Astell & Kern AK120 gets official UK launch

26 Sep 2013

Astell & Kern AK120

Astell & Kern has officially launched its two portable music players, the AK100 and flagship AK120, in the UK. 

The premium devices bring portable high-resolution audio playback, plenty of storage space and also the ability to work as an external DAC for any home system thanks to the digital optical audio connection.

MORE: Astell & Kern AK100 Mk II review

Astell & Kern, the high-end arm of long-established PMP manufacturer, iRiver, has an enviable reputation amongst portable audio enthusiasts and both the flagship AK120 and the AK100 will now be distributed in the UK by Computers Unlimited.

The news comes hot-on-the-heels of Sony's new high-res audio range, which includes the Sony F886 Walkman and an intruguing prototype high-res Walkman product.

It's fair to say A&K operates a step above in terms of spec, however. The new AK120 sports dual Wolfson 8740 DAC chips, and is the first portable player to use such a chip in a dual mono set-up.

High-res audio files right up to 24-bit/192kHz are supported, with thorough file support including AAC, AIFF, ALAC, FLAC, MP3 and WAV.

AK120

There's a 64GB on-board memory, plus room for two microSD cards for a maxiumum 192GB. The AK120 has a USB connection for simple drag and drop music file transfers from computer.

The device itself is compact but solidly built with a brushed aluminium finish, 2.4in IPS touchscreen and an analogue-style volume control knob on one corner. A headphone jack and optical in/out completes the unit.

Inside the AK120 is a 2350mAH battery, which A&K says should be good for up to 14 hours of music playback, depending on use. 

Seriously high-end devices, they naturally come with serious price tags. The Astell & Kern AK100 is set to come in around £570, while the AK120 is yours for £1100.

 

by Joe Cox

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Comments

AK120

I am disgusted that the UK price (£1100) is so much higher than in USA!

USA typical price is $1,299 which is only about £800.

£300 more in UK for what exactly?

How do UK retailers justify this?

Branco, I have read this review on audiophile website, sound pretty good, http://www.audioaffair.co.uk/blog/audio/astell-and-kern-ak120/

 

Pleased to know you're still involved Michael.

We agree on that Branko.

Hi Jacking, Sound Fidelity are most certainly still a committed retailer for the Astell and Kern products, we love these little players and will continue to serve our customers with as much information on the Astell and Kern products as we can find (direct you to the review sites etc.), as we do with all the products we sell.  We are looking forward to the launch of the Astell and Kern Dock and remote controller, making the AK100 and AK120 the cutest little hi-fi streamers on the planet!

@Clare.

Thanks for your help. i purchased direct from Sound Fidelity, so hopefully they'll continue to keep me updated on upgrades. I didn't think of it but I can also get this info from Astell & Kern web site.

Great prouduct by the way. I use it with a pair of PSB M4U2 cans and I've never experienced sound as perfect as from the A100. Haven't checked out the DAC as a dedicated item (with iTunes/Audirvana player) as I already had the Meridian Explorer installed before the recent upgrade, but I suspect I could have saved myself the £250.00 cost of the Explorer. Hopefully What HiFi will get the oportunity to do a reveiw.

@jacking - Clare from CU here: distribution has only just changed, so it's transition period at the moment. We can certainly keep you informed re firmware upgrades, as can your retailer.

Are Sound Fidelity no longer involved? Reason I ask is because they keep me informed on firmware upgrades to the A100

Well now that A&K has a new UK distributor we certainly hope to get review samples. Wink

It was about time What HiFi acknowledged the existence of these devices. Maybe we can hope to see the review soon? Smile