Product Information: AK380

The evolution of a masterpiece, AK380

Evolved to Serve Pro-Audio

Astell&Kern has stayed on the course, offering the truest and most natural sound possible. The new AK380 offers the most authentic sound from any digital music format with enhanced features that are sought-after by Pro-Audio.

32bit 384kHz Bit to Bit Playback, Native DSD (up to 5.6 MHz) Playback, Parametric EQ with 20bands 0.01dB, 200 Femto Seconds VCXO Reference Clock, Scalable Amp, DNLA based AK Connect App, Metal Touch Sensor Home Button

Every bit of the AK380 was designed for Pro-Audio in mind.

The sound that Pro-Audio people have been looking for starts with the AK380.

32-bit 384kHz bit-to-bit Playback

All of the AK380’s circuit design including the digital-analog converter (DAC) are ready for 32-bit processing to handle 32-bit music natively.

Other products have traditionally used sample rate converter (SRC) method down sampling for playback. However, the AK380 is capable of playing back 32-bit, 384 kHz original sound without any down sampling.

The result is the AK380 plays up to 32-bit, 384 kHz, any 24-bit music files, or double layer DSD 5.6MHz natively, without conversion or compression.

PEQ (Parametric EQ)

A parametric equalizer (PEQ*1) was implemented in the AK380 to deliver detailed adjustment of the original sound, and an audio digital signal processor (DSP) was added to aid in this process.

This frees up CPU cycles previously needed for calculating graphic equalizers (GEQ), allowing more detailed and accurate calculations via the dedicated DSP.

The audio DSP expands the existing 10-band, ±0.5 dB graphic equalizer (GEQ*2) to 20-band, ±0.01 dB to more precisely adjust the frequency and gain (dB) as well as more accurately specifying the frequency range via Q value adjustments.

* The PEQ supports up to 8 kHz - 192 kHz (8/16/24-bit) formats, but DSD and 32-bit audio are not supported.

What is Parametric Equalization (PEQ*1)?

Parametric equalization refers to the ability to increase or decrease the volume within the Q value range. A Q value is a frequency range relative to a selected frequency. The frequency range decreases when the Q value increases and vice versa.

What is Graphic Equalization (GEQ*2)?

Graphic equalization divides the audible frequency register into several registers and increases or decreases the level of each register with a volume slider to adjust the respective frequency's characteristics. The switches of the volume slider are connected like a graph to visually determine the frequency characteristics, hence the name "graphic equalizer."

Equipped With a Femto Clock to Deliver True Original Sound

Astell&Kern implemented a voltage-controlled crystal oscillator (VCXO) high-precision clock with a reference jitter value of 200 femto seconds*3.
Femto clocks are commonly used in high-end audio systems, and the clock is measured in high-precision femtosecond units (one quadrillionth of a second).

What is VCXO?

A VCXO, or a voltage-controlled crystal oscillator, is a type of crystal oscillation device that creates oscillation frequencies. External environmental stimuli, which in this case mean voltage inputs, influence the frequency value. Adjustments to the voltage input tunes a precise frequency value.

What is Jitter?

Jitter refers to the undesired deviation in time that occurs in a periodic signal. In this case, jitter is the error that occurs in the reference clock required to perform the sampling in digital audio equipment.

By utilizing a femto clock, the AK380 is able to create a more accurate frequency value and make fine jitter corrections.

As a result, the AK380 faithfully reproduces analog sound closer than ever to the original source when transmitting a digital signal as an analog signal.

AK Connect App

Astell&Kern has further enhanced DLNA functionality via the AK Connect app.
Wireless networking DLNA (version 1.0) connects to a NAS or PC, and is easily controlled with a smartphone or tablet through AK Connect.

Source files on a PC or NAS can be freely transferred and streamed without the hassle of turning on the computer and physically connecting with a cable.

If on the same access point (AP) network, music files on a PC or NAS can be played back via DLNA.

DMP (Digital Media Player)
Finds a list of content on a media server for selection and playback.


DMC (Digital Media Controller)
Finds a list of content on a media server and establishes a connection to a playback-capable device (renderer). By default, a DMC establishes a connection between a media server and media renderer and controls content playback-related operations.

DMS (Digital Media Server = Network Server)
Actually stores the media content to be shared. When connected to a network, the DMS transmits/distributes the media content for other devices to stream or download.

DMR (Digital Media Renderer = Network Player)
Connects to a media server via media controller for content playback.

Pressure-sensitive Metal Capacitive Touch

The AK380 is the first Astell&Kern product to utilize a metal capacitive touch interface.
The pressure-sensitive Metal Touch home button responds to fine pressure changes so users operate the device with just a light touch on the metallic pad.

More Expandable Options

The AK380 offers great expandable options through its micro USB connection and balanced out ports on the bottom of the unit.

The AK380's functionality is expandable by connecting to a variety of devices. You can increase the output and connect to a greater variety of high-impedance professional headphones through the upcoming AK380 Amp. The AK380 Cradle features balanced output in addition to USB data transfer and charging capabilities, and the AK380 CD-ROM drive rips audio CDs directly to the AK380.

