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.

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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