Showing 1 of 24 conversations about:
Scarce97
235
Feb 26, 2017
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OK, so I haven't heard astell & Kern players ever before, not gonna lie, but the pricing on ak players seem a bit bloated tbh.
Seems to me like a case of product bias, where people automatically assume that more expensive means better even when that's not the case. And example would be that during blind testing expensive audio gear many audiophiles fail to differentiate between an expensive audio gear and a well built audio gear.
For 600 I could be getting a proper DAC/amp and a pair of decent headphones.
For example, you could have a magni 2 uber with a DAC for abt 250~300 and burn 200 on the monoprice monolith m560 headphones.
This would land you at max 500 dollars spent on a full audio setup complete.
Now you still have a 100 dollars left over that you could spend to get other headphones or just to save it.
Really, when it comes down to expensive audio gear, you have to ask yourself: is it really worth it? Am I getting a unique sound that I only get from this? Or can I simply replicate it with a odac/amp with a pair of decent headphones?
As for the ak240, you are really forced to think hard. I am spending 1.5k on a source gear alone. Not headphones or items, source gear. If you got cash to burn, why not blow it on a electrostatic headphone setup that for sure would give you a major difference in sound quality? Or are you willing to spend it on this?
BTW, the best electrostatic headphone setup under 1k is the stax SRS 3100 system complete with amp at 800 USD. That's the amount of money that would get you excellent audio quality. Or if you're looking for a portable rig, why not go for a high end iem along with the xduoo x10 for the price of this source gear.
Hearing excellent reviews about the xduoo x10, I have to wonder if a 150 USD player could be so different from a 600 or 1500 USD player in terms of sound quality.
To astell & Kern, it would be great if you could begin to make audio gear not just targeting the high end but also targeting the consumer level.
Feb 26, 2017
enlight10ment
47
Feb 26, 2017
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I don't think it's fair to compare a desktop solution like the magni 2 uber to a portable player...
Obviously there is a sweet spot of bang for buck, and audio quality doesn't scale linearly with dollar amount. High end might cost 4x more and only sound 1.25 times better, but that's worth it to some people. As for price, if you checked Astell&Kern website you would find they do have cheaper portable players, so I don't know why you would want them to not make higher end products like this one? If you want their lower end, then buy their lower end. That's like complaining about the cost of an audi R8 when you went in to buy an A3.
Feb 26, 2017
Scarce97
235
Feb 27, 2017
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Well said. However, I would like to clarify that I was pointing out that the source gear doesn't affect the audio as much as the actual head gear.
There is a sweet spot for audio quality, but I would like to argue that spending the extra money on head gear would positively impact audio quality much more than spending the money on source gear.
Yes, a certain source may be better than other source gear, but the money would be better spent of a better head gear. All you need is a decent DAC/amp or in the case of a portable rig a decent audio player like the xduoo x10 would be sufficient.
The remaining money could then be used to buy head gear.
I also would love if a&k could have a collaboration with massdrop to bring a quality player with an affordable price tag for a audio player for the majority of audiophiles.
Just saying that there are other more value for money options other than this a&k player. Don't get me wrong, I love a&k products, its just that I feel that the price tag doesn't justify its performance.
Feb 27, 2017
PureAngus62
95
Feb 28, 2017
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The problem with the last bit of your post is that A&K's thing is being the company that makes THE baddest, boldest, most expensive DAP on the market. I feel that if they made an affordable player they would just be entering the market that everyone else is in, not the one they try to stay above.
With that being said, I wouildnt personally spend that amount on a player but for those looking for the highest TOTL player with no concern of price or value, A&K is their go-to
Feb 28, 2017
jamesgrinalds
Mar 2, 2017
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You haven't listened to it. You have ZERO credibility criticizing the prices. And the answer is yes, any monkey can tell the difference between an ak240 and an xduoo x10. It's night and day with any headphone below 10% THD
Listen how ludicrous your criticism sounds:
To astell & Kern, it would be great if you could begin to make audio gear not just targeting the high end but also targeting the consumer level. "Ferrari, it would be great if you could make a car not just targeting the high end, but also every day drivers."
Really, when it comes down to expensive audio gear, you have to ask yourself: is it really worth it? Am I getting a unique sound that I only get from this? Or can I simply replicate it with a odac/amp with a pair of decent headphones? "When it comes down to supercars, you have to ask yourself: is it really worth it? Am I getting a better driving experience unique to this car? or could I just replicate it with some good rims and a tuned exhaust?"
