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Brand Spanking New A&K AK120II and AK100II - Page 40

post #586 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberOzL View Post
 


Titan with its massive storage would be perfect deal with reduced price. I wish I had money to get one :frown:

Yes, probably you should go for Titan.  Or else, buy more mini SDs.

post #587 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by flymetothemoon View Post
 

Yes, probably you should go for Titan.  Or else, buy more mini SDs.


By the time I have money to buy Titan, I am not sure they will be still selling it, we will see :happy_face1:

post #588 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberOzL View Post


By the time I have money to buy Titan, I am not sure they will be still selling it, we will see happy_face1.gif

What are you using right now Ozan?
post #589 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraftyClown View Post


What are you using right now Ozan?


Trusty old Clip+ and an iPod Classic. Clip+ is good for portability and it is the best value dap around while iPC gives quite a lot of storage (I value storage very highly).

 

Both of them are Rockbox'd. For the moment with my student wallet, can't get something better so I am trying to finish this bloody master and get a job, then we will see :happy_face1:

post #590 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlterSack View Post
 

What I find REALLY disappointing and IMHO not good business conduct is that although it is absolutely clear that the new AK100 II and AK120 II will come into shops very soon - on the German homepage at least AK does not give one single hint that they will be offering the new players very soon. They still offer the old AK100, Ak120, Titan and 240 at the full price of course. They also still give all the reviews about the old 100 and 120 - now there are just the first german reviews to be found about the 240 ...

 

If someone bought an old one now because of simple lack of knowledge about the new players they probably would be pretty upset.

 

And please - I am aware that some of You think that everybody has to be 150% totally informed about everything that is going on in the market and therefore it is his own fault if he bought an outdated DAP now for the full price. I do not think so because there are people (customers) who do NOT speak english (thus not being able to read in head-fi.org) or do NOT have the opportunity to go to trade shows. Considering that a large part of the AK-sales is being done via Internet this means that there is just no information about the new players / product change.

 

BTW - the same pattern applied a year ago when the AK00 MKII was being offered (at the beginnging) first additionally to the AK100.

 

So I would expect from AK to provide this bit of information on their homepage - something like "New AK100 and AK120 to be sold soon" or something similar.

 

I would like to compare this with a different market: When BMW or  Mercedes or any other car company plan to introduce a new model or to give the old model a face-lift they develop the model and then go touring all trade shows while providing the public and all the dealers with the information that  in x months time the new model will be sold. From this day on the old model will of course still be sold - but customers can choose if they want to go with the old model, have it earlier and save some money on it or if the want to wait for the new model.

This would be business conduct that is acceptable to me when introducing model changes.

Being a BMW owner - I love this comparison - truly.

 

BUT:

 

I realize, in my haste (though @warrenpchi and I were as thorough as we could possibly be in our discovery methodology  - from gain-matching to making sure NO variable changed during our listening tests, etc...)

that I went against one of my golden rules when it comes to reviewing/analyzing/critical listening here!

 

Coming up under Harry Pearson at TAS (The Absolute Sound) and learning from the man who actually coined the term "high end audio" - and also created the language that many of us use today to describe things sonically (in case some here didn't know) - from phrases like micro and macro-dynamics to detail retrieval to "soundstage" - he always used the same reference system when evaluating a component (the system would evolve - but he would never change more than one variable at a time) - however:

 

He and I disagree when it comes to one thing (as I fall into the school of thought of Roy Gregory here, Founder of HiFi+ Magazine - where my Sonic Satori column was born when it was just a UK publication and before TAS owned it): And that is that we are NEVER hearing just one component! Meaning we're always listening to a system, and that systems synergy. Which is why I almost always say "and my system sounded like THIS... when I used the____". Because system synergy is EVERYTHING! We could all end up with differing results  - because of our individualistic observations - and our system interface differences (cables, cans, etc.). 

 

So I wanted everybody here to know that I feel completely comfortable with our findings - especially since Warren and I did not know we had the same exact preference order! We just got everything loaded with test tracks together, level-matched, and then drifted into our own worlds listening and listening, then taking notes, and then writing our findings..

 

But, the point here is: NOTHING SAID IS ABSOLUTE. 

I think we have a strong sonic road-map here - but it's always possible anybody here will hear differently, and so I wanted to remind you all of that...

 

Here I am now, listening to the Audio360 AK240 with:

 

Nordost Heimdall 2 headphone cable (same cable used in my tests above, as I found it, compared to my beloved DHC and Moon Audio cables, when used with the AK240, gave me more dynamic range, a lower noise-floor, and overall greater detail retrieval - not to mention bass weight and velocity. and Warren heard it too! I wanted to be sure I wasn't crazy though I've been using Nordost since 1996.

