CanMania 2014: Astell&Kern, better digital audio for the mobile masses


CanManiaThe Astell&Kern digital audio players have greatly impressed as being some of the very best of their kind. Which is kind of an odd thing to say, I suppose, because this market was swallowed whole by Apple about a decade ago, and most folks would probably be perplexed both by the idea that there were non-iPod music players out there and that iPod-based audio could be bettered.

It really is quite the mind-trick that Apple has pulled here, but the truth is, Apple has been clearly leapfrogged by many companies offering very fine fully-portable digital audio players. And, to my mind at least, at the very top of that heap sits the Astell&Kern AK240 digital audio player. Audio360 has covered this flagship product at some length, so I’ll refer curious parties to that review.

New to A&K is the refresh to the lower-level products, the AK100 II and the AK120 II. These two used to be clad in a combination of metal and plastic — the new units are all metal and quite sleek. Any questions of build quality are banished at a glance, and in-hand, the new units are really nice to … ah … fondle. Ahem. Anyway, the new models also boast improved specs and a greater flexibility to support a wider range of headphones. 

Shown here with headphones from Sennheiser, Audeze, Final Audio Design and some universal IEMs from a variety of companies, these players are outstandingly high-quality. I saw several attendees produce their own older-model AK players strapped to the back of portable amp and/or DAC to create a semi-portable audio brick, but the new players are quite good on their own.

Specs and more details can be found online.





About Scot Hull 1062 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.

1 Comment

  1. Wow,
    I’m thinking back to the article we published here – BEFORE the AK120!
    “Mercers’ Favorite Combo” I think it was called?

    It was the AK100, ALO International, and Audeze LCD-3s!
    Wow, and that was merely a year or so ago??

    Things are MOVING

Comments are closed.