Astell&Kern AK300 DAP and AK Recorder Released – See Specs, Features and Price

Astell&Kern recently announced a new portable digital audio player (DAP), the AK300. The Astell&Kern AK300 is the entry level among the 300 series. It features the same design and concept as the higher end AK320, but the AK300 has less brass. The company is using the same AK4490 DAC used in the AK320 and AK380, but only in a single DAC configuration. Well, basically you can say that the AK300 is a trimmed down version of the AK320. They do share the same body design, functionality and capability. Aside from the AK300, the company also released the AK Recorder; an add-on module for the AK 300-series DAP that is capable of recording up to 5.6MHz DSD format. The AK Recorder is basically marketed towards pro audio application.

Astell&Kern AK300 DAP-01

Astell&Kern AK300 DAP – Enjoy the Music

As mentioned earlier, the AK300 is like the twin of the AK320, only in a darker color. But place them side by side and they’ll look like black and white, ebony and ivory. At the heart of the AK300 is the AK4490 DAC, also used in AK320 but only in single DAC configuration.

Astell&Kern AK300 DAP-03

The AK300 supports PCM up to 24bit 192kHz bit to bit and DSD62/128 formats. It also supports and features DSD-to-PCM playback, Parametric Equalizer with 20 bands 0.01dB, 200 Femto Second voltage-controlled crystal oscillator reference clock, exceptional expandability, DLNA-based AK Connect app, the same metal touch sensor home button and can also be used as USB DAC (maximum of 24bit 96kHz).

Astell&Kern AK300 DAP-05 Astell&Kern AK300 DAP-04

The AK300 DAP has an internal storage capacity of 64GB and has only 1x microSD card slot for expansion. It is powered by a 3,100mAh Li-Polymer battery. The AK300 comes with a retail price is $899 and should become available starting end of May.

Optional expansion modules like the AK AMP, Recorder, Cradle and CD-Ripper are all compatible with the AK300.

