Wow, thanks guys for the intensive reviews. However, I guess I have to say that I am extremely disappointed with the results. The fact that you both feel that the old AK120 beats both the new AK100/120 II doesn't say a whole lot for either of them in terms of SQ. I know that you both are fans of the old AK120, so it may just be a signature thing, but the fact that the featherweight X5 and DX90 can both consistently beat or tie the expensive old AK120 in reviews doesn't say a whole lot about the newer AK II models. I might as well continue using my X5 and DX90 and be happy that we cannot beat the sound quality they provide without paying an additional $3K or lugging around a brick.
The AK240 is the first DAP in a long time to stand toe to toe with the undisputed SQ champion, the HM-901 balanced. Given that the 901 is an ugly, poor ergonomically designed brick, I was really hoping to get close to that level of SQ with a more useful and attractive design with the new AK100 II at a similar price point. However, it is clear that AK has gimped their AK100/120 II models - even though they sport the same hardware design - so that they could justify the extremely stupid AK240 pricetag. I guess we will have to wait to see what the X7 has to offer next year.
I should point out that you guys did miss one important review item - the SE vs. balanced out for the AK240, AK120 II, and the AK100 II. Was the balanced output providing significant SQ value or was it just a marketing ploy? This was significant for the HM-901 in terms of hitting maximum sound quality. Maybe the AK100 II balanced out would wipe the floor with the old AK120, who knows?