Hi-Fi Audio in your pocket. Enter the marvelous world of music realism!
The ultimate portable high-fidelity audio system. Experience the phenomenal realism of 24bit high-res Mastering Quality Sound, far exceeding CD standards. Compared to CD quality, the 24bit standard used in studios during recording and mastering contains up to 6½ times the information, resulting in a truer, more precise and expansive sound.
The well thought-out design, high-quality components and exceptional build ensure that, whether playing ripped CDs or high-res downloads, you will be astonished at the sound quality through either headphones or your home audio system.
Be prepared to rediscover your music collection!
- Equipped with the world's first portable Wolfson WM8740 24bit 192kHz high-performance DAC
- Meets the demanding criteria of Hi-Fi audio:
THD + Noise 0.0009% Signal to Noise Ratio 110dB Crosstalk -120dB Frequency Response +0.02 ~ -0.02 Jitter 90PS
- Can be used as an external DAC or a digital source via optical TOSLINK or USB 2.0
- Elegant design and sturdy build, housed in a brushed aluminium case
- Side buttons and an analogue-style volume knob compliment an intuitive touch-screen display
- Graphic equalizer easily manipulated with the swipe of a finger
- Plays back WAV, FLAC, APE, ALAC, AIFF, WMA, ASF, OGG, AAC & MP3 files
- Gapless playback of all filetypes (very soon via f/w update)
- Can stream wirelessly over Bluetooth at CD quality
- Up to 16 hours of playback on a single charge
- 59.2mm x 79mm x 14.4mm, 122g
Manufacturer's product page
Sound Fidelity say:
“This is a very exciting new product that changes the landscape in personal music players. We love this pocket Hi-Fi. Add a decent pair of headphones or earbuds and you can take your music library anywhere, at the quality you bought it in. 24/96 downloads are a REALLY lovely listen, and losslessly ripped CDs are just so much better than lossy MP3s.
I have recently been using the AK100 in my home audio system, and it's very good indeed. Streaming digitally to a good DAC from the AK100's optical output sounds better than from a software player on my laptop, and the analogue output direct to a pre-amplifier is also very good - at least as good as any similarly-priced CD player I think, and better because you can play High Res 24bit music files as well.
Storage of music - the two microSD card slots can take any capacity SD card. 64GB cards are now widely available, giving the player a total storage capacity of 160GB. Of course, these tiny cards are easily swappable, and a great way to carry around your entire music library - just be careful not to lose them!”
Astell&Kern AK100 Firmware v2.30 (34.0 MB)
Upgrade your firmware either using iriver's plus4 software (Device - Update firmware) or simply by copying the hex file to the root directory of your player and then restarting it.
[ Warning ]
Before firmware upgrade:
- Make sure your AK100's battery level is at least at 80%.
- Make sure your AK100 has at least 50MB of memory remaining.
- Don't unplug the AK100 from your PC during hex data transfer.
[ Newly added function ]
- DSD support.
- Supported DSD formats:
- DSD64 (1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo type
- DSDIFF(.dff), DSF(.dsf)
- DSD is unsupported while using Bluetooth function.
- The high processing requirements of DSD playback can be result in lower battery life between charges and slower operating system speed.
- Supported DSD formats:
[ Improvement ]
- Enable to power off in charge & play modes – (also applied for auto power off and sleep off).
[ Remark ]
- During DSD playback UI speed is slow, which can cause malfunction.
Astell&Kern AK100 Manual (English) (1.6 MB)
Digital Audio Review, August 2013
“ ...the single greatest leap forwards in private audio since the advent of the iPod...”
Stereophile, August 2013
“ ...a true high-end source component. ”
SOUND & VISION MAGAZINE, July 2013
“ The AK100 sounds so good that it shows us what portable music could be, and should be”
Bright Side Of News*, June 2013
“ ...the mobile solution that audiophiles having been waiting for.”
T3, May 2013
“ The AK100 is the best portable music player on the market and outperforms budget hi-fi too...” 4 / 5.
Pistonheads Gassing Station, April 2013
“ ...in a different league to anything I have previously experienced.”
Hi-Fi Choice, April 2013
“ Ever wanted the ultimate music portable?” 5 Stars / 5.
Home Theater Review, March 2013
“ ...when it comes to pure unadulterated sound quality, the AK100 leaves the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and all their imitators in the dust.” 4.5 / 5.
Home Theater Review, March 2013
“ ...for anyone who demands the best sound quality currently available in a portable playback device, the AK100 is the device to own.”
Hi-Fi World, March 2013
“ ...an astonishing player, with fabulous sound quality and an amazing spread of ability as a source.” 5 Globes + Value / 5.
