Astell&Kern AK380
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x RELIC x

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Great description of your upgrade journey.  Excepting the Tera, I have the LPG (Diana Edition), 1Z, 380CU, 240SS (RW Mod), Mojo and Hugo. I do not like the Mojo pairing with cell phone.  I think a dedicated dap is better.  Your 240SS is very good and is a gem. I actually like it better than the LPG. But the LPG has one thing that no one has in the group that is the power to drive full size can. It is the most powerful dap in the group may be with the exception of Hugo2 that is coming out. Yes the 1Z and the 380cu are at the top of dap at present with the 1Z leading slightly. However, the 380cu has more air and clarity whereas the 1Z is warmer, darker and thicker or lusher as some people will describe it. Some people may like one over the other. As for UI, until I use the 1Z, AK has the best UI, but 1Z give you much more intuitive control over your music. 

It's hard to find specs on the LTPG Diana edition. I found this in the LTPG thread:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/744346/introducing-lotoo-paw-gold/2475#post_12931379

Joe Skubinski, in this interview at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2016 (4 posts above this one) states that the Diana puts an output of "about half a watt into planar magnetic headphones" (specifically indicating that it was customized for the Abyss AB-1266, which is spec-ed at 46 ohms input impedance, 85 dB/mW).

500mW@46 Ohms for the Diana isn't too far off from Mojo/Hugo 600mW@32 Ohm (LTPG is 500mW@32 Ohms). The rest are not as powerful for sure, but I disagree 100% that the Mojo isn't powerful enough to drive full size cans.
 
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olddude

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Nice.  Ask a man who has (almost) all of them.  
  As Jalo describes, each has something to put it at the top, but each has something (perhaps) lacking compared to others.  That's what makes this hobby so fun and aggravating and expensive.  And of course in another year or two something else new will come along and there will be a flow of users towards it.  
 
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LouisArmstrong

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But I think AK380Cu is still the best.
 
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Jalo

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It's hard to find specs on the LTPG Diana edition. I found this in the LTPG thread:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/744346/introducing-lotoo-paw-gold/2475#post_12931379
500mW@46 Ohms for the Diana isn't too far off from Mojo/Hugo 600mW@32 Ohm (LTPG is 500mW@32 Ohms). The rest are not as powerful for sure, but I disagree 100% that the Mojo isn't powerful enough to drive full size cans.

Fair enough, when I refer to full size can I should have been more specific. The mojo can drive some full size cans, but not the harder to drive cans like LCD, HD800, abyss etc. If you go to the web site of LPG Diana edition, you will read that the Diana can drive the Abyss and HD800. I have the HD800 and my Diana can drive the HD800 to satisfaction level. Sometimes it is confusing to look at the LPG's basis spec of 500 mw per channel @32ohm, but the Diana adds another +12db of boost to the power.

I was at CES in 2016 at the Chord/Audeze room listening to the DAVE/LCD4. I have my Hugo with me so I connect my 380cu to my Hugo to drive the LCD4 and it clips driving the LCD4. Yes even an iPhone can drive some full size cans, but we are talking about HD800, Abyss, LCDs etc
 
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x RELIC x

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Fair enough, when I refer to full size can I should have been more specific. The mojo can drive some full size cans, but not the harder to drive cans like LCD, HD800, abyss etc. If you go to the web site of LPG Diana edition, you will read that the Diana can drive the Abyss and HD800. I have the HD800 and my Diana can drive the HD800 to satisfaction level. Sometimes it is confusing to look at the LPG's basis spec of 500 mw per channel @32ohm, but the Diana adds another +12db of boost to the power.

I was at CES in 2016 at the Chord/Audeze room listening to the DAVE/LCD4. I have my Hugo with me so I connect my 380cu to my Hugo to drive the LCD4 and it clips driving the LCD4. Yes even an iPhone can drive some full size cans, but we are talking about HD800, Abyss, LCDs etc
 
Sure, there's always going to be exceptions. Some find the Mojo/Hugo just fine for driving the HD800 and I find the LCD-2 sounds great with the Mojo, as well as from my DAVE and Liquid Gold (the gold having a warmer overall tone with everything I plug in to it). The LCD-4 and Abyss are different animals though. Current delivery is very important as well, especially for planar headphones (not as important for many dynamic headphones). Mojo/Hugo have 500mA of Current output and I wonder what the LTPG's Current delivery is. I've always wanted to try the AK380 and the Lotoo Paw Gold btw, and I'm guessing I'd prefer the Lotoo.
 
