Astell&Kern Limited Edition Blue Note 75th Anniversary Package with AK240 Portable Hi-Fi Audio System

Astell&Kern Limited Edition Blue Note 75th Anniversary Package with AK240 Portable Hi-Fi Audio System

Astell&Kern Limited Edition Blue Note 75th Anniversary Package with AK240 Portable Hi-Fi Audio System

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Product Highlights

  • 75 Remastered Blue Note Albums
  • Albums Pre-Installed on Player & microSD
  • AK240 Portable Media Player & USB DAC
  • Dual Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC Chips
  • Supports WAV, FLAC, AAC, MP3, & DSD
  • Balanced Output
  • 3.31" AMOLED Touch Screen Control
  • Includes Leather Case
  • Includes Album Display Tower
  • Includes 2 Books
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Astell&Kern AK240 overview

  • 1Description

The limited edition Blue Note 75th Anniversary Package from Astell&Kern combines 75 legendary Blue Note jazz albums remastered and pre-installed on a special, Blue Note branded AK240 high-resolution audio player with a hardbound book filled with original album art and Richard Havers' new book, Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression.

In addition to the pre-loaded music on the AK240, each remastered album is delivered on a microSD card in an acrylic glass case with original album artwork and stacked in a decorative display tower. Five of the Blue Note albums make their exclusive high-resolution audio debut with this release, including Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers' Mosaic, Tina Brooks' True Blue, Don Cherry's Complete Communion, Andrew Hill's Point Of Departure, and Bobby Hutcherson's Components.

The AK240 media player and USB DAC supports a wide variety of audio formats including WAV, FLAC, ACC, MP3, WMA, OGG, and more in addition to DSD. It is equipped with a dual DAC Cirrus Logic CS4398 chip that allows for native DSD playback, meaning it does not need to convert DSD files to WAV prior to analog conversion.

The AK240 can be controlled via its 3.3-inch AMOLED touch screen and features a physical volume knob. The unit has 256GB of internal storage, and supports microSD cards up to 128GB, for a total of 384GB of potential storage. Thanks to its streaming capabilities, you are not limited to playback of songs you have on your device, as it can stream tracks from your Mac or PC connected to the same wireless network.

