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AK240 - teardown, justification for price?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Just wondering if anyone has performed a teardown of Astell & Kern AK240 and if there's any quantitative/measurable justification at all whatsoever to the price and real reasons for higher SQ or if it's all 100% fluff. (I realize they used an advanced manufacturing process and high quality materials for the enclosure, so that's at least partial justification to higher pricing.)

 

So for instance i can see that CS4398 is a $7 chip and it uses 2 of them. So far we have $14 of $2400. Where's the rest?


Edited by wavelet - 5/12/14 at 5:15pm
post #2 of 9

Obnoxious answer samsung :/

 

It's probably because the buyers want to have the best of the best of the best. Basically why I believe you have trouble comprehending why people would buy this is because you're looking at this from a value perspective, while for those people, when they want the best, price is no object so they weren't thinking of buying it with a budget in mind.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Well I just want to see what the markup is. I can see how 256gb of flash is another $300. The enclosure is maybe $100-200 to make in terms of labor. I guess the DACs themselves are a small fraction of a cost. Plus they have some custom chip inside. I guess i can see how it adds up especially with custom silicon. Still the markup is probably $1000 at least. Plus it's unclear how much the price will drop over time. I'm not comfortable buying hifi gear that will depreciate like a rock. Hifi gear is generally supposed to hold value over time. Case in point: my utopia bes are worth as much today as i paid for them 7 years ago.

 

Plus i want to know from the strict SQ measurement perspective how big the difference is between this thing and lets say fiio x5. Someone needs to come up with a set of strict measurement benchmarks and put an end to all the high-end SQ speculation.

 

And open benchmarks at that. Why can't people make a lab and run a high quality analog-to-digital converter, align the waveforms and measure the total phase and frequency difference vs the original? The signal is fully described by it's complex FFT.


Edited by wavelet - 5/13/14 at 3:51am
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

So there's already a metric of playback quality, Total Harmonic Distortion. For instance Benchmark DAC1 reports "The HPA2™ maintains less than 0.0003% THD+N under full load."

 

For AK240 i see 0.0007% @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balance. Plus they are reporting only for 1khz? Shouldn't this be the number for the worst frequency?

 

But even looking at this number we can see that it's at least twice as distorted as DAC1.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Google this:

 

The Audio Critic Benchmark DAC1

 

to see the sort of measurements i'd like to be done for this player.

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Anyway, i guess i answered my own question.. $300 for miniature 256gb flash, $100 for enclosure, $100 screen, $700 for a comparable 0.0007% THD dac, $300 miniaturization, plus CPU and whatever else..including xmos custom chip design. I guess the $2400 price is not actually unreasonable if you look at Benchmark DAC2 and Grace Audio m920 with half the THD but throw all the mentioned extras on top. Plus industrial design costs, advanced tooling costs etc

post #7 of 9
An accounting cost breakdown example for a $2400 product:

Parts to manufacture:
$300 (12.5%)

Labor for production:
$150 (6.25%)

Transportation:
$50 (2.08%)

Provision for after-sales service (including repair and exchange of faulty unit)
$100 (4.17%)

Share of R&D (including hardware design and firmware engineering) and cost of setting up a production line ($1,600,000 shared by 2,000 units)
$800 (33.33%)

Payment to Marketing team/advertising cost
$200 (8.33%)

Margin earned by wholesaler:
$200 (8.33%)

Margin earned by retailer:
$300 (12.5%)

Gross margin earned by shareholder of the company (before deduction of overhead including office, salaries to other staffs and etc):
$300 (12.5%)

Total: $2400 (100%)

Disclaimer : I do not work for A&K, and have no association with it whatsoever, none of the above figures should reflect the actual cost involved in the production, if any of the above number(s) are identical to the actual figure(s), that would be pure coincidence.
Edited by INGRAMLI - 5/13/14 at 1:56am
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavelet View Post
 

Anyway, i guess i answered my own question.. $300 for miniature 256gb flash, $100 for enclosure, $100 screen, $700 for a comparable 0.0007% THD dac, $300 miniaturization, plus CPU and whatever else..including xmos custom chip design. I guess the $2400 price is not actually unreasonable if you look at Benchmark DAC2 and Grace Audio m920 with half the THD but throw all the mentioned extras on top. Plus industrial design costs, advanced tooling costs etc

 

This, basically. You get what would otherwise require a larger stack (DAP + DAC + AMP) in something that will fit in your pocket in an enclosure that doesn't scratch even when dropped on concrete (which we found out by accident). The price of a TOTL stack would be a bit less (roughly 3x $600-700). :smile:

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

This, basically. You get what would otherwise require a larger stack (DAP + DAC + AMP) in something that will fit in your pocket in an enclosure that doesn't scratch even when dropped on concrete (which we found out by accident). The price of a TOTL stack would be a bit less (roughly 3x $600-700). :smile:

 

Sorry but I have to disagree. I dropped mine at about waist level on concrete and the edges were not only scratched but also dented. The AK240 worked for a day and then suddenly appeared to change colours randomly. I guess it all depends on how the DAP landed. Good thing the local dealer changed a new one for me - FOC :D

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