Red Wine Audio introduce RWAK100


Private audio heads have gone gaga for iRiver’s Astell & Kern AK100 portable audio player since its release in October. The specifications alone tell you why:

  • 32GB of internal memory
  • dual MicroSDHC port capable to expand the total amount of internal memory of the Astell & Kern AK100 up to 96GB.
  • Compatible with 24bit/192kHZ FLAC & WAV, APE/MP3/WMA/OGG
  • Wolfson WM8740 powerful DAC
  • Output 110bB on a 10Hz to 20kHz range.
  • Dual Optical IN/OUT port
  • 2.4″ LCD IPS color screen
  • Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP/HFP 12H continuous playback battery when listening to 24bit/192kHZ FLAC
  • 20 hours of battery when playing Mp3
  • Output level 1.5Vrms
  • THD 0.0009%
  • Signal to Noise 110dB weighted
  • Channel separation 120dB
  • Output impedance 20ohms

Pricing in Australia is particularly keen. AU$699, delivered to your door. That’s perfect parity with the US $699 price.

rwak100However, this already superb player can be taken to another level with Red Wine Audio’s iMod process. With years of experience taking the iPod’s sound quality up several notches, Vinnie Rossi has begun applying his know-how to produce the RWAK100 – a brand new modded AK100 unit for US$895.

What surgery is exacted? Rossi explains:

“We bypass the 22-ohm resistors in the output stage, and hard-wire (via Cardas copper litz solid core wire) directly from the output stage FETs directly to the pins of the headphone output jack. Besides bypassing the 22 output resistors, this also provides the shortest, cleanest path from the output stage to the headphone jack – also bypassing the tiny circuit board traces, and the header that connects the main board to the smaller headphone jack board. It’s essentially a direct connection from output stage to the headphone jack. Output impedance is now under 1 ohm…”

“All in all – I’m very proud of the AK100 and the output stage modification and just how good this unit sounds compared to many other portable sources, dacs, and all-in-one players. This is true reference quality, and iRiver/A&K deserves a lot of credit for their fine design (the internal layout is 1st rate)”, he continues.

Already got an AK100? No worries – Rossi can mod your existing unit for US$250 (+ shipping).

Details of the RWAK100 have yet to make it to the Red Wine Audio website but you can email Vinnie Rossi here.

Further införmation: Red Wine Audio / Addicted To Audio

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

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  1. The AK100 really isn’t that great. As the mods attest to, the output impedance is way too high, and the WM8740 is a mid-grade DAC used in entry level stuff like the Dac Magic and other $200 level portables, hardly befitting something that costs $900.

    Hifiman’s upcoming HM-901 uses two ESS 9018 DACs, and presumably a much better amp section.

  2. This is unbelievable. Charging $250 for shorting a couple resistors?!

    Well, as long as there are people ready to pay, why not? I think I’ve just got a business idea…

    PS. Having output resistors is a strong indication that the internal amplifier does not cope well with lower impedance phones (either this or the designers did not know what they were doing, which I doubt). Shorting them removes one issue but risk creating others when used with most IEMs(instability, oscillations)