Blue Note 75th Anniversary Album Collection

  • 01. Thelonious Monk
  • Genius Of Modern Music Volume One
  • 02. Bud Powell
  • The Amazing Bud Powell
  • 03. Thelonious Monk
  • Genius Of Modern Music Volume Two
  • 04. Miles Davis
  • Miles Davis, Volume 1
  • 05. Miles Davis
  • Miles Davis, Volume 2
  • 06. Horace Silver And The Jazz Messengers
  • Horace Silver And The Jazz Messengers
  • 07. Kenny Dorham
  • Afro-Cuban
  • 08. Sonny Rollins
  • Sonny Rollins
  • 09. Sonny Rollins
  • Sonny Rollins, Vol. 2
  • 10. John Coltrane
  • Blue Train
  • 11. Sonny Rollins
  • Newk's Time
  • 12. Sonny Rollins
  • A Night At The Village Vanguard
  • 13. Lou Donaldson
  • Lou Takes Off
  • 14. Sonny Clark
  • Cool Struttin
  • 15. Cannonball Adderley
  • Somethin' Else
  • 16. Three Sounds
  • Introducing The 3 Sounds
  • 17. Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
  • Moanin
  • 18. Horace Silver
  • Blowin' The Blues Away
  • 19. Hank Mobley
  • Soul Station
  • 20. Jimmy Smith
  • Back At The Chicken Shack: The Incredible Jimmy Smith
  • 21. Jimmy Smith
  • Midnight Special
  • 22. Tina Brooks [hi-res audio debuts]
  • True Blue
  • 23. Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
  • A Night In Tunisia
  • 24. Hank Mobley
  • Workout
  • 25. Grant Green
  • Green Street
  • 26. Freddie Hubbard
  • Ready For Freddie
  • 27. Art Blakey [hi-res audio debuts]
  • Mosaic
  • 28. Stanley Turrentine
  • That's Where It's At
  • 29. Jackie McLean
  • Let Freedom Ring
  • 30. Herbie Hancock
  • Takin' Off
  • 31. Dexter Gordon
  • Go
  • 32. Sheila Jordan
  • Portrait Of Sheila
  • 33. Freddie Hubbard
  • Hub-Tones
  • 34. Kenny Burrell
  • Midnight Blue
  • 35. Donald Byrd
  • A New Perspective
  • 36. Hank Mobley
  • The Turnaround!
  • 37. Jackie McLean
  • One Step Beyond
  • 38. Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell, Pierre Michelot, Kenny Clarke
  • Our Man In Paris
  • 39. Joe Henderson
  • Page One
  • 40. Herbie Hancock
  • Inventions And Dimensions
  • 41. Jackie McLean
  • Destination... Out!
  • 42. Horace Silver
  • Song For My Father
  • 43. Grant Green
  • Idle Moments
  • 44. Andrew Hill
  • Black Fire
  • 45. Grachan Moncur Ⅲ
  • Evolution
  • 46. Lee Morgan
  • The Sidewinder
  • 47. Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
  • Free For All
  • 48. Lee Morgan
  • Search For The New Land
  • 49. Eric Dolphy
  • Out To Lunch!
  • 50. Andrew Hill [hi-res audio debuts]
  • Point Of Departure
  • 51. Wayne Shorter
  • Night Dreamer
  • 52. Herbie Hancock
  • Empyrean Isles
  • 53. Wayne Shorter
  • Juju
  • 54. Wayne Shorter
  • Speak No Evil
  • 55. Herbie Hancock
  • Maiden Voyage
  • 56. Bobby Hutcherson [hi-res audio debuts]
  • Components
  • 57. Lee Morgan
  • Cornbread
  • 58. Horace Silver Quintet
  • The Cape Verdean Blues
  • 59. Wayne Shorter
  • The All Seeing Eye
  • 60. Larry Young
  • Unity
  • 61. Ornette Coleman Trio
  • At The "Golden Circle" Stockholm Vol. 1
  • 62. Ornette Coleman Trio
  • At The "Golden Circle" Stockholm Vol. 2
  • 63. Don Cherry [hi-res audio debuts]
  • Complete Communion
  • 64. Joe Henderson
  • Mode For Joe
  • 65. Wayne Shorter
  • Adam's Apple
  • 66. Cecil Taylor
  • Unit Structures
  • 67. Cecil Taylor
  • Conquistador!
  • 68. Lou Donaldson
  • Alligator Bogaloo
  • 69. McCoy Tyner
  • The Real McCoy
  • 70. Herbie Hancock
  • Speak Like A Child
  • 71. Donald Byrd
  • Black Byrd
  • 72. Marlena Shaw
  • Who Is This B***h, Anyway?
  • 73. Cassandra Wilson
  • New Moon Daughter
  • 74. Norah Jones
  • Come Away With Me
  • 75. Gregory Porter
  • Liquid Spirit


Blue Note Branded AK240

Closer to Original Sound
In designing the AK240, Astell&Kern asked themselves, "What is the ultimate sound quality?" They decided create a device to deliver the sound "exactly as the artist had intended" for us to hear. Providing a dual DAC setup to create better left and right channel separation with clearer sound quality, they thought that the Dual DAC setup would be enough, but while developing the AK240, felt the need to further improve sound quality in order to accurately reproduce the original sound recording. After research and testing, Astell&Kern were able to find the answer.

The answer was to create both a balanced output and native DSD playback through the Dual DAC setup
Native DSD Support
DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is a digital audio file format originally developed for SACDs (Super Audio CD). Regular digital audio file formats such as PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) is separated into 65,000 (16-bit) to 16,700,000 (24-bit) of information on the Y axis, and 44,100 (44.1 kHz) to 192,000 (192 kHz) across the X axis for digital signals. DSD files have 1bit (0s or 1s) for Y axis and is separated into 2,800,000 (2.8 MHz) to 5,600,000 (5.6 MHz) of information for X axis.

