Astell&Kern Previews New Hi-Res Music Player

Hi-res audio specialist Astell&Kern (A&K) has announced a more upscale, second generation version of its Kann high-resolution music player, one of Sound & Vision’s 2018 Top Picks.

Slated for release at the end of May at $1,499, the Kann Cube boasts a new “low noise” amplifier that delivers 70% more power through its balanced output than its $999 predecessor — 12 Vrms vs. 7 Vrms — which A&K says is enough to drive “any headphone.”

The player offers low-, mid-, and high-gain modes to accommodate different types of headphones and is equipped with two eight-channel ESS Sabre ES9038PRO digital-to-analog converters (DACs) in a dual-mono configuration for a “wider soundstage and better stereo separation,’ a quad-core processor, and a five-pin Mini XLR connector for balanced connections.

Internal storage has been doubled to 128 gigabytes (GB), which can be expanded via a microSD slot, and battery capacity has been increased to 7,400mA for up to 9 hours of playback per charge; the player supports fast charging via its USB-C connection.

DSD256 playback is supported along with PCM resolutions up 32 bits/384 kHz and, subject to final testing and certification, the player will play MQA files. MQA is supported via downloaded files and high-resolution streaming via the Tidal app.

The Kann Cube has a sturdy aluminum body, a 5-inch high-definition screen, and supports Open App service, which means users can add music streaming services by copying and installing the corresponding APK file for the service they want to add. Supported services include Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, Qobuz, SiriusXM, Tune-In, myTuner, Bandcamp, and Deezer.

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schneiderbecket's picture

Any sales numbers on the Astell&Kern media players, would be an interesting article to discuss the history of the A&K players technology and market performance. Maybe even bring in some competitors numbers if any of these are available to you.