Astell & Kern KANN

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Torq, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Details are a bit thin on the ground at the moment, though I imagine that's going to change in very short order, but it looks like A&K will be launching a new player called the "KANN". While it looks a bit of a hash, it's supposed spec and price point might make it interesting.

    Seems it'll be a single-chip AK4490 based design, but will full native DSD playback up to DSD256 (something nobbled in the lower-end AK300 series). It'll include a built-in output section that's closer in power to the AK3XX amp, and will finally "fix" the wonky OI ratings AK's units have had (yielding 0.65 ohms SE and double that, or so, in balanced mode).

    Seems it'll have a fat-ass battery, dedicated line out for both balanced and unbalanced, as well as a dedicated headphone output, both using the usual A&K 2.5mm/3.5mm TR(R)S connections.

    Ugly bastard thing from the glimpse I saw ...

    Most interesting things for me in what I've heard so far are the USB 3.0/Type-C connection and, for me, most importantly, DUAL CARD SLOTS. That's 1x microSD and 1x full-size SD cards. That gives a current maximum of 1.25TB of storage with cards you can actually buy today, plus the built-in 64GB it'll come with.

    Price? $999

    Not sure how accurate all that is, but it's what I have at the moment ...

    Oh, and apparently some dark blue-ish/gunmetal color and silver. This shot is the front ... in profile it's a fat, angular, little bastard ... almost like someone glued a Pono on the back of a Jnr.

    ak_kann.jpg
     
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  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Interesting, a full size card slot. Curious to hear how it plays with the Andromedas.
     
  3. Vansen

    Vansen Gear Master (retiring)

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    This looks interesting, but A&K's lineup confuses me. What's the target audience vs their other products and how do they plan for this to coexist in their current ecosystem? Seems to me like they could trim their product lines a bit. A three or four tier line up seems sensible, but if you break their current lineup into one, this seems to live outside of it.
     
  4. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Me too.

    Of course I'm curious to hear the Andromedas at all ... but that's apparently not going to happen as they don't seem to be able to keep up with demand and I'm not about to change my stance on back-orders.

    Who knows what those crazy buggers are thinking?

    The software-nobbling of the tiers in their 3XX series is annoying. The insistence on sticking with the same, quiet-but-lame, output section for god knows how long now, and their years-long span of focusing on a two-fold feature-hold-back strategy (make storage and encoding format support deliberately limited by model), is even more so.

    I'd have bought an AK380 at launch if they'd simply given it two card slots, sorted out the OI and ditched the need to run the shitty Android File Transfer utility to talk to the on-board storage. Heck, I might have done it just with the two card slots, as it's taken way too long for me to find a dual-card supporting player that I can actually live with (even if only as a secondary player).

    It'll be interesting to see how the KANN stacks up to their existing players ... which don't, in my opinion/experience, stack up with the Sony WM1A/Z or, to be honest, the little FiiO X5iii (though to be fair, there, I need to do that comparison back-to-back).
     
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  5. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Just a watched the canjam vid. Wow, it's a fat, ugly booger.
     
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  6. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    This is a huge departure from their strange design DNA and reminds me a lot of the gopping Calyx M.
     
  7. Johan

    Johan Rando

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  8. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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  9. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    I suspect that those crazy buggers can feel Sony breathing down their necks. Making such a clunky-looking unit smells a bit like hurried kludgery, and the price point is uncharacteristically sober.

    I love the pair of card slots, but shan't be holding my breath to hear it trounce the WM1x in many other ways.

    Edit: It's interesting that all the publicity shots that I can find (i.e. not the Canjam video) are very much like social media "angle" shots. Maybe iRiv... uh... A+K aren't confident about the form factor either?
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
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  10. Johan

    Johan Rando

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    Akm4490 is becoming the new sabre90xx
     
  11. likearake

    likearake Acquaintance

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    A big, ugly, reasonably priced AK with great storage, proper line out, good battery life, possible improvements to output power and impedance, etc. sounds pretty interesting to me.

    The ugliness actually gives me hope that they may have focused on the correct things.

    As a side note I have a 1A so not actually going to buy it, just interested...
     
  12. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    I like that this is intentionally ugly unlike AK's recent contrived asymmetrical catastrophes.
     
  13. phillip

    phillip Friend

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    [​IMG]

    Well, close enough.

    Anyway, physical buttons at the front? Wow!
     
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  14. kaminsky

    kaminsky Rando

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    I just contacted the seller on Amazon . I asked for a clarification about the KARN position in Astell & Kern lineup.
    his answer was the KARN is located between AK300 and AK320. he admits there are some trade offs. Less on board memory. One DAC instead of two. On the other hand - more power.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  15. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    I'm still trying to get a grasp on the sound of the Kann. I've had it for about a week now. It's not very pretty, but I picked it up for the sd card slots and relatively powerful amp.
    Sound wise, it seems a bit brighter than my ak100II, or maybe it's just more neutral. I'm not sure. The bass is hands down much more authoritative compared to the 100II. Both in quantity and control. I'm using my PM-3s for all impressions. The (lower) midrange doesn't seem as rich and palpable on the Kann when compared to the 100II. My overall impression is of a side grade, sonically. Except for the bass response which is head and shoulders better than the older AK100II.
    I get the impression that the newer AKM chip is smoothing out the sound somehow, even though still detailed. It may take some getting used to.
     
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