Astell & Kern AK70 MKII
High-resolution portable music player with Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® (Noir Black)
Our take on the Astell & Kern AK70 MKII by Crutchfield's Ralph Graves
From great to greater
The AK70 MKII is the second iteration a popular high-resolution portable player from Astell & Kern. And yes, it's significantly better. The MKII features improved signal processing, higher output levels, and better signal-to-noise ratios than the original AK70.
Made for high-resolution audio
The AK 70 MKII can deliver all the detail and depth of your high-res music. The MKII is capable of bit-perfect playback of high-res files up to 24-bit/192kHz, with support for DSD files up to 5.6MHz. It's ideal for use with high-performance headphones. You can also use it as an in-line digital-to-analog converter (DAC) to play high-resolution sound from your computer through your headphones.
Outstanding sound quality
The AK70 MK II features two high-quality DACs — one for the right channel, the other for the left. Because each channel completely separate, noise and interference are virtually eliminated. The dual DAC configuration also allows greater detail and fidelity for a more realistic soundstage.
You can play high-resolution downloads from sites like HDtracks without any additional equipment. Even with CD-quality files or compressed formats like MP3, the AK70 MKII 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. Plus, its high-fidelity, low-impedance output gives your headphones more power than most portable music players.
To add music to the AK70 MKII, 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 AK70 comes with 64GB of internal memory. A microSD card slot lets you expand the storage up to 320GB. And of course, you can have more tunes on extra cards and bring them along for easy swapping.
Do more with Astell & Kern's handy app
The AK70 MKII 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 your computer or NAS drive. Use the app to stream songs from your computer, internet radio stations, and even other AK Connect-compatible Astell & Kern players.
- ultra-compact high-resolution portable music player
- plays MP3, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, AIFF digital music files
- plays Direct Stream Digital (DSD) files (.dff and .dsf formats up to 5.6MHz resolution)
- DSD files are converted to PCM for playback
- dual 24-bit/192kHz DACs for left and right channels
- frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- 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 256GB (up to 320GB total memory)
- high-resolution color touchscreen
- analog volume wheel provides fine level adjustments
- 3.5mm unbalanced headphone output
- 2.5mm balanced headphone output for compatible 'phones
- Bluetooth 4.0 for high-quality streaming to compatible headphones and speakers
- built-in Wi-Fi with DLNA to access home wireless network
- built-in rechargeable battery provides up to 8 hours of playback
- high-speed USB interface (cable included) for drag-and-drop file transfer and battery charging
- USB output allows direct digital connection to compatible gear
- AK Connect
- free control app available from Apple App Store® and Google Play
- control your AK70 MKII from your smartphone
- access home networked computer and NAS drives via Wi-Fi to wirelessly stream to your AK70
- access internet radio stations to play through your AK70 MK II
- brushed aluminum casing
- 2-7/8"W x 3-13/16"H x 5/8"D
- weight: 5.29 oz.
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the Box:
- Portable digital music player (noir black)
- 39" USB cable (Type A USB on one end and Micro-B USB on other end)
- 4 Protective clear films (2 for front/2 for back)
- microSD card slot cover
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty information
I am a fan of Astell & Kern products. This compact size hi-res player is huge in quality and function. The sound quality, function and features makes this a must have for the audiophiles.
Lawrence Walsh, Jersey City, NJ
Astell & Kern AK70 MKII Reviews
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Overview: The Astell & Kern AK70 MKII is the updated version of the popular AK70 digital music player. The Mark II has higher output (than the AK70), dual DACs, better signal-to-noise and THD+N specs, and a higher capacity battery. This compact digital audio player features durable aluminum construction, and balanced output. It measures only 2-1/2" (w) x 3-7/8" (h) x 5/8" (d), and weighs just 5.4 ounces. Clear plastic film protectors are included for the front and back. The AK70 MKII is available in Cadet Blue and Noir Black.
Dual DACs: The AK70 MKII is equipped with two Cirrus Logic CS4398 DACs (digital-to-analog converters) that separates the left and right audio channels from input to output. This Dual DAC design reduces noise and interference, adds more fidelity and audio output power, to give you better imaging and a bigger soundstage.
32-Bit to 24-Bit Downsampling: The AK70 MKII 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 AK70 MKII features DSD-to-PCM conversion. It will convert DSD 64/128MHz music files to PCM 24-bit/176kHz for playback.
