T.H.E Show Newport 2015: Astell&Kern AK380 and AK Jr.
Astell&Kern AK380 ($3499) and AK Jr. ($499)
I truly fell in lust with the Astell&Kern AK240 when I reviewed it. It wasn't the sound quality that did it (though the sound quality was fine as frogs hair), it was the feel of the thingit's kind of like having a stealth fighter in your pocket. Its angular design, carbon fibre back, and milled aluminum build is simply stellar. Also contributing to a great experience is the fabulous user interface and very trick set of feature including wireless streaming from a home server, well...it's simply the coolest digital audio player on the planet...or was.
At $3499 the new AK380 is the Lamborghini of the digital audio player world. An item most of us will only lust after. But for those few folks with the extraordinary means, or audio professional needs, this indeed may be a very satisfying and worthwhile purchase. Improvements over the AK240 include:
- 200 Femto-second jitter reference clock delivering 30ps word clock jitter.
- Uses two Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4490 DAC chips capable of paying both PCM and DSD files natively.
- Increases PCM support to 32bit/384kHz.
- Larger 4-inch, 480x800 touch screen display.
Not quite yet available are a desktop dock, CD ripper, and headphone amp backpack for those hard to drive cans. I had a nice hard look at the Ak380 in its dock, and I've got to say it's one of the coolest looking devices I've seenall the angular surfaces make it look both righteously posed and mischievously askew simultaneously. I'm in lust, go to the AK380 product page for more details.
The AK Jr. on the other hand is simply a dandy looking aluminum digital audio player. Reverting somewhat to the AK player roots, the AK Jr. is a Linux based DAP with an improved user interface over the original first generation AK100. Other improvements are: a larger display; smaller size; output impedance reduced from 22 Ohms to 2 Ohms; and DSD support (converted to PCM prior to DAC). Check out the AK Jr. page for more info.
Here's Jimmy Moon to tell us more about the two players.
Click here if you can't see the video.