6moons, March 2013
“ ...the Astell&Kern debut mines aural gold... superior hifi no longer is only for the traditional sweet-spot listener.”
NOMOBILE.RU, February 2013
“ In short... the Astell&Kern AK100 paired with good headphones can squeeze the full potential out of any recording.”
Hifi Pig, February 2013
“ ...a superb music player...”
Computer Audiophile, January 2013
“ The Astell & Kern AK100 is the best portable music player I've yet heard.”
Digital Trends, January 2013
“ There’s no question that the AK100 sounds absolutely incredible.” 7 / 10.
AUDIO, January 2013
“ Audiophiler Mobilplayer, der alles abspielen kann, was sich der Musikfan unterwegs wünscht.” 100 / 100.
Digital Trends, January 2013
“ ...we have a feeling it's going to be a very long time before we get used to the cold, weak sound of our paltry MP3 files again.”
sempre-audio.at, November 2012
“ A hitherto unrivalled player that for music lovers is a perfect alternative to a smartphone.” 10 (Reference) / 10.
cmoonn, November 2012
“ ...might just be the best portable digital audio player on the planet at this time.”
Golden Ears, November 2012
“ 'Excellent' or 'Very good' in every test”
Alpha-Audio, November 2012
“ It should be clear: this is a special product. It brings the quality of a high-end, high-res streamer into the pocket of lovers. Lovers of music and of wonderful gadgets. But more of music, we suppose, because the AK100 sounds especially good.” 4.5 Stars / 5.
Phile-web, November 2012
“ Audio Excellence Award 2013”
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Posted by ak on 10th May 2013
Having owned an AK100 for just over a month now, I'm posting a quick review.
First, this is a beautifully designed and crafted music player. It's small and solid with a refined, minimal design and pleasing finish. It looks and feels well built. The physical controls for skipping track, pause/ play and the volume knob make control easy and free of the irritation that stabbing at touch screens can engender. There is a slight play to the volume knob which I didn't like at first, but I don't notice so much now, and I like having this control, it's what I generally use unless I need to make a large change quickly (the physical knob is more about fine control, though on a significant enough scale to be used in most situations).
Powering on, the screen comes to life and is bright and responsive. Power up takes a short while, though the recent firmware update quickens it. The software works well enough for navigating your collection, with various categorisations to access music through and a basic playlist facility. There's equalisation, but I haven't explored this. And not too much else beyond the expected track info and playback options. Loading music onto the player is straightforward using Windows, through which you can access the player as you would any other external drive. Once loaded the AK will scan through and update the collection.
Listening reveals a detailed, silky sound which is very compulsive and has led me back into enjoying my music collection and expanding it. I should point out that this is my experience playing flac files. I have only a limited number of hi def encodings so far, and though these sound wonderful, the AK produces an incredible sound from decent flac and mp3 encodings too. I own an ipod and sansa clip, and various mobiles, and there is just no comparison. The difference is clear with standard headphones or speakers, but just massive with a half decent pair.
I would rate 5* for sound quality, 5* for physical design and build. The software could be improved, though it's easy to use and does the job well enough. Better playlist options and gapless playback would be good improvements to introduce in further updates. What matters most is the sound, which is sublime.
Posted by NormanDunbar on 23rd August 2013
I have written a review of the AK100 here http://qdosmsq.dunbar-it.co.uk/blog/2013/05/astell-kern-ak100-review/ on my own web site - apologies for sending you off site.
In summary though, I love my AK100. The quality - even with a cheap set of headphones, the ones that came with my Galaxy Tab tablet, is well beyond anything I've heard before. I've been hearing things on my ripped CDs (FLAC -> Ogg) that I haven't heard before. It's stunning!
1. The tracks end a couple of seconds before they really do end. That annoys me.
2. Gapless playback. I've updated to the latest software (2.10 at the time of writing) and switched on gapless playback. I get the icon on the screen, but when listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall (Yes, I'm an old git!) there is still around a 1 second gap between tracks. There's no difference between gapless on and off.
3. My bluetooth is broken. When I turn it on, it scans once and finds nothing - I have quality bluetooth headphones - and when I scan again manually, it hangs the AK100 solid. I have to use the power and ^ buttons to unhang it. :-( (It's going back to be fixed!)
In summary, 8/10 for build quality - would have been 10/10 but for the bluetooth problem, 10/10 for music quality, 6/10 for software features - gapless doesn't and that irritating cut off at the end.
Buy one anyway, you won't regret it, unless you want an AK120 instead!
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