Astell & Kern AK240 Details
- 256GB Internal Storage expandable up to 384GB
- Dual Cirrus Logic CS4398 DACs with balanced audio output
- Direct Stream Digital offers more dynamic range
- MQS playback closer to studio output than even SACD
- Can also be used as an external optical DAC
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Active matrix OLED screen
- Touch equalizer (EQ) is easily manipulated by the fingertips
- Comes with exquisite Minerva leather case from Badalassi Carlo
The Astell&Kern AK240 from iriver offers the ultimate sound quality from a portable music player, delivering the sound exactly as the artist intended it. This state-of-the-art marvel features both a balanced output and native DSD playback through the Dual DAC setup. It is not hyperbole to say that the AK240 brings you closer than ever to the sound quality of the original recording.
What is DSD?
DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is a digital audio file format originally developed for the SACD (Super Audio CD) format. Regular digital file formats such as PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) are separated into 65,000 (16-bit) to 16,700,000 (24-bit) of information on the Y axis, and 44,100 (44.1kHz) to 192,000 (192kHz) across the X axis for digital signals. DSD files have 1-bit (0s or 1s) for Y axis and is separated into 2,800,000 (2.8MHz) to 5,600,000 (5.6MHz) of information for X axis.
Compared to regular audio CDs with 16-bit/44.1kHz PCM format, SACD’s recording frequency goes up to 100kHz and the dynamic range goes beyond 120dB while maintaining impeccable sound clarity during the transmission.
Native DSD support
In order to provide native DSD playback on the AK240, Astell&Kern had to select a different DAC chipset: The Cirrus Logic CS4398 chip in a Dual DAC setup with an added exclusive XMOS chip. The main CPU processes the data, sends it to the exclusive XMOS chip, and then it goes through the DAC to deliver the sound.
Unbalanced vs. Balanced Output
The unbalanced method is the most commonly used basic method which consists of left and right signals + ground line. This setup includes a ground line which blocks out external noises from the outside. However, since the ground line cannot block out all of the external noises completely, external noises can be mixed into the signals that are transmitted, which then result in changes to the sound. The longer the signals travel, the more external noises that will be mixed into the sound — which is why it is used within a short distance of 1 to 2 meters.
The balanced method has a few advantages over the unbalanced method. Unlike the unbalanced method, the balanced method has an additional cold signal to compliment the hot signal, which reduces the external noises. The first advantage is that the hot signal and the cold signal will remove the external noises received. The second advantage is increased output due to the two transmitted signals. Since the ground line cannot block out 100% of the external noises, noise will appear on both the hot and cold signals. The alignment of the two signals allows the noise to usually appear at similar points where they will eventually be removed as the signals are transmitted.
Dual DAC meets Balanced Output
During the development of the AK100 and AK120, Astell & Kern's specific analog amp setup was already creating full balanced analog signals streaming from the DAC; now, with the AK240, they have been able to move a step closer towards the original sound by creating a balanced output terminal at the end.
A massive 256GB of storage
Astell & Kern has created the AK120 Titan with a storage capacity of 128GB, but in order to support Native DSD, MQS, and massive audio files, they had to come up with the ultimate portable music player with 256GB of storage. With 256GB of internal memory, about 2,500 MQS (24bit/96kHz, 4 minute-long, 90MB) songs can be saved. With the addition of a 128GB microSD card, the AK240 can support up to a total memory capacity of 384GB.
Astell&Kern products have started to evolve into network players by providing Wi-Fi capability. To listen to your favorite music, you no longer have to turn on your computer, search for your music, wait for the songs to download, connect your player via USB cable, and then wait for the files to transfer to the player. Now with MQS Streaming, you can easily download or stream music directly from the AK240 by having the unit and your computer connected to the same network. [ "Astell&Kern MQS Streaming Server" software must be installed on your PC or MAC with a shared folder saved for MQS Streaming to work.]
Compared to the AK120, the 3.31 inch AMOLED display on the AK240 is about 82% bigger to provide more information at a glance. With the bigger display, the Full Touch screen makes it easy to navigate especially for smart phone users. The playback and volume control buttons have been upgraded on the AK240. Music tracks with long titles, such as a classical music, are displayed on 2 lines for better navigation. Due to the speedy file scanning functionality, a separate DB scanning function is no longer needed and file search is available for easy access to music.
The AK240 can be used as a USB DAC which supports Native DSD playback. The combination of the exclusive DSD chip and the Dual DAC in the AK240 goes above and beyond most computer sound cards and is able to create a greater sense of space and deeper sound while listening to your music. [Please note: the EQ setting cannot be used while in USB DAC mode].
What's in the box
- Leather Case
- Protective LCD Film
- Quick start guide
- Warranty Card
- Micro–USB Cable
- microSD Card Slot Cover
|Name||Astell & Kern AK240|
|Sub Title||Portable High-Resolution Digital Music Player|
|Manufacturer||Astell & Kern|
|Shipping Offer||AUTHORIZED DEALER - FULL WARRANTY - FREE SHIPPING|
Supported Audio Formats: WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, APE, MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, DSD
Sample rate: WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC : 8kHz ~ 192kHz (8/16/24-bits per sample)
Output Level: L: 1.5Vrms + R: 1.5Vrms (Condition No Load)
DAC: Two Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DAC (High-End Audio DAC)
Decoding: Supports up to 24-bit / 192kHz Bit to Bit Decoding
Charging Interface: Micro USB Type-B
Interface: USB 2.0, OPTICAL IN/OUT, Headphone Out
Feature Enhancements: Firmware upgrades supported
Frequency Response: ±0.02dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) / ±0.2dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz)
Signal to Noise Ratio: 113dB (1kHz 0dB, 24-bit 48kHz, No Load)
Crosstalk: -128dB (1kHz 0dB, 24-bit 48kHz, No Load)
THD+N: 0.0008% Typ (1kHz 0dB, 24-bit 48kHz, No Load)
IMD SMPTE: 0.0005% (24-bit 48kHz, No Load) 800Hz 10kHz (4:1)
Output Impedance: 3 ohms
Clock Jitter: 50ps (Typ)
Capacity: 2,350mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery
Continuous Playback Time: Up to 14 hours (Standard - MUSIC: FLAC, 16-bit, 44kHz, Volume 37, EQ Off, LCD Off)
Charge Time: About 6.5 hours
About 6.5 hours
Supported OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista,7,8 (32/64bit), MAC OS X 10.6.5 and up
Built-in Memory: 128GB [NAND]
External Memory: microSD (Max 64GB) x2
Dimensions (W x H x D in inches): 2.33 x 3.50 x 0.57
Weight: 5 oz.
- What's in the Box
- AK240 digital music player
- Leather Case
- Protective Film
- Micro-USB cable
- micro SD card slot cover
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty Card