Design Concept

The light and the object are the main theme of the AK380 design. Any shadow of an object portraits the exact shape from the perspective of the light at that moment. The way of reproducing the true sound of music from digital formats is quite similar. Nothing more or nothing less. The design motif of the AK380 reflects our philosophy of music and sound.

Hence, the “light” and the “shadows” became the inspiration of the AK380.


While the design of the AK240 captured as a moment in time of light and shadow, the AK380 is designed to express the change of time with more angles on its body. You will notice the different angles of surface design as you view the AK380.

We believe that the beauty of the design shall reflect what the AK380 can do with music. As different angles of light casts different shadows, different music will give you a variety of emotions. 

Technical Specifications


  • Astell&Kern Support

    Ryan: The AK T5p EQ preset was only available in the AK100 II, AK120 II, and AK240. Unfortunately, they are not made available to the AK70, AK300 series, AK T1, or the AK500N.

    As for the AK380 Copper leather case, they are unfortunately not sold separately. Leather cases are available to purchase separately here at the online store.

  • Ryan

    I have two questions…

    1) I own the AK T5p headphones, and I love using my AK120II because of the AK T5p graphic equalizer setting. However, I own both the AK380 in Copper and in Black (yes, I own 2 AK380’s and an AK120II). I am very disappointed that the AK380 does not have the AK T5p graphic equalizer, especially since this equalizer setting is found on every other Astell&Kern portable player with a balanced output. It would be great if I could see the equalizer settings so that I can copy these settings into the AK380. Is there any way I can get these equalizer settings? Or is there a way I can download these settings into the AK380?

    2) I own the AK380 in Copper. Unfortunately, my dog got ahold of the AK380’s tan V1 leather case. Is it possible to purchase this leather case?

  • Astell&Kern Online Store

    Alex: iTunes won’t sync with any device that is not an Apple one. This issue not just limited to the AK380, but any non Apple device.

    Load the music on your iTunes library that is stored on your computer and use the Drag & Drop method to load it to the internal storage of your AK380 or on to a microSD card. Playlists use the same method as well. Place the playlist file in the “Playlist” folder of the AK380’s internal storage for compatibility.

  • Alex

    I have had my AK380 for about a year and still cannot really use it as I there is almost no way to Sync with anything. If you are like me and have your entire Music Library on iTunes and separated into Playlists what can we do? I use SyncMate but event that does not work satisfactorily. Considering the majority of Musci Pro´s use Apple, it seems strage that the AK is usless with any Apple interface. Will this be imnproves soon? Seems like a logical step is Ak want to sell more to the high end and pro market.

  • Astell&Kern Online Store

    Michael: Have you enabled the dock as balanced audio output from the AK380? If not, you must do so by tapping on the Dock icon from the pull down notification bar. Also, the balanced output from the cradle is disabled unless the docking cradles balanced port clamp is raised. If you haven’t yet removed the protective film around the edges of the AK380 and is covering the 4 balanced pins on the bottom of it (located directly next to the micro USB port), please remove it as it can prevent audio from being output through the dock.

    Also, please update the AK380 to the latest firmware if you have not done so yet. Previous older builds of the firmware does not support the AK380 cradle.

    Manuel: The AK380 has both a single-ended and a balanced output. The amp section provides 2.2 Vrms with the single ended output and balanced output provides 2.3 Vrms. While it can drive headphones such as the HD800, you may want to use it with an amp if you like to listen at higher volumes.

  • Manuel Jenkin

    I want to know the specifications of the amp section of this device. Is it fully balanced (or just single ended output with a balanced connection)? What is the output power capabilities of the amp in this device at 32 ohm and 300 ohm? And how much voltage can they pull off at 32 ohm and 300 ohm? Can they power a HD800?

  • Michael Fricklas

    So far love the sound of the AK380, and although a little confusing, have pretty much figured out the interface. The sound is better than anything i have ever heard; native DSD is particularly incredible.

    Tried to connect cradle to my amp using XLR connectors but get no sound. I have tried everything i could think of. Can’t find any warranty support information on the website nor a customer support number. At this price point there really needs to be accessible customer support.

  • Astell&Kern Online Store

    Steve: A follow up to the AK380 has not yet been announced. The AK380 already supports DSD256 natively.

    Greg: Yes, the AK380 does supports the ALAC (M4A) format. The AK380 won’t sync with iTunes, as it is not an Apple product, but you will be able to load ripped CDs (even if it is ripped in ALAC) to the AK380. As long as the album artwork is tagged in the music files and in a JPG or GIF format, it will be shown on the AK380.

  • Steve

    Is a&k planing to improve the functionality and build a better like 2nd generation of ak380?

    Features I am looking at are 768k support and dsd256

  • Greg Allen

    Do your devices work with Apple Lossless (.m4a) file format? Can I transfer my music library that I ripped from CD’s using iTunes from my NAS onto the AK380? Will it sync well over time with my library and display my images?

    Thanks, hoping the answers are affirmative.

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