.....I moved on rather hastily to perhaps the most anticipated booth of the show. It was the Sennheiser booth but Astell & Kern were sharing it by providing all the headphones with a source and even using the AK100s optical out into the amps on display to give them a nice interface.
I first of all went and had a look at the [Astell and Kern digital personal player] AK100. I have been interested in it for a while and it was nice to have hands on. The form factor was really good, so much better than my MA9, smaller, lighter and more ergonomic. It was also a lot simpler to use with its touch screen, the very accurate volume pot on the right side and the pause/play and forward and back on the left side.
I got acquainted with it using my LCM-5. I was not sure how that was going to turn out as the 5 armatures with their 3 crossovers may have been effected negatively by the rather large 22 ohms output impedance of the AK100 but I was rather impressed by the sound I was getting out of this player, comparable to the MA9 certainly and I can not wait to I get my hands on one so that I can really delve into the sound quality and compare to the MA9.
I talked to Michael the Manging Director of Air Audio who is the Distributor of the A&K in the UK and he was helpful in telling me some of the finer details of the player and also about the amazing wolfson DAC it is housing. His eyes also lit up when he spotted the MA9 I had in my bag, as he was aware of what it was and also liked the look of the MyST 1866 portaDAC that I showed him. It was nice to have a chat about the players and see that he was not only distributing the gear but also taking a strong interest and enjoyment to it.
The Editor of InEarSpace Sonny Trigg will be reviewing the AK100 player very soon.