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Thursday, May 09, 2013 7:40pm
Astell & Kern, iRiver launch $1,300 AK120 portable audio player
At the High End 2013 conference in Munich, Germany. electronic gadget company iRiver announced the launch of the second model from the Astell & Kern line of Mastering Quality Sound (MQS) portable players, the AK120. Astell & Kern was first launched in 2012 as the high-end brand of iRiver with the first MQS portable player. The AK120 was developed for professional users and audiophiles who demand the very best sound available.

A pair of Digital to Analog Converters (DAC) that output signals independently to each channel drive the audio, making the AK120 a true dual mono (dual monaural) setup like those found in expensive hi-fi equipment. The dual Wolfson WM8740 DAC chips found in the AK120 dedicates each DAC chip to a completely separate left and right channel.

Control of the player is accomplished by a side-mounted scroll wheel and a 2.4-inch IPS touchscreen. The AK120 has 64GB of built-in memory, expandable to 192GB through a pair of MicroSD slots. Audio formats supported include APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, and OGG.

The device comes with a handmade Italian-designed leather case, and retails for $1,300.