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Brand Spanking New A&K AK120II and AK100II - Page 17

post #241 of 6523
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkcc View Post


You are right. I haven't been buying totl phones (Samsung, Sony, HTC, etc) at launch for a while as their prices drop so quickly... maybe only exception is the iPhone. Never in a million albums would I imagine my niche audiophile DAPs following this product management cycle.... I guess this is good for the general consumers!

Still... 3 mths and boom same dac/amp circuitry and most of the same features for $700 less!! I guess is JUST a bit harder to stomach than say galaxy S5 coming 12 myths after S4 with incremental spec changes but at basically same msrp.


I feel your pain, kkcc. Smart phone is a consumer product for developed countries and the market is huge. It is different to thousands dollars DAP for audiophiles. As for the current pricing, AK240 is still the TOP. Whereas which one is better sounding, it is all subjective anyway.

post #242 of 6523
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. 


Too the contrary - This is an excellent conversation and probably more meaningful than most that can be had at this time.

post #243 of 6523
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post


Well according to 1 Chinese reviewer, he mentioned the 120II sounded better than the 240 with PCM biggrin.gif

 

He just commented that he prefers the warmer/more organic sound signature of the AK120 MkII over the AK100 MkII and AK240 which sounds more analytical to him which is similar to how the old AK120 sounds compared to AK100 and AK240 (AK120 has a warmer sounding amp). He did not comment that the quality is definitely above the AK240, so we still have to wait for a real audition to find out. But if the hardware design and components are the same as the AK240, it would at most be on par in terms of sound quality short of having the other additional hi-res native DSD playback feature as well as the better quality casing/design, more internal storage space and better battery life (for native DSD playback).

 

IMO I still feel AK240 costing more than the AK120 MkII for those additional stuff is justifiable as the premium flagship device. You guys keep mentioning about AK120 MkII dethroning the "premium luxury" label of AK240 over such a short time. But doesn't luxury also mean exactly those additional non-essential features which isn't found on the other DAPs? That's what luxury means and that is what AK240 is about. I fail to see how it is being dethroned. The two newer AK100 MkII and AK120 MkII are meant for more mainstream adoption at lower price points with entry level storage, lack of native DSD playback and a more normal chassis build quality. AK is trying to leverage on the the new Cirrus DAC sound technology they have just engineered in AK240 and to bring it to the older AK100/120 series as an upgrade, so everyone at various price points can get to enjoy it. I think the main complaint of some current AK240 owners is that they feel "cheated" and regretted of paying the high cost and now a cheaper version with similar SQ is coming out as AK120 MkII. But they have forgotten that buying AK240 is not just about the premium sound quality. If pure sound quality to cost ratio is all you care about, then AK240 is not the right product for you because it clearly shows that you don't care about the other non-essential features. Personally, I dig at the better more compact design/chassis and native DSD playback with higher internal storage of the AK240 over the AK120 MkII. If I am a new user now and is to choose between AK240 and AK120 MkII, I would still choose the AK240 for those reasons alone even if it means paying more. The AK120 MkII is more for utilitarian purpose and the design looks very unimaginative, whereas AK240 is all about luxury and uniqueness. At the end of the day, we need to re-examine what is the reason we buy/are thinking of buying the AK240 instead of bashing/ranting at AK for launching the Mark IIs.

post #244 of 6523
It's not really about which is better.

It is the fact AK have release new models so soon at all and create this situation for customers.
post #245 of 6523
I wish I could return mine . I'd buy a sony or hm-901
post #246 of 6523
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL View Post

It's not really about which is better.

It is the fact AK have release new models so soon at all and create this situation for customers.

 

If that is the case, then why are we seeing people complaining since it is not about which is better? If you don't like the newer models, then pick the model you like with features that suit your usage best. The new models are not cannibalizing the current models if that is what people seem to be complaining about. More models now means more choices and features fitting different price ranges with the new features, isn't that good? The Mk IIs now also have balanced out which some people are looking for in DAPs. If you don't need those features, then don't buy it. Buy one of the other DAPs that suit your needs.


Edited by Bluebear - 5/22/14 at 9:25am
post #247 of 6523

As of right now and the forceable future, including the forthcoming AK120 III, (because of Titan) the 240 is still the top of the line... period. There are four features that set apart. Memory, DSD, case material and the last IMO is looks.

 

The sound, most ASS/U/ME is the going to be the same. The jury is out on that.

 

I'm still a little pissed, or rather my ego is about the 120III being closer.

 

You people who don't own one, while you are entitled to your opinions, do not know how really good the 240 sounds. Test drives are fine, but like a car you have to put a few hundred miles on to really know what your driving.

 

And these of us who own it or not, we could be thinking this way........when we go to a movie theater and pay $15. for a ticket, or Las Vegas and put money in a slot machine, pay to park in a lot and go to a concert (ticket cost too), or pay to enjoy any other type of pleasure pursuit, we are paying a price for our enjoyment, that is a cost that leaves our pockets emptier than before.  It is not a monetary investment, it is an investment in pleasure to enhance the quality of our life.

