Expired Hot Deals

[WORLD WIDE STEREO CANADA] (3rd party via Amazon.ca) [1 Unit left] Astell & Kern AK320 Portable Hi-Fi Audio System (Gun Metal) - $799

16 replies
Jr. Member
Nov 28, 2007
102 posts
173 upvotes
Never really understood the appeal of these things, and neither do 5 other downvoters as well. If you care to pipe in OP?
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2009
4577 posts
2676 upvotes
majorwang wrote: Never really understood the appeal of these things, and neither do 5 other downvoters as well. If you care to pipe in OP?
Before the Hi-Fi hate squad comes in...

Yes it's $800 and there's a million other things you can buy for $800 and have something better.

It's great for someone who wants the purest audio experience, and need more power to push their $300-500 headphones. It's great for someone who doesn't work from home (basically no one right now) and want to bring it to the office, coffee shop, on flights/trains.

WHY not a smartphone?? Yes smartphones are pretty decent to pretty awesome for audio, I have a little DAC that was $35 and can do hi-res audio etc etc but....it's not a dedicated device, sometimes other audio interrupts, notifications, or by accident i close the player etc etc.

Also it looks sweet in-person! Solid build and all.

Would I buy one? Not an A&K, but there's alternatives like Fiio. I'm not a big fan of wearing headphones for long periods of time unless i'm commuting on the train.

TL;DR - If you want to hear every little tiny detail, breath, click or clack and have money to burn.
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2009
4577 posts
2676 upvotes
Actually looking into Fiio, the M7 is $229 and has better specs and newer. the AK320 is 5 years old!
Jr. Member
Nov 28, 2007
102 posts
173 upvotes
bhrm wrote: Before the Hi-Fi hate squad comes in...

Yes it's $800 and there's a million other things you can buy for $800 and have something better.

It's great for someone who wants the purest audio experience, and need more power to push their $300-500 headphones. It's great for someone who doesn't work from home (basically no one right now) and want to bring it to the office, coffee shop, on flights/trains.

WHY not a smartphone?? Yes smartphones are pretty decent to pretty awesome for audio, I have a little DAC that was $35 and can do hi-res audio etc etc but....it's not a dedicated device, sometimes other audio interrupts, notifications, or by accident i close the player etc etc.

Also it looks sweet in-person! Solid build and all.

Would I buy one? Not an A&K, but there's alternatives like Fiio. I'm not a big fan of wearing headphones for long periods of time unless i'm commuting on the train.

TL;DR - If you want to hear every little tiny detail, breath, click or clack and have money to burn.
I have often heard the comparison between watching SD and 4k content used. But to me I think the difference is more nuanced and less perceptible. It's more like the difference between Tier 0 and tier 3 4K bluray encoding, see below if you don't know what I'm referring to.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/150-blu- ... cs/2895785

In any case the difference perceived between a smartphone streaming at 1411kbps uncompressed flac (available on Tidal) and that device seems exceedingly small, and made worse by that $800 price tag and yet another device to occupy in the pocket.
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2009
4577 posts
2676 upvotes
majorwang wrote: I have often heard the comparison between watching SD and 4k content used. But to me I think the difference is more nuanced and less perceptible. It's more like the difference between Tier 0 and tier 3 4K bluray encoding, see below if you don't know what I'm referring to.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/150-blu- ... cs/2895785

In any case the difference perceived between a smartphone streaming at 1411kbps uncompressed flac (available on Tidal) and that device seems exceedingly small, and made worse by that $800 price tag and yet another device to occupy in the pocket.
Also depends on your ears, highly subjective. If you grew up with music, play instruments, took classes, perfect pitch etc then you'll be more likely to appreciate the quality difference. If listening to music on a high end system gives you 'the chills' then yes.

Don't forget your ears degrade over time, mostly at the 10-20hz range. As you age you'll lose ability to hear up there, so YOLO! Buy now as you won't appreciate later.
Member
Jun 6, 2011
275 posts
227 upvotes
Ottawa
bhrm wrote: Before the Hi-Fi hate squad comes in...

Yes it's $800 and there's a million other things you can buy for $800 and have something better.

It's great for someone who wants the purest audio experience, and need more power to push their $300-500 headphones. It's great for someone who doesn't work from home (basically no one right now) and want to bring it to the office, coffee shop, on flights/trains.

WHY not a smartphone?? Yes smartphones are pretty decent to pretty awesome for audio, I have a little DAC that was $35 and can do hi-res audio etc etc but....it's not a dedicated device, sometimes other audio interrupts, notifications, or by accident i close the player etc etc.

Also it looks sweet in-person! Solid build and all.

Would I buy one? Not an A&K, but there's alternatives like Fiio. I'm not a big fan of wearing headphones for long periods of time unless i'm commuting on the train.

TL;DR - If you want to hear every little tiny detail, breath, click or clack and have money to burn.
My smartphone has a petty high end hi-fi Quad DAC and battery life and form factor are great. I guess most consumers simply don't care about this stuff (it wasn't the top selling feature for me either but I do appreciate it). But any audiophiles out there trying to cut down on their rig should be aware the LG G7 has great audio output and is still a very well-performing smartphone in 2020. The G8 has the DAC too.
Jr. Member
Nov 28, 2007
102 posts
173 upvotes
bhrm wrote: Also depends on your ears, highly subjective. If you grew up with music, play instruments, took classes, perfect pitch etc then you'll be more likely to appreciate the quality difference. If listening to music on a high end system gives you 'the chills' then yes.

