Personally, I’m dazzled by the combination of semi-aggressive sounding phones and the RWAK100. Grado’s GR10 is my favorite weapon to sling by the RWAK100’s side. My next favorite is the Vision Ears VE6 XControl. And my favorite music? How about Bexametric’s Pressure LP, Kraftwerk’s Computerwelt, or maybe Underworld’s Dubnobasswithmyheadman. Basically, all the bass attack missing from both MKI and MKII versions of the AK100 is there replete with the psychedelic stereo image necessary to open up your mind, man.
What about amping?
If I did a poor job above, let me explain it here: if your main earphones and headphones are current-hungry portable affairs, there is little chance you’ll ever need an amp. The RWAK100 is more than enough. All but the best headphone amps will fail to match its output quality.
If your main headphones are Beyerdynamic DT880/600s, T1s, or Sennheier HD800s, the RWAK100 will do nothing to help you better enjoy your music. Those phones simply don’t benefit from lower output impedance and more current. And the RWAK100 supplies the same voltage to its output that it did before surgery. So it won’t crank your phones to crazy levels.
For my uses, it is more than enough.
This mod is suited to any earphone/portable headphone out there. And other than a bit of background noise (which is iRiver’s, not Red Wine’s fault) the RWAK100 is at least as capable as the iBasso DX90. Of course, it’s got way better battery life, does the optical/USB DAC thing, is smaller, and somewhat more stable.
Other than making your AK100 perform better for headphones and earphones with low and mid resistance ratings, Vinnies mod does nothing special to your AK100. Want special? Get Vinnies AK100s mod, or dig in for the MSAK100. That means that battery life is as good as ever.
And that’s the RWAK100: Sound that lets the AK100 sing: better, clearer, fuller, more resolved.
The MSAK100, which runs in software mode, removes all line noise. The RWAK100 does nothing of the sort. The good news is that the AK100 isn’t crazily strapped with hiss. But it is noticeable from high-end earphones like the Noble Audio K10, the FitEar MH335DW, Vision Ears VE6, and the Grado GR10.
The AK100 is the iPod Video of its day: it is an easy-to-use platform with good format support, a decent interface, and it is stable. Like the iPod Video, its output is strapped to a bit of downstream junk. RWAK100 removes the shackles and sets the AK100 free. 250$ may seem like a lot, but considering that you won’t need a headphone amp, it’s 250$ well spent.
My only gripe is this: had I realized how badly the AK100 needed modification, I would have opted for the RWAK100 straightaway. If you know someone in trend-crazy Japan who can get a hold of a cheap AK100, definitely grab it. Send it to Vinnie. It will sound like heaven. If you’ve got one already and you don’t know what to do with it: mod it. Modded, it is a device worthy of your time and my full recommendation.