AK240 - teardown, justification for price?
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wavelet

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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?
 
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Karnoffel

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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.
 
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wavelet

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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.
 
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wavelet

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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.
 
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wavelet

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Google this:
 
The Audio Critic Benchmark DAC1
 
to see the sort of measurements i'd like to be done for this player.
 
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wavelet

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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
 
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INGRAMLI

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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.
 
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  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). 
 
 
Edit: Someone else dropped theirs and it scratched, so maybe I'm wrong.
 
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AlanYWM

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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). 
 
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 

 
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Just seeing this post. I cannot begin to price every part, but I can price the casing and the NAND. 256 flash will cost them less than $45, the aircraft aluminum case less than $10 including the cutting. These high end players are not about how much it costs to build, so better not add it up. No one will be happy with knowing the true costs. The price is about what the market will pay and the clientele targeted for these players will pay a lot, especially in Asia, where it is all about the show. I have new money and here is proof.

My laptop is made from the same material with a similar surface treatment. Can't be scratched, at least six years of use never did. It is hand machined unibody aircraft alloy aluminum, 256 GB micro ssd, 4gb ram, intel 2.1 ghz, 13" hd screen, wifi, 3G cellular, hd graphics, speakers, amp, motherboard, very large lithium polymer battery, etc, etc... I paid $900 in 2009. Cost including overhead was about $600. Retail price was $2400, because they were aiming it at a luxury crowd.

iPhone 5 costs less than $200, but people, especially in Asia, will still quickly pay $1200. Got to have the latest! :wink: I remember a girl from Singapore saw my phone a few years ago and told me that if I dropped it no one would even pick it up and that if I was a guy at a club with that phone, I would be ignored. :wink:. I guess if buying an iphone 5 or now 6, gets one noticed at the club then maybe worth the investment, My looks are certainly not going to be improved for such a bargain price.

Don't forget AK is no longer a small group of engineers who fled Samsung, it is one of the largest of the Korean conglomerates, SK, and they own or have very close connections with nearly all their suppliers. Hynix memory is also SK.

Don't worry about the cost to make it , worry about if you love it and if you can afford it. :wink: I cannot, but I am patient enough to wait for a second hand one to show up at $1000 less.

Just think of the Tera player if you want to feel better. There is a cost price gap that rivals a luxury handbag. Over $4000. Of course those guys are very small, low-volume, and hand build by one.

In the end, we should buy the products that prong us the most joy that are within our budget to afford. It is all about enjoying the music. In a perfect world, it would be free. We are all far from perfect. :wink:
 
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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). 
 
 
Edit: Someone else dropped theirs and it scratched, so maybe I'm wrong.
 
My eye twitched twice reading this lol
 
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