that would call for a price rise. So if youre willing to pay for it, pay for it, if not, there's fiio and ibasso, which while I love, will never give me that excellent user experience which the ak240 has given me.
post #225 of 6527

Not sure why people are raging over this.  Why wouldn't AK trickle down their new tech into new models?  One platform, scaled by feature set and price.  Sounds like win to me.  Or do you honestly think it's better for new customers that they keep selling them their inferior product at more or less the same price?  Is it good for us that they provide existing customers no upgrade path other than their top shelf AK240?  

 

You want to rage, go rage at ALO or Cypher or Apple or any number of other companies that tweak their products constantly and relaunch it as a new revision that the existing customer base runs off to buy at launch.  Complaining about a company that threw out their first go at an audiophile dap, redesigned it from scratch, got massive acclaim for it, then provided that same performance in feature and build stripped versions at lower cost?  Get over it.


Edited by Solude - 5/22/14 at 4:36am
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