Review: Astell&Kern AK70ii – One up.

Full Specs

Model : AK70 MKii

Body Color : Noir Black

Body Material : Aluminum

Display : 3.3inch WVGA (480 x 800) TFT LCD

Supported Audio Formats : WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF

Sample rate :

PCM : 8kHz ~ 192kHz (8/16/24bits per Sample)
DSD : DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz)

Output Level : Unbalance 2.0Vrms / Balance 4.0Vrms (Condition No Load)

DAC : Cirrus Logic CS4398 x2 (Dual DAC)

Decoding : Support up to 24bit / 192kHz Bit to Bit Decoding

Input : USB Micro-B input (for charging & data transfer (PC & MAC)) / Connection Mode : MTP (Media Device)

Outputs : PHONES (3.5mm) / Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported)

Wi-Fi : 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)

Bluetooth : V4.0 (A2DP, AVRCP, aptXtm HD)

Dimensions : 2.47 ”(62.8 mm) [W] x 3.81 ”(96.8 mm) [H] x 0.59 ”(15.2 mm) [D]

Weight : 5.29 oz (150 g)

Feature Enhancements : Firmware upgrades supported (OTA)

Audio Performance

Frequency Response

±0.11dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalance / ±0.09dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Balance
±0.5dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Unbalance / ±0.5dB (Condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Balance

Signal to Noise Ratio : 118dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 119dB @ 1kHz, Balance

Crosstalk : 136dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 138dB @ 1kHz, Balance

THD+N : 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balance

IMD SMPTE : 0.0003% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Unbalance / 0.0003% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Balance

Output Impedance : Balanced out 2.5mm (3ohm) / PHONES 3.5mm (1.5ohm)

Clock source : Clock Jitter 45ps (Typ)

Battery Capacity : 2,500mAh 3.7V Li-Polymer Battery

Memory : Built-in Memory 64GB [NAND]

External Memory : microSD (Max 256GB) x1

OS : Supported OS – Windows 7,8,10 (32/64bit), MAC OS X 10.7 and up

Review: Astell&Kern AK70ii – One up.
4 (80.47%) 43 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

33 Comments

  • Reply February 15, 2018

    Amigoz

    How it is compared with Hiby R6 – sound signature, weight of body?

  • Reply February 15, 2018

    Barun C

    It was a nice review, but I don’t agree with the following.

    “The AK70ii’s sound stage wide and depth is good and very correct at the price it is going for.”

    This is almost like the RE2000 comment made by Fang, where cost is justified by the sound quality. A general co-relation of pricing exists with every commercially sold product, but this is a very generalised objective statement, which doesn’t exist in audio, everything is supposed to be subjective.

    • Reply February 15, 2018

      Lieven

      Hey Barun. long time no seen 🙂
      I see your point but when you are so lucky as I am to listen to so much gear, you clearly start to see and experience “levels” at different price points. Like <100 / 100-300 / 300-500 / 500 - 800 etc. It's in that regard that I regularly comment about a product being "on par" with the price level.

  • Reply February 15, 2018

    Barun C

    You guys should get the QP2R or even the QP1R, cause that might be a contender which will mess up the price/sq theory. Just my 2 cents.

  • Reply February 15, 2018

    OLEG

    Thanks for the interesting review. Could you also compare AK 70ii to Sony ZX300 (soundwise only)? And by the way, we’re all waiting for the ZX300 review 🙂

    • Reply February 16, 2018

      Booker

      Second this – eagerly awaiting the ZX300 review! 🙂

  • Reply February 16, 2018

    timmy

    Probably not a good comparison, but what do you think about the AK70ii vs the Shanling M3s?

    I’ve always wanted the AK70 as my first entry into AK, and the AK70ii now makes it almost perfect. But I’m so tempted by the M3s after reading your review here, not to mention it’s almost half the price and smaller in size.

    I have the Shanling M1 so I know I’m definitely gonna love the M3s. So I guess my question is, do I want another Shanling or is it worth it to pay double to get what I always wanted?

  • Reply February 16, 2018

    Bots

    Would the AK70 MkII be a comparable device to the Opus#1, given they both have the same DAC setup (dual Cirrus Logic CS4398)?

  • Reply February 16, 2018

    Heuggen

    Great review!
    I’m about to purchase my first DAP and I’m between these because I’ve read very good comments from many sources and they’re not very far in price(550-699). Which would be your choice?

    Fiio X7 Mark2
    HiBy R6
    AK70ii.

    I will use it with AKG K712pro and Meze 99 Classics, streaming from TIDAL and using ALAC files.

    • Reply February 16, 2018

      Amigoz

      HEUGGEN, I will get my Hiby R6 soon and will test it wit Meze 99C, do not expect here that reviewers will give you reply how it is compared one to another DAP, i asked for it few times, just silence from their side as they somehow can not just do simple comparison and tell at least which DAP they prefer by some reasons, maybe other DAP suppliers pay money for it…
      I also was between X7 II, AK70II, but bought R6 from indiegogo as price was attractive, due also limitations to hear live in my country these DAP’s this is such reality that you must count on reviews… But as soon as i get i will write honest comment if do not ir will like hiby R6 with Meze 99C. One reviewer wrote that with meze 99C it may be better tweaked sound to your liking on R6 than X7MARK II

  • Reply February 16, 2018

    Heuggen

    Thank you AMIGOZ! it’s a shame we can’t know which would they prefer, anyway, I would appreciate your thoughts on this Combo R6/99C. I’m also thinking about the R6 because the price but the other two are a little more experienced brands so it’s a really hard decision. Good luck with your R6!!!

