Astell & Kern AK120

Astell & Kern AK120

Average User Rating:
4.04545/5,
  • High-End, Dual-Mono portable system equipped with dual DACs independently dedicated to separate left/right audio channels

Recent User Reviews

  1. harrisonhawk
    4.5/5,
    "Astonishing sound, just a couple of glitches that could be ironed out."
    Pros - Incredible sound quality. Massive storage potential. Optical in/out. 2 micro SD card slots. Quality DAC. Build quality
    Cons - Some EMI. Larger music libraries are hard to browse. Some glitches with ALAC files. Some glitches with metadata on some tracks.
    I picked up a second hand AK120 off ebay and have not regretted shelling out around 15 times what I paid for my last DAP, a Sansa Clip Zip. The difference is astonishing to say the least. I really enjoyed the Sansa, a nice sound, good detail, pretty neutral sounding with the potential to beef up the sound through Rockbox, but the AK120 wipes the floor with it.
     
    The best word I can use to describe the difference is texture. There is an improvement in detail, soundstage and the overall oomph of the player, but the most striking thing for me is the texture of the sounds produced. Put simply I've never experienced this with a portable player before this, or even through my laptop via a DAC. Drums sound incredible, you can almost feel the impact. Guitars sound full, rich and detailed. Strings are airy and fill the room, and vocals are taken to a whole new level. The timbre of a voice is suddenly apparent, it's intimate, you really feel like the singer is right next to you. Put simply, every sound has a texture, you can almost feel it, and it is what makes this player stand out.
     
    The sound is neutral, bass has impact and depth without being overwhelming. Mids are detailed, textured and absorbing, and the high end is crisp and clear.
     
    The UI is where the main drawbacks are. Turning the player on takes 20 seconds or so but the overall appearance is nice enough, but with a music library of around 4000 songs, navigating is a chore. Going from top to bottom of my albums takes a minute or so of patient scrolling. I'd like to see iRiver add an option to skip to first letters easily so you can scroll through the list much easier. I've also experienced a couple of issues with metadata. Some albums aren't recognised properly and are sorted with other albums with completely different names, despite changing the info in MusicBrainz. I'd also like to see an update library feature because at the moment, if you add 1 new song and want to see it in your database, you have to update the entire library, and rescan every song which can take 5 or more minutes. Finally, I'd like an option to turn off the auto-fade when skipping songs, especially when it fades songs in sometimes.
     
    The only other issue I have is that there is some EMI. Not acceptable for a high end DAP.
     
    I use the AK120 with my Unique Melody reshelled Shure SE530x4 and they pair together beautifully. It also drives my Sennheiser HD-25-1 very well. I've heard that with 300 ohm monsters like the HD600 need to be amped with the AK120, but it's more than capable of driving most cans.
     
    Overall, I'm delighted with the AK120, but it isn't perfect and for the price I'd like to see iRiver address some of the UI issues I've mentioned.
  2. average_joe
    4.5/5,
    "Top overall performance for a [truly] portable digital audio player (DAP)"
    Pros - Small size, total memory capacity, user interface, charging via USB, battery life
    Cons - Sound quality is bested by other (larger) DAPs
    The AK120 is a portable player that is truly an ideal player for a traveler or those that prefer simplicity over complexity and the small annoyances that often come with top performing portable audio devices.  Sound quality is very good with more refinement than the lower end players, but lags behind other high-end players such as the DX100 and 901, but those players do have a disadvantage in battery life, UI, and size.  
     
    The AK120 may be for you if:
    - Portability and usability are two of the top qualities you are looking for in a DAP.
    - You have a large music collection that you want to take with you, especially if that music is in a high bitrate.
    - You want to connect to any computer anywhere to use the DAC functionality or any device with an optical output.
    - You want a high quality portable transport with optical out.
     
    The AK120 may not be for you if:
    - You want the highest possible sound quality, portability and battery life be damned.
    - You have headphones that are difficult to drive.
    - You like very dynamic and punchy sound.
     
