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Astell & Kern AK100
High-resolution portable music player
Watch a product review
Crutchfield: Astell & Kern Portable Music Player
From Astell & Kern: AK100 3D Introduction
Item # 838AK100 | MFR # AK 100
This item is no longer available.
Our take on the Astell & Kern AK100 by Crutchfield's David Brown
The AK100 features a color touchscreen display as well as push-button controls and an analog volume knob.
High-resolution audio to go
Most portable music players do a fine job of letting you take your music anywhere. But they can't replicate the sound quality of a high-performance home system. At least, they couldn't until now. That's where the Astell & Kern AK100 comes in. This highly compact and beautifully designed player represents a new benchmark for portable audio, with true audiophile performance you can fit in your pocket. Pair it with a great set of headphones and you'll want to revisit your entire music collection. Most impressively, the AK100 plays high-resolution music files, delivering them with all their native detail and depth for high fidelity playback beyond the capability of CDs. You can even use it as a stand-alone digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for high-resolution sound from files stored on a computer thanks to this player's USB and optical digital inputs.
Putting sound quality first
Excellent sound quality was the driving force behind the AK100's design. It employs a high-quality Wolfson digital-to-analog converter (DAC) capable of decoding sampling rates up to 24-bit/192kHz. That means you can play high-resolution downloads from sites like HD Tracks on this player without any additional equipment or file conversion. If you haven't heard how good high-resolution music can sound, the AK100 will open your eyes and ears. Even with standard lossless files or compressed formats like MP3, the AK100 can help your music sound its best. Thanks to its high signal-to-noise ratio and vanishingly low distortion, you'll hear more of your music's subtle details. And the internal audio circuitry will feed your headphones more power than most portable music players, so they can really shine.
Praise for the Astell & Kern AK100 from Sound & Vision
In terms of sound quality, the AK100 is without peer among portables. Load a great lossless, high-rez recording and jack in a great pair of cans, and the AK100 will instantly remind you why serious headphone listening is so compelling.
— From Daniel Kumin's review in Sound & Vision Magazine, June/July/August 2013
With the ability to play high-resolution files up to 24-bit/192kHz, the AK100 is a true audiophile music player you can take anywhere.
Touchscreen and push-button controls
This unique player's clever design combines an easy-to-use touchscreen interface with old-school manual controls. The 2.4-inch color touchscreen is a cinch to navigate and displays artist and title info as well as album artwork. Play, pause, and skip tracks using the touchscreen or the buttons on the side of the player. The analog volume knob is a cool touch, providing fine, tactile level adjustments. So without removing the AK100 from your pocket, you can still control its most important functions.
Drag-and-drop simplicity with expandable memory
Adding music to the AK100 is as easy as dragging and dropping files into a folder on your computer. Just connect the player to your computer with the included USB cable, and you can copy your selections to the AK100 while its built-in battery charges. The 32GB of internal memory can be expanded thanks to two microSD card slots on the bottom of the player's brushed aluminum casing. So you can load the AK100 up with as much as 96GB of music. Load more tunes on extra cards and bring them along for easy swapping, so you can take your entire digital collection with you. Audiophile-grade sound has never been so portable.
For those of us who demand the best possible sound from the smallest possible device, the Astell & Kern AK100 is positively ground-breaking.
— David Brown, Crutchfield A/V Writer
What's in the Box:
- AK100 digital music player
- 40" USB cable (Type A USB on one end and Micro USB on other end)
- Cloth pouch
- microSD card with sample music
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty sheet
- Sample music track list
- Serial number card
- digital music player plays MP3, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AIFF, APE, WMV (may require firmware update for some file formats)
- plays Direct Stream Digital (DSD) files (.dff and .dsf formats up to 2.8MHz resolution; requires firmware 2.30)
- Wolfson WM8740 24-bit/192kHz DAC for bit-perfect playback of high-resolution audio files
- USB input allows for use as an external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with a computer (requires firmware version 2.10 or later)
- 32GB internal flash memory
- 2 microSD card slots for cards up to 32GB (up to 96GB total memory)
- 2.4" color touchscreen
- analog volume knob provides fine level adjustments (150 levels)
- 3 side-panel control buttons (Play/Pause, Next/FF, Previous/Rewind)
- mini optical input for use as an external DAC
- stereo minijack line level/optical output for connection to a powered speaker, receiver, or external DAC
- gapless playback (requires firmware version 2.01 or later)
- Bluetooth 3.0-compatible (A2DP)
- built-in 5-band EQ with touchscreen interface
- built-in rechargeable battery provides up to 15 hours of playback (12 hours with 24-bit/96kHz files)
- high-speed USB interface (cable included) for drag-and-drop file transfer and battery charging
- brushed aluminum casing
- includes carry pouch
- ouput impedance: 20 ohms
- total harmonic distortion: 0.0009% (1kHz)
- signal-to-noise ratio: 110 dB
- 2-5/16"W x 3-1/8"H x 9/16"D
- weight: 4.3 oz.
