DAP’s, Portable Rig And Driveline Specs Updated For Reviews, Going Forward

DAP’s, Portable Rig And Driveline Specs Updated For Reviews, Going Forward…

The Updated Specs are in Bold below.

AK120 Portable Digital Audio Player and Amplifier Stack ©Christmachine 2017

 

VinylTransfer(Needledrop) / Reel To Reel Transfer/ HD TRAcks/ CD to FLAC/ALAC/ WAV/.mp3(320kbps) -> AK120 (No Mods) 24/192 Capable Portable Audio Reference Server (2 X Stock Wolfson WM8740 DAC’s [One For Each Channel]) w/ 3-ohm output impedance (64GB Onboard FLASH + 2 x 200GB San Disk Micro SDXC-10 Cards) -> ALO Audio SXC 22 mini to mini 3 Wire Silver Plated Copper -> ALO Audio International Headphone Amp w/ 24bit96kHz DAC w/ Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC Chip -> ALO Audio Green Line (balanced universal mini XLR) w/classic copper sends and silver-plated copper returns -> ALO Audio Green Line RSA 4 pin Balanced XLR -> Audeze LCD2 Bamboo rev. 2G w/mini XLR Metal Reinforced Male Input Connects.

Additional DAP Source Players: Fiio X5 & The Pono Player (For Cross Reference Listening).

Additional Headphones Used: Sennheiser HD700, Audio Technica ATH M50 (OLD Model w/ Coil Chord), Sony MDRV6 (Studio Monitor w/ Coil Chord).

Note #1…I do not use IEM’s (In Ear Monitors) so one has to know whether or not their particular IEM’s match with the 3 Ohm Output Impedance of the AK120.

Note #2…You will notice that the AK120 was not modified (for lower output impedance) as I did with the AK100.  The reason I chose not to modify is because I wanted to use a stock AK120 player…so others could hear what I was hearing if they so choose.

 

Here Is a link to the Spec Sheet for the AK120 (PDF Opens New Tab).

http://www.soundfidelity.co.uk/media/downloads/products/AstellKern_AK120_Manual_English.pdf

 

Disclaimer:  As you know this site is not here to sell anyone anything, so I must disclose that the Pono Player was given to me, as I was an early stage beta tester.  I did not know I was going to be asked to be a beta tester nor did I know that we would be able to keep the player after testing was completed.  More on that another time…I will say that whatever you have read, the people behind Pono are well intentioned.  They created a damn good DAP…all criticisms aside, they really were and are (in the end) just trying to move Hirez forward.  This is a win for all.  The Pono Player will not be a main feature in reviews…I just wanted to let people know my source DAP’s for info.

 

As Far as the other DAP’s:

Some quick thoughts that might be helpful.  I never use the bundled software with the DAP units.  You want headaches…then use the software.  I simply use the DAP’s as default external drives, when plugged into the computer, just drag and drop my music files / folders into the onboard flash or memory cards.  I fill the memory cards by using the adaptor that comes with the cards and do the heavy transferring of music files via the memory card slot on the computer.

Another helpful hint, with the exception of the Pono Player which automatically scans my it’s memory at startup, I never ever ever scan my AK120 DAP…there is no need for me to do so.  I turn automatic scanning off on the AK120 and just remember where I put the files.  I just organize the folders in a way that makes it pretty simple to navigate.  On occasion it will take a minute or two to find something but it’s not a burden.

I don’t listen the way most people do…I do not use playlists, I tag my own files with mp3 Tag freeware, I listen to full albums (except for maybe electronic).  Every time I listen to an album I try to listen for something I never heard before, and every time…no matter how many listens, it presents itself.  I’m not trying to tell anyone how to listen to their music but I see people giving excellent DAP’s a bad review because the software was buggy, or they fill their memory cards with hundreds of GB of music while in the DAPs’ expansion slots.  Sometimes the GUI in the player itself is a little glitchy, but never miserable unless you’re expecting iPhone fast.

