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Inherit and Evolve!. Since Astell&Kern's initial unveiling of the Dual DAC-capable AK120 in May 2013, both sound resolution and affinity have been improved in their latest offering. The flagship model AK240 has been highly regarded for delivering mastering-level quality instrumentals with its improved Dual DAC and analog amplifier circuit system. The AK120 2nd Generation allows you to experience the highest sound quality by directly inheriting the sound design structure implemented in the AK240. Balanced Out and Dual DAC. Dual DAC meets Balanced Output. They added the CS4398 Dual DAC and the balanced output method with sound quality proven through their flagship model. The AK120 2nd Generation provides the weighty sound through the CS4398 Dual DAC and the A-amp, while providing delicate melodies through the balanced output. Unbalanced vs. Balanced Output. The unbalanced method is the most commonly used basic method which consists of left and right signals + ground line. This setup includes a ground line which blocks out external noises from the outside. However, since the ground line cannot block out all of the external noises completely, external noises can be mixed into the signals that are transmitted, which then result in changes to the sound. The longer the signals travel, the more external noises that will be mixed into the sound which is why it is used within a short distance of 1 to 2 meters. Unlike the unbalanced method, the balanced method has an additional cold signal to compliment the hot signal which reduces the external noises. The balanced method has a few advantages over the unbalanced method. The first advantage is that the hot signal and the cold signal will remove the external noises received. The second advantage is increased output due to the 2 transmitted signals. Since the ground line cannot block out 100% of the external noises, noise will appear on both the hot and cold signals. The alignment of the 2 signals allows the noise to usually appear at similar points where they will eventually be removed as the signals are transmitted. Supports DSD format up to 5.6MHz. They got familiarized with the DSD format because of the AK120. However, because of the limited hardware functionality, the AK120 could only support DSD up to 2.8MHz with PCM conversion / down sampling to 88.1kHz. Thanks to the advanced hardware functionality and the DSD to PCM software, they can now provide playback support of DSD Up to 5.6MHz. - DSD playback in 5.6MHz is supported after being converted/down sampled to 176KHz PCM. USB DAC. The AK120 2nd Generation includes the USB DAC feature. Connect the AK120 2nd Generation to a PC or Mac and use it as a USB DAC that also supports DSD. With Dual DAC and the USB DAC feature, enjoy a richer resolution in sound that goes beyond the limitations of the sound card installed in your computer. - PCM audio up to 24bit/96kHz is supported in USB DAC mode and the AK120 2nd Generation's EQ settings are not applied. Meet the Network. MQS Streaming. With the AK120 2nd Generation, you can now skip the complicated process of searching for music files, connecting to the PC and downloading the files to the player. Simply connect the AK120 2nd Generation to your music collection on your computer in the same network to download and/or stream music!. - Astell&Kern MQS Streaming Server software must be installed on your PC or MAC with a shared folder saved for MQS Streaming to work. OTA (Over-The-Air) Upgrade. It has been 13 years since iriver has used the term: firmware. It already has been 13 years since when their customers had to check their email or look for notifications on the iriver website to look for new firmware. Now, as long as you are connected to Wi-Fi, they notify you of firmware updates as soon as they launch and from wherever you are. Their users receive firmware updates immediately. Full Touch Screen. They implemented a 3.31 inch AMOLED screen that is approximately 82% larger than the screen used in the original AK120. Users can access and see more information on the larger AMOLED screen. Classical music tracks that contrain titles that are too long to be displayed on screen, are now marked with two lines on the music list for easier navigation. The search function enables you to easily find the music you want to hear. A more detailed 10-band/0.5dB step EQ. A more accurate EQ setting is featured by doubling the bands from 5 to 10 and halving the dB steps from 1dB to 0.5dB. With the user EQ settings, you can make custom EQ settings to fit each music genre and change them when desired. 128GB + microSD 128GB. The AK120 2nd Generation includes 128GB of internal flash storage. With the addition of a 128GB microSD card, the AK120 2nd Generation supports up to a total memory of 256GB. With 128GB of internal memory, the AK120 2nd Generation can store about 1,250 MQS (24bit/96kHz, 4 minute-long, 90MB) songs. A perfect harmony of engineering and design. With the AK120 2nd Generation, they aimed for the perfect harmony of engineering and design. From beginning to end, they re-examined the PCB layout, the form factor, the materials and the post-manufacturing process. Re-examination of the volume wheel's position. They relocated the volume wheel to the top to maximize the space for the battery. They also redesigned the volume wheel for further convenience and easier usability even when you hold the product with both hands. Redesign of the volume wheel and guard. The AK120 2nd Generation's volume wheel consists of two parts: the head and the root. The head is the knurled part and control the volume wheel by holding it securely. The root is the base of the volume wheel and wrapped in a guard that's directly connected to the hardware. This division into two parts enhances the usability and stability of the AK120 2nd Generation, while the distinguished parts also provide further protection for external damage. Two layers, two meanings. The AK120 2nd Generation's aluminum body and protector appear like overlapping layers. For the first layer, they used a luxurious hairline and diamond cut finish for the aluminum body. These two finishing processes add weight to the material while also symbolizing the signature weighty sound provided by Astell&Kern. The second layer acts as the protector and represents the delicacy of sound provided by Astell&Kern. The three delicate lines that are carved into the protector are reminiscent of string instruments. The AK120 2nd Generation's design embodies the signature weighty yet delicate sounds of Astell&Kern. Use of the original Astell&Kern's pattern. Unlike the previous model, the AK120 2nd Generation uses Astell&Kern's distinctive pattern on the rear glass. The pattern is designed using Astell&Kern's A logo and adds a unique style to the rear panel of the AK120 2nd Generation. With this pattern design, you get to see two images. One is an image of a star. The 4 A s are the shape of a star. This image is inspired by center of stars , the meaning of Astell&Kern. The 4 A s emphasizes the luxurious image of the AK120 2nd Generation when illuminated. The second image of the pattern represents a precisely woven chain. Upon looking at the patterned design from a distance, the form of the star fades and the delicately woven chain can be seen instead. They emphasized the craftsmanship and solidity of the AK120 2nd Generation With this pattern design.