    • Reply February 23, 2018

      Amigo Z

      Hi short test, R6 is too analitical for me with Meze99C , but you can tweak sound if play flac file, I stream from Tidal most of time, so my old fiio e17k with w4s USB recovery pkaays smoother, but.. I put in my main system avoiding my DAC directly to tube amp and it is really nice, shortly it is not amazing experience, but it is not bad, my score 8/10. Nobody will play with 8bals on every song, for me it is too sharp with meze99c I think other caps should work better, my feeling is for canyon i5 or n5ii!!!

  • Reply February 18, 2018

    Ken

    Head scratcher to me that they have not enabled some sort of browser so the user can log into hotel wifi servers. My biggest frustration with my AK70. No Tidal away from home.

  • Reply February 22, 2018

    Luis André Ferreira

    Are the bluetooth specs exact the same as in the old AK70? Thanks!

  • Reply February 23, 2018

    Amigo Z

    Hi short test, R6 is too analitical for me with Meze99C , but you can tweak sound if play flac file, I stream from Tidal most of time, so my old fiio e17k with w4s USB recovery pkaays smoother, but.. I put in my main system avoiding my DAC directly to tube amp and it is really nice, shortly it is not amazing experience, but it is not bad, my score 8/10. Nobody will play with 8bals on every song, for me it is too sharp with meze99c I think other caps should work better, my feeling is for caiyn i5 or n5ii!!!

  • Reply February 24, 2018

    Amigo Z

    OK, just managed, when you make from dop to pcm 8bals working, now it is great 🙂 but streaming from tidal not allows you to equalize it, so it is good player, but not how I want or maybe I do not know something how to mange 8 bald with Tidal! It is really good DAP!

  • Reply February 24, 2018

    Don Vittorio Sierra

    It may be a stupid question but anyway here goes lol… How does the sound from the single ended jack compare with that of an ipad pro 10.5 inch for example? Power and sonically…

  • Reply February 24, 2018

    Albert C

    is there any lag in the sound when used as a day for a desktop setup?

  • Reply February 25, 2018

    Chaturanga

    I did not find Cayin N5ii as a clear winner over even Fiio X5 iii, but you are saying N5ii is closer to AK70 MKii, that was very interesting to hear 🙂

    I agree that N5ii is more open sounding but is that enough to sound better? AK70 MKii is warmer and darker yes, but also AK70 MKii is smoother, has excellent resolution, more controlled presentation (in positive way) and giving a tasty complete musical experience with almost every genre.

    N5ii looses control time to time in that open presentation. When I listened N5ii I was thinking something was not finished yet and DAP was not a final version.

    Anyway, I will try to listen both to make AB test later again.

  • Reply March 2, 2018

    Malcolm Daw

    I recently made a blind purchase, an excellent product overall.
    My only gripe is the fact, whilst Tidal compatible, there is no way to down load even with my Tidal Hi-Fi account from Tidal to the internal storage,something that even my wife’s crummy LG smartphone allows.I would have preferd to pay more(Tidal licence fee) for this product with this feature included.

    • Reply March 5, 2018

      Lieven

      That is a bummer to many indeed

  • Reply March 23, 2018

    Fredrik Parapat

    i checked on amazon, AK70 MK2 vs AK300 price almost identical. if using only for DAP without additional amp, which one would you recommended?

  • Reply March 24, 2018

    Seanwee

    “The Cayin is more energetic and it sounds more clear and less warm. The AK70ii’s bass and mids are somewhat thicker and the Cayin has better extension, especially in the higher mids and treble.”

    Thanks for the comparison, now I’m sure that I have no regrets. The N5ii simply punches way above its price range. I have yet to try the Opus 1s but it bests similarly priced DAPs (FiiO X5iii, Hidizs AP200, Opus 1)

  • Reply April 22, 2018

    Darren Cotter

    I know it’s been mentioned above, but how does the FiiO X7ii compare with the AK70ii?

    • Reply April 23, 2018

      Lieven

      The Fiio X7ii is much cleaner sounding. While it depends on the AM module used, the Fiio is never as warm and smooth sounding as the AK is. It has a more neutral tuning with better clarity.

  • Reply April 29, 2018

    Adam

    zx300 vs ak70mkII?

  • Reply May 2, 2018

    XiaXueYi

    AK70ii and Grado RS1e. Smooth pairing, some of the sweetest mids I’ve heard. You guys should try it!

    Also I’m personally using AK70ii > UE18+, excellent details and imaging with coherency throughout the spectrum.

  • Reply May 19, 2018

    Ajay

    How does this compare with the AK100II?

  • Reply August 30, 2019

    Bobby

    The operating system is more stable than most mid-price Android-based dedicated music players, but that’s about it for upsides, because ever since Sony came out with their vastly more affordable Walkman variant model this middling music player just isn’t worth what they are asking for it. The build quality sucks. It’s not a case of if the headphone jack will go, it’s a case of when. I bought the squaretrade insurance and they’ve repaired it about four times already, but they never really fix it adequately because it always breaks in the same way again, sometimes within days. The frequency balance is decent, but who cares because it will only work correctly for about 7 months at most. Crap hardware from a crap company.

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