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Astell & Kern AK100 Reviews
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Overview: The Astell & Kern AK100 from iRiver is a portable high-fidelity audio system, capable of playing Mastering Quality Sound (MQS)--high resolution digital audio from music mastering studios. It has a sleek, brushed aluminum body with a 2.4" touch screen display and an analog rotary volume control on the side. The AK100 has a built-in 32 GB flash memory with dual microSD slots for adding even more memory. The unit is powered by a built-in rechargeable battery, and charges via a Micro USB cable. It comes with a cloth pouch to protect it from scratches.
Digital-to-Analog Converter: The AK100 is equipped with the Wolfson WM8740 24-bit, 192kHz DAC, the same as found in some high-end audio equipment (AV receivers). This DAC delivers outstanding performance with a 110dB signal-to-noise ratio, a super-clean 0.0009% THD+N rate, a -120dB Crosstalk specification for superb left-right separation, and a 10Hz-20kHz Frequency Response at +0.02dB to -0.02dB.
External DAC: With Optical In and Optical Out ports, the AK100 can be used as an external optical DAC. You can connect the unit to an optical out port on your computer or CD player to convert your digital music files for listening with headphones, a powered speaker, or through the Auxiliary input of your car stereo.
High Fidelity: The AK100 is capable of playing high resolution digital music up to 24-bit, 192kHz, the same as used in the music mastering process. This Mastering Quality Sound (MQS) includes all of the high resolution formats, including WAV, AIFF, FLAC, and ALAC. These lossless files provide approximately 6-1/2 times more detail than a CD (16-bit, 44kHz), and can be played at sample rates of 8kHz-192kHz and 8/16/24-bits per sample. In addition, the unit can play MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, and APE compressed audio files.
Built-in and Optional Memory: The Astell & Kern AK100 is equipped with 32 GB of internal memory and dual microSD card slots, that support up to 32 GB each. That gives you a total of 96 GB of storage space that can be used for saving music files. The microSD slots have a sliding cover to help keep dust out. A microSD card with sample music is included.
User Interface: The AK100 features a high-quality user interface to make it easy to find and select your music files, change the volume, and adjust the sound:
- 2.4" LCD Touchscreen: The full-color LCD touchscreen has a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. The screen displays the title and artist of the currently playing song, along with elapsed and remaining time, with the album art in the background. On the touchscreen, you can touch the Play/Pause, Previous/Rewind, or Next/Fast Forward icons to control playback. You can make adjustments to the EQ, set the repeat and random modes, and add the song to a playlist, all using the touchscreen interface.
- Rotary Volume Knob: The AK100 has a side-mounted analog-style rotary volume knob. The volume control range is 00.0 to 75.0 with detents at every 0.5. As you adjust the volume, the volume range is shown numerically on the display.
- Hardware Control Buttons: There are four physical buttons on the unit: a top-mounted power button, along with side-mounted Play/Pause, Previous/Rewind, and Next/Fast Forward buttons.
Drawing Equalizer: The AK100 has a 5-band Equalizer that lets you set the EQ levels by "drawing" the curve on the touchscreen. You can set the levels of each band from -10dB to +10dB at 62Hz, 250Hz, 1kHz, 4kHz, and 16kHz. Each band can be set one at a time by touching the desired level on the screen, or set them all at once by a single swipe of the finger across the screen in the shape you desire.
Micro USB: The AK100 has a Micro USB port on the bottom of the unit for connecting the unit to your computer for downloading music files and for charging the battery. The AK100 is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8, as well as Mac OS X 10.6.5 and up.
iRiver Plus4: iRiver Plus4 is an integrated software built into memory of the AK100 that can be loaded onto your computer when you first connect your device. With iRiver Plus4, you can rip CDs to your computer and transfer the music files to the device. You can manage music files using a drag-and-drop method on the software interface.
Power Requirements: The AK100 is equipped with a 2000 mAh 3.7V Lithium-Polymer battery. The battery charges via USB in about 5 hours. A fully charged battery can provide up to 16 hours of continuous playback time (Standard--Music: FLAC, 16-bit, 44kHz, Volume at 37, EQ off, and LCD off).
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