Astell&Kern AK300 DAP-02

AK300 vs AK320 vs AK380 – Specifications

SpecificationsAK300AK320AK380/AK380 Copper
Body ColorMidnight BlackGun MetalAK380 : Meteoric Titan, Black / AK380 Copper : Copper
Body MaterialAluminumAluminumAK380 : Aircraft Grade Duralumin / AK380 Copper : Copper
Display4inch WVGA (480 x 800) Touchscreen4inch WVGA (480 x 800) Touchscreen4inch WVGA (480 x 800) Touchscreen
Supported Audio FormatsWAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE(Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSFWAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE(Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSFWAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE(Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF
Sample ratePCM : 8kHz ~ 192kHz (8/16/24bits per Sample)
DSD : DSD64, Stereo / DSD128, Stereo
PCM : 8kHz ~ 192kHz (8/16/24bits per Sample)
DSD : DSD64, Stereo / DSD128, Stereo
PCM : 8kHz ~ 384kHz (8/16/24/32bits per Sample) / DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo
/ DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256(1bit 11.2MHz), Stereo
Output LevelUnbalance 1.98Vrms / Balance 1.98Vrms (Condition No Load)Unbalance 2.2Vrms / Balance 2.3Vrms (Condition No Load)Unbalance 2.2Vrms / Balance 2.3Vrms (Condition No Load)
DACAKM AK4490 x1 (Single DAC)AKM AK4490 x2 (Dual DAC)AKM AK4490 x2 (Dual DAC)
DecodingSupport up to 24bit / 192kHz Bit to Bit DecodingSupport up to 24bit / 192kHz Bit to Bit DecodingSupport up to 32bit / 384kHz Bit to Bit Decoding
InputUSB Micro-B input (for charging & data transfer (PC & MAC))
/ Connection Mode : MTP (Media Device)
USB Micro-B input (for charging & data transfer (PC & MAC))
/ Connection Mode : MTP (Media Device)
USB Micro-B input (for charging & data transfer (PC & MAC))
/ Connection Mode : MTP (Media Device)
OutputsPHONES (3.5mm) / Optical Out (3.5mm) / Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported)PHONES (3.5mm) / Optical Out (3.5mm) / Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported)PHONES (3.5mm) / Optical Out (3.5mm) / Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported)
Wi-Fi802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)
BluetoothV4.0 (A2DP, AVRCP, aptX)V4.0 (A2DP, AVRCP, aptX)V4.0 (A2DP, AVRCP, aptX)
Dimensions2.95 ”(75.15 mm) [W] x 4.42 ”(112.4 mm) [H] x 0.60 ”(15.45 mm) [D]2.95 ”(75.15 mm) [W] x 4.42 ”(112.4 mm) [H] x 0.64 ”(16.45 mm) [D]3.14 ”(79.8 mm) [W] x 4.42 ”(112.4 mm) [H] x 0.70 ”(17.9 mm) [D]
Weight7.23 oz (205 g)7.65 oz (217 g)AK380 : 8.11 oz (230 g) / AK380 Copper : 12.35 oz (350 g)
Feature EnhancementsFirmware upgrades supported (OTA)Firmware upgrades supported (OTA)Firmware upgrades supported (OTA)
Audio Performance
Frequency Response±0.075dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalance & Balance
±0.56dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Unbalance / ±0.55dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Balance
±0.053dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalance & Balance
±0.56dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Unbalance / ±0.55dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Balance
±0.053dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalance & Balance
±0.56dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Unbalance / ±0.55dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Balance
Signal to Noise Ratio116dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 116dB @ 1kHz, Balance116dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 117dB @ 1kHz, Balance116dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 117dB @ 1kHz, Balance
Crosstalk130dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 130dB @ 1kHz, Balance130dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 135dB @ 1kHz, Balance130dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 135dB @ 1kHz, Balance
THD+N0.0008% @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 0.0007% @ 1kHz, Balance0.0008% @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 0.0007% @ 1kHz, Balance0.0008% @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 0.0007% @ 1kHz, Balance
IMD SMPTE0.0007% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Unbalance / 0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Balance0.0007% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Unbalance / 0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Balance0.0007% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Unbalance / 0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Balance
Output ImpedanceBalanced out 2.5mm (1ohm) / PHONES 3.5mm (2ohm)Balanced out 2.5mm (1ohm) / PHONES 3.5mm (2ohm)Balanced out 2.5mm (1ohm) / PHONES 3.5mm (2ohm)
Clock source
Clock Jitter30ps(Typ)30ps(Typ)30ps(Typ)
Reference Clock Jitter200 Femto Seconds200 Femto Seconds200 Femto Seconds
Battery Capacity3,100mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery3,400mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery3,400mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery
Built-in Memory64GB [NAND]128GB [NAND]256GB [NAND]
External MemorymicroSD (Max 128GB) x1microSD (Max 128GB) x1microSD (Max 128GB) x1
Supported OSWindows XP, Windows 7,8,10 (32/64bit), MAC OS X 10.7 and up

Editor’s note: At $899, the AK300 souds like a good deal considering that its bigger brothers are far more expensive. But how does it par with other DAPs that are priced below $899. The Pioneer XDP-100R and Onkyo DP-X1 are very attractive and competitive DAPs as well. I just hope I can review one soon. In the meantime you can check out some of the best DAPs currently available here.

Astell&Kern AK Recorder

Aside from the new AK300, Astell&Kern also announced the AK Recorder. It’s basically an accessory / recorder that goes with an AK 300-series DAP. It’s capable of recording DSD 5.6MHz; has mic in (obviously) with support for 48V phantom power and supports professional-grade microphones.

Astell&Kern AK Recorder-01

Other than the line in, the AK Recorder also has AES/EBU inputs for digital signal recording from studio consoles or other similar digital sources. It comes with a handy remote control via WiFi, a mic and preamp gain control; various recording options like digital limiter, low-cut filters, pre-recording, peak-hold and more.