However, we're veering off topic here. I just wanted to pop in and clarify that the full sized headphone broad comment may not be entirely accurate.
 

 
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LouisArmstrong

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Fair enough, when I refer to full size can I should have been more specific. The mojo can drive some full size cans, but not the harder to drive cans like LCD, HD800, abyss etc. If you go to the web site of LPG Diana edition, you will read that the Diana can drive the Abyss and HD800. I have the HD800 and my Diana can drive the HD800 to satisfaction level. Sometimes it is confusing to look at the LPG's basis spec of 500 mw per channel @32ohm, but the Diana adds another +12db of boost to the power.

I was at CES in 2016 at the Chord/Audeze room listening to the DAVE/LCD4. I have my Hugo with me so I connect my 380cu to my Hugo to drive the LCD4 and it clips driving the LCD4. Yes even an iPhone can drive some full size cans, but we are talking about HD800, Abyss, LCDs etc

In my memory the iPhone 4 could drive the LCD2 pretty nicely but it needs to be at max volume. No longer the case for LCD3 and 4. 
 
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Jalo

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But I think AK380Cu is still the best.

Well I bought the 1Z before Christmas and have been using it for the past three months. So last night I took the 380cu out and did some comparison with the 1Z. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the 380cu. Even though I have owned the 380cu for over a year and have used it exclusively over that period of time, but I have not heard it that much for the past three months while I have the 1Z. I have kind of forgotten how it sounds, that said a lot about our musical memory. The 380cu sounded so much fluid and airy. It also has that quick and snapy character. The holographic feels definitely is better than the 1Z. On the other hand, if you like a thicker lusher sound, the 1Z will be your choice of dap. Either way, both 1Z and 380cu are on the top at the moment.
 
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Jalo

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Sure, there's always going to be exceptions. Some find the Mojo/Hugo just fine for driving the HD800 and I find the LCD-2 sounds great with the Mojo, as well as from my DAVE and Liquid Gold (the gold having a warmer overall tone with everything I plug in to it). The LCD-4 and Abyss are different animals though. Current delivery is very important as well, especially for planar headphones (not as important for many dynamic headphones). Mojo/Hugo have 500mA of Current output and I wonder what the LTPG's Current delivery is. I've always wanted to try the AK380 and the Lotoo Paw Gold btw, and I'm guessing I'd prefer the Lotoo.

However, we're veering off topic here. I just wanted to pop in and clarify that the full sized headphone broad comment may not be entirely accurate.

:beerchug:
Well you have some very nice gears there. I almost bought the Liquid Gold but wanted to wait for the Liquid Tungsten if it even come out. Power differences between the LPG and the 380cu aside, the 380cu has a very refine sound and I think you will be surprise when you have the chance to compare both.
 
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LouisArmstrong

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Well I bought the 1Z before Christmas and have been using it for the past three months. So last night I took the 380cu out and did some comparison with the 1Z. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the 380cu. Even though I have owned the 380cu for over a year and have used it exclusively over that period of time, but I have not heard it that much for the past three months while I have the 1Z. I have kind of forgotten how it sounds, that said a lot about our musical memory. The 380cu sounded so much fluid and airy. It also has that quick and snapy character. The holographic feels definitely is better than the 1Z. On the other hand, if you like a thicker lusher sound, the 1Z will be your choice of dap. Either way, both 1Z and 380cu are on the top at the moment.

I really hoped the 1Z had support for Moov and Tidal. 
 
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Malevolent

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If it helps, I tested the X5iii against some of my sources recently, and the AK380 stood head and shoulders above everything else in pretty much every department.
 
In order of rank: AK380 > Mojo > X5iii = AK240 > DP-X1
 
I was surprised to see the X5iii performing so well against the AK240. It has a well-rounded sound, similar to that of the AK380, but retains some measure of clarity, detail and resolution. In fact, compared with the AK240, the X5iii was the more engaging of the 2.
 
Still, the AK240 (and the AK380) wins points for its fantastic UI. FiiO has come a long way since the X3 and X5, with a far more polished and accessible music player. Still, the AK DAPs reign supreme here. I honestly find it difficult navigating and using other players, coming from an AK.
 
