Astell&Kern KANN Ultra Digital Audio Player

Astell&Kern KANN Ultra Digital Audio Player

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Key info

  • Astell&Kern KANN Ultra is the most powerful digital audio player in the KANN series.
  • It features Octa-core processors for enhanced performance and a seamless user experience.
  • Offers 4 preset gain settings with ultra-high output up to 16Vrms for various headphones.
  • Equipped with ES9039MPRO Dual DACs and Digital Audio Remaster (DAR) technology for superior audio quality.
  • Features a new “Crimson” UI/UX with seven DAC filters, crossfeed, and LED visual feedback for volume and Bit Depth.

All specifications

Physical characteristics
Weight About 390 g
Dimensions (HxWxD) 141.1 x 82.4 x 24.4 mm
Enclosure material Aluminum
Specifications
Frequency Response HEADPHONE OUT ±0.006dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.004dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced ±0.016dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.020dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced PRE OUT ±0.022dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.023dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced ±0.023dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.023dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced LINE OUT ±0.002dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.002dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced ±0.007dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.006dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced
Output Impedance HEADPHONE OUT Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (1ohm) │ Balanced Out 4.4mm (1.3ohm) PRE OUT Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (3.5ohm) │ Balanced Out 4.4mm (5.7ohm) LINE OUT Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (6.5ohm) │ Balanced Out 4.4mm (10.7ohm)
THD+N HEADPHONE OUT 0.0004% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 0.0004% @ 1kHz, Balanced PRE OUT 0.0012% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balanced LINE OUT 0.0013% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balanced
S/N HEADPHONE OUT 115dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 119dB @ 1kHz, Balanced PRE OUT 110dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 126dB @ 1kHz, Balanced LINE OUT 110dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 125dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
Supported Formats WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA
Battery Capacity 8,400mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer | Charge Time about 3.5hours (PD 3.0 Charger) | Playback Time about 11hours (Standard: FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Vol.50, LCD Off, Low Gain)
Sample rate PCM : 8kHz ~ 768kHz (8/16/24/32bits per Sample) DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo DSD256(1bit 11.2MHz), Stereo / DSD512(1bit 22.4MHz), Stereo
Crosstalk HEADPHONE OUT 134dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 140dB @ 1kHz, Balanced PRE OUT 128dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 128dB @ 1kHz, Balanced LINE OUT 129dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 121dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
Display 5.5inch HD 1080 x 1920 touch screen
Inputs/Outputs
Inputs USB Type-C input (for charging & PC & MAC)
Outputs - HEADPHONE OUT 3.5mm(Unbalanced Out, Optical Out), 4.4mm (Balanced Out, only 5-pole supported) - PRE · LINE OUT 3.5mm(Unbalanced Out), 4.4mm (Balanced Out, only 5-pole supported)
Connectivity
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz)
Bluetooth V4.2 (A2DP, AVRCP, Qualcomm aptX-HD, LDAC, LHDC)

Astell&Kern KANN Ultra

The Astell&Kern KANN Ultra is the ultimate player in the Astell&Kern KANN family, super-powerful and super-fast it is a blend of style, design and stunning high-power performance in a semi-portable format!

Astell&Kern’s most powerful digital audio player to date – the KANN Ultra. The first player in the brand’s award-winning KANN series of players to feature Octa-core processors, the KANN Ultra reaches new sonic heights with DAR technology, an upgraded DAC and Triple Output while delivering the most seamless user experience possible.

Fueling Your Sound

The KANN series is adored by audiophiles all over the world for its performance that focuses on ultra-high output and clear sound. KANN Ultra, the 5th product in the KANN series, continues the success of the KANN series by providing the highest output of any Astell&Kern player, the inclusion of Triple Output Sound, and an optimized processor and UI/UX to make it even easier to enjoy clear sound performance.

With four Gain Modes that provides up to 16Vrms of desktop Hi-Fi level output and sound, and ES9039MPRO Dual DAC chips, KANN Ultra perfectly powers many of today’s headphones with high resolution. A separate Pre/Line Out allow users to enjoy the sound with a variety of different devices.

4 Gain Levels And Outputs Up to 16Vrms for The Perfect Head-Fi

To run the most sophisticated IEMs and headphones, a DAP needs to be able to fully deliver an output that matches the characteristics of the receiver.

KANN Ultra features 4 preset gain settings up to 16Vrms, the most powerful output of any Astell&Kern player, to optimally run the many IEMs and headphones available today. The current-handling capability of the output port has been increased to reliably run devices of different impedances at the gain Level setting, and the AMPs have been separated into Balanced and Unbalanced to optimize currents and reduce noise for the best possible sound.

On top of providing the most powerful output, KANN Ultra features a larger 5.5-inch screen and improved grip compared to KANN CUBE, which was popular for its high output versatility. Weight of the KANN Ultra has been significantly reduced to 390 grams.

TERATON ALPHA, The Essence of A&K Audio Technologies

From an ultra-high output that can run even the most delicate headphones, to the Triple Output design, and the complex amplifier design with minimal noise in a compact portable audio player, this would all not have been possible without AK’s Ultimate Sound Solution, TERATON ALPHA. Astell&Kern has taken the TERATON ALPHA to the next level with its know-how in noise reduction at ultra-high power, acquired from its predecessors such as the KANN MAX and the CA1000 series.