Actually in this case, expensive does mean better. Better stiffening caps, better emf shielding, better linearity, better dynamic range, better output stage, better taps, better current output, cleaner voltage.
I'd agree that it would be silly to buy a $1500 dac if you have $100 headphones. But the expectation when selling a $1500 DAC is that your clients aren't morons using HD650s or something.
You can wonder all you want. Instead of keyboard bashing an excellent piece of engineering, maybe you could go to a CanJam and listen to some headphones?
Mar 2, 2017
Scarce97
235
Mar 3, 2017
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Firstly, just to clear things up, I am not discussing audio components in the audio gear.
I am actually simply giving my opinion about a&k products. I know close to nothing about audio components "stiffening caps, better emf shielding, better linearity, better dynamic range, better output stage, better taps, better current output, cleaner voltage"
I am trying to bring across the point that a&k does not make products that are value for the money. If you would claim that expensive audio components would have a "night and day" difference to well implemented audio components, prove it that you could differentiate between them in a blind listening test.
All dac/amps follow an exponential graph when it comes to price/performance. After the point of maximum efficiency, the price increases massively with very little/ neglectable performance increase.
Let me raise an example. Blind test the $869 ibasso dx200 against a ak flagship, the ak380 at usd $3499. Now, could you differentiate between the two. Let me tell you the answer. No, you cant. Is the ak380 better than the ibasso dx200 by $2630 ?No, it is not.
Secondly, you are extremely pompous to claim that "expensive does mean better". Let me explain to people like you who simply love living in their world of "expensive means better". The price of a product does not justify its performance. It is the quality of its implementation, the engineering feat that went into the product that makes it perform well. If ibasso can do it for $ 2630 less, why cant a&k?
Let me explain to you the inflated prices of a&k players. 1. People are Brand Conscious. It is exactly like Ferrari, people want an a&k player for the feeling of owning an expensive products that supposedly "puts all the rest to shame". The vanity of humans are why brands like lewis vutton and ferrari still have business, because of people like you.
2. People like to feel that they have the best. Oh you know I have best in class parts and the difference is night and day, oh I changed my audio cable to some silver cable, all the details are there finally, such a "night and day" difference. Oh please, stop it, for the simple reason that you had to continuously assure yourself that your audio parts are the best and therefore they would be a "night and day" difference, shows alone that you yourself are not even confident that your so called "expensive parts" would make a significant difference in audio quality when compared to well made audio gear.
3. a&k is riding off earning obscene profits from the rich/ brand conscious commoners. In case you didnt know, a&k is not making money through the quality of its products, it is making money through the human perception that "expensive is better". If you told me that the cost price of the components of an a&k player are equal to the retail price of the player, you should honestly stop being so gullible. Since you focused on components cost price, I shall explain. The components of an a&k player are probably much better than an xduoo, however what is the cost price of the components? Is the cost price of components used in a&k products 23 times more than an xduoo? No. The ratio of retail price to component cost price in a&k products are probably obscenely many times more than an xduoo. In layman terms, a&k is making much more from a single player when compared to xduoo.
To conclude, the main point of my argument is that a&k products perform poorly at its price tag when compared to other players like the ibasso dx200, and to be logical when purchasing expensive products.
What does the Noble K10 CIEM offer that other CIEMs cannot? A different sound signature that no other IEM can replicate. Would I spend the $1.5k on it if I really liked the sound? Yes. Why? Because no other IEM can replicate the sound signature of the K10 extremely closely or to be even similar to it.
What does the $3499 ak380 offer that the $869 ibasso dx200 cannot?
Nothing.
So, please dont go around assuming that all expensive things are worth it like a proud and pompous person before using a bit of common sense.
Mar 3, 2017
jamesgrinalds
Mar 3, 2017
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Have some respect man. Listen to the product and make a judgement afterwards.

WRT your arguments -- 3 things:
1. I can test ABX double blind and hear the difference between my two different ak380 DAPs. I design this stuff for a living, and I know the tech, and I can easily hear the difference. Plus any dingo can measure it. We can do this face to face. I choose the test tracks, I get an hour or so with each DAP to get acclimated, and I bring my own headphones. If those are the conditions, I'll be perfectly willing to publicly make a fool of myself.
2. Costs are higher. We have to throw out over 70% of power supplies to get the tolerances we spec for. We have to spend more money on better electrolytics for the capacitors. But above all else, we have to spend WAY more on R&D. You think the Tidal implementation didn't take engineering at AK? What about the free OTA firmware upgrades? What about the stellar wifi audio quality?
