Astell&Kern launches KANN CUBE Hi-Res audio player
Portable Pocket Power
Founded in 2013, Astell&Kern (no gaps in the name for these audio pioneers!) produce a range of portable media players for discerning music enthusiasts for whom smartphone audio just doesn’t cut the musical mustard.Joining their existing KANN Hi-Res portable player, the South Korean company have now announced the KANN CUBE, the second model in this range of media devices.
Designed to be used with virtually any headphone without resorting to a separate amp, the KANN series features a built-in headphone with just that bit more power and users can select whether to use low, med or high gain settings to drive their favourite headphones.
Upping the ante from its predecessor, the CUBE almost doubles its power output to 12Vrms and also features a new amplifier design that reduces distortion and has a low noise floor.
In conjunction with the improved amplification circuitry, the KANN CUBE uses two 8-channel ESS Sabre ES9038PRO DACs in a dual-mono configuration which improves stereo separation for a wider soundfield. This setup enables up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM and DSD256 native playback.
The user experience is facilitated by a 5-inch high definition screen upon which payback options and menu navigation are smoothly displayed courtesy of the quad-core processor which is backed up by 128GB worth of storage for your music, doubling its predecessor’s 64GB. If additional storage is required, there is a microSD card slot.
Battery life and charging options are critical for any portable device and the CUBE can last for up to 9 hours between charges due to its 7,400mA battery which can be recharged via a fast charging compatible USB-C port, reducing the charge time by 50% over standard chargers.
Finally, connection to a home Hi-Fi system can be achieved via a 5-pin balanced Mini XLR connector for reliable signal transfer and the whole package comes in a high strength aluminium body with an aesthetic design.
The KANN CUBE will support Master Quality Authenticated files once certification is confirmed and this will be be either by direct download of MQA audio files or via the TIDAL streaming service, which features thousands of albums in the Hi-Res format via its TIDAL Masters service. The CUBE uses a dedicated MQA decoder to ensure the files are played as accurately as possible.
With the CUBSE’s support for the Open App service, which adds Android APK support, other music streaming services can be installed simply by copying and installing the corresponding APK file. Thus, Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, Qobuz, SiriusXM, Tune-In, myTuner, Bandcamp and Deezer can all be added. Note that supported streaming services varies by country. In addition, any offline content from these services can be stored internally or externally for mobile music anywhere.
The KANN CUBE will be available at Astell&Kern dealers worldwide at the start of June. The US SRP is $1499 and a UK price will be advised.
Source: Astell&Kern press release, www.whathifi.com, www.stereonet.co.uk
Image Source: Astell&Kern
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