Evolved to Serve Pro-Audio
Astell&Kern has stayed on the course, offering the truest and most natural sound possible. In order to become a device that professionals want, Astell & Kern decided to make a bold move and restart all processes from the beginning. The new AK380 offers the most authentic sound from any digital music format with enhanced features that are sought-after by Pro-Audio.
Every bit of the AK380 was designed for Pro-Audio in mind. The sound that Pro-Audio people have been looking for starts with the AK380.
32-bit 384kHz bit-to-bit Playback
The circuit design of the AK380 including the DAC can handle 32-bit music natively & is ready for all 32-bit processing. Bring it on! Other products have traditionally used sample rate converter (SRC) method down sampling for playback, but the AK380 is capable of playing back 32-bit, 384 kHz original sound without any down sampling.
As a result, the AK380 plays up to 32-bit, 384 kHz, all 24-bit music files, or double layer DSD 5.6MHz natively, without conversion or compression.
PEQ (Parametric EQ)
A parametric equalizer (PEQ*1) was added to the AK380 to deliver detailed adjustment of the original sound, and an audio digital signal processor (DSP) was added to aid in this process.
This frees up CPU cycles previously needed for calculating graphic equalizers (GEQ), allowing more detailed and accurate calculations via the dedicated DSP.
The audio DSP expands the existing 10-band, ±0.5 dB graphic equalizer (GEQ*2) to 20-band, ±0.1 dB to more precisely adjust the frequency and gain (dB) as well as more accurately specifying the frequency range via Q value adjustments.
* The PEQ supports up to 8 kHz – 192 kHz (8/16/24-bit) formats, but DSD and 32-bit audio are not supported.
The AK380’s PEQ Playback Using Audio DSP
The other Products GEQ Playback Using Audio DSP
AK380 20-band PEQ and AK240 10-band GEQ Frequency Values
What is Parametric Equalization (PEQ*1)?
Parametric equalization refers to the ability to increase or decrease the volume within the Q value range. A Q value is a frequency range relative to a selected frequency.
The frequency range decreases when the Q value increases and vice versa.
What is Graphic Equalization (GEQ*2)?
Graphic equalization divides the audible frequency register into several registers and increases or decreases the level of each register with a volume slider to adjust the respective frequency’s characteristics. The switches of the volume slider are connected like a graph to visually determine the frequency characteristics, hence the name “graphic equalizer.”
Equipped With a Femto Clock to Deliver True Original Sound
Astell&Kern implemented a voltage-controlled crystal oscillator (VCXO) high-precision clock with a reference jitter value of 200 femto seconds*3.
Femto clocks are commonly used in high-end audio systems, and the clock is measured in high-precision femtosecond units (one quadrillionth of a second).
What is VCXO?
A VCXO, or a voltage-controlled crystal oscillator, is a type of crystal oscillation device that creates oscillation frequencies. External environmental stimuli, which in this case mean voltage inputs, influence the frequency value. Adjustments to the voltage input tunes a precise frequency value.
What is Jitter?
Jitter refers to the undesired deviation in time that occurs in a periodic signal. In this case, jitter is the error that occurs in the reference clock required to perform the sampling in digital audio equipment.
By utilizing a femto clock, the AK380 is able to create a more accurate frequency value and make fine jitter corrections. As a result, the AK380 faithfully reproduces analog sound closer than ever to the original source when transmitting a digital signal as an analog signal.
AK Connect App
Astell&Kern has further enhanced DLNA functionality via the AK Connect app. Wireless networking DLNA (version 1.0) connects to a NAS or PC, and is easily controlled with a smartphone or tablet through AK Connect.
Source files on a PC or NAS can be freely transferred and streamed without the hassle of turning on the computer and physically connecting with a cable.
If on the same access point (AP) network, music files on a PC or NAS can be played back via DLNA.
DMP (Digital Media Player)
Finds a list of content on a media server for selection and playback.
DMC (Digital Media Controller)
Finds a list of content on a media server and establishes a connection to a playback-capable device (renderer). By default, a DMC establishes a connection between a media server and media renderer and controls content playback-related operations.
DMS (Digital Media Server = Network Server)
Actually stores the media content to be shared. When connected to a network, the DMS transmits/distributes the media content for other devices to stream or download.
DMR (Digital Media Renderer = Network Player)
Connects to a media server via media controller for content playback.
Pressure-sensitive Metal Capacitive Touch
The AK380 is the first Astell&Kern product to utilize a metal capacitive touch interface. The pressure-sensitive Metal Touch home button responds to fine pressure changes so users operate the device with just a light touch on the metallic pad.
More Expandable Options with the AK380
The AK380 offers great expandable options through its micro USB connection and balanced out ports on the bottom of the unit. Its functionality is expandable by connecting to a variety of devices.
You can increase the output and connect to a greater variety of high-impedance professional headphones through the NEW AK380 Amp.
The AK380 Cradle features balanced output in addition to USB data transfer and charging capabilities, and the AK380 CD-ROM drive rips audio CDs directly to the AK380.
The light and the object are the main theme of the AK380 design. Any shadow of an object portraits the exact shape from the perspective of the light at that moment. The way of reproducing the true sound of music from digital formats is quite similar. Nothing more or nothing less. The design motif of the AK380 reflects our philosophy of music and sound.
The AK380’s design was inspired by “light” and “shadow”.
While the design of the AK240 captured as a moment in time of light and shadow, the AK380 is designed to express the change of time with more angles on its body. You will notice the different angles of surface design as you view the AK380.
We believe that the beauty of the design shall reflect what the AK380 can do with music. As different angles of light casts different shadows, different music will give you a variety of emotions.