High Res Music in your Pocket

Posted on 23rd August, 2013

High Res Music in your Pocket

There seems to be an emerging market for pocket sized high resolution audio, thanks to next generation iPod users and those wanting that bit more. StereoNET Approved Retailer, Addicted to Audio have jumped onboard with the solutions from Astell& Kern.

Astell & Kern manufactures portable high fidelity audio players, capable of gapless hi-resolution audio playback in formats up to 24-bit/44 to 192kHz sample rates, and according to Addicted to Audio, “with the latest firmware release, the AK120 is now the first portable audio player capable of DSD playback.”

A widely unknown fact is that 24-bit/44 to 192kHz is the music industry norm used in the mastering process during sound production. However resolution of a CD due to storage limitations is only 16bit/44.1kHz, resulting in compression.  To produce the MP3 format, the high-resolution audio is compressed even further to 128 to 320kbps for the convenience of file size. These compressions remove enormous amounts of detail of the original recording.

“It’s Sad to watch when our completed recordings have to be compressed with loss of music quality and put in to CDs” says band Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

Through websites now making high resolution downloads available, such as HDTracks.com, with the AK100 and AK120 the same resolution of audio that is heard in the studio is now available – and it’s portable. Utilising the Wolfson WM8740 chipset, found in other high end audio equipment from manufactures such as LINN and Arcam, both the AK100 and AK120 have audio pedigree. The AK120 goes a step further, utilising two DACs (digital to analog converters) to keep the left and right audio channels completely separate. In result, it delivers broader dynamic range and wider soundstage, and more realistic music.

Further to being just a high-resolution portable audio player, with the latest software updates, Astell & Kern have allowed both units to function as portable DACs. Your streaming system, tablet PC, or your PC can be run into the USB or optical port to take advantage of the Wolfsons. The optical output means that the Astell & Kern can function as high res source for your two channel system if you already have a DAC in the system.

Both units feature two SD card slots supporting up to 32Gb each, and 32GB of built-in internal memory, a total of 96GB of music files can be saved on the AK100. The AK120 comes with 64GB of high-speed internal flash memory and dual microSD memory card slots capable of supporting up to 64GB of memory in each slot. The AK120 will Store up to 192GB of high-resolution audio.

The Astell & Kern AK100 has a RRP of $699 and is supplied with a charging cable, storage pouch and a USB connector. There’s an optional leather pouch that can be purchased for an additional $45. The Astell & Kern AK120 has a RRP of $1299 and is supplied with the charging cable, USB connector and an Italian leather pouch. Both units are capable of sitting in the optional dock, retailing for $219.

Available now from Addicted to Audio.

Marc Rushton's avatar

Marc Rushton

StereoNET’s Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers and headphones. Marc is also the founder of the annual International HiFi Show.

Posted in: Headphones Lifestyle
Tags: high res  hd tracks  astell & kern 

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