Passion In My Pants: Astell & Kern’s AK100 portable music player

In the Headzones room, Astell & Kern’s Owen Kwon introduced me to his company’s sexy little AK100 hi-rez portable music player ($699).

The AK100 is good-looking, powerful, and versatile: It uses a Wolfson WM8740 DAC; natively supports “Mastering Quality Sound” (MQS) files with resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz; has 32GB of internal memory and provides two micro-SD slots, each supporting an additional 32GB of memory; offers micro USB, optical in/out, and headphone connections; and is compatible with FLAC, WAV, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, and AIFF files.

The user-interface was intelligent and intuitive. I scrolled through the AK100’s playlist and landed upon one of Ms. Little’s favorites—LMFAO’s hit single, “Sexy and I Know It.” I suddenly had passion in my pants: Not only was the sound clear and authoritative, but I could also easily sense the song’s inherent humor, irony, and hip-shaking attitude.

I believe John Atkinson, that sexy thing, has a unit in for review. Watch out for that.

volvic's picture

And it plays FLAC!!!! Kewl.......I just might want one.  

burnspbesq's picture

(1) You can use 64 gig micro SDXC cards with the AK, so the capacity limit is actually 160 gigs, not 96.

(2) The headphone output has an impedance of 22 ohms.  A number of users have reported issues with roll-off at the frequency extremes, depending on the headphones used (FWIW, I experienced a huge bass roll-off with Westone 4s, but it works just fine with my Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors).  Red Wine Audio does a modification that bypasses the 22-ohm resistance, but it adds $250 to the cost of an already pricey unit.  Listen with your preferred headphones before you buy, or only buy from a dealer with a liberal return policy.

otaku's picture

These sounded great. You really need to evaluate them against a home system not a portable, as they sound so good (to me, at least).