Astell and Kern Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium – Great sound quality but flawed in other areas.

Quick delivery and good communications. Item as described, quick delivery and good communications.

Hands down the best hi def player below £500. . This is a fantastic product and at £250 its a total bargain to boot. There have been a number of comments about latency and stability of the touch screen graphics, there have been two firmware updates for this product one of which specifically deals with this issue. 03 and new payers are shipped with this version as mine was, i can say that i have experienced no issues at all with the touch screen interface which works perfectly so i assume the issues mentioned have been resolved. If you have an older version of firmware you can get the updates from the ak website so resolving the issue is fairly straight forward. In terms of sound quality the player is stunning, i tried a range of players up to £500 before making my decision and regardless of cost this little player won hands down, and without the risk of having to carry a brick around in your pocket. Its easy to use and has a really robust and eye catching design, its also small and light and isn’t designed as a glorified smart phone like some of the competition, its a music player pure and simple and that’s really all it does, but boy does it do it well. There has been some discussion about mp3 320kps being as good as cd, its not.As a minimum standard you will want to use a lossless format like flac to transfer your cds and a quick comparison with mp3 will show mp3 up for what it is, muddled incoherent rubbish.

. Pity about poor user interface. If you are looking for a small excellent sounding portable music player then look no further. However if you want something with good usability and a touchscreen with a reasonable resolution then maybe consider something else. Pros : great sound and designcons : buggy software (after update to 1. 03) poor screen display slow in updating music library. Here are the specifications for the Astell and Kern Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium:

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  • World class leading Wolfson DAC, 64GB on board memory – expandable to 264GB via Micro SD card
  • Solid machined Aluminium Body, Thin and light – 93g, measuring 6.9mm at its thinnest point
  • Easy to use intuitive drag and drop file transfer & USB DAC feature for home or office
  • Bluetooth enabled for music streaming to headphones and speakers, high voltage output to support wide range of earphones and headphones
  • Supports all file formats: DSD, WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, APE, MP3, AAC, WMA,OGG

Great player shame about battery life. Having had ipod classic for years i thought it time to get something decent and this is a serious leap in quality and volume and takes a 200gb sd card. My major gripe is the appalling battery life i would have hoped to get at least a full day of play rather than 8 hours if you are lucky. The user interface can be a bit fiddly and annoying if you have reasonably sized fingers but you get used to it. It’s easy to put music on it just drag and drop.

Having used the player for several months i can only say it is fantastic. I didn’t buy from this vendor. Having used the player for several months i can only say it is fantastic. Very balanced, no fake lift through the sound range. The better the headphones the more it shines. The os is a pain, slow file loading but twice as fast to the sd card. Read the usual reviews before you buy but i’m glad i did.

Reviews from purchasers :

  • I mainly use it paired with my grado RS1’s and it’s a total joy for the ears
  • Brilliant player
  • quick delivery and good communications. Thank you

Very good ipod classic replacement. I was looking for a replacement for my treasured ipod classic that could fit a significant amount of music on it, when apple discontinued the classic line. I’m very happy with this, although it’s not perfect. Noticeably better than any apple product. Really brings music to life- capacity. Can fit a 200gb memory card, large enough to fit a lot of music, and hey, you can always use 2 cards if 1 isn’t big enough- simple to transfer files – just drag and drop mp3s using windows explorer- light- looks good. – decent battery life- bluetooth – works, good sound. Con- interface isn’t quite up there with apple, although it’s good and much better than similar products i’ve used before from other manufacturers. It’s not cheap (but hey, quality costs). – some minor usability/instruction issues, esp around playlists (hard to manage offline). Could use a little extra management software for this, or at least instructions. To create playlists i ended up duplicating files; if you want to do this without messing around on the fiddly player interface it’s highly technical. – bluetooth can be a bit fiddly to connect, though, tbh, i tend to always find this with bluetooth :)- just does music, unlike an ipod touch.

Great sound quality but flawed in other areas. . I’ve had a sony nwz-a15 dap player for a few months now and am pretty pleased with it. I also have an apple ipod 160gb classic which i’ve had for some years for which the sony replaces. However, i’m always on the lookout for something ‘better’ and had a chance to use an astell & kearn ak jr for a few days and thought i’d pass on my observations especially compared to the sony. You can get the silver sony for 125 pounds (the black version is still 160 pounds) and the a&k for about 350-400 pounds – so a significant difference in price and you would therefore expect a significant difference in performance. Design——–firstly the overall design: the a&k is certainly a thing of beauty, fashioned out of a slab of aluminium. It is mostly definitely a premium device but also (relatively) heavy compared to the sony. If impressing people is your style, this may be the device for you. The unit has 64gb on board which i didn’t use as i just used the sd card. I know there have been comments about whether it can take a 128gb card or not.