    My full review can be found here.  Another thing to note about the AK120 is that you can get it modified by Red Wine Audio for higher sound quality.  While I haven't heard one, this could possibly make it the ultimate portable DAP.
  3. Beethoven Lover
    1.0/5,
    "Over-rated, Over-Priced, Misleading memory claims"
    Pros - Excellent SOund
    Cons - Only uses 64GB of the claimed 192GB of memory. Indexes songs alphabetically.
    Do not buy an Astell & Kern 120.  It claims 192Gb memory, but it indexes and uses only the internal memory - 64gb. The external SD cards carry files but do not show up on the device.   Money spent on the two mini SD cards is totally wasted - the files for all intents and purposes do not exist.  The software index the tracks alphabetically so you must listen to your music in random order.  When using iRiver Plus4 the software does NOT rollover automatically from one memory unit to the next, so you have to monitor your usage constantly - takes forever to load the device with music.  Buy a 5.5G iPod which has the Wolfson DAC already in it.  Have Rapid Repair upgrade the memory to 240gb and you will have a far more useful music player at 1/3 the price.   The reviewers only transfer and listen to a few files so they have no idea how the device actually works.  There is no intention to fix the software defects.  There is no customer support.  It is a rip-off and guilty of false and misleading advertising.

User Comments

To view comments, simply sign up and become a member!

