Launching at the Fujiya Avic Headphone Festival in Tokyo this weekend is an updated KANN from DAP category leaders Astell&Kern.
The KANN CUBE is a chunkier affair with sharper corners than the original KANN. Its reworked amplifier design offers more output power too: 12Vrms, up from 7Vrms. Three gain modes allow users to tailor the KANN CUBE’s 3.5mm single ended or 2.5mm balanced output to the headphone in play. “For connection to 2-channel home systems”, THE KANN CUBE’s 5-pin mini-XLR socket is a fresh feature.
Extra go juice might explain why battery life has fallen by 33%. The KANN’s 6200mAh battery promises us up to 14 hours of continuous playback. The KANN CUBE’s battery is beefier at 7400mAh but according to Astell&Kern will run for 9 hours between charges.
On the inside, a single AKM AK4490 DAC chip in the KANN has been switched over to 2 x ESS Sabre ES9038PRO running in dual mono mode in the KANN CUBE. The newbie doubles down on its forerunner’s 65Gb internal memory, upping it to 128GB, but drops the full-size SD card slot to leave a single hole for a microSD card.
Astell&Kern’s recent efforts to bring streaming services to their players’ Android software platform means the likes of Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon, Deezer and Soundcloud are all supported by the KANN Cube. It will soon be MQA-certified with a full decoder for Tidal Masters listeners.
Perhaps the biggest KANN-related change is in price. The KANN was launched at US$999. The KANN CUBE says hello at US$1499.
Shipping begins at the end of May.
Further information: Astell&Kern