 

Audeze LCD-XC (as opposed to my LCD-X, which I used along with my JH-13 Freqphase IEMs for these tests - because when I do studio work I always reach for the LCD-X, as it's a KILLER reference, and so does Grammy-Award winning producer/engineer Frank Filipetti too BTW - use his LCD-X in the studio along with his monitors)

 

and I'm listening to a few of my main reference tracks along with the tracks I used for the tests above.

This time including:

 

"Black Swan" - Thom Yorke - off Eraser

The Haxan Cloak "Excavation" - off Consumed (also used this in the tests above) - this track has such amazing low-end detail, open airy lower-mids, and a complex composition of found sounds that tells you RIGHT AWAY about your systems resolving capabilities!

 

and I gotta tell you - with my LCD-XC, the bass impact and weight of the AK240 is far greater! I'm also experiencing some of the tracks in a new way (which is par for the course with a different set of cans) obviously because I'm using a closed can. It's like changing to a sealed-box sub woofer in many ways - as opposed to a ported one...

 

So, having spent so much time on this - I also wanted to say I don't think my findings would be any different - BUT - it's amazing how much different things can get by changing one thing.

Hell, even the barometric pressure can change the sonic characteristics of your gear at any given time! I know, it sounds nuts - but it's true!

 

So remember, as I also say in my Hi-fi reviews: IF you can, be sure to try and take a listen for yourself. This is also why I never say anything is "best" because my best will differ from your best, and that's what makes this so much fun (well, a part of it).

 

But I felt like I left this message out of my original tests due to time restraints (really - if I could I would've paid for another day for me and Warren at the hotel - but we spent a great deal of time on this - I just wanted to be as transparent as possible because I care so much for this community!

 

PLAY ON! 

and I'm having FUN this morning!

need more sleep

 

but... I get to play loud and not wake my wife up!

I LOVE this hobby.

my friend Rebekah hearing my LCD-2 w/ Fazor for the first time w/ the AK240 - 

and then my CEntrance HiFi-M8 (w/ iPod Classic as storage)

 

love getting reactions like THAT!!!!

post #591 of 1871
Quote:

Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post

 

SO sorry I didn't have my Double Helix Cable balanced cables set-up specifically for the AK240 and others with me!

I didn't know we'd have this chance - BUT:

 

I am going to do a follow-up review on the AK240 to Warren and Michael's original  - as well as do a balanced performance review!

That will be me, Warren, and Ethan on Audio360.org!

 

That coverage of balanced output is going to be interesting... ;)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlterSack View Post
 

What I find REALLY disappointing and IMHO not good business conduct is that although it is absolutely clear that the new AK100 II and AK120 II will come into shops very soon - on the German homepage at least AK does not give one single hint that they will be offering the new players very soon. They still offer the old AK100, Ak120, Titan and 240 at the full price of course.

 

Well, to be fair, we've had all of the new players featured on the US site for a little while now.  I think A&K Germany just needs to catch up.  Also, it's worth noting that different countries/regions may have different release dates and/or availability.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flymetothemoon View Post
 

Will AK continues to produce the original AK100Mk2 & AK120?  Or we are now seeing the "until it lasts" stocks?

 

As Warren indicated - and I have a feeling about it: I think they're going to drop the OG AK100 & AK120,

 

This actually reminds me of something I wanted to mention earlier.  Though I have not tried it myself, it's already been reported that the AK120 will accept 128GB micro SD cards... two of them.  So from a bang-for-the-buck perspective, and AK120 loaded with two 128GB cards would be quite a portable library.  I would still rather have an AK240, but just sayin', the AK120 is no slouch.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

Also:

We ALL have to remember: No matter what anybody may say - in the end we're reacting to the playback of music, an art-form - so we will interpret things differently,

and that doesn't make ANYBODY more right or wrong than the other!

 

Word.  :beerchug:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberOzL View Post
 

Titan with its massive storage would be perfect deal with reduced price. I wish I had money to get one :frown:

 

That'd be pretty good too.  :smile:

 


 

BTW, in case y'all have not seen it yet, Astell&Kern and Ultimate Ears are offering some really good bundle pricing here:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/721666/ultimate-ears-astell-kern-ultimate-bundle-deal

post #592 of 1871
@Warren,

Even though you did not say AK120 is better than 120II, but considering your preference in the 120 and also mercer's ranking similar to yours which he did say was ranked according to sonic integrity and performance. I'm assuming that means technically?