This is the best sounding dap ever. Flac files are played beautifully. Hi res music is just incredible, with a massive 3d soundstage. The sound is superbly controlled, with no nastiness at full volume. The design is simple, the execution is wonderful. The ui could be better and the instructions need improvement, but who reads them in anycase?. A week further on, and a hi res download from hd tracks of simon &garfunkel botw , just amazing. I have also put it through my hi fi at home and the results are just as amazing.

The a&k jnr and it looks impressive and sounds fantastic when working. I have recently purchased the a&k jnr and it looks impressive and sounds fantastic when working. I have found my interface to be sometimes ( more often than i would like) slow and unresponsive. It also just wont connect to my bluetooth b&o a2 speaker unless i have my iphone 6 connected as welli have found the bluetooth very poor indeen whereby if i pick up the jnr it seems to affect the bluetooth sound and sometimes breaks up and stops. I then have to turn bluetooth on & off again on the device which takes an age to re-connect to my headphones or speaker. It has also frozen a few times and i have had to turn on & off. I have also reset it once but still the same. I`m worried about this device as it cost a lot of money and thinking of sending backanybody else had issues like these?.

Excellent product, sound quality is amazing.

Fantastic sounding player, cleanest solid design, running with 128gb sd card.

On the right path but a bit far off for some people. From the moment you open the box you’re introduced to the product with a beautiful presentation. It’s great to observe but then things start falling off. The first problem you’ll notice is how slow it runs when listening to any 24 bit song. The device has 10 24 bit songs that come with it and they alone make it run slow when they are playing. Mp3 songs run fine, but i didn’t buy it to use as an mp3 player. Another downfall in my opinion is the sound, although that will depend on what music you’re into. Vocals sound amazing, instrumentals are clear but that’s the only type of music i could listen on it. Any song i have with the slightest touch of bass now just sound washed off like i was listening to them from youtube. I don’t believe that high end audiophile equipment means you can only enjoy classic music.

Great sound quality with flac and other lossless music.

