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Astell & Kern AK300

High-resolution portable music player with Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi®

1 Review | 4 questions - 4 answers

Item # 838AK300

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Overview

Our take on the Astell & Kern AK300

Seriously into music? The Astell & Kern AK300 portable music player delivers your high-resolution digital audio files with rich, detailed sound. When you use a great set of headphones with the AK300, you can experience sound that can rival a home hi-fi system. The AK300 can also serve as a stand-alone digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for high-resolution sound from files stored on a computer, thanks to its USB digital input.

High-res audio in your hand

Astell & Kern AK300

Seriously into music? The Astell & Kern AK300 portable music player delivers your high-resolution digital audio files with rich, detailed sound. When you use a great set of headphones with the AK300, you can experience sound that can rival a home hi-fi system. The AK300 can also serve as a stand-alone digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for high-resolution sound from files stored on a computer, thanks to its USB digital input.

Extraordinary sound quality

The AK300 uses a high-quality DAC capable of decoding sampling rates up to 24-bit/192kHz. You can play high-resolution downloads from sites like HDtracks without any additional equipment or file conversion.

Even with lossless files or compressed formats like MP3, the AK300 can help your music sound its best. Its high signal-to-noise ratio and low distortion let the subtle details of your music come through. Its high-fidelity, low-impedance output gives your headphones more power than most portable music players, for excellent performance.

Touchscreen and push-button controls

The player's color touchscreen is simple to navigate. A metal touch sensor button gets you back the home screen with just a tap. And it displays artist and title info as well as album artwork. And because this is a high-resolution audio player, the AK300 features an analog volume knob, so you can make small, nuanced adjustments.

Expandable memory

To add music to the AK300, connect the player to your computer with the included USB cable. Then just drag and drop your selections to the player while its built-in battery charges. The AK300 comes with 64GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot lets you expand the storage up to 128GB.

Do more with Astell & Kern's handy app

The AK300 can also be part of a wireless home audio system. Download the free AK Connect app to your iPhone® or Android™ smartphone. It lets you wirelessly control your player. Connect via Wi-Fi to digital music stored on computers and NAS drives throughout your home. Or use the app to stream internet radio stations through the AK300, even access music files stored on other AK Connect-compatible Astell & Kern players.

Product Highlights:

  • digital music player — plays MP3, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AIFF
    • plays Direct Stream Digital (DSD) files (.dff and .dsf formats up to 5.6MHz resolution)
    • DSD files are converted to PCM for playback
  • AKM AK4490 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
  • 64GB internal flash memory
  • microSD card slot for cards up to 128GB (up to 192GB total memory)
  • 4" color touchscreen
  • analog volume wheel provides fine level adjustments
  • metal touch sensor home button
  • Bluetooth 4.0-compatible
  • 3.5mm unbalanced headphone/optical output for connection to headphones, receiver/amp, or an external DAC
  • 20-band parametric EQ with 0.5dB-step adjustments and user-created presets
  • AK Connect
    • free control app available from Apple App Store® and Google Play
    • control your AK300 from your smartphone or tablet
    • access home networked computer and NAS drives via Wi-Fi to wirelessly stream to your AK300
    • access internet radio stations to play through your AK300
  • built-in rechargeable battery provides up to 12 hours of playback
  • high-speed USB interface (cable included) for drag-and-drop file transfer and battery charging
  • brushed aluminum casing
  • output impedance: 2 ohms
  • total harmonic distortion: 0.0007-0.0008% (1kHz)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 116 dB
  • leather protective sleeve and micro SD card protector
  • 2-1/16"W x 6-1/16"H x 2-3/16"D
  • weight: 3.1 lbs.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Portable digital music player
  • 39" microUSB-to-USB cable
  • Leather case
  • 4 Protective clear films (2 for front/2 for back)
  • microSD card slot cover
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty information
Reviews

Astell & Kern AK300 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(1 Review)

Great sound

R. from Odessa, FL on 2/18/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

My iPod classic finally gave up the ghost, so I started researching. I wanted a player that would accommodate my high-res files I have on my Mac, and that could drive my Sennheiser HD 650 along with my Shure 535 IEM. This player does not disappoint. It's like listening to the music for the first time all over again. Adding files is easy, just a click and copy. The interface is easy and intuitive. So far I am not disappointed!

Pros: Excellent sound quality

Cons: None that impacts performance, and that is what we are alllooking for isn't it?

Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Features

AK4490 Single DAC: The Astell & Kern AK300 is equipped with a AK4490 Single DAC (digital-to-analog converter) for 24-bit/192kHz bit-to-bit playback, 32-bit to 24-bit downsampling, and DSD-to-PCM conversion.

  • 32-Bit to 24-Bit Downsampling: The Astell & Kern AK300 offers 32-bit to 24-bit downsampling of music files. 32-bit/384kHz music files are downsampled to 24-bit/192kHz, while 32-bit/352kHz music files are downsampled to 24-bit/176kHz for playback.
  • DSD-to-PCM Conversion: The Astell & Kern AK300 features DSD-to-PCM conversion. It will convert DSD 64/128MHz music files to PCM 24-bit/176kHz for playback.

Femto Clock: The Astell & Kern AK300 uses a voltage-controlled crystal oscillator (VCXO) high-precision clock with a reference jitter value of 200 femtoseconds. Femto clocks are typically used in high-end audio components. The clock is measured in femtosecond units (one quadrillionth of a second -- or 1/1000 trillion) which allows the device to create a more accurate frequency value and make fine jitter corrections. Typical clock jitter in the AK300 is measured at 30 picoseconds (or 30/1-trillionth).

Media File Transfer: You can download digital music files from your Windows PC or Mac computer to the Astell & Kern AK300 through its microUSB port and the included microUSB-to-USB cable.

  • Supported Audio Formats: The AK300 is capable of download and playback of high resolution digital music files up to 24-bit/192kHz; including FLAC, WAV, ALAC, and AIFF. It also supports playback of DSD 64/128MHz (DFF/DSF) music files by converting them to PCM (24-bit/176kHz). In addition, the AK300 will support highly compressed music files such as MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, and APE.
  • Computer Requirements: The AK300 is compatible with Windows 7, 8, or 10 (32-bit or 64-bit versions of each). It also support Mac OS X 10.7 and up. Mac users need to download and install the MTP program from the Astell&Kern website.

Built-in Memory + External Storage: The AK300 has a built-in 64GB internal flash memory for downloading and storing your digital music files. You can also insert a microSD card (up to 128GB) in the memory card slot on the side of the device for additional storage capacity. Your microSD card should be formatted in FAT32.

microUSB Port: The Astell & Kern AK300 is fitted with a microUSB port that can be used as an input or output. The microUSB port is used for downloading music files from your computer and for charging the battery. The microUSB port also supports USB Audio Out and allows you to use the AK300 as a USB DAC for your Windows PC or computer.

USB Audio Out: The AK300 can be connected to the USB audio input of an AV receiver or integrated amplifier using an OTG cable (sold separately). The AK300 can output PCM music files to your receiver or amp. It can also transfer DSD in native through DoP, or convert DSD into PCM for output to amplifiers that do not support DoP.

USB DAC: The USB DAC functionality allows the AK300 to be recognized as a sound card on a computer. The AK300 is connected to a free USB port on your Windows PC or Mac computer; the music from your computer is then played through the AK300's earphones port for an enhanced listening experience. This USB DAC connection bypasses the inferior soundcard of your computer or laptop and uses the AK300 as the USB DAC for better sound quality. It can support up to 24-bit/96kHz bit-to-bit music playback, providing much richer sound through superior ambience and resolution way beyond the limits of the embedded soundcard of your computer.

  • Computer Requirements: Compatible with Windows PC and Mac computer
    • Windows PC: XP (32/64-bit), 7 (32/64-bit), 8 (32/64-bit), and 10 (32/64-bit)
    • Mac OS: OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later
  • Supported Music Files: Supported music files include MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, DSD (DFF/DSF), OGG, and APE
    • Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz to 96kHz
    • Bit Rate: 16-bit or 24-bit
Notes: When using the AK300 as a USB DAC, its PEQ settings are not applied, and output up to 24-bit/96kHz (not 192kHz) is supported. DSD 64/128MHz is converted via DSD-to-PCM for playback.

Balanced & Unbalanced Output: The Astell & Kern AK300 is outfitted with a 2.5mm balanced headphone output (L+/L-/R+/R-) and a 3.5mm unbalanced headphone output (L+/R+/GND) for connection with a variety of headphones.

  • 2.5mm Balanced Jack: The AK300 features a 2.5-mm/4-pole balanced output (1.98 Vrms) for connection with compatible balanced earphones & headphones. This type of connection requires that you connect your compatible headphones to both the unbalanced port (ground) and balanced audio port (L/R) of the AK300. Unlike the unbalanced type, the balanced output type is capable of removing noise (common mode noise) that can occur in "signal + inverting amplifier signal" and has the strength of increasing output due to its double transmitting signals.
  • 3.5mm Unbalanced Jack: The AK300 also features a 3.5-mm/3-pole unbalanced output (1.98 Vrms) that offers compatibility with a variety of HiFi earphones and headphones. The 3.5mm headphone jack doubles as an mini optical digital output with a fixed volume level.

Built-In WiFi: The AK300 features built-in 2.4GHz WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) which allows you to connect to your home's WiFi network wirelessly with support for AK Connect & DLNA.

  • AK Connect: The AK300 comes equipped with the AK Connect feature that can be connected with network-ready Astell & Kern devices and speakers (sold separately). It will wirelessly output its sound through Astell & Kern speakers (sold separately).
  • DLNA Compliant: It is also appointed with wireless networking DLNA (Ver. 1.0), which makes it easy to work with NAS/PC on the same network and through an AK Connect app on your Apple iOS 7.1+ or Android OS 3.0 device. The AK300 can access and play back music files stored on a computer on the same wireless network.
Note: Firmware/software updates are done over the AK300's WiFi network connection.

Bluetooth Transmitter: The AK300 has built-in Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting a Bluetooth speaker, headphone, or receiver so you can listen to your digital music files wirelessly. In addition to support for the standard Bluetooth SBC codec, the AK300 offers support for aptX allowing CD quality (16-bit/44.1kHz) wireless audio playback for Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and receivers that also support aptX.

Note: DSD playback is not available via Bluetooth, and performance may be limited for high-res playback; 48 kHz or lower resolution is recommended). Car audio Bluetooth connections are not supported.

User Interface: The AK300 features a high-quality user interface to make it easy to find and select your music files, change the volume, and adjust the sound.

  • 4" LCD Touchscreen: The full-color 4" LCD touchscreen has a resolution of 480 x 800 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.
  • Metal Capacitive Touch: In addition to the LCD touch screen, the AK300 also features a pressure-sensitive metal capacitive touch interface. The home button, located on a panel below the screen, responds to fine pressure changes so you can operate the unit with a light touch on the metallic pad.
  • Rotary Volume Knob: The AK300 has a rear-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.

20-band Parametric EQ: The AK300 features a parametric EQ and an audio DSP to allow you to make detailed adjustments in the original sound to suit your tastes. The DSP takes the existing 10-band graphic equalizer with ±0.5dB adjustments and upgrades it to a 20-band EQ with ±0.1dB adjustments, plus variable gain and Q values. The EQ frequency bands include - 30Hz, 45Hz, 60Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, 180Hz, 250Hz, 380Hz, 500Hz, 750Hz, 1kHz, 1.5kHz, 2kHz, 3kHz, 4kHz, 6kHz, 8kHz, 12kHz, 14kHz, and 18kHz. You can adjust the gain from -5dB to +5dB in 0.1dB increments, and the Q from 0.1 to 4.0dB in 0.1dB increments. If you choose not to activate the Parametric EQ, you can use the Pro EQ presets recommended by professionals.

Gapless Playback: Gapless Playback allows you to play the next song without any interruptions or silence. Gapless playback is only supported between two audio files with identical bit rates, sample rates, and channels.

Power Requirements: The AK300 is equipped with a rechargeable Lithium-Polymer battery (3100mAh/3.7V). The battery charges via USB in about 8 hours using a USB port on your computer or about 4 hours using a USB/AC power adapter (sold separately). A 39" micro-USB-to-USB cable is included to connect the player to your charging device. A fully charged battery can provide up to approximately 10 hours of continuous playback time.

Aluminum Construction: The Astell & Kern AK300 features an aluminum construction. It measures only 3" (w) x 4.4375" (h) x 0.625" (d), and weighs just 7.2 ounces. Clear plastic film protectors are included for the front and back of the portable digital music player. A stylish leather case is also included.

Expandable Options (All Sold Separately): The AK300 can be expanded to a variety of devices through the micro-USB and balanced audio out ports located at the bottom of the player. It can be connected with the Astell & Kern AMP as well as professional high-impedance headphones for high output and USB for data transfer and charging. It can also be connected to the AK Cradle for balanced audio functionality as well as Astell & Kern's CD-RIPPER to conveniently rip audio CD (all devices sold separately).

Our Product Research Team

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Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

reviews and reputation of astell and kern. trust in crutchfield [ Gerald  May 04, 2017 ]

4 questions already asked

There is no listed maximum resolution when using the optical output. DSD will be converted to PCM when using the optical output. [ Ryan  Jul 06, 2017 ]  Staff
Good catch! The 256GB capacity we list under the "Highlights" section of our site is a misprint. We also show the 128GB microSD capacity under the "Details" tab; but our website editors will have the misprint under the "Highlights" corrected to 128GB ASAP! Thanks again for bringing that to our attention :) [ Larry  May 31, 2017 ]  Staff
I'm afraid not--the AK300 features a parametric EQ and an audio DSP to allow you to make detailed adjustments, however you cannot save individual "preset" EQ adjustments for different songs. If you would like to discuss further, feel free to contact an Advisor directly by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. [ Larry  Apr 19, 2017 ]  Staff
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