Astell&Kern AK Recorder-04 Astell&Kern AK Recorder-05

The AK Recorder will also have an optional stereo recording kit developed in collaboration with Danish Professional Audio. The kit includes microphones, stands and cases, and they are sold separately. No pricing yet on the AK Recorder, but expect that this is going to be another expensive accessory.

Astell&Kern AK Recorder-03 Astell&Kern AK Recorder-02

Astell&Kern AK Recorder Specifications

SpecificationsAK Recorder / PRF11
Body ColorMeteoric Titan
Body MaterialAluminum
Recording Channel2 channel, Stereo recording
Audio Inputsmini XLR 3pin type MIC/LINE x2(L/R), AES3 x1(L), 3.5mm MIC/LINE x1
mini XLR 3pin map1 : Ground(G) / 2 : Positive(+) / 3 : Negative(-)
Key InterfaceMIC / LINE1 / AES3 select key x1, MIC2 / LINE2 select key x1, Phantom Power select key x1 (off / 5V / 48V)
Battery4,700mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery
Continuous Recording Timeabout 4hours (24bit/96kHz WAV, External Mic & Phantom Power 48V)
Dimensions3.17 ”(80.7 mm) [W] x 5.01 ”(127.4 mm) [H] x 1.17 ”(29.9 mm) [D]
Weight8.85 oz (251 g)
Audio Performance
Recording Bit RateWAV : 16 / 24 / 32bit, DSD64, DSD128
Sampling Frequency44.1 / 48 / 88.2 / 96 / 176.4 / 192 / 352 / 384kHz
Frequency Response10Hz ~ 40kHz
A/D Dynamic Range113dB A-weighted bandwidth
Equivalent Input NoiseMIC : -126dBu, 150ohm source, A-weighted filter
THD+NMIC : 0.0004% max (1kHz, -15dBu) / LINE : 0.0006% max (1kHz, -15dBu)
GainMIC : 9 to 60dB, 3.0dB increments / LINE : -96 to 22dB, 0.5dB increments
Low Cut Filters40 ~ 240Hz in 10Hz steps @ 6,12,18,24dB/oct
Compressor & Limiter0 ~ -10dBFS, 1:2 ~ 1:20; Limiter, 1~1,000ms attack time, 10~2,000ms release time
Phantom Power5V / 48V
DPA SC4061 MIC
Directional PatternOmnidirectional
Frequency Range20Hz~20kHz
Sensitivity, nominal, ±3dB at 1kHz6mV/Pa; -44dB re. 1V/Pa
Equivalent noise level, A-weightedTyp. 26dB(A) re. 20µPa(max. 28dB(A))
S/N ratio(A-weighted), re. 1kHz at 1Pa(94dB SPL)68dB(A)
Total harmonic distortion(THD)< 1% THD up to 123dB SPL peak; < 1% THD up to 120dB SPL RMS sine
Dynamic rangeTyp. 97dB
Max. SPL, peak before clipping144dB
Power supplyPhantom Power 5V
Microphone diameter0.21 ”(5.4 mm)
Microphone length0.5 ”(12.7 mm)
Cable length5.9 ft(1.8 m)
Weight0.26 oz(7.5 g)
Temperature range-40°F to 113°F(-40°C to 45°C)

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2 Responses

  1. Eric says:

    What do you think of the Onkyo DP-X1? I’m looking at either the AK300, AK 320, or Onkyo DP-X1. The specs on the Onkyo DP-X1 seem impressive. Thank You!

    • Jeany Jane says:

      Hi Eric. The Onkyo DP-X1 sounds really impressive based on paper. Sound performance and feature wise they are very good. The AK300 and AK320 on the other hand, you get a good solid performing DAP, great design but no full android functionality unlike the DP-X1.
      In terms of sound quality, it’s a little bit subjective so better audition them first. If it was up to me, I’d go for the Onkyo due to price/performance/features. But I like the look and feel of the AK DAPs, specially the 300 series.
      Good luck! 🙂

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