Media File Transfer: You can download digital music files from your Windows PC or Mac computer to the AK70 MKII through its microUSB port via the included USB cable. Supported audio formats include WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DSD (DFF + DSF). The device is compatible with Windows 7, 8, or 10 (32-bit or 64-bit versions), as well as Mac OS X 10.7 and up.
Built-in Memory + External Storage: The AK70 MKII has a built-in 64GB internal flash memory for downloading and store you digital music files. You can also insert a microSD card (up to 256 GB) in the memory card slot on the side of the device for additional storage capacity. You microSD card should be formatted in FAT32. No memory card is included with the player.
Micro-B USB Port: The Astell & Kern AK70 MKII is fitted with a Micro-B USB port that can be used for downloading music files from your computer and for charging the battery with the supplied USB cable. The port also supports USB Audio Out and allows you to use the AK70 MKII as a USB DAC for your computer.
USB DAC: The USB DAC functionality allows the AK70 MKII to be recognized as a sound card on a computer. The AK70 MKII is connected to a free USB port on your Windows PC or Mac computer; the music from your computer is then played through the AK70 MKII's headphone port for an enhanced listening experience. This USB DAC connection bypasses the inferior soundcard of your computer or laptop and uses the AK70 MKII 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. You must use a dedicated USB cable, not the Micro-B USB cable included with the unit (which is used for charging only).
- Computer Requirements: Compatible with Windows PC and Mac
- Windows: 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 AK70 MKII 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 Outputs: The Astell & Kern AK70 MKII features a 2.5mm balanced headphone output and a 3.5mm unbalanced headphone output for connection with a variety of headphones:
- 2.5mm Balanced Jack: The AK70 MKII features a 2.5-mm/4-pole balanced output (4.0 Vrms) for connection with compatible headphones. Connecting to an external audio device requires that you connect to both the unbalanced port (ground) and balanced audio port (L/R). The balanced output is capable of removing noise, and has increased output due to its double transmitting signals.
- 3.5mm Unbalanced Jack: The AK70 MKII also features a 3.5-mm/3-pole unbalanced output (2.0 Vrms) that offers compatibility with a variety of headphones. The 3.5mm headphone output can also be used as a fixed line-level output, so you can connect the AK70 MKII to your home receiver, integrated amplifier, or powered speakers.
Built-In Wi-Fi: The AK70 MKII features built-in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) which allows you to connect to your home's Wi-Fi network wirelessly with support for AK Connect. The AK Connect feature lets you connect with network-ready Astell & Kern devices and speakers (sold separately).
Note: Firmware/software updates are done over the AK70 MKII's Wi-Fi network connection.
Bluetooth: The AK70 MKII 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 AK70 MKII offers support for aptX and aptX HD wireless audio playback for Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and receivers that also support aptX or apxX HD. Car audio Bluetooth connections are not supported.
MQS Streaming Server: The Astell & Kern AK70 MKII can access and play music files stored on a computer on the same network, as well as output sound through Astell & Kern speakers. The MQS Streaming Server can be downloaded and installed on your computer (Windows 7/8/10 and Mac OS X 10.7 or later).
AK Connect App: The AK Connect App is a DLNA-based control app that lets you play back music data on a NAS drive or PC, or on other Astell & Kern products. You can also stream music from services such as Tidal. The AK Connect app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 8.0 or later, and with Android devices running software version 4.2 and up.
User Interface: The AK70 MKII features a high-quality user interface to make it easy to find and select your music files, change the volume, and adjust the sound.
- 3.31" LCD Touchscreen: The full-color 3.31" 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 AK70 MKII has a side-mounted analog-style rotary volume knob. The volume control range is 0 to 150 with detents at every 1.0. 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.
10-Band EQ: The AK70 MKII has a 10-band Equalizer to tailor the sound of your music to your preference. You can set the levels of each band from -10dB to +10dB at 32kHz, 62Hz, 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, 1kHz, 2kHz, 4kHz, 8kHz and 16kHz.
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 AK70 MKII is equipped with a rechargeable Lithium-Polymer battery (2500mAh/3.7V). The battery charges via USB in about 8 hours using a USB port on your computer or about 4-1/2 hours using a 5V/2A USB/AC power adapter (sold separately). A 39" Micro-B 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.
Optional CD-Ripper (Sold Separately): The AK70 MKII can allow users to rip CDs with ease by linking with the AK CD-Ripper (sold separately). It supports the CD track error correction feature and the meta data (ID3TAG) auto input feature using Gracenote's database without any change. The AK CD-Ripper may not be properly recognized when using a power supply adapter rated at less than 5V 2A.
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Features and reviews [ John Mar 30, 2018 ]