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1 Comment

  1. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    Great unit, great sound, easy to use, whats not to like. This is an awesome player for the money. I tried sony hi-res before i switched as this as it is in a different league. I use mine with a pair of oppo pm-3s, the combination of the two is a joy to listen to so i have had to go back and listen to all my music over again with “new ears”. The only down side can be getting the album art to display correctly for which i have bought an app for my pc which now does this for me with no issues. (as recommended by astell&kern support who were very helpful)go get one, you won’t be disappointed.
  2. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    Great unit, great sound, easy to use, whats not to like. This is an awesome player for the money. I tried sony hi-res before i switched as this as it is in a different league. I use mine with a pair of oppo pm-3s, the combination of the two is a joy to listen to so i have had to go back and listen to all my music over again with “new ears”. The only down side can be getting the album art to display correctly for which i have bought an app for my pc which now does this for me with no issues. (as recommended by astell&kern support who were very helpful)go get one, you won’t be disappointed.
  3. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    I mainly use it paired with my grado rs1’s and it’s a total joy for the ears. The sound and build quality on this thing is exceptional. I mainly use it paired with my grado rs1’s and it’s a total joy for the ears. That said, there are a few issues or things you should be aware of before you buy. When compared to say a smartphone, the user interface is a bit crappy but this wasn’t a problem for me. I was able to do everything i needed, the main issue for me as a music player is that it doesn’t support gapless playback with mp3’s but it did work with flac’s. I also wanted to use this as a dac for my pc and laptop. It sounds beautiful but has a major drawback. There is major lag/latency issues. This isn’t a problem if all you do is listen to music, but it’s impossible to watch or play anything as there is a 1 second delay which is such a shame.
  4. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    I mainly use it paired with my grado rs1’s and it’s a total joy for the ears. The sound and build quality on this thing is exceptional. I mainly use it paired with my grado rs1’s and it’s a total joy for the ears. That said, there are a few issues or things you should be aware of before you buy. When compared to say a smartphone, the user interface is a bit crappy but this wasn’t a problem for me. I was able to do everything i needed, the main issue for me as a music player is that it doesn’t support gapless playback with mp3’s but it did work with flac’s. I also wanted to use this as a dac for my pc and laptop. It sounds beautiful but has a major drawback. There is major lag/latency issues. This isn’t a problem if all you do is listen to music, but it’s impossible to watch or play anything as there is a 1 second delay which is such a shame.
  5. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    Excellent hi-res player, yes the interface is awful but if you are used to using an apple product then it does feel sluggish. I would update to the latest firmware as this has helped with some of these issues. But the sound is fantastic, play a 24bit hi-res track and you will hear the difference. Playing the recently released steven wilson album ‘to the bone’ you could hear every finer details and the soundstage was breath taking. I would recommend using flac rips of tracks as you can really hear the compression of mp3 files on this player. Only real issues i found was that my beat x wireless headphones will not work in bluetooth. Overall an excellent product. (update) the beat x wireless headphones do work .You have to keep the bluetooth searching on for quite a while and it should pick it up.
    1. Excellent hi-res player, yes the interface is awful but if you are used to using an apple product then it does feel sluggish. I would update to the latest firmware as this has helped with some of these issues. But the sound is fantastic, play a 24bit hi-res track and you will hear the difference. Playing the recently released steven wilson album ‘to the bone’ you could hear every finer details and the soundstage was breath taking. I would recommend using flac rips of tracks as you can really hear the compression of mp3 files on this player. Only real issues i found was that my beat x wireless headphones will not work in bluetooth. Overall an excellent product. (update) the beat x wireless headphones do work .You have to keep the bluetooth searching on for quite a while and it should pick it up.
      1. Would steve jobs be impressed?. The sound quality really is excellent. The feel is good (even better with the neat case). But the first-time user experience is very frustrating. I moved from the 160gb ipod classic, a fantastically intuitive and simple device. However, not wishing to fork out a blackmailer’s ransom for a replacement, i’ve opted for the ak jr. But trying to figure out why an album won’t play sequentially (has to be in the same folder with the same sampling rate, etc?. Wtf??), why there are long pauses after each song and why simple tasks take forever, is very frustrating. I’m following the instructions but cursing more than ever trying to figure things that the ipad made so simple.
  6. Would steve jobs be impressed?. The sound quality really is excellent. The feel is good (even better with the neat case). But the first-time user experience is very frustrating. I moved from the 160gb ipod classic, a fantastically intuitive and simple device. However, not wishing to fork out a blackmailer’s ransom for a replacement, i’ve opted for the ak jr. But trying to figure out why an album won’t play sequentially (has to be in the same folder with the same sampling rate, etc?. Wtf??), why there are long pauses after each song and why simple tasks take forever, is very frustrating. I’m following the instructions but cursing more than ever trying to figure things that the ipad made so simple.
  7. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    A great mp3 and other formats player. Easy to use once you get it set up.
  8. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    Stunning sound quality at a price. . Build quality is fantastic and the case finish looks great. In the last six months i have been using this daily at home, out running and sometimes as a dac and had no issues at all described in a few of the reviews here. The sound quality is very good and sounds stunning through a decent hifi. Good separation and detail to the sound but to get the best from it, it is worth investing in a pair of high quality earphones. I have not given it five stars because the battery life is a bit limited and i find i need to recharge it every 48hrs or so.
  9. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    Stunning sound quality at a price. . Build quality is fantastic and the case finish looks great. In the last six months i have been using this daily at home, out running and sometimes as a dac and had no issues at all described in a few of the reviews here. The sound quality is very good and sounds stunning through a decent hifi. Good separation and detail to the sound but to get the best from it, it is worth investing in a pair of high quality earphones. I have not given it five stars because the battery life is a bit limited and i find i need to recharge it every 48hrs or so.
  10. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    Utterly fantastic product at excellent price. Unbelievable sound from such a small device.
  11. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    Excellent sound, reasonable battery life (approx 9-10 hours). I’m no audiophile but the level of detail and resolution this little thing gives is phenomenal. I wanted a portable player that gave a sound quality over and above that of my iphone (even with an audioquest dragonfly). The criteria was sound quality, product quality and portability and the ak jr ticks all of those boxes. With 64gb on board and expandable up to nearly 200 gb there’s plenty of storage. Pros: excellent sound, reasonable battery life (approx 9-10 hours), size, bluetooth capability. Price (at £249)cons: slow user interface, it’s a bit glitchy but not the end of the world.
  12. This review is from : Astell&Kern AK Jr High Resolution Audio Player – Aluminium

    Excellent sound, reasonable battery life (approx 9-10 hours). I’m no audiophile but the level of detail and resolution this little thing gives is phenomenal. I wanted a portable player that gave a sound quality over and above that of my iphone (even with an audioquest dragonfly). The criteria was sound quality, product quality and portability and the ak jr ticks all of those boxes. With 64gb on board and expandable up to nearly 200 gb there’s plenty of storage. Pros: excellent sound, reasonable battery life (approx 9-10 hours), size, bluetooth capability. Price (at £249)cons: slow user interface, it’s a bit glitchy but not the end of the world.