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Astell & Kern AK120 II High Resolution Dual DAC Balanced Output 128GB Music Player

Astell & Kern AK120 II High Resolution Dual DAC Balanced Output 128GB Music Player
  • Astell & Kern AK120 II High Resolution Dual DAC Balanced Output 128GB Music Player
  • Astell & Kern AK120 II High Resolution Dual DAC Balanced Output
  • Astell & Kern AK120 II High Resolution Dual DAC Balanced Output
  • Astell & Kern AK120 II High Resolution Dual DAC Balanced Output
  • Astell & Kern AK120 II High Resolution Dual DAC Balanced Output

Astell & Kern AK120 II High Resolution Dual DAC Balanced Output 128GB Music Player

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Date Added: Thursday 03 September, 2015
"With its precision-engineered bodywork and suave styling, this is the player James Bond would choose. Sound quality is amazing, with pristine detail and full-bodied bass."
Date Added: Wednesday 15 April, 2015
"great design, amazing build quality, the best hardware/touch interface, great sound"


Astell & Kern AK120 II High Resolution Dual DAC Balanced Output 128GB Music Player

Since Astell & Kern's initial unveiling of the Dual DAC-capable AK120 in May 2013, they have been looking at ways to improve both sound resolution and affinity. This has been achieved in their latest offering.

The flagship model AK240 has been highly regarded for delivering mastering-level quality instrumentals with its improved Dual DAC and analog amplifier circuit system. The AK120 2nd Generation allows you to experience the highest sound quality by directly inheriting the sound design structure implemented in the AK240.

Dual DAC meets Balanced Output

Astell & Kern have added the CS4398 Dual DAC to the 2nd generation AK120 and the balanced output method which have tried and tested sound quality as they were used in the AK240 flagship model.

The AK120 2nd Generation provides the weighty sound through the CS4398 Dual DAC and the A-amp, while providing delicate melodies through the balanced output.

Astell & Kern Dual DAC Balanced Output

Unbalanced vs. Balanced Output

The unbalanced method is the most commonly used basic method for connecting headphones which consists of “left and right signals + ground line”. This setup includes a ground line which blocks out external noises from the outside. However, since the ground line cannot block out all of the external noises completely, external noises can be mixed into the signals that are transmitted, which then result in changes to the sound. The longer the signals travel, the more external noises that will be mixed into the sound which is why it is used within a short distance of 1 to 2 meters.

Unlike the unbalanced method, the balanced method has an additional cold signal to compliment the hot signal which reduces the external noises.

Astell & Kern Balanced Waveforms

The balanced method has a few advantages over the unbalanced method. The first advantage is that the hot signal and the cold signal will remove the external noises received. The second advantage is increased output due to the 2 transmitted signals.

Astell & Kern Noise Waveforms

Since the ground line cannot block out 100% of the external noises, noise will appear on both the hot and cold signals. The alignment of the 2 signals allows the noise to usually appear at similar points where they will eventually be removed as the signals are transmitted.

Supports DSD format up to 5.6MHz

We got familiarised with the DSD format because of the AK120. However, because of hardware limitations, the AK120 could only support DSD up to 2.8MHz with PCM conversion / downsampling to 88.1kHz.

Thanks to the advanced hardware functionality and the DSD to PCM software onboard the AK120 Gen 2, there is now playback support of DSD up to 5.6MHz.

DSD playback in 5.6MHz is supported after being converted/downsampled to 176KHz PCM.

Astell & Kern Dual DSD


Connect the AK120 2nd Generation to a PC or Mac and use it as a USB DAC that also supports DSD. With Dual DAC and the USB DAC feature, enjoy a richer resolution in sound that goes beyond the limitations of the sound card installed in your computer.

PCM audio up to 24bit/96kHz is supported in USB DAC mode and the AK120 2nd Generation’s EQ settings are not applied.

Astell & Kern DAC

Network Playback - MQS Streaming

With the AK120 2nd Generation, you can now skip the complicated process of searching for music files, connecting to the PC, and downloading the files to the player. Simply connect the AK120 2nd Generation to your music collection on your computer in the same network to download and/or stream music!

Astell & Kern Network Playback

- "Astell&Kern MQS Streaming Server" software must be installed on your PC or MAC with a shared folder saved for MQS Streaming to work.

OTA (Over-The-Air) Upgrade

It has been 13 years since iRiver first used the term: firmware. The time has past when you had to check their email or look for notifications on the iRiver website to look for new firmware. Now, as long as you are connected to Wi-Fi, A&K will notify you of firmware updates as soon as they launch and from wherever you are.

Full Touch Screen

The AK120 2nd Gen features a 3.31 inch AMOLED screen that is approximately 82% larger than the screen used in the original AK120. You can access and see more information on the larger AMOLED screen.

Classical music tracks that contain titles that are too long to be displayed on screen, are now marked with two lines on the music list for easier navigation. The search function enables you to easily find the music you want to hear.

A More Detailed 10-Band 0.5 dB Step EQ

A more accurate EQ setting is featured by doubling the bands from 5 to 10 and halving the dB steps from 1dB to 0.5dB. With the user EQ settings, you can make custom EQ settings to fit each music genre and change them when desired.

Memory + microSD Cards

The AK120 2nd Generation includes 128GB of internal flash storage. With the addition of a 128GB microSD card, the AK120 2nd Generation supports up to a total memory of 256GB.

With 128GB of internal memory, the AK120 2nd Generation can store about 1,250 MQS (24bit/96kHz, 4 minute-long, 90MB) songs.

Comparison With Other A&K Models

Astell & Kern Comparison Chart

Please note that this item is ordered from the supplier as required so may take 2 - 3 days to arrive.


  • Take your whole music collection on the go with up to 256GB of storage capacity
  • Balanced out to balanced power amplifier or balanced terminated headphones/earphones for better stereo separation and a dedicated ground to eliminate crosstalk and interference
  • MQS streaming from NAS and HD content download straight to the device as well as OTA firmware updates
  • Elegant design and sturdy build for long lasting durability


Astell & Kern AK120 II - Westone W60 Earphones Bundle

Astell&Kern AK120 II - SanDisk 128GB Micro SD Card Bundle

Astell&Kern AK120 II - SanDisk 64GB Micro SD Card Bundle

Astell&Kern AK120 II - SanDisk 32GB Micro SD Card Bundle

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