 

Everyday the new car we drive depreciates X number of dollars and in a few years it is worth 40% of what we paid. But we got the use of the car for that period of time to show for our payment.

 

This is the other side of the argument. I do agree with Shigezo that building a high end premium brand takes a different approach than what AK is doing, and they could blow up the success they are enjoying now.  iRiver beware.....  

post #248 of 6523
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saraguie View Post

As of right now and the forceable future, including the forthcoming AK120 III, (because of Titan) the 240 is still the top of the line... period. There are four features that set apart. Memory, DSD, case material and the last IMO is looks.

The sound, most ASS/U/ME is the going to be the same. The jury is out on that.

I'm still a little pissed, or rather my ego is about the 120III being closer.

You people who don't own one, while you are entitled to your opinions, do not know how really good the 240 sounds. Test drives are fine, but like a car you have to put a few hundred miles on to really know what your driving.

And these of us who own it or not, we could be thinking this way........when we go to a movie theater and pay $15. for a ticket, or Las Vegas and put money in a slot machine, pay to park in a lot and go to a concert (ticket cost too), or pay to enjoy any other type of pleasure pursuit, we are paying a price for our enjoyment, that is a cost that leaves our pockets emptier than before.  It is not a monetary investment, it is an investment in pleasure to enhance the quality of our life.

Everyday the new car we drive depreciates X number of dollars and in a few years it is worth 40% of what we paid. But we got the use of the car for that period of time to show for our payment.

This is the other side of the argument. I do agree with Shigezo that building a high end premium brand takes a different approach than what AK is doing, and they could blow up the success they are enjoying now.  iRiver beware.....  
I concur a 1000%, our resell value will be in the toilet.
post #249 of 6523

Ah, ok. I think I see what the problem is here. Here's my analysis of the situation...correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Astell and Kern releases an initial flawed product at a - for the time - high price, the AK100, with mixed reviews about the sound. People complain about the price, but they are told to be quiet because this is the free market at work.

 

The AK120 is released, bringing an additional sub-$10 DAC chip, and the circuitry to make it work. The price is double that of the AK100. People complain about the price, but they are told to be quiet because this is the free market at work.

 

The AK100 MKII is released, fixing the extreme OI of the original but adding not a single extra feature. However, instead of following Meridian's example where they replaced their high OI Explorer units with revised ones for free, the AK100 MKII is priced at hundreds more than the original AK100. People complain about the price, but they are told to be quiet because this is the free market at work.

 

The AK240 is released, with a framework that is essentially a mix between the Sony ZX1 and the AK120. It uses the core Android system for its OS, but a severely handicapped version (in my opinion). It switches the DAC chips used from the AK100 & AK120's WM8740, over to the CS4398 DAC chips. Another interesting thing that is done is the decision to use an additional processing core to allow for native DSD playback. I call it an interesting decision, since the CS4398 chips are fully capable of DSD decoding and conversion:

 

Quote:

Description
The CS4398 is a complete stereo 24 bit/192 kHz digital- to-analog system. This D/A system includes 
digital de- emphasis, half dB step size volume control, ATAPI channel mixing, selectable fast and 
slow digital interpo- lation filters followed by an oversampled multi-bit delta- sigma modulator 
that includes mismatch shaping tech- nology that eliminates distortion due to capacitor mismatch. 
Following this stage is a multi-element switched capacitor stage and low pass filter with differ- 
ential analog outputs.

The CS4398 also has an proprietary DSD processor that allows for volume control and 50 kHz on-chip 
filter- ing without an intermediate decimation stage. It also offers an optional path for direct 
DSD conversion by di- rectly using the multi-element switched capacitor array.

The CS4398 accepts PCM data at sample rates from 32 kHz to 216 kHz, DSD audio data, has selectable 
dig- ital filters, consumes little power, and delivers excellent sound quality.

 

 

http://www.cirrus.com/en/pubs/proDatasheet/CS4398_F1.pdf

 

 

The AK240 also introduces wireless streaming, a feature that can be found on the Google Play store via free apps, and a hi-res music store to go along with its balanced output. The price is between $2300 and $2700 dollars on release. For comparison the Sony ZX1, a device that some would argue is every bit as good and well engineered as the AK240...and has full Android support, costs $700. People complain about the price and the trends A&K may spark in the audio industry, but they are told to be quiet because this is the free market at work.

 

 

Fast forward less than 5 months, and the new AK100 and AK120 models are released, carrying very similar architecture to the AK240. Ak240 owners are understandably upset because the value of their still-new devices will suffer. 

 

To that I say...

