What is the Portable MQS System?
Astell&Kern is the ultimate portable high-fidelity audio system capable of studio Mastering Quality Sound (MQS)
Mastering Quality Sound (MQS) is an acronym of collective lossless & high-resolution audio source formats, typically in 24-bit/44 to 192kHz of bit/sampling rates. Because MQS delivers about 6.5 times more detail than a conventional CD format (16bit/44.1kHz), listeners can enjoy a better and a more realistic sound quality.
24-bit/44 to 192kHz is the music industry norm used in the mastering process during sound production. However, the result of high resolution music files has to be compressed down to 16bit/44.1kHz so it can be stored into a single CD due to the memory storage shortcomings (~700MB). To produce the MP3 format, the high-resolution audio is compressed even further to 128 to 320kbps for the convenience of file size. These compressions remove the enormous amount of the details of the original recording because of memory storage limitations and listeners will never be able to hear the details.
Source frequency analysis comparison
frequencies up to 16kHz. However, WAV formats sampled in 48kHz can be reproduced up to 22kHz and higher. Frequency rates When comparing the frequency of each digital audio format, data loss is even more visible. MP3 formats can only reproduce of MQS files sampled in 44 to 192kHz can be reproduced even further than the WAV format.
Meets the Standards of Hi-Fi Audio
THD+N (1kHz 0dB, No load)
THD + Noise (Distortion) over the THD + Noise signal rate, less distortion is heard. The
AK120 achieves a 0.0008% distortion signal rate.
Crosstalk (1kHz 0dB, No load)
CROSSTALK The higher the number in the crosstalk specification, the higher the isolation in
the Left/Right channels develops. The AK120 has a crosstalk specification of -128dB.
Jitter (1kHz 0dB, No load)
Jitter With smaller figures representing irregular tremors of the signal waveform, the better the device performs. The AK120 has a Jitter specification of 50ps.
Signal to Noise Ratio (1kHz 0dB, No load)
SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) As the signal-to-noise ratio increases, the clearer the sound
AK120 signal-to-noise specification is 113dB.
Frequency Response (1kHz 0dB, No load)
Frequency Response The frequency response specification of +0.02 to -0.02 in the AK120 provides a clear sound from Bass to Treble.
Equipped with the Wolfson 8740 DAC
One of the world’s highest performing 24-bit/192kHz stereo DAC
AK100 is the world’s first portable digital audio device equipped with the Wolfson WM8740 DAC. Users familiar with LINN, ARCAM, and other high-end audio equipment (AV Receivers) actually have been listening to the Wolfson WM8740 high-performance 24-bit/192kHz Stereo DAC at home. With the Wolfson WM8740 DAC, the AK100 achieves highest level of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the lowest level of the total harmonic distortion (THD) performance. And with the WM8740 DAC, the signal to noise ratio of 110dB found in the AK100 significantly improves sound quality.
24-bit/192kHz, SNR, THD+N → Hi-Fi Audio Spec
External DAC Support
Use the AK100 as an external DAC through the USB port.
Leverage the Wolfson WM8740 DAC with the optical-in feature of the Astell&Kern and use it as an external DAC, Connect the Astell&Kern to an optical-out port of your computer or a CD player using a TOSLINK optical cable and plug it to the optical-in of the Astell&Kern. The digital music files will be converted by the Wolfson WM8740 DAC and enjoy a further improvement of your music listening experience.
The AK100 is equipped with dual microSD card slots and supports up to 96GB of storage space.
To playback large MQS music tracks, it is essential to have large enough storage space in the AK100. With 32GB of built-in internal memory and the dual 32GB high-speed microSD card slots, a total of 96GB of music files can be saved on the AK100.
Fourth generation of MQS Albums supported on microSD cards.
The additional memory card slot holds an important point.
24-bit album recordings will soon be released with music files stored in microSD memory cards. For a mainstream album, LP (vinyl) records would be considered as first generation, second generations are cassette tapes, and Compact Discs (CDs) is the third and current generation.
Fourth generation albums are considered as MQS albums that are released in high capacity microSD memory cards. Comfortably enjoy two albums at once through the dual memory card slots of the Astell&Kern.
- The Astell&Kern supports MQS high-resolution music stored on microSD cards.
A Touch Equalizer Controlled by a Single SwipeA Practical EQ Determines the Change in Frequency Response
With the Astell&Kern and a nice set of headphones, audio enthusiasts will appreciate even
more various genres of music.
Use the touch interface of the built-in 5-band equalizer to delicately find the tone you desire. In addition, touch the screen to finely adjust the value of each band.
UI with an Integrated Touch Screen and Control Buttons
The control buttons and touch screen of the AK100 ensures fast and efficient operation. The synchronization of the 4-way user interface, 2.4inch (6.09cm) touchscreen, volume control wheel, and control buttons creates an easy to use experience. The interface of the AK100 is designed for a quick search and instant listening of MQS music.
Through the carefully designed GUI of the AK100, you can find your tunes quickly and enjoy high-definition music, straight from your pocket. Select from various options, including the equalizer, through the Options menu and to choose tracks quickly using the Track List menu.
A Refined Design with an Analog Feel
[A brushed aluminum body with superior craftsmanship]
The brushed aluminum pores finish represents a deep and refined craftsmanship not traditionally found in a combination.
[The sensitive analog feel of the volume wheel]
The Astell&Kern is a digital device with an analog ambiance. The volume wheel also provides analog musical inspirations that are not often found on typical push-button volume controls.
Black / RedWine / Gold / Silver
2.4inch QVGA (320 x 240) IPS Touchscreen
Supported Audio Formats
WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, APE, MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG
WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC : 8kHz ~ 192kHz (8/16/24-bits per sample)
1.5Vrms (No Load)
Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DAC (High-End Audio DAC)
Supports up to 24-bit / 192kHz Bit to Bit Decoding
Micro USB Type-B
USB 2.0, OPTICAL IN/OUT, Headphone Out
2.33 ”(59.2 mm) [W] x 3.11 ”(79 mm) [H] x 0.57 ”(14.4 mm) [D]
4.3 oz (122 g)
Firmware upgrades supported
±0.02dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) / ±0.2dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz)
Signal to Noise Ratio
110dB (1kHz 0dB, 24bit 48kHz, No Load)
-120dB (1kHz 0dB, 24bit 48kHz, No Load)
0.0009% (1kHz 0dB, 24bit 48kHz, No Load)
0.003% (24bit 48kHz, No Load)
- Frequency Response
- Clock Jitter
2,000mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery
Continuous Playback Time
Up to 16 hours (Standard - MUSIC: FLAC, 16-bit, 44kHz, Volume 37, EQ Off, LCD Off)
About 5 hours
microSD (Max 32GB) x2
- Built-in Memory
Windows XP, Windows Vista,7,8 (32/64bit), MAC OS X 10.6.5 and up
- Supported OS
- Audio was NOT muted during the measurement.
- The image/specification may be changed without notice to improve product performance and quality.