Cover Image

GSARider
1173925659_image.jpg

Quick Stats

Astell & Kern AK120, 11 votes
Author:
GSARider
Category:
Portable Source Components
Views:
62
Images:
1
Reviews:
11
Comments:
0
Average User Rating:
4.04545/5, 11 votes
3 DOORS DOWN • 3 PILL MORNING • 9 LEFT DEAD • 30 SECONDS TO MARS • THE 1975 • A.R. RAHMAN • A DAY TO REMEMBER • A PERFECT CIRCLE • AARON CARTER • ABBY BAND • AC/DC • ACE OF BASE • ACERA • ADRIAN MICHAELS • ADAM 812 • ADAM LAMBERT • ADRIAN ECCLESTON • AEROSMITH • AGAINST THE CURRENT • THE ALBUM LEAF • ALEX CLARE & BAND • ALLI ROGERS • ALICE IN CHAINS • ALICIA KEYS • ALISTAIR TOBER • ALT-J • ALTER BRIDGE • ANDERSON PAAK • ANDRE O'NEAL, EARTH WIND AND FIRE • ANDRE3000 • ANDREW YEO • ANIMAL COLLECTIVE • ANNA VISSI • ANTHRAX • AMON AMARTH • ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI • ARIANA GRANDE • THE ARSENIO HALL SHOW • A$AP FERG • A$AP ROCKY • AS I LAY DYING • AS TALL AS LIONS • ASHLEY SIMPSON • AUDIO • AVENGED SEVENFOLD • AVRIL LAVIGNE • AWOLNATION • BAD RELIGION • BAD THINGS • BARENAKED LADIES • BARRY MANILOW • BASTILLE • BC JEAN • BELA FLECK • BELLA THORNE • BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME • BIGBANG • BIG TIME RUSH • BIG WRECK • BILLY CURRINGTON • BILLY ELLIOT TOUR • BILLY JOEL • BILLY OCEAN • BILLY TALENT BAND • BLACK FOOSS • BLANC FACES • BLINK 182 • BLOC PARTY • BLONDE REDHEAD • BLONDFIRE • THE BLOODHOUND GANG • BLUE MAN GROUP, ORLANDO • BLUE MAN GROUP, LAS VEGAS • BLUE MAN GROUP, MUNICH • BLUE MAN GROUP, NEW YORK • BOB SEGER • BON JOVI • BONNIE RAITT • BONOBO • BOSTON • BOUNCING SOULS • BOWFIRE BAND • BOYZ II MEN • BRAND NEW • BRANDY • BRANDY CARLILE • BRANDY CLARK • BRIAN MCKNIGHT • BRING ME THE HORIZON • BRITNEY SPEARS • BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND • BRUNO MARS • BRYNN MARIE BAND • BRYSON TILLER • BUCKCHERRY • BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE • BUSH • BUTCH VIG • THE CAB • CADENCE • CAGE THE ELEPHANT • CARLY RAE JEPSEN • CARRIE UNDERWOOD • CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN • CAVO • CEELO GREEN • CELINE DION • CELTIC WOMAN • CHAD GILMORE • CHARLI XCX • CHARLIE PUTS • CHEAP TRICK • CHELSEA GRIN • CHER • CHEVELLE • CHICAGO • CHILDISH GAMBINO • CHRIS HESSE, HOOBASTANK • CHRIS JERICHO • CHRIS ISAAK • CHRIS YOUNG • CHRISTINA AGUILERA • CHRISTINA PERRI & BAND • CHUCK AINLAY • CHVRCHES • CIRCA SURVIVE •
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, IRIS • CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, KA • CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR • CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, VIVA ELVIS • CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, ZARKANA • CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, ZED • CIRQUE DU SOLEIL, ZUMANITY • CLEAN BANDIT • CLINT WILEY • CODY SIMPSON • COHEED AND CAMBRIA • COLE SWINDELL • COLIN JAMES BAND • COREY SMITH • COUNTING CROWS • THE COURTENEERS • CRAIG CAMPBELL BAND • CREED • CROWN THE EMPIRE • CRYSTAL FIGHTERS • THE CULT • THE CURE • CURT BISQUERA • D'ANGELO • DAN + SHAY • DANIEL POWTER • DARIUS RUCKER • THE DARKNESS • DARREN CRISS • DAUGHTER • DAUGHTRY • DAWES • DAVID LEE ROTH • DAVID NAIL BAND • DEAD BY SUNRISE • DEF LEPPARD • DEFTONES • DELTA GOODREM • DESTROID • DETHKLOK • THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA • THE DIAMONDS • DIERKS BENTLEY • DIRTY HEADS • DISCLOSURE • DISPATCH • DISTURBED • DIXIE CHICKS • DJ CASSIDY • DJ DON P • DJ N.I.N.O. • DNCE • DONNIE WAHLBERG, NKOTB • DONNY & MARIE • DOOBIE BROTHERS • DOWN WITH WEBSTER • DR FU • DRAGONETTE • DRAKE • DREAM • DREAM THEATER • DROPKICK MURPHYS • DURAN DURAN • THE EAGLES • EARTH, WIND AND FIRE • EASTON CORBIN • EDDIE