I Have had the AK120 for 2 years now and I use it daily with no battery issues…recharge is  slow, just plug in at night and it’s ready to go the next morning.  I do not use the DAP’s continuously all day, I switch between the phone to DAP’s throughout the day and they just work.  A little clunky but sounds damn good enough to make up for any shortfalls.

Next Up Reviews…

 

 

If there’s anything I forgot I will add to the update section below this sentence.

Update: 

As of today 02/23/17 No Updates At This Time.
Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support!

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.

Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!

 

CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the (nutty) author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Show off the Portable Rig and Driveline Specs…

IMG_5564

Astel And Kern AK100 -Self Mod., ALO Audio International HP Amp, ALO Audio Green line cable.

IMG_5566

Audeze LCD2 Bamboo rev. 2G [Balanced XLR] Headphones

VinylTransfer(Needledrop) / Reel To Reel Transfer/ HD TRAcks/ CD to FLAC/ALAC/ WAV/.mp3(320kbps) -> AK100 Self Mod 24/192 Capable Audio Reference Server (Stock WM8740 DAC) w/ 22Ohm Output Stage Bypass, hard-wired from output stage FET’sdirect to pins of HP output jack via Cardas copper litz solid core wire @ > 1-ohm of impedance (32GB Onboard FLASH + 2 x 128GB San Disk Micro SDXC-10 Cards) -> ALO Audio SXC 22 mini to mini 3 Wire Silver Plated Copper -> ALO Audio International Headphone Amp w/ 24bit96kHz DAC w/ Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC Chip  -> ALO Audio Green Line (balanced universal mini XLR) w/classic copper sends and silver-plated copper returns -> ALO Audio Green Line RSA 4 pin Balanced XLR -> Audeze LCD2 Bamboo rev. 2G w/mini XLR Metal Reinforced Male Input Connects.

17eriswly0lqvjpg

This is an Open Source Friendly Site

I’ve had this rig for more than a year now and I have not even had to use a “hard reset” even once…not one hiccup, just drag and drop files (Hi-rez or 16Bit/44.1kHz) on to the SD cards either directly via USB to player or put the Sandisk SDXC cards into the included adapter for computer card readers and dump many GB of data  very quickly. For a few months I even used manipulated code firmware for the AK100, which was hacked by this kind developer from Russia on one of the forums because it added a gapless feature, better GUI (General User Interface), and more volume via the internal amp (it even sounded clearer)…this guy did it months sooner than Astel & Kern.

Now the official AK100 firmware has all of these features. Again another glaring example where the “underground” / “open source” movement forces a large company to get there act together and put out the options for the player that they want. That is not a dig at Astel and Kern as it sounds, I think they were releasing updates slowly to make sure there were not major problems on a large scale with their code. Astel & Kern is a great DAP maker, expensive but great. With all that said I would not advise anyone to instal unofficial firmware if they do not know what they are doing because you could brick your unit. This actually happened to some AK100 users on Head-fi and they could have had their warranties voided by Astel and Kern but A & K were nice enough to fix the units for free…now that’s customer service.

20131107144659

The Famous Wolfson WM8740 DAC Chip.

One last thing these and other DAP units are known to not be noobie user friendly in the sense that you have to have a little technical know how to get everything up and running (for ex. different formatting of the memory cards and “Hard and Soft Resets”) and if you hit a snag go social to fix a hangup. This is what the “Pono Ecosystem” is trying to eliminate a more seamless user experience and a tight GUI. Further if your a coming from the Apple Ecosystem these units are not as playlist friendly as the Ipod / Iphone / android/ Windows and Itunes and this is a deal-breaker for many…just like “gapless” is essential to me if you listen to albums like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” or any album with no breaks between songs. Some of the other players that one can consider in this category that work well but all have their ups and downs are models like the X3/X5 from Fiio, the Ibasso DX series, and the HiFiMan HM-901. Finally be aware that if you have power hungry or high impedance “cans”  you may need to strap a small headphone amp to your portable player in order to fully power the headphones correctly. Happy listening!tagdits

Respect!

