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Astell&Kern AK100 portable player
Using The Player
Sound Quality
Measured Performance
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Rohde & Schwarz UPV audio analyser


The headphone output of this player delivers 1.55V, close to (-2dB) the 2V of a CD player and much higher (+14dB) than the usual 0.3V of a typical portable player. The DAC and output amplifier were far quieter than the norm for portable players too, noise measuring -110dB when playing a notched out -60dB tone (24bit), to avoid output muting. These are exceptional figures for a portable and are comparable to a hi-fi DAC. As a result EIAJ Dynamic Range measured no less than 110dB with 24bit, again on par with a good stand-alone DAC.
    The headphone output performs as well as a high quality analogue line output and can be used as one. These results were from test files, but the optical input gave almost identical (a tad better) results.
    Frequency response was flat from 4Hz to 71kHz (-1dB) with a 192kHz sample rate signal, as the analysis from our Rohde & Schwarz UPV analyser shows, so again the analogue headphone output performs as well as a quality DAC.
    Distortion at -60dB was low with 16bit, measuring 0.18% and similarly low with 24bit at 0.06%, the distortion analysis shows. This result and low noise both contributed to the player’s high EIAJ Dynamic Range figures.
    Jitter on the digital output was low in all respects, low rate clock wander coming in at 40pS, uncorrelated jitter hovering at 4pS and signal related jitter (1kHz, -60dB test tone) measuring 18pS. These figures better most CD players, matching the best.
    The AK100 produced exceptional results for a portable player. It has massively greater dynamic range, lower distortion and negligible jitter than typical portables, measuring as well as a high quality stand-alone DAC. It’s a portable hi-res player that approaches the limits of what is possible. NK

Frequency response (-1dB)
192k sample rate    4Hz-71kHz
Distortion (16 / 24bit)    %
0dB        0.0006/0.0006
-60dB    0.18 / 0.06
Separation (1kHz)     108dB
Noise (IEC A)    -110dB
Dynamic range (16/24)    102/110dB
Output    1.55V


FREQUENCY RESPONSE, 192k sample rate    (what it means)


DISTORTION, 24bit, -60dB    (what it means)



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