Astell & Kern Kann Alpha Portable Audio Player Review & Comments

Joe C

Well-known Member
As someone who has owned a ridiculous variety of portable media players over the years - my first was 32MB Diamond Rio (yes, MB not GB) - I do question why these things still exist. Mobile phones have conquered this market, while hi-res music, while best with earphones, is predominantly an indoor activity.

At over a thousand pounds, I genuinely don’t see what this brings to the table
 
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Steven

Senior Moderator
@Joe C, i speculate the niche market do not want to use the battery on their smartphone (also ruling out a smartphone dongle DAC if your smartphone lacks a built in headphone jack). Potential buyers for these devices will own decent wired headphones and earphones so want to maximise the sound quality with a dedicated device
 

Daniel 70

Active Member
@Joe C, i speculate the niche market do not want to use the battery on their smartphone (also ruling out a smartphone dongle DAC if your smartphone lacks a built in headphone jack). Potential buyers for these devices will own decent wired headphones and earphones so want to maximise the sound quality with a dedicated device
Fully concur .. a decision totally arrived at when my mobile phone battery went dead after a flight , and I could not get it charged , while waiting 2 hours in the rain for a bus. I had used the phone as a music player on the flight. I had rushed out of the airport hoping to get the bus, missed it
There is apparently another reason . In the Far East portable music players are more acceptable.
My music player or occasionally the mobile phone with good earphones, is a daily companion on my 5k covid walkabout
 

Daniel 70

Active Member
Eddie, one question. Can it be used while charging?. I find that having my little sony plugged in works as a convient mains operated device ..
 

Joe C

Well-known Member
Fully concur .. a decision totally arrived at when my mobile phone battery went dead after a flight , and I could not get it charged , while waiting 2 hours in the rain for a bus. I had used the phone as a music player on the flight. I had rushed out of the airport hoping to get the bus, missed it
There is apparently another reason . In the Far East portable music players are more acceptable.
My music player or occasionally the mobile phone with good earphones, is a daily companion on my 5k covid walkabout

All that says to me is that you need a portable chrger/battery as opposed to a £1000 device.

What if you had used that on the flight and it went flat?
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
There is apparently another reason . In the Far East portable music players are more acceptable.

Yes portable audio is bigger in Japan, HK, Singapore and mainland China and some in ear monitor companies have released a tuning version for an individual country

e-earphone is well worth a visit if you are ever in Tokyo
 

McCol

Well-known Member
I guess these devices are aimed at niche markets.

I have used a variety of media players over the years and always feel I get more out of my headphones/earphones than I do from DAC's that can be sued with my smartphone.

I'm currently using an Ibasso DX300 which is just under the £1000 mark. Stunning sound quality which surpasses anything I've heard before from a portable device.
Where it really excels is for the likes of driving certain headphones and earbuds. I've tried things like Dragonfly's and various other DAC/Amp solutions for my smartphones, most of them bar the IFI Audio idsd micro don't come close to the quality of sound I get from the Ibasso.
 

vkvedam

Active Member
I've tried things like Dragonfly's and various other DAC/Amp solutions for my smartphones, most of them bar the IFI Audio idsd micro don't come close to the quality of sound I get from the Ibasso.
Well, all I can say is that you haven't tried enough or looked at the right ones. Don't even get me started on very poorly engineered Audio Quest stuff, appalling to say the least.
 

McCol

Well-known Member
Well, all I can say is that you haven't tried enough or looked at the right ones. Don't even get me started on very poorly engineered Audio Quest stuff, appalling to say the least.

I've tried plenty over the years...from Fiio's Q5 through to the Chord Mojo/Poly, in total I've tried over half a dozen DAC/Amp solutions for connecting to smartphones. None come close to the sound quality offered by a good dedicated DAP from the likes of A&K, Fiio, Ibasso or various others.
 

jumpman 1972

Active Member
I've tried plenty over the years...from Fiio's Q5 through to the Chord Mojo/Poly, in total I've tried over half a dozen DAC/Amp solutions for connecting to smartphones. None come close to the sound quality offered by a good dedicated DAP from the likes of A&K, Fiio, Ibasso or various others.
I agree, i recently got a ifi Hip DAC and having read many positive reviews online and watching reviews on Youtube i was expecting to be impressed, i wasn't.
I don't regret buying it but my Astell & Kern Jr which i have had for several years, sounds much better.
 

jim1106

Active Member
My A&K has an absolutely fantastic sound. I personally would never go back to a DAC / phone for music.
 

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