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Audiophile-quality Portable Hi-Fi Audio System
The Astell&Kern AK100 is a true audiophile-quality portable high-fidelity audio system capable of playing 24-bit, 192 kHz high-resolution audio, also referred to as Mastering Quality Sound (MQS). Since MQS delivers about 6.5 times more detail than a conventional CD (16-bit/44.1 kHz), listeners can enjoy more a realistic music experience, which is the closest to the original sound that the recording artist intended.
"What Portable Music Could Be, and Should Be"
"Even regular lossless files at 16-bit and 44kHz sound great on the AK100, thanks to the quality of the Wolfson D/A converter," reports Steven Stone at PCmag.com
"What is incontrovertible is that the AK100 offers listeners on the move a better-performing and -sounding DAC than that used in the iPods," notes John Atkinson in a July 25, 2013 post for Stereophile.
"The AK100 sounds so good that it shows us what portable music could be, and should be," says Daniel Kumin in Sound+Vision for July 2, 2013.
"Sounds Absolutely Incredible"
"There’s no question that the AK100 sounds absolutely incredible," reports Ryan Waniata in a January 27, 2013 review for DigitalTrends.com. "We were most impressed by its performance when playing back high-resolution tracks, but we also enjoyed the improvement of other formats through the player’s premium components."
"From an audiophile perspective chasing top sound with often surprising tolerance for interface issues and lack of conveniences, Astell&Kern have already vanquished the iPod," notes Srajan Ebaen at 6moons.com.
True High-end Sound
The AK100 portable music player offers true high-end, audiophile quality sound with playback of high resolution music formats. It supports WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF MP3, OGG, APE, and AAC codecs and boasts a 24/192 Wolfson 8740 dual DAC. You can also use the AK100 as an external DAC using the optical input.
The AK100 is as pleasurable to operate as it is to listen to. It has an extremely intuitive user interface with a touchscreen, hard buttons, and an analog-feel volume control. The touchscreen control offers a 'single swipe' graphic equalizer that lets you easily customize the sound quality.
CDs and MP3s Suffer from Compression
24-bit/44 kHz-to-192 kHz is the music industry norm used in the mastering process during sound production. However, high resolution music files have to be compressed down to 16-bit/44.1kHz in order to fit an album onto a CD due to the storage shortcomings of the medium, since CDs can hold only around 700 MB of data.
With MP3 files, the original high-resolution audio is compressed even further to 128 to 320 kbps for file-size convenience. This compression removes enormous amount of detail from the original recording.
For true high resolution recordings similar to the master recordings, you need to listen to the lossless audio formats supported by the AK100. The difference between these formats and standard CD or compressed MP3 files is startling and revelatory.
Wolfson 24/192 DAC
The AK100 is the world’s first portable digital audio device equipped with the Wolfson WM8740 DAC. Users familiar with LINN, ARCAM, and other high-end audio equipment (AV Receivers) actually have been listening to the Wolfson WM8740 high-performance 24-bit/192kHz stereo DAC at home.
With the Wolfson WM8740 DAC, the AK100 achieves the highest level of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the lowest level of the total harmonic distortion (THD) performance. And with the WM8740 DAC, the signal to noise ratio of 110 dB found in the AK100 significantly improves sound quality.
Use as an External DAC
Take maximum advantage of the Wolfson WM8740 DAC with the optical-in feature of the Astell&Kern and use it as an external DAC. Connect the Astell&Kern to an optical-out port of your computer or a CD player using a TOSLINK optical cable and plug it to the optical-in of the Astell&Kern. The digital music files will be converted by the Wolfson WM8740 DAC and improve your music listening experience.
Dual MicroSD Card Slots and Up to 96 GB Storage
To play back large MQS music tracks, it is essential to have large enough storage space. With 32GB of built-in internal memory and the dual 32 GB high-speed microSD card slots, a total of 96GB of music files can be stored on the AK100.
24-bit album recordings will soon be released with music files stored in microSD memory cards. Conveniently enjoy two albums at once through the dual memory card slots of the Astell&Kern.
For added versatility, the player also supports Bluetooth aptX streaming at CD quality.
Touch Equalizer Controlled by a Single Swipe
With the Astell&Kern and a nice set of headphones, you can change the equalization to suit various genres of music. Use the touch interface of the built-in five-band equalizer to achieve the sound quality you desire. An you can touch the screen to finely adjust the value of each band. The equalization circuitry can also be completely bybassed.
Robust and Sensitive Touch Screen
The control buttons and touch screen of the AK100 ensures fast and efficient operation. The combination of the four-way user interface, 2.4" touchscreen, volume control wheel, and control buttons creates an easy to use experience. The interface allows a quick search and instant listening of MQS music.
Through the carefully designed GUI of the AK100, you can find your tunes quickly and enjoy high-definition music, straight from your pocket. Select from various options, including the equalizer, through the "Options" menu and to choose tracks quickly using the "Track List" menu.
Refined Design with an Analog Feel
The brushed aluminum body of the player reflects the refined craftsmanship inside and out. The rotary volume control wheel has the feel of a fine analog device rather than the cheaper feel of most portable audio device controls.
"Even regular lossless files at 16-bit and 44kHz sound great on the AK100, thanks to the quality of the Wolfson D/A converter."
- Steven Stone, PCmag.com
"What is incontrovertible is that the AK100 offers listeners on the move a better-performing and -sounding DAC than that used in the iPods."
- John Atkinson, Stereophile, July 25, 2013
"The AK100 sounds so good that it shows us what portable music could be, and should be."
- Daniel Kumin, Sound+Vision, July 2, 2013
"There’s no question that the AK100 sounds absolutely incredible. We were most impressed by its performance when playing back high-resolution tracks, but we also enjoyed the improvement of other formats through the player’s premium components."
- Ryan Waniata, DigitalTrends.com, January 27, 2013
"From an audiophile perspective chasing top sound with often surprising tolerance for interface issues and lack of conveniences, Astell&Kern have already vanquished the iPod."
- Srajan Ebaen, 6moons.com
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