Compared to regular audio CDs with 16-bit/44.1 kHz PCM format, SACD's recording frequency goes up to 100 kHz and the dynamic range goes beyond 120 dB while maintaining sound clarity during the transmission.

One of the approaches Astell&Kern decided that would help them move a step closer to the original sound quality was to provide native DSD playback without having to convert it into PCM. In order to provide native DSD playback on the AK240, they had to select a different DAC chipset.
They decided to use the Cirrus Logic CS4398 chip in the Dual DAC setup with an added exclusive XMOS chip that will allow for Native DSD support.
Unbalanced vs. Balanced Output
The unbalanced method is the most commonly used basic method that consists of "left and right signals + ground line". This setup includes a ground line that 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 that reduces the external noises. The balanced method has a few advantages over the unbalanced method; the first 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
256GB of Storage
With 256GB of internal memory, about 2,500 MQS (24-bit/96 kHz, 4 minute-long, 90MB) songs can be saved. With the addition of a 128GB microSD card, the AK240 can support up to a total memory capacity of 384GB
MQS Streaming
To listen to your favorite music, you no longer have to turn on your computer, search for your music, wait for the songs to download, connect your player via USB cable, and then wait for the files to transfer to the player. Now with MQS Streaming, you can easily download or stream music directly from the AK240 by having the unit and your computer connected to the same network
MQS music service provider "groovers" started with the launch of the AK100. With the AK240, you no longer need to go through the traditional process of purchasing and downloading music on your computer, now you can easily download MQS music directly from the AK240 via the groovers store link on the home page of the AK240. As long as you are in a Wi-Fi area, you can download MQS music wherever you go
Over-the-Air Upgrade
With a Wi-Fi connection, you can receive instant notifications about new firmware updates and can update your unit whenever and wherever you are
The Design
The design of the AK240 was derived from the combination of light and shadow. The front asymmetric look of the unit was designed from the shape of the shadow when light was shining on it. This shape strongly represents the Astell&Kern brand which expresses uniqueness and class while strongly protecting the volume knob as well.

There are 2 parts to the design of the volume knob on the AK240. First is the diamond-pattern design on the knob where it is gripped. Second is the fine hairline design at the end of the knob that shines to emphasize the design aesthetic of the AK240. The back of the unit is composed of real carbon fiber plates that blend with the overall AK240 design
Even though the body of AK240 is just one piece, it goes through 12 stages of production until it is complete. The initial 6 stages involve the original materials being prepared, and the next 6 stages involve putting together all of those original parts.

During the first stage, all of the original materials are cut and prepared to fit the shape of the AK240. The original 435g duralumin piece is processed and 90% of the material is cut out leaving only 41g of the main body.

The second stage involves carving out the internal part of the main body into the design of the AK240.

The third stage involves trimming the outside of the main body to create the asymmetric look.

Stages 4 through 7 involve working on all 4 surfaces of the unit. Drilling is carefully done from every angle with protection in place to prevent the case from collapsing.

During stage 8, the duralumin body is sanded down. After the sanding, strong sandy wind is blown onto the exterior body to create the soft luster.

Diamond cutting is done during stage 9. To create the high-luster design, diamond cutting is done where each surface meets.

During stage 10, the duralumin is carefully cleaned to remove any unnecessary particles from previous stages.

Stage 11 involves anodizing the body to cover it with a gun metal color. Even though this is one of the 12 stages, anodizing is done multiple times during this stage.

In the last stage, laser imprinting is done on the duralumin body. On each body, a unique product serial number is imprinted on the unit by a high-precision laser
10-Band 0.5dB-step EQ Setting
Accurate EQ setting is available on the AK240 by doubling the bands (from 5 to 10 bands) and halving the dB steps (from 1 dB to 0.5 dB) available. One can also create and save customized preset EQ settings to fit various music genres
Full Touch Screen
Compared to the AK120, the 3.31 inch AMOLED display on the AK240 is about 82% bigger to provide more information at a glance. With the bigger display, the full touch screen is designed to be easy to navigate, especially for smartphone users.

