"The ultimate portable media player for recording/mastering sound quality is the Astell&Kern AK380 hands down, everything else is settling for a compromise. When it comes to transparency, accuracy and the ability to drive a wide variety of headphones and IEMs the AK380 is clearly the winner here. Add in the fun extras such as a dock with true balanced XLR output plus a disc ripper and you have a seamlessly integrated ecosystem fit for a King."
– Steven R. Rochlin, Enjoy the Music
The evolution of a masterpiece, AK380
32-bit 384 kHz Bit-to-bit Playback
200fs VCXO Reference Clock
Pressure-sensitive Metal Touch
Metal Body - (Duralumin)
Evolved to Serve Pro-Audio
Astell&Kern has stayed on the course, offering the truest and most natural sound possible.
The new AK380 offers the most authentic sound from any digital music format with enhanced features that are sought-after by Pro-Audio.
32bit 384kHz Bit to Bit Playback, Native DSD (up to 5.6 MHz) Playback, Parametric EQ with 20-band 0.1dB,
200 Femto Second VCXO Reference Clock, Scalable Amp, DNLA-based AK Connect App, Metal Touch Sensor Home Button
Every bit of the AK380 was designed for Pro-Audio in mind.
The sound that Pro-Audio people have been looking for starts with the AK380.
32-bit 384kHz bit-to-bit Playback
All of the AK380’s circuit design including the digital-analog converter (DAC) are ready for 32-bit processing to handle 32-bit music natively.
Other products have traditionally used sample rate converter (SRC) method down sampling for playback. However, the AK380 is capable of playing back 32-bit, 384 kHz original sound without any down sampling.
The result is the AK380 plays up to 32-bit, 384 kHz, any 24-bit music files, or double layer DSD 5.6MHz natively, without conversion or compression.
PEQ (Parametric EQ)
A parametric equalizer (PEQ*1) was implemented in the AK380 to deliver detailed adjustment of the original sound, and an audio digital signal processor (DSP) was added to aid in this process.
This frees up CPU cycles previously needed for calculating graphic equalizers (GEQ), allowing more detailed and accurate calculations via the dedicated DSP.
The audio DSP expands the existing 10-band, ±0.5 dB graphic equalizer (GEQ*2) to 20-band, ±0.1 dB to more precisely adjust the frequency and gain (dB) as well as more accurately specifying the frequency range via Q value adjustments.
* The PEQ supports up to 8 kHz - 192 kHz (8/16/24-bit) formats, but DSD and 32-bit audio are not supported.
What is Parametric Equalization (PEQ*1)?
Parametric equalization refers to the ability to increase or decrease the volume within the Q value range. A Q value is a frequency range relative to a selected frequency. The frequency range decreases when the Q value increases and vice versa.
What is Graphic Equalization (GEQ*2)?
Graphic equalization divides the audible frequency register into several registers and increases or decreases the level of each register with a volume slider to adjust the respective frequency's characteristics. The switches of the volume slider are connected like a graph to visually determine the frequency characteristics, hence the name "graphic equalizer."
Equipped With a Femto Clock to Deliver True Original Sound
Astell&Kern implemented a voltage-controlled crystal oscillator (VCXO) high-precision clock with a reference jitter value of 200 femto seconds*3.
Femto clocks are commonly used in high-end audio systems, and the clock is measured in high-precision femtosecond units (one quadrillionth of a second).
What is VCXO?
A VCXO, or a voltage-controlled crystal oscillator, is a type of crystal oscillation device that creates oscillation frequencies. External environmental stimuli, which in this case mean voltage inputs, influence the frequency value. Adjustments to the voltage input tunes a precise frequency value.
What is Jitter?
Jitter refers to the undesired deviation in time that occurs in a periodic signal. In this case, jitter is the error that occurs in the reference clock required to perform the sampling in digital audio equipment.
By utilizing a femto clock, the AK380 is able to create a more accurate frequency value and make fine jitter corrections.
As a result, the AK380 faithfully reproduces analog sound closer than ever to the original source when transmitting a digital signal as an analog signal.
AK Connect App
Astell&Kern has further enhanced DLNA functionality via the AK Connect app.
Wireless networking DLNA (version 1.0) connects to a NAS or PC, and is easily controlled with a smartphone or tablet through AK Connect.
Source files on a PC or NAS can be freely transferred and streamed without the hassle of turning on the computer and physically connecting with a cable.
If on the same access point (AP) network, music files on a PC or NAS can be played back via DLNA.
Pressure-sensitive Metal Capacitive Touch
The AK380 is the first Astell&Kern product to utilize a metal capacitive touch interface. The pressure-sensitive Metal Touch home button responds to fine pressure changes so users operate the device with just a light touch on the metallic pad.
More Expandable Options
The AK380 offers great expandable options through its micro USB connection and balanced out ports on the bottom of the unit.
The AK380's functionality is expandable by connecting to a variety of devices. You can increase the output and connect to a greater variety of high-impedance professional headphones through the upcoming AK380 Amp. The AK380 Cradle features balanced output in addition to USB data transfer and charging capabilities, and the AK380 CD-ROM drive rips audio CDs directly to the AK380.