VEDDER • ELIZA DOOLITTLE • ELLIE GOULDING • ELLY AND THE LAST GARAGE BAND • ELVIS COSTELLO • EMBER • EMBLEM3 • EMINEM • EMPHATIC • ENGLEBERT HUMPERDINCK • ENRIQUE IGLESIAS • ERIC BENET BAND • ESCAPE THE FATE • EVANESCENCE • EYE EMPIRE • FAILURE • FAITH EVANS • FAITH MARIE • FALL OUT BOY • FALLING IN REVERSE • FANTASIA • FATHER JOHN MISTY • FEIST • FIONA APPLE • THE FIT SWIMMERS • FIFTH HARMONY • FITZ & THE TANTRUMS • FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH • FLEETWOOD MAC • FLIPPIN' SOUL • FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE • FONESCA • FOO FIGHTERS • FOREIGNER • FOREWARNED • FOUR YEAR STRONG • THE FRAY • FRANK OCEAN • FRANK TURNER • FRENCH MONTANA • FRIGHTENED RABBIT • FUN. • FUTURE • GALLANT • GARBAGE • GARTH BROOKS • GARY ALLAN • GAVIN DEGRAW • GEORGE STRAIT • GHOST • GIBSON GUITAR STUDIO, LAS VEGAS • GLASS TIGER • GLEE LIVE TOUR • GLINT • GO RADIO • GODSMACK • GOO GOO DOLLS • THE GOSSIP • GRANGER SMITH • GREAT WHITE • GREEN DAY • GREYSON CHANCE •
GRIMES • GROOVEBOSTON • GROOVY7 • GROUPLOVE • GUNS N' ROSES • HALESTORM • HALFORD • HALSEY • HARVEY MARSHALL • HAWKSLEY WORKMAN • HAYDEN MARINGER • HEART • HELL YEAR • HERE COME THE MUMMIES • HILL KOURKOUTIS • HINDER • HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD • HOMBRES G • HOPE • HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS • HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON TOUR • HYPER CRUSH • I PREVAIL • ICONA POP • IGGY AZALEA • IMAGINATION MOVERS TOUR • IMAGINE DRAGONS • INGRID MICHAELSON • INTERPOL • INXS • IRATION • IRON MAIDEN • JACK JOHNSON • JAKE OWEN • JADE WARSHAW • JAMES TAYLOR • JAMES TORME • JAMIE FOXX • JANET JACKSON • JASON ALDEAN BAND • JASON BENGE • JASON BONHAM • JASON DERULO • JASON ISBELL • JASON WHITMORE • JAY SEAN • JC CHASEZ • JENNA ROBINSON, BIG APPLE CIRCUS • JENNIFER CHASE • JENNIFER HUDSON • JENNIFER STONE, WITH KESHA • JEREMIAH MCCONICO • JESSE MCCARTNEY • JIMMY BUFFET • JIMMY EAT WORLD • JOE.E • JOE JONAS • JOE NICHOLS BAND • JOEY BADA$$ • JOHN GRANT BAND • JOHN HIATT AND THE COMBO • JOHN MAYER • JOHN STAMOS • JOHN TEMPESTA • JOJO • JONATHAN KNIGHT, NKOTB • JORDIN SPARKS • JOSH DAY • JOSH GROBAN • JOSH GROBAN BAND • JOSHUA RADIN • JOSS STONE • JOURNEY • THE JOY FORMIDABLE • JOYWAVE • JUDAS PRIEST • JUDD HOOS • JUICY J • JULE VERA BAND • JULIO IGLESIAS • JULLY BLACK • JUSTIN BIEBER • JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE & BAND • KACEY MUSGRAVES • KAMILAH MARSHALL • KARMA • KARMIN • KAT DELUNA • KATE EARL BAND • KATY PERRY • KEITH SWEAT • KEITH URBAN • KELLIE PICKLER • KENDRICK LAMAR • KENNY CHESNEY & BAND • KENNY LOGGINS • KESHA • KIP MOORE • KISS • KLAYE SANDERS • KOOL & THE GANG • KORN • KROPP CIRCLE • LACUNA COIL • LADY GAGA • LALAH HATHAWAY • LAUREN WILEY, LES MISERABLES US TOUR • LAURYN HILL • LAWSON • LE REVE, WYNN LAS VEGAS • LEA MULLEN • LEE DEWYZE • LENNY KRAVITZ • LEON J • LEONA LEWIS • LIANNE LA HAVAS • LIBIDO • LIDO • LIGHTS OVER PARIS • LIL' KIM • LIL WAYNE • LIMP BIZKIT • LINDSEY STIRLING • LINKIN PARK • LIONEL RICHIE • LITTLE BIG TOWN • THE LIVING END • LOCAL NATIVES • LOU REED • LOVE AND THEFT BAND • LUCINDA WILLIAMS • LUIS MIGUEL •