Does the 120 have a wider soundstage, better clarity, transparency, micro macro details and dynamic range compared the 120II?
Edited by Levanter - 6/6/14 at 10:14am
post #593 of 1871

For the ones interested, I found this video of someone hooking up a AK120II to a Ford car.

While I don't care about the car haha, the video does show how the UI responds. I think it looks great!

Hope that the AK100II shares the fluency of the UI without being laggy...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTW5vzOO5LI

post #594 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post

@Warren,

Even though you did not say AK120 is better than 120II, but considering your preference in the 120 and also mercer's ranking similar to yours which he did say was ranked according to sonic integrity and performance. I'm assuming that means technically?

Does the 120 have a wider soundstage, better clarity, transparency, micro macro details and dynamic range compared the 120II?

 

Just for you... :p

 

  AK120 AK120II Notes
Soundstage   No doubt about it, the AK120II has a wider soundstage.  Still not nearly as wide (or natural) as the AK240, but definitely wider than the AK120.
Imaging   While the AK120II's soundstage is more expansive in all directions, but the AK120's soundstage is more natural due to better imaging.  Put it this way, with Taylor Eigsti's "Get Your Hopes Up", the AK120 keeps them together as a trio (as they should be) - whereas the AK120II tends to push the guitarist and drummer back a few feet like they are some random session players.
Clarity Pretty much a tie.  The AK120 doesn't deliver all the sonic information available in the music like the AK120II, but it also doesn't load it with all kinds of micro detail noise that can sometimes be distracting.
Transparency   You'll hear more with the AK120II.  Just know that isn't always a good thing.  For example, on Claire Martin's rendition of "Embraceable You", I can hear the piano player's clothes rustling fairly loudly.  That's something that I could do without were it a live performance.  So I'd rather not have it in the recording.  The AK120 masks this from me.  But yes, transparency is superior with the AK120II.
Macro Detail   This is especially true in the lows and highs where the AK120II is more revealing.  With the AK120II, you'll hear low end textures and detail in the highs that just aren't there in the AK120.
Micro Detail   AK120II wins here by a wide margin... but check out Dynamic Range before you jump on the AK120II for this reason alone.
Dynamic Range (perceived)   Because the AK120 isn't always throwing a ton of micro detail at you - which tends to fill the background in a white-noise sort of way - it feels like the AK120 has a blacker background and much greater swing.  Crescendos are more thrilling with the AK120.  Specs may say otherwise, but I'm hearing what I hear - fairly consistently - and so is @mikemercer.

 

See why it's such a mixed bag here?  Each player has certain things going for/against it.  At the end of the day, the AK120 won out because it was just consistently more enjoyable for me.

 

EDIT:  At some point, @mikemercer and I both had step back from critical listening.  And when we did that, the AK120 sounded more like music whereas the AK120II was more like a sonic exhibition.  The AK120II is analytically better than the AK120, but the AK120 is just more emotive.  Believe me, I am as surprised as you are, but I just had a better time listening (not critically, just for enjoyment) with the AK120 than I did the AK120II.  Also, note, this is why I put my rankings under "Personal Preference" as opposed to "Findings."

 

HOWEVER, if you can get an AK240, GET IT.  It has none of the AK120II's shortcomings - and it most definitely kicks the AK120's ass.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonathanCandel View Post
 

Hope that the AK100II shares the fluency of the UI without being laggy...

 

It does.  :smile: 

post #595 of 1871

EDIT:  At some point, @mikemercer and I both had step back from critical listening.  And when we did that, the AK120 sounded more like music whereas the AK120II was more like a sonic exhibition.  The AK120II is analytically better than the AK120, but the AK120 is just more emotive.  Believe me, I am as surprised as you are, but I just had a better time listening (not critically, just for enjoyment) with the AK120 than I did the AK120II.  Also, note, this is why I put my rankings under "Personal Preference" as opposed to "Findings."

 

HOWEVER, if you can get an AK240, GET IT.  It has none of the AK120II's shortcomings - and it most definitely kicks the AK120's ass.

 

SO glad @warrenpchi pointed this out. It's also why I explained that, for me, it came down to which players drew me into the music more deeply = emotively powerful

 

When we just went back to listening to tunes to take a break from critically listening - it was the AK240 and AK120 for me, in terms of giving me what I often refer to as "emotive transference"!

 

and as I rock the AK240 right now, I'm with Warren again.

I've already gathered some gear to sell in order to get one!!

