Review : Astell & Kern AK240

Posted on 09 January 2015

Astell & Kern AK240 reviewed in The Absolute Sound by Steven Stone

Read the full review here :

Conclusion :
I’ll admit I’ve been intentionally hard on the AK240, but given its place at the top of the price-hierarchy in portable players, potential owners would consider me remiss if I glossed over any of the ergonomic or performance areas where it might not be perfect. Of course, perfection is a difficult-to-obtain goal. After 35 years of reviewing audio gear rarely has any audio component been “perfect,” but the AK240 comes far closer to that status than any portable player I’ve used so far.

Whether the AK240 is the best player for you depends on whether you require any or all of its unique features. If you already have a high-quality USB DAC, streaming device, and smartphone that uses Bluetooth for streaming, some of the capabilities of the AK240 will be redundant and perhaps the new Astell&Kern AK120 or AK100II would be better options.

As I said at the start, the pace of new portable player introductions has been phenomenal. And if Astell&Kern and others continue releasing new players at this clip the AK240 will most certainly find itself challenged by something new in the near future. But right now, in Fall 2014, the Astell&Kern AK240 is the best-sounding, most fully featured portable player currently available. If you demand “the best” the AK240 should, inevitably, be at the top of your must-have list.

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