THE LUMINEERS • M83 BAND • MAC MILLER • MACHINE GUN KELLY • MACHINE HEAD • THE MACCABEES • MAD HATTER STUDIOS • MADEON • MADLIFE • MADONNA • MAGIC! • MAJORS AND MINORS, TV SHOW • MANA • MANDY JIROUX • MARC ANTHONY • MARIAH CAREY • MARIANA'S TRENCH • MARILYN MANSON • MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS • THE MARKER • MAROON 5 • MARY J BLIGE BAND • MASTODON • MATCHBOX 20 • MATT & KIM • MATT MORRISON & BAND • MATT NATHANSON • MATT OCHOA • MAXWELL • THE MCCLAIN SISTERS • MEGADETH • MEGHAN TRAINOR • MEL B • MELANIE MARTINEZ • MELISSA ETHERIDGE • MICAPELLA • MICHAEL ANTHONY • MICHAEL BOLTON • MICHAEL FRANTI & SPEARHEAD • MICHELLE OSBOURNE • MIDNIGHT OIL • MIGUEL • MIKA • MIKE PORTNOY • MILEY CYRUS • MIKE MARLIN • MINDLESS BEHAVIOR • MIRANDA LAMBERT • MISS MAY I • MISSION TRANSMISSION • MODEST MOUSE • MODESTEP • THE MONKEES • MONSTER TRUCK • MONTGOMERY GENTRY • MOODY BLUES • MOTLEY CRUE • MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE • NAS • NEVEREST • NEON TREES • NEW EDITION • THE NEW SHINING • NICK FRADIANI • NICK JONAS • NICKELBACK • NICKI MINAJ • NICO VEGA • NICOLE SCHERZINGER • NINE INCH NAILS • NKOTB • NO DOUBT • NOAH BENARDOUT • NOEL GALLAGHER'S HIGH FLYING BIRDS • NORMAN BROWN • NOSTALGHIA • O.A.R. • OF MICE AND MEN • OLLY MURS • ONE REPUBLIC • OPERATOR PLEASE • OPETH • THE ORANGE EFFECT • OUR LAST NIGHT • OWL CITY • OZZY OSBOURNE • PALOMA FAITH • PANDORA • PAPA ROACH • PAPER TONGUES • PASSION PIT • PATRICK WOLF • PAUL BRANDT • PENNYWISE • PENTATONIX • PETER GABRIEL • PETSHOP BOYS • PHANTOGRAM • PHARRELL WILLIAMS • PHILLIP PHILLIPS • PHOENIX • PIERCE THE VEIL • P!NK • PITBULL • PIXIE LOTT BAND • THE PIXIES • POLARIS AT NOON • POP EVIL • POST MALONE • THE PRETTY RECKLESS • PRINCE BAND • PRINTZ BOARD • PROFESSOR GREEN • PUFF DIDDY • PUNCH BROTHERS • PVRIS • PUSCIFER • QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE • R. KELLY • R5 • RACHEL CROW • RAE SREMMURD • RAMMSTEIN • RANDY HOUSER • RASCALL FLATTS • RED LINE CHEMISTRY • RICI JO • RICKY MARTIN • RICO LOVE • RIHANNA • RISE AGAINST • RITA ORA • ROB THOMAS • ROBBIE WILLIAMS BAND •
ROCK OF AGES ON TOUR • RODNEY HOWARD • ROGER WATERS’ THE WALL TOUR • THE ROLLING STONES • RUMMER WILLIS • RUSH • ST. VINCENT • ST. LUCIA • SALIVA • SAM HUNT • SAM SMITH • SAM WARSHAW • SAN CISCO • SANTIGOLD • THE SATURDAYS • SAVING ABEL • SCISSOR SISTERS • SCORPION • SCOTT STAPP • SEAN ALEXANDER • SEBASTIAN BACH • SEBASTIAN INGROSSO • SEETHER • SEGARRA • SEIGMEN • SELENA GOMEZ • SEVENDUST • "SGT. PEPPER LIVE" FEATURING CHEAP TRICK • SHAKIRA • SHARON AGUILAR • SHANE DUNCAN BAND • SHEILA E. • SHEILA MAJID • SHINEDOWN • SIA • SIGUR ROS • THE SILVER BULLET BAND • SILVERSUN PICKUPS • SIMMONE JONES • SIMONE BATTLE • SKIP DORSEY • SKYLAR GREY • SLASH BAND • SLAYER • SLIPKNOT • SMASHING PUMPKINS • SMOKIE • SOCIAL DISTORTION • SOIL • SOLANGE • SONATA ARCTICA • SONGA LEE • STAIND • STARSHELL • STEEL PANTHER • STEELY DAN • STEREO SHOUT OUT • STEVE AUGERI • STEVE RODRIGUEZ • STEVE VAI • STING • THE STONE ROSES • STONE SOUR • STRATOVARIUS • THE STRUTS • STRYPER • SUBLIME WITH ROME • SUEDE • SULLY ERNA BAND • SUM 41 • SYSTEM OF A DOWN • T.I. • T-PAIN • TALA • TAME IMPALA • TANK • TAYLOR BURRISE • TAYLORED • TEARS FOR FEARS • TEEL MERRICK • TEI SHI • TENACIOUS D • TERRY ILOUS OF GREAT WHITE • TESTAMENT • THEFT • THEOPHILUS LONDON • THE TEMPER TRAP • THREE DAYS GRACE • TIMBALAND • TIM MCGRAW • TIM OWENS • TIMBALAND • TINASHE • TOOL • TONIC • TONY SAVAGE • TOOL • TOTO • TRACE ADKINS • TRAIN • TRAVIS BARKER • TRAVIS TRITT • TREY SONGZ • TRILLIUM VEIN • TRISHA YEARWOOD • TRIVIUM • TWENTY ONE PILOTS • TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB • TY DOLLA $IGN • U2 • UNION J • THE USED • VAIN • VAMPIRE WEEKEND • VAN HALEN • VANCE JOY • VINCE STAPLES • VIRUS • THE VOICE TV SHOW 2011, 2012 • VOLBEAT • WALT DISNEY WORLD • THE WANTED • THE WAR ON DRUGS • WARRANT • WE ARE THE FALLEN • THE WEEKND • WEEZER • WELL HUNGARIANS • WHITESNAKE • WIZ KHALIFA • THE WHO • WILD BEAST • WINTERSUN • THE WOMBATS • X FACTOR • X-JAPAN • YOUNG GUNS • YOUNG THE GIANT • YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE • YOUTH LAGOON • ZAC BROWN BAND • ZAYN MALIK • ZELLA DAY • ZZ WARD • AND MANY MORE...