Astell&Kern AK Jr
The AK Jr is the first Astell & Kern music player I've reviewed, and it's a doozy. There's an undeniable elegance to the look and feel of the AK Jr you won't find in FiiO, Pono or Sony players...
It may seem like a small thing, but I really like the volume control knob that's tucked into the right side of the player. Most portable music players make do with volume +/- buttons to adjust level. With the AK Jr's knob it's easier and faster to zero in on exactly the volume you want.
As for its sound quality... it was first-rate. There's clarity coupled with impressive dynamic contrast that I never heard from a FiiO player, including the new X5 second-gen player. Bass definition is superior... the AK Jr sounded powerful, open and clear.
You can also use the AK Jr as a USB digital converter/headphone amp with your computer or laptop. Astell & Kern's least expensive player [is] definitely worth considering if you've already invested in a set of high-end headphones.