 

post #596 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

  AK120 AK120II Notes
Soundstage   No doubt about it, the AK120II has a wider soundstage.  Still not nearly as wide (or natural) as the AK240, but definitely wider than the AK120.
Imaging   While the AK120II's soundstage is more expansive in all directions, but the AK120's soundstage is more natural due to better imaging.  Put it this way, with Taylor Eigsti's "Get Your Hopes Up", the AK120 keeps them together as a trio (as they should be) - whereas the AK120II tends to push the guitarist and drummer back a few feet like they are some random session players.
Clarity Pretty much a tie.  The AK120 doesn't deliver all the sonic information available in the music like the AK120II, but it also doesn't load it with all kinds of micro detail noise that can sometimes be distracting.
Transparency   You'll hear more with the AK120II.  Just know that isn't always a good thing.  For example, on Claire Martin's rendition of "Embraceable You", I can hear the piano player's clothes rustling fairly loudly.  That's something that I could do without were it a live performance.  So I'd rather not have it in the recording.  The AK120 masks this from me.  But yes, transparency is superior with the AK120II.
Macro Detail   This is especially true in the lows and highs where the AK120II is more revealing.  With the AK120II, you'll hear low end textures and detail in the highs that just aren't there in the AK120.
Micro Detail   AK120II wins here by a wide margin... but check out Dynamic Range before you jump on the AK120II for this reason alone.
Dynamic Range (perceived)   Because the AK120 isn't always throwing a ton of micro detail at you - which tends to fill the background in a white-noise sort of way - it feels like the AK120 has a blacker background and much greater swing.  Crescendos are more thrilling with the AK120.  Specs may say otherwise, but I'm hearing what I hear - fairly consistently - and so is @mikemercer.

Thx once again again!!! This chart really ups my level of understanding as to what you guys heard.  As I'm a huge lover of detail in music it actually pushes me closer to the AK120II.  If you ever feel so inclined it would be great to see how the 240 layers on top of this??

post #597 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post

 

and as I rock the AK240 right now, I'm with Warren again.

I've already gathered some gear to sell in order to get one!!

 

 

It's pretty remarkable isn't it?  I didn't think we'd see (or hear) a portable player like this for at least another year, maybe two.  Imagine what the AK480 will sound like.  :p

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by prosperone View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

 

  AK120 AK120II Notes
Soundstage   No doubt about it, the AK120II has a wider soundstage.  Still not nearly as wide (or natural) as the AK240, but definitely wider than the AK120.
Imaging   While the AK120II's soundstage is more expansive in all directions, but the AK120's soundstage is more natural due to better imaging.  Put it this way, with Taylor Eigsti's "Get Your Hopes Up", the AK120 keeps them together as a trio (as they should be) - whereas the AK120II tends to push the guitarist and drummer back a few feet like they are some random session players.
Clarity Pretty much a tie.  The AK120 doesn't deliver all the sonic information available in the music like the AK120II, but it also doesn't load it with all kinds of micro detail noise that can sometimes be distracting.
Transparency   You'll hear more with the AK120II.  Just know that isn't always a good thing.  For example, on Claire Martin's rendition of "Embraceable You", I can hear the piano player's clothes rustling fairly loudly.  That's something that I could do without were it a live performance.  So I'd rather not have it in the recording.  The AK120 masks this from me.  But yes, transparency is superior with the AK120II.
Macro Detail   This is especially true in the lows and highs where the AK120II is more revealing.  With the AK120II, you'll hear low end textures and detail in the highs that just aren't there in the AK120.
Micro Detail   AK120II wins here by a wide margin... but check out Dynamic Range before you jump on the AK120II for this reason alone.
Dynamic Range (perceived)   Because the AK120 isn't always throwing a ton of micro detail at you - which tends to fill the background in a white-noise sort of way - it feels like the AK120 has a blacker background and much greater swing.  Crescendos are more thrilling with the AK120.  Specs may say otherwise, but I'm hearing what I hear - fairly consistently - and so is @mikemercer.

 

Thx once again again!!! This chart really ups my level of understanding as to what you guys heard.  As I'm a huge lover of detail in music it actually pushes me closer to the AK120II.  If you ever feel so inclined it would be great to see how the 240 layers on top of this??

 

Right, then you should definitely get the AK120II for yourself (assuming that you're not getting an AK240).  Detailheads will definitely like the AK120II over the AK120.

