A new standard for listening to music was proposed while developing the AK100. Astell & Kern recognized that certain aspects of the AK100 needed improvement during research and development for a successor.
While considering how to improve the AK100, A&K realized that there was a difference between measured audio specifications and what we felt sounded good. After much deliberation, development efforts were focused on making the AK100 2nd Generation "feel" right to our senses rather than mechanically boosting technical specs. The original AK100 was developed according to audio specification standards, but development of the next-generation AK100 was developed to the "New Standard" of how the music sounds.
Single DAC and Balanced Out
Although the dramatic depth in sound quality delivered by the Balanced Out was proven in our flagship model, we wondered if the same benefit could be gained by implementing the Balanced Out with a Single DAC. The newly designed demo board delivered the ear-pleasing sound quality we needed. The value of a Balanced Out with a Single DAC is confirmed with every musical note. The AK100 2nd Generation provides a rich, warm sound experience through the re-tuned A-amp designed specifically for the CS4398 Single DAC.
A&K realized DSD playback through a firmware upgrade for the AK100. However, only 2.8 MHz DSD was supported (88.1kHz PCM conversion/downsampling) due to hardware limitations. Now, 5.6 MHz DSD is supported via 'DSD to PCM' by utilizing a Dual Core CPU.
The AK100 2nd Generation fully supports USB DAC. The AK100 2nd Generation also functions as an external DAC (sound card) when connected to a PC or Mac via USB. The AK100 2nd Generation's sound quality is available for stored music on any PC or Mac as it serves as a built-in sound card.
- - The AK100 2nd Generation supports up to UAC 1.0 (USB Audio Class 1.0) Output (24 bit, 96 kHz) via USB DAC, and EQ settings are not applied.
With the next-generation AK100, it's no longer necessary to turn on the PC, search for music, connect a device, and transfer files.
Simply connect the AK100 2nd Generation to your PC or Mac via Wi-Fi on the same network and download or stream music wirelessly.
- "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 14 years since iriver has used the term: firmware. It already has been 14 years since when customers 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. Users receive firmware updates immediately.
Full Touch Screen
The new AK100 2nd Generation utilizes a 3.31" AMOLED screen, an 82% increase over the previous screen's size. Now, users have access to more on-screen information than ever before. In addition, a full touchscreen means convenient, smartphone-style control. The Album View screen has been completely overhauled. The larger screen offers a view of six albums compared to the previous version's four, and the album art view offers intuitive search functionality.
A More Detailed 10-Band 0.5 dB Step EQ
A more accurate EQ setting is available by doubling the bands (from 5 to 10) and halving the dB steps (from 1 dB to 0.5 dB). In addition, multiple user EQs are supported so that users may create custom EQs to fit each music genre and change them whenever desired.
The AK100 2nd Generation includes 64GB of internal flash storage. With 64GB of internal memory, the AK120 2nd Generation can store about 625 MQS (24bit/96kHz, 4 minute-long, 90MB) songs.