The Astell & Kern AK240
May 16, 2019 at 12:37 PM Post #8,911 of 9,105

reeltime

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Most reviews of the AK 120 MkII state that it sounds the same as the AK240 .

I've moved from AK120 MkII to AK320 and it sounds better - more detail, more air, better soundstage (AK 120 MkII is warmer but also sounds veiled now I've upgraded).

So by logic, the AK320 must therefore be better than the AK240. I've not heard the AK240 myself but all those pro reviews can't all be wrong?

EDIT : Sorry, I just realised that that was your opinion based on audition. I can't argue with that at all, and for you the list is correct.
But logic says that others must disagree.

I auditioned the original AK100 against the AK120– the difference being 1 DAC vs 2 DACs (1 per channel). The difference was a huge jump. The AK240 was a smaller upgrade over the AK120, and the jump to the AK380 was not worth the price or size increase. The SP1000 is very nice- but I haven’t A-B’d it directly with the other models. It’s the form factor that keeps me with the AK240. It’s a perfect size.

But if you’re REALLY interested in upping the sound quality, adding a Hugo2 to the chain and using the USB out of the AK will yield a greater sound improvement than changing any AK for a newer model.
 
May 16, 2019 at 5:16 PM Post #8,913 of 9,105

x RELIC x

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adding a Hugo2 to the chain and using the USB out of the AK will yield a greater sound improvement than changing any AK for a newer model.

Optical is best for SQ on Chord DACs, which is exactly what I use my AK240 for... AK240->Sysconcept 90deg optical cable->Hugo2.
 
May 16, 2019 at 5:29 PM Post #8,914 of 9,105

reeltime

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Optical is best for SQ on Chord DACs, which is exactly what I use my AK240 for... AK240->Sysconcept 90deg optical cable->Hugo2.

Only if your source file is not DSD.

With DSD files, USB should be better. The AK converts DSD before sending it out the optical line. Over the USB port, it stays native and the Chord does the full conversion.

Play a DSD file and watch the color code on the Hugo change when you play DSD over optical vs. USB.
 
May 16, 2019 at 5:53 PM Post #8,915 of 9,105

x RELIC x

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Only if your source file is not DSD.

With DSD files, USB should be better. The AK converts DSD before sending it out the optical line. Over the USB port, it stays native and the Chord does the full conversion.

Play a DSD file and watch the color code on the Hugo change when you play DSD over optical vs. USB.

DSD wasn't specified :wink:. Since I'm not a fan of DSD it didn't occur to me as a 'limitation', but you're right.
 
May 18, 2019 at 7:51 AM Post #8,916 of 9,105

LuckyNat

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Isn't all optical output on Ak's limited to 96kHz? Again, have to check via the lights on the Hugo. I'd guess the DSD will be converted to PCM and then that PCM downsampled to 96KHz for the optical .

Quite often that is the limit of all plastic optical transmitters anyway - to do with the data transmission speed of Toshiba Toslink. Depends on the individual components used.
 
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May 18, 2019 at 12:54 PM Post #8,917 of 9,105

reeltime

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Isn't all optical output on Ak's limited to 96kHz? Again, have to check via the lights on the Hugo. I'd guess the DSD will be converted to PCM and then that PCM downsampled to 96KHz for the optical .

Quite often that is the limit of all plastic optical transmitters anyway - to do with the data transmission speed of Toshiba Toslink. Depends on the individual components used.

That sounds right to me. Which drove me crazy when I first got the Hugo. I'm playing DSD files and I couldn't get the grey light on the Hugo. Took me a while to understand the conversion process-- once AK added USB, I just used that, and the Hugo shows full range functionality. It also sounds pretty incredible. The difference between the Hugo in the chain and headphones straight out of the AK is significant-- much more to my ears than upgrading the AK to a 380 or SP1000.
 
May 18, 2019 at 5:12 PM Post #8,918 of 9,105

x RELIC x

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Isn't all optical output on Ak's limited to 96kHz? Again, have to check via the lights on the Hugo. I'd guess the DSD will be converted to PCM and then that PCM downsampled to 96KHz for the optical .

Quite often that is the limit of all plastic optical transmitters anyway - to do with the data transmission speed of Toshiba Toslink. Depends on the individual components used.

Nope, it depends on the cable. I get 24/192 PCM with the Sysconcept cable just fine from the AK240. The problem seems to be that the AK240 converts DSD to PCM on its end, and with my limited DSD64 sample collection it converted it to 88.2kHz PCM which is not the limit of the cable. I hate it when a source converts the data.
 