 

Why the big fuss? This is the free market at work.

post #250 of 6523

Funny thing about that free market.  The pricing on the top end products has created hesitation on my part to pull the trigger (I find the sound quality to be excellent and the interface sufficient).  In the meantime the weather has become nicer so I'm wearing less jackets and carrying fewer bags.  As a result I've been spending a lot less time with my brick and a lot more time with my ipod Shuffle.  I know the sound isn't as great, but you know what its so small I hardly know I have it.  Frankly with less memory I'm forced to be more selective in what I listen to, and hence more purposeful in my actions. 

post #251 of 6523
Quote:
eke's hammer aka mjolnir (Click to show)

Ah, ok. I think I see what the problem is here. Here's my analysis of the situation...correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Astell and Kern releases an initial flawed product at a - for the time - high price, the AK100, with mixed reviews about the sound. People complain about the price, but they are told to be quiet because this is the free market at work.

 

The AK120 is released, bringing an additional sub-$10 DAC chip, and the circuitry to make it work. The price is double that of the AK100. People complain about the price, but they are told to be quiet because this is the free market at work.

 

The AK100 MKII is released, fixing the extreme OI of the original but adding not a single extra feature. However, instead of following Meridian's example where they replaced their high OI Explorer units with revised ones for free, the AK100 MKII is priced at hundreds more than the original AK100. People complain about the price, but they are told to be quiet because this is the free market at work.

 

The AK240 is released, with a framework that is essentially a mix between the Sony ZX1 and the AK120. It uses the core Android system for its OS, but a severely handicapped version (in my opinion). It switches the DAC chips used from the AK100 & AK120's WM8740, over to the CS4398 DAC chips. Another interesting thing that is done is the decision to use an additional processing core to allow for native DSD playback. I call it an interesting decision, since the CS4398 chips are fully capable of DSD decoding and conversion:

 

 

http://www.cirrus.com/en/pubs/proDatasheet/CS4398_F1.pdf

 

 

The AK240 also introduces wireless streaming, a feature that can be found on the Google Play store via free apps, and a hi-res music store to go along with its balanced output. The price is between $2300 and $2700 dollars on release. For comparison the Sony ZX1, a device that some would argue is every bit as good and well engineered as the AK240...and has full Android support, costs $700. People complain about the price and the trends A&K may spark in the audio industry, but they are told to be quiet because this is the free market at work.

 

 

Fast forward less than 5 months, and the new AK100 and AK120 models are released, carrying very similar architecture to the AK240. Ak240 owners are understandably upset because the value of their still-new devices will suffer. 

 

To that I say...

 

Why the big fuss? This is the free market at work.

 

Well f***ing said... +10000.

post #252 of 6523
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberOzL View Post

eke's hammer aka mjolnir (Click to show)
Well f***ing said... +10000.
Sure, I also love the free market, I'm a huge fan of Capitalism, markets at work. And as a consumer, in that market, I choose to ignore companies that sandbag there customers. They only released the AK-240 a few short months ago. I have zero problems, with a company, releasing new products, but in some what of a timely manner. And this consumer, will not be fooled a second time.
post #253 of 6523

Hey guys, am I the only one who feels that judgment is premature at this point?  Specs notwithstanding, none of us here have heard the new units, nor taken the time to compare them via A/B.  If we are to live up to our mantra of SQ being first and foremost, should we not at least have more information there before passing judgment?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post

Well according to 1 Chinese reviewer, he mentioned the 120II sounded better than the 240 with PCM biggrin.gif

 

I've heard multiple people say the same about the AK120, which I don't agree with.


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post #254 of 6523
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post
 

Hey guys, am I the only one who feels that judgment is premature at this point?  Specs notwithstanding, none of us here have heard the new units, nor taken the time to compare them via A/B.  If we are to live up to our mantra of SQ being first and foremost, should we not at least have more information there before passing judgment?

 

 

I've heard multiple people say the same about the AK120, which I don't agree with.

I think you've been reading only part of the thread. Many of us don't even care about the SQ at this point; it's the absurdity of an 'ultimate' brand-topping product being released too early, then revised - multiple times - at the customers' expense, then when gotten just right, released as a higher end version... which has its own problems, and is then tended to by a new hardware release to fix problems in earlier versions. That, and the fact that iRiver are charging luxury prices and giving a Dr. Xin experience: you never know which is the current version. There is no idea of what AK or iRiver stand for or behind. SQ is, for the most part, out of this conversation. Many of us have heard the 240 and 'old' (not even a year old) 120 that's been updated now over three times (WTF?) and like what we hear. But the way the brand is being handled is disgusting. The way customers are being treated is disgusting. 

post #255 of 6523
Oh for the love of peat (scotch whisky) all I want is a DAP that sounds good.

They say the longer one contemplates a purchase, the less likely is commitment. I have this far read far too many posts regarding market strategy (or evident lack thereof) and bot enough about the player's sonic capabilities; it is hard not to feel dissuaded.
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