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Astell&Kern ready AK100/AK120 docking stand

I was chatting with George Poutakidis of Melbourne’s Addicted To Audio yesterday. (Full disclosure in case you missed the banner ad to the right: A2A are a DAR site sponsor). I was teasing him about the number of brands he now distributes/sells down under – far more than any other digital audio focussed retailer in Australia. Poutakidis chuckled as he told me he’s recently added yet another brand to his arsenal: Astell&Kern.

Unless you’ve been living underground for the past six months, you’ll know that Astell&Kern is the (cleverly named, luxury) brand through which iRiver launched their audiophile-grade portable media player, the AK100 (AU$649). Think: an iPod for audio nerds: Wolfson WM8740 DAC chip, compatible with 24bit/192kHZ FLAC & WAV as well other Hydrogen Audio favourites APE and OGG Vorbis, 32Gb internal storage (expandable to 96Gb), optical input (to serve as a DAC itself) and optical output (to feed an external DAC).

A&K_dock

Astell&Kern added a second player to their line-up – the AK120 (AU$1280) – a few months back. It runs twin Wolfson DACs (one for each channel), 64Gb internal storage (expandable to 128Gb), a better volume control and (Head-fiers rejoice) lower output impedance – 3 ohms (as opposed to the AK100’s 20 ohms).

Recent firmware updates have seen the addition of gapless playback with both models now able to handle Apple Lossless; both of these issues hitherto stood as deal-breakers for this listener. Phew. The AK120 even supports DSD (if that’s your thing).  v2.10 firmware for the AK100 allows it to be used as a USB DAC, just like its bigger brother.

I shall be getting BOTH models in for review but this isn’t a aren’t-we-awesome-with-our-A&K-players group hug. Oh no.

A&K_dock_2

See – the chaps at iRiver HQ are  readying a docking stand for both the AK100/AK120, making charging and USB DAC connectivity even easier. Ever thought about using your Astell&Kern media player as the front end of your main rig? Now you have. The A&K docking stand sports aesthetics similar to the players themselves and the tilt angle is fully adjustable.

The Astell&Kern docking stand will sell in Australia for AU$219 with the first shipment expected to land mid-August.

Further information: Astell&Kern | Addicted To Audio

Written by John H. Darko

John H. Darko

John is the editor of DAR from which he derives an income from its ad revenues. John is also an occasional contributor to 6moons and AudioStream and currently resides in Berlin, Germany.

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