Astell&Kern AK380

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by Dopaminer, Apr 22, 2015.
  1. xxx1313
    I tried the duralium amp with my AK380Cu. Imho, it sounds not as good as AK380Cu + Cu amp. Using a duralium amp, you will lose some of the sonic advantage of the AK380Cu + Cu amp over AK380 duralium + amp. You may not notice much difference when using your Elear, but you will for sure after getting your Utopia. Even though both Elear and Utopia can be driven from AK380 alone, even unbalanced, I would recommend getting the amp and using ist balanced output. The balanced output of the amp has more authority and finesse, compared to player alone. Some guys even notice this when using IEMs. So, even though using your AK380Cu with the duralium amp will not be ideal solution, it will sound better with most headphones than your Ak380Cu alone. If you can get a duralium amp very cheap, try it. There is nothing really wrong with it. In case that you are able to get a copper amp for a reasonable price, buy it and you will not regret, imho. The Cu amp is worth the extra money, unfortunately. :wink:
  2. Andricop

    Do you know of any cradle for the AK380 just for charging/sync ?
    Other than the PEM13 that is quite expensive just for charging.
  3. hfi429366999
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Currently i run balanced using silver dragon cable (Moon audio) to Elear from AK380 copper.

    I never tried unbalanced, though i do have silver dragon cable for that. I plan to stay balanced, even after the amp add-on.

    And yes, AK380Cu alone to balanced out to Elear sounds very good, no issue driving it at the range of volumes i listen to.

    Some reviews claim the AK300 amp add-on adds more volume, wider sound stage, etc.

    In your opinion, would AK380Cu + non-Cu AMP + balanced = no worse, but also perhaps not any better with Elear and Utopia, or even with headphones such as HD800S that could benefit from amp add-on?

    I'll be getting the cradle, so there is that option of adding different amp to balanced XLR outputs from AK380Cu.

    The portability of the AK300 amp is probably the big thing, if not the only thing since i can always add different headphone amp to AK380Cu through cradle, which hopefully would equal or excel the AK380Cu + Cu amp combo.

    Thanks much.
  4. Uncle Monty
    I noticed a seemingly new AK380 Black for around £1,500 on a website called '' but some reviews suggest website is a scam - anyone spread any light on 'gadgetgadgetgadget'?
  5. burtomr
    They require all payments to be via PayPal so presumably that would insure your payment would be safe. Thats exactly the reason for PayPal - to prevent ripoffs.
  6. xxx1313
    HD800S benefits from the AK300 amp, also Oppo PM-3 considerably (much tighter bass, less mid-centric sound, simply better at both ends of the frequency spectrum). I also tried to compare it with the Utopia now, because it is as easy to drive as your Elear. There is a sound difference, but more subtle. Adding the amp adds a bit of body, leads to a slighly more full, more analog sound. Not night and day, but with the Utopia the amp is worth its price, imho. Not sure about Elear, though. The Elear has enough bass and lower mids, so if you are happy with its tonality, the amp might not be worth its price for you. Bass should become a bit tighter probably. Sorry, difficult to make a recommendation for your use case. XLR out of the cradle will give you other options, too.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  7. gordec
    I have had my AK380 for 2 months now. I just recently tried use balanced out to my Westone ES60. It sounds significantly worse compared to SE. Anyone else experience this?
  8. seedubchris
    My experience in quite the opposite . Balanced is more powerful and quieter. better stereo separation. I assume you are using the same cabling for both. Maybe the ciems are easily overdriven by the extra output on the balanced side. My multiple BA ue 18+ pro ciems lap up the extra juice and ask for more which is why I got the AK amp. Haven't tried it yet but I hope it is even better.
  9. Bosk
    The SE output on my AK380 sounds significantly better than the balanced jack too. I’ve read this can be remedied by adding the external AMP unit.
  10. Kerouac
    These days I’ve got a RWAK380Cu on a loan and unfortunatelly (for my wallet) I like it a lot!

    Now, I don’t know how big the difference in sq/signature is between a copper/modded AK380 compared to a standard or the above mentioned 'black edition' one, but I will probably hunt one (probably used in EU) down this year.
    So far I considered the LPG as my best sounding dap, imo especially with darker/warmer sounding iems. But I’ve never heard my Zeus XR sound so good (matter of synergy I guess) out of that one :ksc75smile:
    The UI on AK380 is also quite a step up compared to that of the LPG.

    Now I’ve read that the Sandisk 400GB micro sd cards should work fine on all AK daps. Don’t know why they don’t implement/adjust that information on AK’s website :thinking:
    But I’m also curious (because I have quite a huge music library) if there’s a file # limit on this dap. Anyone who knows / tried this?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  11. ctsooner22
    I’m using one right now sounds awesome. I have The AK380cu. I’ve already set my impressions to Empire ears so that I can have one of the first Phantoms when they they become available. I’ve been told that this is the game changer in CIEms. Just not quite ready for release. There is a great EE thread going talking about the future iems as well as some other wonderful iems from other top makers.
  12. sandy1010
    Yes the 400gb cards work fine. Have one in my AK380. Just takes a few mins to scan the card on start up.

    Not sure on file limits but I have mine full with mostly 44.1/16 flac files.
  13. ctsooner22
    I am using it with 384 DSD as well as all my 24/192 with zero problems that I can tell.
  14. Malevolent
    Neither will I. Before buying my SP1000 SS, I was mulling over a choice between selling my AK240 or my AK380 (wife's orders). In the end, I went for the AK240 - the 380 is simply a couple of levels above the regular AK240. These days, my AK380 ends up being a daily driver, more often than not. It's quite hard to leave it behind, to be honest.
  15. haiku
    The problem for me is rather to justify to myself that I should keep the SP1000Cu, as I mostly use my AK380.The SP1000 has better resolution with more detail, but with the current firmware it just sounds too digital compared to the AK380.

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