posted on 2014-02-20 17:12:00 GMT
Just a quick update as I had a good listen last night to the AK240 using my favourite headphone at the moment, the Audeze LCD-XC’s, I really did wonder how Astell&Kern could improve on the sound quality of the AK120 but they certainly have, not to say that the AK120 is a bad player, it is still excellent but the AK240 is a clear step up, the AK120 in comparison now sounds a little ‘Digital’, what the AK240 manages to do is keep all the detail but present it is a far more natural, organic way, it is an easier listen which really comes into its own with acoustic and vocal music.
The AK240 actually reminds me of the Naim NDS, which is by far the best digital source I have ever heard, as it is almost analogue in its presentation whilst retaining the dynamics and openness of digital, with the Naim NDS costing over £13k with the 555PS it actually makes the AK240 seem like pretty good value if you are looking for out and out sound quality.
It may not be cheap for a but I if you want the best portable device out there at the moment then I really can’t see anything topping the Astell&Kern AK240 and the fact that it can be partnered with a headphone of the quality of the Audeze LCD-XC and still offer plenty of volume and drive really makes it a very high-end HiFi system that you can use at home and take with you when you go travelling, you certainly wouldn’t want to do that with a Naim NDS :-)
Just a quick blog to let everyone know that we now have the latest, and greatest, portable player from Astell&Kern on demo, the AK240.
I think it is fair to say that Astell&Kern are leading the way when it comes to portable devices, especially when it comes to sound quality, but the AK240 certainly adds some interesting features like a balanced headphone socket, something I need to look into more as this is something I have not seen before on a portable device, plus the AK240 supports native DSD files, I’m in the process of loading some now onto our demo AK240 as we speak and the other new feature is that it has wifi built in so it can stream wirelessly direct from your computer and as it is connected to your network it will search automatically for firmware updates and alert you and download once available and with 256GB of storage built in, expandable to 384GB it has plenty of storage for those large 24 bit files, finally it has a 3.31in AMOLED touchscreen with 800x480 resolution which looks stunning.
The AK100, now on its MKII version with higher output, DSD support and a leather case in the box, and the AK120 have been extremely popular, the AK240 looks to take things to another level with improved sound quality being its main selling point, this is something I will be trying later, if it can indeed sound better than the AK120 then it is going to be something very special indeed.
The only draw back that I can see is the price as at £2199 it certainly isn’t cheap but once you get it in your hands it certainly feels like a quality product, it is reasonably bigger than the AK120 and certainly has some interesting styling, apparently it is designed to show light and shadow with the front asymmetric look of the unit designed from the shape of the shadow when light was shining on it, all very clever.
Needless to say we know have all 3 of the Astell&Kern players on demo all loaded with the same mix of 16 and 24 bit music so you can compare the differences between the different models so please feel free to pop in to try any of them for yourself.
Please find more info here -
And here are a few pictures although they really don’t do the AK240 justice -
AK240 box v the AK120 Box
AK240 v AK120 for size
Here’s a couple of official shots that show it a little better -
Right, time to go and have a listen :-)