The playback and volume control buttons have also been upgraded on the AK240. Music tracks with long titles, such as a classical music, are displayed on 2 lines for better navigation. Due to the speedy file scanning functionality, a separate dB scanning function is no longer needed and file search is available for access to music
The AK240 supports native DSD USB DAC function. (DoP method)

Through the USB connection, the AK240 can be used as a USB DAC which supports Native DSD playback. The combination of the exclusive DSD chip and the Dual DAC in the AK240 improves the playback from most computer sound cards and is able to create a sense of space and deeper sound while listening to your music
Blue Note Leather Case
In order to raise the bar of the AK240 even higher, much attention was devoted to the selection of leather for the case. Minerva leather, originated from Badalassi Carlo was chosen for the case. Badalassi Carlo was made by Professor Carlo Badalassi, who is known for his excellent skills with leather. Unlike modern methods, he uses a traditional method of making leather that requires extensive time and devotion.

The leather case for the AK240 was made from a process called "Full Vegetable Tanning." This traditional method has been used in Italy for over 200 years. The process brings out the special characteristic of leather while creating a natural tanning look. A variety of trees and plants are involved in this tanning process which takes about 40 days to complete.

This leather material has a lot of oil in it that will allow the leather to shine the more it is used. Many tests and trials have been done with the creation of the leather case in order to highlight the design of the AK240
In the Box
Astell&Kern Limited Edition Blue Note 75th Anniversary Package with AK240 Portable Hi-Fi Audio System
  • Blue Note Branded AK240 Portable Hi-Fi Audio System
  • 75 x Blue Note Albums on microSD
  • Album Display Tower
  • Hardbound Book of Album Artwork
  • Richard Havers' Book - Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression
  • Blue Note Branded Leather Case
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty
  • Table of Contents
    • 1Description

    Astell&Kern AK240 specs

    Display 3.31" (84 mm) WVGA (480 x 800) AMOLED touchscreen
    Supported Audio Formats WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE (Normal, High, Fast), AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF
    Sample Rate FLAC, WAV, ALAC, AIFF : 8 kHz to 192 kHz (8/16/24-bits per sample)
    DSD Native : DSD 64 (1-bit, 2.8 MHz), Stereo / DSD 128 (1-bit, 5.6 MHz)
    Output Level Unbalanced: 2.1 Vrms (Condition No Load)
    Balanced: 2.3 Vrms (Condition No Load)
    DAC Cirrus Logic CS4398 x2 (Dual DAC)
    Decoding Support up to 24-bit/192 kHz bit to bit decoding, DSD 64/128
    Input USB Micro-B input (for charging & data transfer, PC & Mac)
    Connection Mode: MTP (Media Device)
    Output 1x 1/8" (3.5 mm) headphone output
    1x 1/8" (3.5 mm) optical output
    1x 0.13" (2.5 mm) balanced output (4 pole)
    Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz)
    Bluetooth Version 4.0
    Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 kHz, ±0.023 dB, balanced and unbalanced
    10 Hz to 70 kHz, ±0.3 dB, balanced and unbalanced
    Signal to Noise Ratio 116 dB @ 1 kHz, unbalanced
    117 dB @ 1 kHz, balanced
    Crosstalk 130 dB @ 1 kHz, unbalanced
    135 dB @ 1 kHz, balanced
    THD + N 0.0007% @ 1 kHz, unbalanced
    0.0005% @ 1 kHz, balanced
    SMPTE IMD SMPTE: 0.0004% 800 Hz 10 kHz (4:1), unbalanced
    0.0003% 800 Hz 10 kHz (4:1), balanced
    Output Impedance Balanced 2.5 mm: 1 ohm
    Headphones: 2 ohms
    Jitter 50 ps, typical
    Battery Capacity: 3.250 mAh, 3.7 V Li-Polymer battery
    Memory Built-In Memory: 256 GB (NAND)
    External: microSD, maximum 128 GB
    Supported Operating System Windows: XP, 7, 8 (32/64-bit)
    Mac: OS X 10.7 and later
    Dimensions (WxHxD) 2.59 x 4.21 x 0.68" (66.0 x 107.0 x 17.5 mm)
    Weight 6.5 oz (185 g)

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