High def digital audio players.

Started by Captain Ron, April 07, 2015, 16:58:45 pm

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Dave64K

How could you expect me to live without you? One cannot become accustomed to the loss of happiness.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

Captain Ron

My review will likely not be very objective sadly as all I have to compare it with us my aging iPod touch which just about manages CD resolution reproduction and has very noisy electronics.
"I was brought up to believe" (but never to leave beer)

Slim

Quote from: Captain Ron on May 29, 2015, 17:13:02 pm
Bought an Astell & Kern AKjr. First toe dip in portable highdef. Looking forward to receiving it and getting some lossless 24bit flacs onto it and seeing how it performs. :)


You'll be able to hear it at its very best with 16 bit flacs, which have exactly the same resolution for human-audible material as 24 bit. In fact there's a narrow chance that the extra processing required for the redundant data in the 24 bit nonsense might degrade the sound slightly.

Captain Ron

Should hopefully be getting the AKjr before the weekend. I told the supplier to hold off sending it until today as we've been away enjoying the annual Rory Gallagher weekend in Donegal. Fantastic weekend! :)
"I was brought up to believe" (but never to leave beer)

Captain Ron

"I was brought up to believe" (but never to leave beer)

Dave64K

How could you expect me to live without you? One cannot become accustomed to the loss of happiness.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

Captain Ron

Further update from supplier. AKjr being delivered this Saturday. Woohoo! :)
"I was brought up to believe" (but never to leave beer)

Captain Ron

OK. I'll attempt a Kurtzy style review....

Wow! :)
"I was brought up to believe" (but never to leave beer)

Dave64K

Nice Exec Summary but need full review  ;D
How could you expect me to live without you? One cannot become accustomed to the loss of happiness.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

JonL

Are you listening to it on the move, or at home, plugged in?
The lenses inside of me that paint the world black. The pools of poison, the scarlet mist, that spill over into rage.

Captain Ron

Here's my thoughts I've logged on it so far.

6 June.
First listening impression is good. Steven Wilson's Hand Cannot Erase (16bit 44.1khz flac files) on my trusty full size Sennheiser HD 515 headphones. Volume at 60%. AKjr is having no problem driving them. Pro EQ enabled. Sounds neutral and accurate with an unforced soundstage. Plenty of separation between the instruments but plenty of oomph on the transients. Next I'll try some full fat 24 bit 48/96khz stuff and then I'll repeat the same listens with my Shure in ear headphones. Happy geek day! :D

7 June.
Just trying my Shure in ears now with the AKjr. Initially forgot I was switching from full size cans and nearly blew my head off. Backed the volume down to a comfortable but meaty 48%. The headphone amp in this thing is powerful! :) Listening to Rush's Moving Pictures (24/96). Sounds terrific! YYZ playing right now as I type. Sublime. Any niggles? Yes but not in the sound department which is what I bought this for. The case is brutally sharp at the corners. Definitely will need a cover for this  thing. The user interface is logical but not as slick as the interface on iPod. FF and RW seem a tad errrrm temperamental. Before I started playing with this device I downloaded and installed the latest firmware but it's obviously still being refined. EQ is a simple 5 band affair and I havn't got to grips with it yet. There is also a proEQ mode and i've alternated today between this and none. Not a lot of difference tbh. ProEQ seems to add a tiny amount of warmth and widen the soundstage slightly. Also, oddly you can only get at EQ when a track is playing but the setting is global. Album artwork handling is a bit odd too, If the artwork is embedded in the audio files then you get it on the album view, track view and "now playing" view. If the tracks have no artwork embedded but there is a jpg or png in the album folder then you get that image for all tracks in the "now playing" view but not in the album or track lists. I suspect this is a developer oversight on a potentially great feature and I will probably report this to them as a suggestion. :) USB interface is 2.0 only so copying say 6 albums of 24/96 flac files to the AK is a go put the kettle on job.

9 June.
Tonight has been all about serious listening. The headphones socket on the jr is switchable to be a line out. I hooked it up in line out mode to my Onkyo AV receiver, turned off ProEQ on the jr and set the Onkyo in pure audio mode. OMG! Incredible sound! Really clean and powerful with a great stereo soundstage. I actually had to get up and go over to my surround speakers to check they were off! :D Absolutely no line noise either. When you pause the jr there is zero sound. Not a trace of hiss or hum at all.  Ditto in the silence between songs. This is proper quality kit.
"I was brought up to believe" (but never to leave beer)

Captain Ron

Quote from: JonL on June 10, 2015, 11:44:30 am
Are you listening to it on the move, or at home, plugged in?


At home. Headphones and connected to my AV receiver. I won't be taking it mobile until I get a proper protective case for it (and my hands!).
"I was brought up to believe" (but never to leave beer)

Captain Ron

Just ordered one of these.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00824948U

My suspicion is that it will work with the AKjr as it has a standard bluetooth profile.
"I was brought up to believe" (but never to leave beer)

Dave64K

What's the verdict after a month Ron?
How could you expect me to live without you? One cannot become accustomed to the loss of happiness.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

Captain Ron

Best bit of kit i've bought in ages David. Lovely neutral sounding device with lots of welly and definition. Paired with my Shure SE530s it's sublime. Got the case for it in the post at the weekend too so it's properly portable now. My suspicions on the remote were correct too. Works perfectly. I suspect the Ak one was the same thing rebadged.
"I was brought up to believe" (but never to leave beer)