updated 07:40 pm EDT, Thu May 9, 2013
Pair of DAC, hand-crafted leather case perks of boutique audio player
At the High End 2013 conference in Munich, Germany. electronic gadget company iRiver announced the launch of the second model from the Astell & Kern line of Mastering Quality Sound (MQS) portable players, the AK120. Astell & Kern was first launched in 2012 as the high-end brand of iRiver with the first MQS portable player. The AK120 was developed for professional users and audiophiles who demand the very best sound available.
A pair of Digital to Analog Converters (DAC) that output signals independently to each channel drive the audio, making the AK120 a true dual mono (dual monaural) setup like those found in expensive hi-fi equipment. The dual Wolfson WM8740 DAC chips found in the AK120 dedicates each DAC chip to a completely separate left and right channel.
Control of the player is accomplished by a side-mounted scroll wheel and a 2.4-inch IPS touchscreen. The AK120 has 64GB of built-in memory, expandable to 192GB through a pair of MicroSD slots. Audio formats supported include APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, and OGG.
The device comes with a handmade Italian-designed leather case, and retails for $1,300.