Don't forget your ears degrade over time, mostly at the 10-20hz range. As you age you'll lose ability to hear up there, so YOLO! Buy now as you won't appreciate later.
Would you say the perceptible difference is further degraded by listening environment? Like trying to pick out the timbre of a guitar string in a loud starbucks or airplane cabin versus quiet bedroom?
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2009
4577 posts
2676 upvotes
polish_jr333 wrote: My smartphone has a petty high end hi-fi Quad DAC and battery life and form factor are great. I guess most consumers simply don't care about this stuff (it wasn't the top selling feature for me either but I do appreciate it). But any audiophiles out there trying to cut down on their rig should be aware the LG G7 has great audio output and is still a very well-performing smartphone in 2020. The G8 has the DAC too.
I heard great things for audio, but as a phone not so much and LG phones are....flakey.
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2009
4577 posts
2676 upvotes
majorwang wrote: Would you say the perceptible difference is further degraded by listening environment? Like trying to pick out the timbre of a guitar string in a loud starbucks or airplane cabin versus quiet bedroom?
Depends on your headphones and how isolating they are. If Loud Howard is sitting next to you on a plane or coffee shop, probably not great.
Member
Jun 6, 2011
275 posts
227 upvotes
Ottawa
bhrm wrote: I heard great things for audio, but as a phone not so much and LG phones are....flakey.
i've had 4 Lg flagships: G2, G4, G5, G7. The tend to die after 2 years but I have very few complaints and their android skin is actually great.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Apr 17, 2003
10286 posts
6634 upvotes
polish_jr333 wrote: My smartphone has a petty high end hi-fi Quad DAC and battery life and form factor are great. I guess most consumers simply don't care about this stuff (it wasn't the top selling feature for me either but I do appreciate it). But any audiophiles out there trying to cut down on their rig should be aware the LG G7 has great audio output and is still a very well-performing smartphone in 2020. The G8 has the DAC too.
I had the V20 when the quad dac first came out. Currently have a G7 and a Q1Mk2.

Guess I was hoping that a flagship from late 2015 would still sound great in 2020. (Focusing less on the technical specifications on paper)
Member
Jun 6, 2011
275 posts
227 upvotes
Ottawa
chatbox wrote: I had the V20 when the quad dac first came out. Currently have a G7 and a Q1Mk2.

Guess I was hoping that a flagship from late 2015 would still sound great in 2020. (Focusing less on the technical specifications on paper)
you've got a G7 with a decent DAC biult-in but still added a Fiio? Dang... I find the G7 drives powerfully.
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 11, 2004
3267 posts
1297 upvotes
Airdrie
Many people are content with the cameras on their cell phones - and many people have more than $800 invested in camera equipment. To each his own. If the audio on your phone works for you, great. I prefer a dedicated device myself, though not at this price point. There are decent, cheaper, alternatives and my ears aren't what they used to be.

Edit: 128GB internal and max 256GB microSD would be a deal breaker for me anyways. The newer Fiios support up to 2TB. FLAC & HDaudio files will fill a lot of space quickly.
"Success is the happy feeling you get between the time you do something and the time you tell a woman what you did." -Dilbert
[OP]
Deal Guru
Apr 17, 2003
10286 posts
6634 upvotes
polish_jr333 wrote: you've got a G7 with a decent DAC biult-in but still added a Fiio? Dang... I find the G7 drives powerfully.
I use them separately. The Q1Mk2 is used with an older phone of mine.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Apr 17, 2003
10286 posts
6634 upvotes
jdewit wrote: Many people are content with the cameras on their cell phones - and many people have more than $800 invested in camera equipment. To each his own. If the audio on your phone works for you, great. I prefer a dedicated device myself, though not at this price point. There are decent, cheaper, alternatives and my ears aren't what they used to be.

Edit: 128GB internal and max 256GB microSD would be a deal breaker for me anyways. The newer Fiios support up to 2TB. FLAC & HDaudio files will fill a lot of space quickly.
I was looking at the Fiio M11 (and the M11 Pro)...they are rather tempting.

However, reviews say they have background hiss with sensitive IEMs.
[OP]
Deal Guru
Apr 17, 2003
10286 posts
6634 upvotes
majorwang wrote: Never really understood the appeal of these things, and neither do 5 other downvoters as well. If you care to pipe in OP?
To me, I think it's definitely more of a subjectively driven desire to have a great sounding audio player. Something that's more focused on the experience of being an audio player instead of, say, a phone. With the more restricted / limited capabilities, it means I'll just be looking at it for music playback, and as a USB DAC. I don't have to think about processor speed, app updates, security updates. Plus, I think it's a decent 'object' to 'look at'. Kinda like furniture, if you will; task specific, functional...but nice to look at as well.

p.s. Does it make any sense to buy this just to listen to music? Hell no, there are other cheap options (e.g. smartphones as some have mentioned, are more convenient, with streaming and all). I want it for its build quality, the overall UX, the fact I can buy a cradle if I need to. I just feel that certain electronics and / or appliances are better when they're single-purpose. Kinda like espresso machines vs espresso machine + grinder combo unit.

I intend to use this for at least 10 years (and anticipating a need for battery replacement down the road). I don't foresee DAP sonic experience to change much in the market if we're looking at local file-based audio playback (non-streaming). There'll be no such thing (for me) as "Damn, the Tidal / Spotify app is becoming rather slow...time to get a faster unit all over again" or "The new Tidal app doesn't support this old Android version anymore".

In short, I'm looking at this not purely just as a piece of fast / annual electronics that's already 'old'...but seeing it as more of a lifestyle / home piece of portable 'appliance'.

On that note, I would be interested to know if there's any other DAP that sounds great, looks great (very subjective, I know) and will last for years to come. (Can't afford any of the more recent AK models...)

Top