 

As for the AK240, that's easy.  Just put every single check mark in its column.  :D

post #598 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

Just for you... tongue.gif














  AK120 AK120II Notes
Soundstage   No doubt about it, the AK120II has a wider soundstage.  Still not nearly as wide (or natural) as the AK240, but definitely wider than the AK120.
Imaging   While the AK120II's soundstage is more expansive in all directions, but the AK120's soundstage is more natural due to better imaging.  Put it this way, with Taylor Eigsti's "Get Your Hopes Up", the AK120 keeps them together as a trio (as they should be) - whereas the AK120II tends to push the guitarist and drummer back a few feet like they are some random session players.
Clarity Pretty much a tie.  The AK120 doesn't deliver all the sonic information available in the music like the AK120II, but it also doesn't load it with all kinds of micro detail noise that can sometimes be distracting.
Transparency   You'll hear more with the AK120II.  Just know that isn't always a good thing.  For example, on Claire Martin's rendition of "Embraceable You", I can hear the piano player's clothes rustling fairly loudly.  That's something that I could do without were it a live performance.  So I'd rather not have it in the recording.  The AK120 masks this from me.  But yes, transparency is superior with the AK120II.
Macro Detail   This is especially true in the lows and highs where the AK120II is more revealing.  With the AK120II, you'll hear low end textures and detail in the highs that just aren't there in the AK120.
Micro Detail   AK120II wins here by a wide margin... but check out Dynamic Range before you jump on the AK120II for this reason alone.
Dynamic Range (perceived)   Because the AK120 isn't always throwing a ton of micro detail at you - which tends to fill the background in a white-noise sort of way - it feels like the AK120 has a blacker background and much greater swing.  Crescendos are more thrilling with the AK120.  Specs may say otherwise, but I'm hearing what I hear - fairly consistently - and so is @mikemercer
.

See why it's such a mixed bag here?  Each player has certain things going for/against it.  At the end of the day, the AK120 won out because it was just consistently more enjoyable for me.

EDIT:  At some point, @mikemercer
and I both had step back from critical listening.  And when we did that, the AK120 sounded more like music whereas the AK120II was more like a sonic exhibition.  The AK120II is analytically better than the AK120, but the AK120 is just more emotive.  Believe me, I am as surprised as you are, but I just had a better time listening (not critically, just for enjoyment) with the AK120 than I did the AK120II.  Also, note, this is why I put my rankings under "Personal Preference" as opposed to "Findings."

HOWEVER, if you can get an AK240, GET IT.  It has none of the AK120II's shortcomings - and it most definitely kicks the AK120's ass.


It does.  smile.gif  

Wow thanks and lots of love Warren for that comparison! I'm assuming the 100 II will lose out in all the check box areas against the original 120?

And similar to 120II, the 100II is also on the micro analytical side and non musical.

I'd have to say, this would be a tough decision.. 120II is the most I'd want to spend on a DAP considering there's only a 1 year warranty and the trend of poor support from AK on their devices after newer models release.
If they had some outstanding customer service and support I'd consider getting the 240...
post #599 of 1871
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post
 

 

It's pretty remarkable isn't it?  I didn't think we'd see (or hear) a portable player like this for at least another year, maybe two.  Imagine what the AK480 will sound like.  :p

 

 

Right, then you should definitely get the AK120II for yourself (assuming that you're not getting an AK240).  Detailheads will definitely like the AK120II over the AK120.

 

As for the AK240, that's easy.  Just put every single check mark in its column.  :D

so when you gonna teach me how to get all fancy with graphs and shizzle?? :L3000:

 

STILL rockin the AK240!!

have gone from: Audeze LCD-2 w/ Fazor, LCD-X, LCD-XC, Alpha Dogs...

just blowin my brain - SO glad I get to live with it and do a follow-up review after my CES tease...

 

YES - this defies what I thought a portable unit could do - alone. with the 240 - haven't needed an amp yet!!

 

and I'm about to try it as source/DAC as well.

As @warrenpchi knows - I LIKE headroom - and I also like to get DOWN w/ my electronic music (as well as all sorts of other genres) and the AK240 is so wide-open, airy, dynamically charged and dimensional.

and BTW - 

 

running it in balanced mode right now w/ my Alpha Dogs thanks to @scootermafia DHC cables!!!!

and, we got some cool stuff comin' with regard to further reporting!

post #600 of 1871
Very interesting stuff to read!!! Thanks to everyone that is contributing so much information. Just if applicable, I am very curious to see how the AK100II performs compared to the X5 and the Calyx M.

By judging impressions, the Calyx M is more musical and wam sounding while is the X5 is more neutral. Anybody heard 2 of 3 of these players to give a small comparison? smily_headphones1.gif
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