TERATON ALPHA, engineered through continuous research, is Astell&Kern’s unique technology that has been designed to produce audio playback that is as close to the original sound through effective power noise removal, efficient power management and unwavering amplification, and a fully converted audio output interface.

Upgraded Sound, the Newest ESS Flagship DAC

The KANN Ultra is designed with dual ES9039MPRO DACs, the newest flagship DAC from ESS, to deliver richer and more expansive sounds that exceed your expectations.

The ES9039MPRO is an updated ES9039PRO model that has a built-in stereo hardware MQA renderer. It has even more advanced modulation than the existing flagship DAC to reduce power consumption, noise and distortions inside the DAC for enhanced audio performance.

Astell&Kern has redesigned the AMP BLOCK to ensure that the clear, high-resolution sound of the ES9039MPRO is clearly expressed through every port of the Triple Output, and each output’s characteristics show its own advanced performance.

iUser Experience with Next-Generation Octa-Core Processors

KANN Ultra is the first to feature the next-gen Octa-Core processors with significant performance improvements, allowing you to enjoy KANN Ultra’s incredible sound performance with faster system speeds and a 4th generation UI/UX that flows faster and smoother.

The audio circuit area is physically separated from the processor area, which includes the CPU, memory, and wireless communication components, and is equipped with a dedicated shield can to minimize the heat and noise generated by the processor.

Crimson User Interface, A Music-Only Player

KANN Ultra features a Crimson-themed UI/UX for the first time in the KANN series, making it a “Player for Music” that leaves an impression in the process and experience of listening to music.

The Crimson UX/UI is designed so that users can quickly browse music categories and re-discover songs within their music library. We also added an easy album art search function so that users can re-discover the joy of viewing and interacting with music album art whilst listening to their music.

The crimson theme focuses on edge, simplicity, and dark mode keywords. The color theme of black with red highlights lowers visual fatigue and offers intuitive user experiences, and includes many other improvements to the device’s user-friendliness of streaming app services, artist view, album sorting, and album art search function.

Immerse yourself in music with Crimson UX/UI.

Sound Design by DAC Filter

With the KANN Ultra, you can pick and choose from seven DAC filters to create your own sound style. Design your own sound with the seven DAC filters.

Digital Audio Remaster Technology for Even More Vivid Original Sound

The KANN Ultra is equipped with Digital Audio Remaster(DAR) technology, which was developed to deliver fine sound at higher sample rates. DAR technology is developed to upsample the sample rate of the sound source being played to go beyond the limits of the source format. The high sample rate allows more refined playback and offers delicate and analog-like original sound, helping you to enjoy the richness of the original sound, subtle differences in the nuance of the music and full-bodied sounds at a higher level.

Crossfeed, Speaker effect when listening through headphones

In a headphone environment in which the left and right channels are clearly separated, ear fatigue may increase during prolonged listening. The moment you turn on Crossfeed, the experience of crisp, but comfortable sound begins.

Crossfeed mixes parts of the original signal from one channel and sends that signal to the opposite channel with a time difference to center the sound image.

Through the use of detailed settings such as Shelf Cutoff, Shelf Gain, and Mixer Level, you can set the level of crossfeed according to your listening preferences.

Real-Time Information Confirmed by Light

The LED lights on the volume wheel visually represent the power of the KANN Ultra and show the volume level or the Bit Depth of the currently playing song.

Design

The design concept of KANN Ultra is “Forceful Impact”. The design is an over-scaled volume wheel knob that has been slammed and embedded into the body of the KANN to visually represent its more powerful performance than its predecessor. With the KANN Ultra, Astell&Kern continued the design identity of the KANN series, which emphasizes the hexagonal columnar body while still keeping it visible.

Astell&Kern minimized the visible parting lines and designed the wheel protectors so that the outer edge of the body where the volume wheel sits naturally acts as a protector and improves usability. These elements emphasize the bold mass of the KANN Ultra, representing primal power through a solid chunk of metal.

Astell&Kern applied decorative parts that connect with the serrated pattern on the volume wheel knob to make the wheel visually larger and maintain a balance with the massive body, while expressing the powerful performance of the KANN Ultra. Additionally, the hairline spin decoration applied to the rear of the wheel acts as a delicate detail element along with the lettering engraving, showing the volume wheel knob strongly embedded into the BODY. Due to the increased size, Astell&Kern has redesigned the orientation of the volume wheel to accommodate usage in different environments, such as on the desk, or held in your hand

Features

  • Triple Output Mode Featuring Separately Configured Circuit and Amplifier Designs.
  • HEADPHONE OUT / PRE-OUT / LINE OUT.
  • Next-generation Octa-Core processors with significant high-performance improvements.
  • Supports 4 preset gain settings with ultra-high output up to 16Vrms (Headphone Out).
  • Equipped with ES9039MPRO Dual DACs.
  • Features Digital Audio Remaster (DAR) technology.
  • Supports playback up to 32bit/768kHz, Native DSD512.
  • Features Astell&Kern’s unique TERATON ALPHA technology.
  • Battery 8,400 mAh (up to 11 hours of playback).

The Astell&Kern KANN Ultra is the first DAP in the renowned KANN series to feature Octa-Core processors, levelling up from Quad-Core in previous models. The Octa-Core element brings significant performance improvements allowing the listener to enjoy incredible sound quality with faster system speeds and a smooth flowing 4th generation UI/UX. With the new internal design, the audio circuitry is separated from the processors – which include CPU, memory and wireless connection components – and is equipped with a dedicated shield to minimise heat and noise from the processor.

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