May 18, 2019 at 5:27 PM Post #8,920 of 9,105

reeltime

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I still want to buy AK240. AK240 is 5 years old now.. but its price is still minimum $850.
When can I buy AK240 for $300?
A $2,000 flagship laptop that came out 5 years ago now sells for $250 on Ebay..

I hear ya— but at least you know it’s a quality product that will retain its value, more or less. I bought a 2nd one with the Blue Note files in the Massdrop sale. Worth it to me.
 
May 18, 2019 at 5:41 PM Post #8,921 of 9,105

udesign48

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Well, my 2014 flagship laptop still does what it promised to do.. it works like a desktop.
Microsoft Surface 2 Pro was 1,439 pounds ($1800 USD) in 2013:
https://www.cnet.com/news/surface-2-and-surface-pro-2-uk-prices-and-release-dates/

Now Surface 2 Pro sells for under $180 on Ebay..
I hope we can buy AK240 for $240 soon.

FYI, I grabbed an iBasso DX100 for only $100 on ebay lol .. but I think $100 is too much for this 7 year old electronic. It will need a battery replacement ASAP.
 
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May 18, 2019 at 9:41 PM Post #8,922 of 9,105

reeltime

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Well, my 2014 flagship laptop still does what it promised to do.. it works like a desktop.
Microsoft Surface 2 Pro was 1,439 pounds ($1800 USD) in 2013:
https://www.cnet.com/news/surface-2-and-surface-pro-2-uk-prices-and-release-dates/

Now Surface 2 Pro sells for under $180 on Ebay..
I hope we can buy AK240 for $240 soon.

FYI, I grabbed an iBasso DX100 for only $100 on ebay lol .. but I think $100 is too much for this 7 year old electronic. It will need a battery replacement ASAP.

I get your point, but I can't buy a McIntosh Amp for $500 dollars either--- even if they're old. It's supply and demand. Until people don't want them any longer, the price will remain high. These little players are very good at what they do. I don't see them dropping in price.

You can pick up an old Surface cheap because they sold a billion of them, they weren't particularly good or remarkable, and the newer models are more powerful and do much more.

While the newer AKs are better in different ways, they are also larger in size-- and the improvements in sound quality, as we've been discussing here, have been marginal, not revolutionary.

The Hugo1 hasn't dropped to bargain basement prices either-- even though it's been replaced by a far superior model in the Hugo2 (damn it I don't own one... yet). The Hugo1 is still a remarkable DAC and worth owning if you can't spring for the 2.
 
May 18, 2019 at 11:09 PM Post #8,923 of 9,105

dolphy007

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You've hit the fkn nail on the head! Best response to this nonsical comparison...
 
May 19, 2019 at 1:20 AM Post #8,924 of 9,105

ehjie

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@LuckyNat , Actually No. We are a small group here in Dubai, but there a lot of AK owners including a friend of mine who had a 320. I auditioned several times the same, No it is not better than the 240. He upgraded to an SP1000, now thats a little better (in SQ) than the 240...
09-10.png
 
May 19, 2019 at 7:08 AM Post #8,925 of 9,105

LuckyNat

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"No" ? There is no such thing as absolute fact when it comes to subjective opinion.

1) My 320 sounds much better than my 120 MkII. - That is my subjective opinion.

2) The 120 MK II has *exactly* the same DAC and output stage... *exactly* the same. All reviews I have read of the 120 MK II compare it to the AK240 and they all agree that it sounds the same as the 120 MkII . - That is many opinions agreeing in a direct comparison. In many ways that kind of comparison is reliable because they are not grading which is "better" (a subjective opinion) but whether they can tell differences. They found no differences - that's more reliable because it takes away bias of expectiation and trying hard to find difference which may not be there, tying to proove they can see the emperor's clothes..

So, it may be your *opinion* that the AK240 sounds better than the AK320 but the logic doesnt hold up fo it being any kind of absolute truth when other opinions are considered. My AK320 sounds more detailed and less vieled than the 120MKII (which, to reitterate, has the same audio architecture of the AK240).

Hey, perhaps some people consider the AK240/AK120II to be warmer and more lush and smooth and they like that? To me, that sounds vieled and slightly muddy in comparison to something with more airy top end.

That's why I like to compare DAPs with field recordings as I know the air and treble of nature and outdoors and the feeling like your ears being blocked when hearing those recordings on anything that viels the top end and detail. . When you compare using music, there's no telling how the sound was intended - often engineers and musicians deliberately choose a warm sound.

Also. lets not forget that the 320, 380 and SP1000 all use AKM AK449* series DACs. That's not the be all and end all of the sound signature but it does dictate a lot, and similiarities can be found in gear using the same family of chip design. The main differences between the AKM4490 and AKM4497 are in technical spec and filter options. Not that much really..
 
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