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mthaynes

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Just finished playing with my new setup.  AK380CU with matching AK Amp and HD 800's.  I bought Black Dragon Premium cables in a 5ft length terminated for the AK balanced output.  Absolutely incredible combination.
 
The one thing I have found with AK products is they are supper sensitive to cable choice.  big thick cables degrade the sound while, thin short cables provide the best listening from my experience.  I bought the Crystal cable mini-to-mini jack for the car and was so taken back by the change it only took about 30 seconds to say "yup worth the $300". 
 
Anybody else noticed the AK'S sensitivity to cables 
 
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xxx1313

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  Just finished playing with my new setup.  AK380CU with matching AK Amp and HD 800's.  I bought Black Dragon Premium cables in a 5ft length terminated for the AK balanced output.  Absolutely incredible combination.
 
The one thing I have found with AK products is they are supper sensitive to cable choice.  big thick cables degrade the sound while, thin short cables provide the best listening from my experience.  I bought the Crystal cable mini-to-mini jack for the car and was so taken back by the change it only took about 30 seconds to say "yup worth the $300". 
 
Anybody else noticed the AK'S sensitivity to cables 

​Congrats to your setup!

 
AK380Cu's sensitivitiy to cables may well be attributable to the finesse of the implemented DAC. I feel that also my HD800S (HD800 as well of course) is quite sensitive to cable changes. My HEK is now equipped with a silver cable (Silver Dragon) and my HD800S got a copper cable (Forza Noir, however I think you Black Dragon cable might be better).
 
Two days ago my new Focal Utopia arrived! I did not get much sleep the last two nights. An incredible headphone, as soon as I got accustomed to its rather narrow (but quite deep and overall natural) soundstage. This headphone really sucks you into the music! I already got a balanced Black Dragon Premium cable for the Utopia. The Utopia is extremely easy to drive.
 
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mthaynes

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​Congrats to your setup!

 
AK380Cu's sensitivitiy to cables may well be attributable to the finesse of the implemented DAC. I feel that also my HD800S (HD800 as well of course) is quite sensitive to cable changes. My HEK is now equipped with a silver cable (Silver Dragon) and my HD800S got a copper cable (Forza Noir, however I think you Black Dragon cable might be better).
 
Two days ago my new Focal Utopia arrived! I did not get much sleep the last two nights. An incredible headphone, as soon as I got accustomed to its rather narrow (but quite deep and overall natural) soundstage. This headphone really sucks you into the music! I already got a balanced Black Dragon Premium cable for the Utopia. The Utopia is extremely easy to drive.

Thank you.  I should have mentioned that I had a 240 before the 380.  I initially noticed this with the 240.  When I first bought the 240 I got it for the car.  My old setup was a iPod but I was running out of space so the 240 gave me the needed memory.  the car is a Porsche cayenne GTS with Burmeister audio.  I tried a number of different mini connectors, but found the best to be the cheap and nasty thin cables.  I wound up with a monster cable one in the end.  As an experiment I tried this guy
 
http://www.accessoryjack.com/astell-kern-pef13-piccolo-diamond-stereo-cable-by-crystal-cable-3-5mm-male-to-male-clear.html
 
Noting that it was an AK "sanctioned" cable.  this was night and day.  It was like going from MP3 to 44/24.  I seriously took less than 30 seconds to say "oh yes". Now we are talking car audio which generally is poor to begin with but with the AK feeding the Burmeister I have got to say it is more than just good.  As a side note the AK fits perfectly Porsche Cayenne cup holder.
 
congrats on the new headphones.  I just recently put an old set of Sony MDR-CD5's up for sale on eBay.  I had no idea the old CD5 was worth money lol
 
here is the link if someone is interested here http://www.ebay.com/itm/292047749551?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1586.l2649
 
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Jalo

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If it helps, I tested the X5iii against some of my sources recently, and the AK380 stood head and shoulders above everything else in pretty much every department.

In order of rank: AK380 > Mojo > X5iii = AK240 > DP-X1

Still, the AK240 (and the AK380) wins points for its fantastic UI. FiiO has come a long way since the X3 and X5, with a far more polished and accessible music player. Still, the AK DAPs reign supreme here. I honestly find it difficult navigating and using other players, coming from an AK.

For me the ranking goes like this: AK380CU > RWAK240SS > Hugo > Mojo > X5iii > DP-X1
 
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