CM

 

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine

Welcome to Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server!

IMG_5579crp

My Rig On The Rocks ~ Wish You Were Here! xoxoxo Muaw.

Welcome to Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server!

In this archive I will be posting, IMO the best / specific releases that contain the finest sound quality in the world. All of the titles posted here I’ve listened to 5-20+ versions on all different media (over and over comparing and discussing with a trained ear)… and through my 30 year journey of doing this through listening, research, and forums, I will point you in the direction of these best possible sources. My posts are not final and will always be subject to updates as my research evolves, there can be other sources that are just as “good” as what I post but it is all a matter of opinion…Ex. Sometimes I like a clinical sounding source and others an emotionally warm source, often times keeping them all depending on my mood or listening setup.

So no more need to settle with a poorly mastered / loud / dynamically sterile CD, lossy .mp3, or unlovingly pressed vinyl. We will focus on comparing Vinyl vs. CD vs HD Tracks vs Pono Store + others etc. By offering you keywords to use in search, I can save you endless hours of searching so you can get straight to the source. Google and Duck Duck Go work wonders as you know if your conduct your searches correctly. Also as music preferences are subjective, I’m not implying anyone does not have good versions of these titles already, if your happy with what you have that is fine. All tiles in various resolutions are available on the internet off and on and can be downloaded / purchased by you with some searching. I guarantee it will be worth your while if you care about sound quality.tagdits

The titles, links, and videos etc. I post in the separate “Playlist” blog page feed (See the “PLAYLIST” page button below the “HOME” page button in the main menu) are  what I have listened to in their entirety “today” or “that day” in chronological order. Again I will give specific key words in the titles as well as links to reference said media for your review and enjoyment. Again if you, over time, search out these specific sources it will open your eyes to a whole new way of listening to music.

These specific titles will wash over you like a tidal wave of sound and elicit emotional joy in the highest form, maybe you can experience what trained ears call audio Nirvana. This is often described after years of listening to a a favorite album we already have at home…as if the veil has (finally) been lifted and you are truly listening to the music the way the artists in the studio intended you to hear it…for the very first time. If you close your eyes, you will sense the artist or band is performing right in front of you and you can visualize and point to where the instruments are on a virtual 3D sound stage all around you.

It was John Lennon who said that Sgt. Pepper and many other landmark Beatles albums were not recorded to be listened to in stereo. Stereo was available to them at the time but John and other members of the band thought their music was recorded and sounded best in mono (One speaker or two speakers or headphones playing the same thing in each channel). The reason they released the stereo versions against their original judgement was because the record companies demanded it as did the fans. Interesting perspective on audio opinion our and our individual preferences.

If anyone has music they would like me to review and possibly post in the “Playlist” page you can send me specific links to the content at the email link in the contact page. I love all styles of music and if I like it I will post it in the feed. Again please send a SPECIFIC / direct links to your music as I can’t spend a lot of time looking through your Facebook Page or Twitter Posts.

17eriswly0lqvjpg

This is an Open Source Friendly Site

Remember most bands recordings are pressed or digitized by record company media conglomerates that could give a care how the CD sounds or if the recording you have is sourced from many generations removed from the original analogue source tapes / just an up-sampled CD source…they’d be happy to sell it to you again and again a few years later as a “better” sounding remaster.

With that said if you do download music please remember to support the artists if you like what you hear, by buying their media, merchandise, or attending gigs. I know it sounds cliche and obvious but It must be said. Many times I’ve downloaded something and if I keep and like it I’ll buy the media either in physical form or as digital download and just throw it in the recycle bin or delete it…either way they get compensated for their art as they rightfully should as they are bearing their gifts to us.

I will be posting daily but you can also follow me on Twitter, Scoop.it, and Tumblr if you like.

https://twitter.com/Christ_Machine

http://www.scoop.it/u/christmachineandicelandicgurlagenda

http://christmachine.tumblr.com/

https://twitter.com/CHRISTARMServer

 

Happy hunting, listening, & Respect.

CM

 

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine