Astell & Kern AK380
High-resolution portable music player with Wi-Fi®
Our take on the Astell & Kern AK380 by Crutchfield's Ralph Graves
It just feels right
There's something satisfying about handling the Astell & Kern AK380. It's a beautifully crafted digital music player, with angled edges that create an interesting interplay between shadow and light. The aircraft-grade aluminum body feels light but strong and substantial. When I held the AK380, it felt like a top-of-the-line digital music player. And the AK380's stellar performance confirmed it.
The AK380 features dual digital-to-analog converters (DACs), one for each stereo channel. This ensures outstanding detail and dynamic range, an absolutely quiet background, and a spacious soundstage. These powerful AKM AK4490 DACs do native conversion of Direct Stream Digital (DSD) files. You also get bit-perfect playback for PCM-based files up to 32-bit/384kHz. And you might be surprised at just how much detail this player can reveal with your CD-quality and compressed music files, too.
AK Connect app
The Astell & Kern AK Connect app, available from Apple App Store and Google Play, opens up a whole world of options for your AK380. It easily connects your player to your Wi-Fi network. That means you can wirelessly stream audio (including hi-res audio) to and from your multi-room audio system, other Astell & Kern players, or your smartphone or tablet. And you can not only stream to and from a DLNA networked PC, but you can also download files directly from the computer.
Doubles as a USB DAC
Built into the AK380 is a voltage-controlled high-precision clock — the same found in high-end audio systems — — to tame detail-smearing jitter. This ensures your music will sound as natural and finely detailed as possible.
The clock also makes the AK380 an ideal USB DAC. Plug it into your computer, and the AK380 will bypass your PC's noisy audio section entirely, for clear sound from your music files and streaming sources.
The AK380 features a 256GB internal memory — ideal for the larger files sizes of hi-res audio. The microSD card slot can handle up to 128GB cards, for total storage of up to 384GB.
- digital music player — plays MP3, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AIFF, APE, WMA, DFF, DSF
- native DSD playback for DSD64 (2.8MHz) and DSD128 (5.6MHz) files
- dual AKM AK4490 digital-to-analog converters for bit-perfect playback of high-resolution audio files (up to 32-bit/384Khz for PCM and 5.8MHz for DSD)
- 256GB internal flash memory
- microSD card slot for cards up to 128GB (up to 384GB total memory)
- free AK Connect app (for smartphones) or AK Connect HD app (for tablets) available from Apple App Store and Google Play
- built-in Wi-Fi for streaming and downloading music from a networked computer via DLNA
- can transfer and play files wirelessly from networked computer
- can distribute stored files wirelessly to connected DLNA components
- functions as a USB DAC when connected to a computer via the USB input
- 4" color touchscreen display
- recessed analog volume knob provides fine level adjustments
- supports gapless playback
- 3.5mm unbalanced headphone/optical output for connection to headphones, receiver/amp, or an external DAC
- Bluetooth 4.0-compatible (A2DP, not recommended for files with sampling rates greater than 48kHz)
- 20-band EQ with 0.5dB-step adjustments and user-created presets
- high-speed USB Micro-B interface (cable included) for drag-and-drop file transfer and battery charging
- built-in rechargeable battery
- aircraft-grade durable aluminum alloy casing
- custom leather case and protective screen film included
- output impedance: 2 ohms (3.5mm headphone output)
- total harmonic distortion: 0.0007% (1kHz, unbalanced output)
- signal-to-noise ratio: 116 dB
- 3-3/16"W x 4-3/8"H x 3/4"D
- weight: 8.11 oz.
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- AK3800 digital music player
- Leather Case
- Protective Film (2 each/front and back)
- 39" Micro-USB cable (Type A USB on one end and Micro USB on other end)
- 2 micro SD card slot covers (1 installed)
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty Card
- Leather case info card
- Leather case trademark info
Astell & Kern AK380 Reviews
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Overview: The Astell&Kern AK380 from iRiver is a portable high-resolution music player that delivers true audiophile quality playback. The AK380 features dual DACs (digital-to-audio converters) with balanced and unbalanced analog outputs, as well as a mini optical digital out. It has a large internal memory for storing thousands of high-resolution music files. The AK380 has a 4" WVGA LCD touchscreen display, plus built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Construction: The AK380 is only 3-1/8"W x 4-7/16"H x 3/4"D, and weighs 8.11 ounces. It is made from meteoric titan-colored, aircraft-grade duralumin, and is trapezoidal in shape with multiple angles in its design. The AK380 comes with a fine Italian leather case and a protective film to help prevent scratches. Analog controls include a rotary volume knob on the right side, and Play/pause, Previous/rewind, and Next/fast forward buttons along the left side.
Metal Capacitive Touch: In addition to the LCD touch screen, the AK380 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.
Digital Storage: The AK380 has a built-in 256 GB internal memory. You can also insert a 128 GB microSD card in the memory card slot on the side of the device to bring the total memory capacity of 384 GB. That's enough storage for approximately 3,750 four-minute songs, recorded at 24-bit/96kHz resolution.
Dual DACs: The AK380 is equipped with two AKM AK4490 DACs that support up to 32-bit/384 kHz bit-to-bit decoding and playback without downsampling. The AK380 supports the following Audio Formats and Bit Rates:
- Audio Formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE (Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF
- Sample Rates:
- PCM: 8kHz - 384kHz (8/16/24/32 bits per sample)
- DSD Native: DSD64: 1-bit/2.8MHz (Stereo), DSD128: 1-bit/5.6MHz (Stereo)
Femto Clock: The Astell&Kern AK380 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 AK380 is measured at 30 picoseconds (or 30/1-trillionth).
20-band Parametric EQ: The AK380 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 found in the AK240 with ±0.5dB adjustments and upgrades it to a 20-band EQ with ±0.1dB adjustments, plus variable gain and Q values. You can set the EQ curve by simply "drawing" the curve on the touchscreen. 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.
Note: The EQ supports PCM, 8 to 192kHz and 8, 16, or 24-bit playback. It does not support DSD or 32-bit playback.
USB DAC: You can use the AK380 as an external USB DAC which supports Native DSD playback. With the Dual DACs and the exclusive DSD chip, the AK380 delivers much better sounding audio than your computer's built-in sound card. Connect the unit via USB from your computer and listen to your stored digital music with headphones, powered speakers, or home stereo. The USB DAC is compatible with Windows XP (32-bit), Windows 7 (32- & 64-bit), and Windows 8/8.1 (32- & 64-bit); Supported formats: PCM (8-384 kHz (8/16/24/32-bit) and DSD (2.8/5.6 MHz).
Balanced/Unbalanced Outputs: The Astell&Kern AK380 offers both balanced (L+/L-/R+/R-) and unbalanced outputs (L+/R+/GND). Balanced outputs have an additional "cold" signal to compliment the hot signal, which reduces external noise and increases output. The balanced output is a 4-conductor 2.5mm port (1 ohm) on the top of the device. You can also connect an external audio device to the AK380 by connecting to both the earphones port (ground) and the balanced port (LR), using an optional balanced cable available from Astell&Kern. The Micro USB and four contacts on the bottom of the AK380 provide a balanced output to an Astell&Kern expansion device, such as the AK380 Amp or AK380 Cradle (sold separately).
Mini Optical Out: The 3.5mm headphone jack doubles as an mini optical digital output.
Note: DSD format is converted to PCM when using the Optical Out. Volume fixed at Maximum.
User Interface: The AK380 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 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.
- Rotary Volume Knob: The AK380 has a side-mounted analog-style rotary volume knob. The volume control range is 0 to 150 units with detents at every unit. As you adjust the volume, the volume range is shown numerically on the display. You can change the output to "Line Out", which locks the volume level at maximum (150).
- 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.
Micro-B USB: The AK380 has a Micro-B 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 AK380 is compatible with Windows XP, 7 and 8/8.1, as well as Mac OS X 10.7 and up.
Wi-Fi Capability: The AK380 features built-in Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n--2.4GHz), allowing you to connect the device and your computer to the same network for streaming and downloading music. With the MQS Streaming Server software installed on your PC or Mac, you can use the AK380 to access music files stored on your computer's hard drive or a connected HDD. In addition, the Wi-Fi connection allows you to receive notifications of new available firmware updates (OTA Upgrades), allowing you to download them on the spot.
Bluetooth: The AK380 also has built-in Bluetooth V4.0 with A2DP and AVRCP profiles for connecting a Bluetooth device to listen to music wirelessly. DSD playback is not available via Bluetooth, and performance may be limited for high-res playback; 48 kHz or lower resolution is recommended). You must maintain a distance within 8" of the paired Bluetooth device for best audio quality and connection quality. Car audio Bluetooth connections are not supported.
AK Connect (DLNA): The AK380 can stream or download music files stored on a computer on the same network via DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance). Using the AK Connect app (available for iPad running iOS 7.1 or later or Android devices running version 3.0 and up), you can connect to a NAS or PC and control it with a smartphone or tablet.
Power Requirements: The AK380 is equipped with a 3400 mAh 3.7V Lithium-Polymer battery. The battery charges via USB in about 4 hours. A fully charged battery can provide up to approximately 10 hours of continuous playback time.
Leather Case: Included with the AK380 is a fine leather carrying case, made by artisans and master tanners in Italy. The case is warranted for quality, and comes with a numbered Certificate of Guarantee.
Protective Film: The unit includes a protective film to keep the touchscreen and the rear panel scratch-free. Two sets of the protective film is included for the front and the back.
- Frequency Response:
- 20Hz-20kHz (±0.053dB Unbalanced, Balanced)
- 10Hz-70kHz (±0.56dB Unbalanced, ±0.55dB Balanced)
- Signal-to-Noise Ratio (@1kHz): 116dB unbalanced, 117dB balanced
- Crosstalk (@1kHz): 130dB unbalanced, 135dB balanced
- THD+N (@1kHz): 0.0008% unbalanced, 0.0007% balanced
- Output Level: Unbalanced 2.2Vrms, Balanced 2.3Vrms (No Load)
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2 questions already asked
Those headphones have a low impedance so it is not a requirement to use a headphone amp for good sound. Now, that being said, a headphone amp will help them play better. It gives them more power to work with and lets super efficient ones like those two play even better. Feel free to call an advisor on 1-800-324-9695 for a personal recommendation! My Bio: http://www.crutchfield.com/Support/Bio.aspx?bio=101 [ Paul Aug 09, 2016 ] Staff
The Micro is for transferring data not playback. If your car access the AK as an android device it may work, but why would you want to do this. All the money you are spending is for the DA converter. use the headphone jack. that will provide the best sound [ Mark Jan 04, 2016 ]