3. rotflmao @ K10 comparison. The K10 uses the EXACT same components you or I can buy on mouser.com. And guess what? You can buy another CIEM with those same parts for $400. Why spend 4x more? And for the record, you CAN replicate the sound signature. It's called taking nice headphones, and then adding distortion until they sound like a K10, or JH Layla, or whatever schill balanced armature product is currently the top of the trash pile.
tl;dr: People may be brand conscious and self-indulgent, but that doesn't mean that expensive audiophile purchases are irrational or illogical. Like I said, "IN THIS CASE, expensive does mean better." Next time you cry sour grapes, choose some actually crappy sour grapes (i.e. Luxury and Precision, which neither offers better parts nor better engineering).
I'll have to find the link, but I took part in a double blind study comparing different mp3 codecs (all at 240kbps or some such patheticness), and I could differentiate the different compression methods 55/64 times. That's not a fluke. Maybe you can't hear the difference. But don't bash others who can easily hear the difference.

edit: What does the ak380 offer that the ibasso dx200 doesn't? An excellent suite of aftermarket software and hardware support, dual xlr outputs, svelt ak380 amp section upgrade, and (in my experience anyways) much better support. Beyond that, I don't like the dx200 midbass. It sounds bloated and honky with most of my headphones. It's really just a trade-off to develop the stellar subbass, and when I rolled the caps to clean up the midbass, the subbass disappeared. It's a design choice. The ak380 is definitely more bass-light, which is a shame for some music, but the clarity in the highs doesn't get lost in the bass. Even once I tightened up the bass on the dx200, it still had HF smear. I greatly prefer the ak380 sound signature, and I'd rather have great highs than great lows.
Mar 3, 2017
Scarce97
235
Mar 4, 2017
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" I can test ABX double blind and hear the difference between my two different ak380 DAPs", " I can easily hear the difference. Plus any dingo can measure it " " Like I said, "IN THIS CASE, expensive does mean better." Next time you cry sour grapes, choose some actually crappy sour grapes "
Let me tell you something, the difference between a ak380 and ibasso dx200 is so minute that it takes "trained ears" to tell apart the difference and you continue pompously claiming that thats worth a $2630 more, you know something, I cant be bothered to explain it to you. You want to throw all the money at a&k and claim that its good, so be it. You want to self justify your purchase of expensive goods, so be it.
You seem not to understand that source gear does not make a "night and day" difference, its the head gear.
If you really want to argue that spending $2630 more on source gear makes a "night and day" difference, so be it. Its your money, not mine.
"rotflmao @ K10 comparison. The K10 uses the EXACT same components you or I can buy on mouser.com. And guess what? You can buy another CIEM with those same parts for $400. Why spend 4x more?" Its the tuning that matters NOT the price of the components in a IEM.
Does a&k have a special tuning that makes a night and day difference from the ibasso dx200? NO. "And for the record, you CAN replicate the sound signature. It's called taking nice headphones, and then adding distortion until they sound like a K10, or JH Layla, or whatever schill balanced armature product is currently the top of the trash pile" So you claim that you could replicate the K10 sound? Sure, be my guest. Just in case you didnt know, please dont go around claiming that the sound signature that you like means everyone on this universe has to like the same sound signature. Some people dont like having all the details being thrown in their face and even few audio snobs claim that they can differentiate between a minute difference in audio gear.
Tldr: You want to waste your money, so be it. However dont go around like a audio snob assuming that everyone has to love the same sound that you like that everyone will experience a "honky and bloated subbass" when it is just your bias acting in the way, when most people could not even differentiate between the two devices. I am willing to bet that if ibasso dx200 was priced at $5k, you would be hear saying "Oh, could you hear that impressive sub bass bloat, so perfect with all my headphones"
Mar 4, 2017
jamesgrinalds
Mar 4, 2017
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Does a&k have a special tuning that makes a night and day difference from the ibasso dx200? NO.

But I guess you wouldn't know since you have never actually listened. Ricer.
Mar 4, 2017
Scarce97
235
Mar 5, 2017
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If there are people that cannot tell them apart, what makes You think that they are so different?
And who are You to claim that all those iems belong to the "trash pile"? What now, everyone has to like the same sound signature as you?
