Astell & Kern AK70 MKII with dual DAC

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by Bengkia369, Sep 20, 2017.
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  1. vrln
    I´ve started thinking about maybe upgrading to a balanced output DAP... Currently using a Sony Walkman A35 and I´m really liking its clear and dynamic sound signature. Coming from that my first thought was the ZX300, but obviously this DAP is its main competitor. Asked the same in the Sony thread, but has anyone had the chance to do a in depth comparison between it and the new A&K AK70 mkII? Preferably with IEMs, not full size headphones. Done a lot of googling and can´t seem to find any yet.

    Since they are both brand new and in the same price range I´d guess a lot of people will be choosing between them. I might be able to test the Sony DAP at a local store here, but the A&K DAP is only available online so I´d have to buy it blind.

    + JamesAnthony: Are you using a balanced cable for the HD 650? Looking at the official specifications the maximum output level single ended in the AK 70 mklI seems a bit lower in the new version (2.0 Vrms vs. 2.3 Vrms), but there´s a big increase with balanced output (4.0 Vrms vs. 2.3 Vrms).
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
  2. macdonjh
    No, it's the op-amps that provide the power, not the DACs.
  3. JamesAnthony

    No, I only have a balanced cable for a pair of Oppo PM3s. Was looking at getting a balanced for the 650s though.

    Hmm, definitely feel like I need more power unfortunately, I like to have headroom on my volume.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the KANN or AK300 in terms of amp power?
  4. MartWilliams
    Anybody want to give some recomendations for headphones to use with this DAP, budget of up to around £1000, but ideally half that.

    I've now been trying my old Grado 80's with the AK70II but they don't seem a good match for it, too bright, not enough bass, I have tried adding my old Graham Slee Voyager portable headphone amp with it's boosted bass and trebble switched on, but it while that improves the bass, it makes the trebble unbearable!

    I have tried comparing the sound with the Grado's between my Samsung Note 3 (which should have a good DAC - for a phone), my Onkyo 828 AV unit and the AK70, but apart form volume, I'm still not hearing much between them, maybe that is due to the heaphones, after-all, if I was to use a £10 set of heaphones I wouldn't expect to hear much difference and as nice as the grado's are, the 80's are near the bottom of the Grado range so might not be able to do the DAP justice.
  5. Majestic Eagle
    Audeze EL-8 sound great ....have not tried many others but very happy with this pairing .
    MartWilliams likes this.
  6. Majestic Eagle
    Also I have the balanced line from audeze EL-8 sounds a lot better through the balanced port .
    MartWilliams likes this.
  7. vrln
    I tried to Google this, but can´t find anything.Does anyone know if A&K players sold in Europe are volume capped like the Sony players? If yes, is it possible to remove the cap like on Sony players using the unofficial Rockbox tool?

    So difficult to decide between this and ZX300... Both seem to be really good players, just with different strengths and weaknesses.
  8. JasonNYC
    I am pretty sure none of our players have a volume limiter. Let a message for our EU team to confirm this. When I receive confirmation, I will let you know.
    Astell&Kern Stay updated on Astell&Kern at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

    vrln likes this.
  9. MartWilliams
    I wouldn't want to listen to anything at full whack on my UK AK70II, it seems plenty loud, especially when wired! My ears would not be happy.
  10. macdonjh
    It's obvious, then, that you need one of each. You could then even go so far as to connect your left ear cup to the AK70II and your right ear cup to the ZX300. Or perhaps the other way around, but that would be weird.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  11. JasonNYC
    @vrln Confirmed with our EU team that none of the Astell&Kern players sold anywhere including the EU feature a volume limiter feature.
    Astell&Kern Stay updated on Astell&Kern at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

    vrln likes this.
  12. macdonjh
    Way back, orifiel posted a comment that the AK320 is in a different league than the AK70, but didn't provide any details. Has anyone compared the AK320 with the AK70II? The AK320 is on sale for $1000 and I might consider stretching for it if it's better than the AK70II.

    Likes for the AK320: AKM 4490 DACs (although I don't know if the AK DACs are inherently better than the Cirrus Logic 4398 in the AK70II), parametric EQ
    Likes for the AK70II: new model with all the current upgrades (whatever that may mean), 4V balanced output

    Balanced output is a high on my wish list, the reason I am looking to upgrade. I also want to try a player with dual DACs. Most of the time I'd be using this DAP to drive either IEMs or an external amp, so I don't know that 4V balanced output is really that big a deal for me. Does anyone out there have an opinion about the Cirrus Logic vs. AKM DAC? I can't remember for sure, is the Cirrus Logic a delta-sigma and the AKM an R2R ladder?
  13. orifiel
    Ok i could compare AK70 vs AK320 vs AK240SS...
    If AK70 vs AK70 MKII is a small upgrade
    I can tell you the AK70 MK2 can’t compare with AK320 in soundstage and detail, AK320 is more neutral and a bit warm approach of sound, more suitable to several headphones more versatile and easy to match, and you can atach the AK Amp to enhance the bottom end and power of the sound (and increase the matchability to higher impedance headphones) resume AK320 is near to 80% to AK380.
    AK70 MK2 is more warm, better bass response (maybe too much for some people), less detailed, more power in balanced mode.
    Your decision depends on your taste, to me is better the AK320, more balanced, more versatile and expandable (amp, recorder, cradle), if you like the warm sound you only need a warmish headphones and the results are very good, but if your decision is the AK70 MK2 is more difficult to match warm headphones to this DAP

    Regards ✌️
    SigFrued likes this.
  14. kubig123
    I have the mkii and it pairs very well with the Encore.
    I really like for its small size and quite powerful amp. It fits in my shirt pocket.

    It’s definitely warm, therefore I prefer it with a iem with bright treble than a warmer one.
  15. macdonjh
    Thank you , orifiel.
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