And dont go around claiming all Noble K10 parts can be found online when You dont even know what parts go into the K10 snob
Instead of lingering in a place where people are looking for the best deals, why dont you go to your high class audio place where you pretend to know a whole lot of making the "best" "expensive parts" that go into the AK 380 and act like a audio engineer that can magically tell apart what most people cant.
TLDR; Cut your bullshit, this is not the place for people who spend 2000% more than everyone else just to get that 5-10% sound quality increase and claim that its a night and day difference and mislead others to waste unnecessary money.
Mar 5, 2017
Bobthedespot
83
Mar 5, 2017
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Geeze, must have hit a nerve. I'm an acoustics engineer, not an audio engineer. Audio engineers usually tell you to play that bass line again :P
For the record, if you don't like an accurate sound signature, you are wrong, plain and simple. Bose are wrong, Beats are wrong, and it just happens that AK is right in this case. Bad recordings need compensation in many cases, but that's not an excuse to gimp your source tech.
K10 uses knowles drivers last I checked, -and if they don't, they I'm a few calls away from their new supplier. IEMs are a mixed bag because of human ear geometry, and balanced armatures can't create a sine wave at frequencies below the quarter wave length of their diaphragm. That's why iems are a mixed bag. I've owned k10s and roxanne, and played them from nice daps that I own, like the ak380 and ak240.
Massdrop exists to give great deals like this on premium products like AK, and we all come here to spend top dollar on the best, like their Topre keyboards, and the designer pants, or the 100 dollar spinning top, just to name a few.
You just came to bash, and I called you out on it. It must be hard to hear the difference between totl daps when you never listen to them. Grapes may taste sour to you, but they sound great to me.
Mar 5, 2017
Scarce97
235
Mar 7, 2017
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OK, so you claim that spending lots of money on products parts make it good.
While I on the other hand, have been trying to claim that spending money on a product does not justify it being good, and that it is the implementation that makes it good and advicing people to spend money on more value for money products.
If you claim that advicing people to buy other more value for money products is bashing astell and Kern, then yes, I am bashing them.
However, your argument has been around how I have not heard TOTL daps and yet still try to find fault with a&k for making daps that offer little value.
Firstly, I am finding fault with them for making daps that offer little value. Based off what? Based off user reviews. So far, user reviews that I have read use certain a&k daps to other daps for comparison. Now, they do not speak highly of the a&k for its price, and mainly praise other players as having similar performance. Most head fi users also do not believe in the value of a&k players. A&k’s flagship, ak380 a dap player with a price tag of $3499.
As a note, not even sennheiser dares to make their flagship headphones so ridiculously priced.
Now, what components make up the a&k? Here's the issue, we don't know. You are spending $3.5k on a dap that you don't know the components of.
So here we are, arguing about components price and how it affects sq.
Now, there isn't much hype surrounding a&k products. Contrast that to chord. Producing Hugo, mojo, and the 2qute with excellent reviews each despite its also crazy price tag.
Also sennheiser with their HDVD 800 along with the HD 800s, a complete desktop system at about $3.6k.
Note you are paying $3.5k for only a portable dap, no headphones attached, and it doesn't even have exceptional driving power for headphones, and was designed to be used with earphones. In order to drive headphones, and additional amp module must be bought which adds another whopping $700 to the total bill. Wow, a&k really thinks we have unlimited money to burn eh?
Even if a&k products sound good, it doesn't mean that they make value for money products. A&k sound quality difference from other products at much lower price range isn't a “night and day difference”, it is more like a 5-10% increase from what I am reading.
And since you keep swearing by the ak380, why not I go down to the headphone shop and have a listen, to see if the ak380 really sounds that good. Also recommend me the headphones/ iems that makes me able to head the difference between the ak380 and the ibasso dx200
Mar 7, 2017
Bobthedespot
83
Mar 7, 2017
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Don't have to go down to the shop, i own it. (2 of them actually, like I said) I have opened it up, and I do know what components are in it. Have done the same for the erista, the mojo, the dx90, and my personal favorite, true zhang pcm56k. You need good parts and a good engineer.
Try focal utopias (like I said before), or if you prefer not to hear detail, try the Elears. I assume you know a pair of hd800s are a must have. Venture electronic monks are great for evaluating 200-4000 and 8000 up. Final audio f7200 have amazingly revealing qualities, but are not very fun to listen to.... final audio piano forte are exquisite.
Once you hear hear it for the first time, maybe it's a 5% difference, but once you listen daily to a perfect system, it's a 50% difference, or more even...
Mar 7, 2017
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