Astell&Kern KANN Ultra front and back over white background
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra front over white background
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra rear over white background
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra closeup rear highlighting volume wheel
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra profile over white background
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra front 3 quarter over white background
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra front rotated over white background
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra highlighting active LCD screen with Meze Empyrean headphone
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra lying on face over white background
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra top highlighting connections over white background
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra rear over purple vinyl record with connected earphones
Astell&Kern KANN Ultra retail box 3 quarter over white background

Astell&Kern KANN Ultra | Powerhouse Digital Audio Player

Sale price$1,599.00
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Condition

Astell&Kern product logo red

KANN Ultra is the Most Powerful player Yet from Astell&Kern's Legendary KANN Series

  • Up to 16Vrms of portable power
  • Latest generation dual ESS ES9039MPRO DACs for more vivid and voluminous sounds
  • Updated UI and a new, more powerful Octa-core CPU
  • Aluminum Astro Gray body, 5.5” 1080 x 1920 touch screen, SE 3.5mm and Balanced 4.4mm outputs
  • Triple Output technology separates amp/sound design for the Headphone Out and Line/Pre-Out ports
  • Protect your KANN Ultra with artisan crafted, genuine A&K Italian leather cases

Astell&Kern KANN Ultra on leather couch with HiFiMAN Susvara headphones and vinyl jacket

Bloom's Take

KANN Ultra is the audio player we've been waiting for. A&K's KANN Max has been a Bloom favorite and go-to DAP around the store, not to mention an absolute workhorse at CanJam trade shows and customer demos. KANN Ultra takes a step forward with everything we loved about KANN Max (specifically its balanced reference tuning and raw power) while taking a huge leap forward in the performance and UI.

The Ultra comes in like a wrecking ball with up to 16Vrms of power, the highest yet. It features the latest ES9039MPRO DACs in dual configuration, a step up from Max's ES9038Q2M. The Max has a 4.1" touch screen with quad-core CPU, but the Ultra lands at a larger 5.5” with a more robust 1080x1920 resolution and double the processing speed with its octa-core CPU.

It'll cost you in pocket size and weight at a bout an inch bigger and 3 ounces heavier than the Max, but the KANN Ultra provides an excellent all-in-one portable solution for over-ear headphones. Ultimately, it offers a clear evolution in the KANN series, most notably by catching the user experience of the fan-favorite KANN line up with the rest of A&K’s lineup.

Check out our full review here.

Need some guidance getting your music files onto your Astell&Kern DAP? Check out our updated Audiophile 101 guide!


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 of the line, continues the success of the KANN series by providing the highest output of any A&K player, along with the inclusion of Triple Output Sound and optimized processor / user interface to make it even easier to enjoy clear sound performance.

ES9039MPRO dual DAC chips, combined with 4 Gain modes that provide up to 16Vrms of desktop Hi-Fi level output and sound, allow KANN Ultra to perfectly power many of today's headphones with the highest resolution. And a separate Pre/Line Out allows users to enjoy their sound with a variety of different devices.

A&K KANN Ultra features diagram

Triple Output, Triple Sound

KANN Ultra features a Triple Output Mode that allows you to enjoy Astell&Kern's perfectly prepared sound when connected to demanding headphones, highly detailed IEMs, and external devices.

A&K Triple Output Mode schematic

Instead of simply separating the output ports, Astell&Kern's Teraton Alpha technology allows for separate amplifier/sound design for the Headphone Out and Line/Pre-Out ports to provide the optimal sound for each port. Complete your powerful Head-Fi system even on portable devices with the KANN Ultra with Triple Output.

A&K KANN series UI screenshot line out and pre out controls

TERATON ALPHA, The Essence of A&K Audio

Not only is the latest DAC and technology available used, but also implemented is the innovative audio technology of AK's Ultimate Sound Solution TERATON ALPHA, further refined for the KANN Ultra.

With its ultra-high output handling the most delicate headphones, Triple Output model, complex amplifier design, and minimized noise, TERATON ALPHA makes it all possible with its know-how in noise cancellation at ultra-high power.

Closeup of Teraton circuit board

Additional Features

5.5" Full Large Screen HD Display

Crimson UI + Next-Gen Octa-Core CPU: KANN Ultra features A&K's Crimson-themed UI for the first time in the KANN series. With Crimson, KANN Ultra focuses on the process and experience of listening to music.

AK File Drop: Make file transfers easier and more convenient. Using AK File Drop, you can freely transfer files wirelessly through a PC, smartphone, or FTP program located on the same network.

Astell&Kern KANN Ultra interface screenshots highlighting Crimson UI and AK File Drop feature

Digital Audio Remaster (DAR): KANN Ultra is equipped with Digital Audio Remaster technology, developed to upsample the rate of the sound source being played to go beyond the limits of the source for a more refined play and delicate, analog-like original sound.

Crossfeed: A headphone speaker effect that mixes parts of the original signal from one channel and sends to the opposite with a time difference to center the sound image. It's particularly effective with older mixes and masters. Tweak the sound even further with granular settings such as Shelf Cutoff, Shelf Gain, and Mixer Level for your listening preference.

Replay Gain: Automatically adjusts the loudness of each song to prevent large fluctuations of volume between different tracks.

Native DSD512, 32bit/768kHz: KANN ULTRA supports playback of Native DSD512 and up to 32bit/768kHz PCM audio.

Wireless Hi-Fi Sound via BT Sink: Music from an external device, such as a smartphone can now be played back in high-quality on the KANN ULTRA using BT Sink.

Astell&Kern KANN Ultra dramatic with active LCD and Meze headphones

Specifications

  • Body Color: Astro Gray
  • Body Material: Aluminum
  • Display: 5.5”, 1080 x 1920 touch
  • Supported Formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DIFF, DSF, MQA
  • Sample Rate
    • PCM: 8kHz ~ 768kHz (8/16/24/32-bits per Sample)
    • DSD Native: DSD64 (1-bit, 2.8MHz) | DSD128 (1-bit, 5.6MHz) | DSD256 (1-bit, 11.2MHz) | DSD512 (1-bit, 22.4MHz)
  • Headphone Output (no load)
    • Low: UnBAL 2Vrms | BAL 4Vrms (also Pre/Line Out)
    • Mid: UnBAL 4Vrms | BAL 8Vrms
    • High: UnBAL 6Vrms | BAL 12Vrms
    • Super: UnBAL 8Vrms | BAL 16Vrms
  • CPU: Octa-Core
  • DAC: ESS ES9039MPRO x2
  • Decoding: Support up to 32-Bit/768kHz Bit-to-Bit Playback
  • Input: USB-C (charging & data)
  • Outputs
    • Headphone Out: 3.5mm,  Balanced 4.4mm (5-pole only)
    • Line Out: 3.5mm (+ Optical Out), Balanced 4.4mm (5-pole only)

Astell&Kern KANN Ultra dramatic highlighting headphone outputs with 4.4mm cable

  • Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)
  • Bluetooth: v5.3 (A2DP, AVRCP, Qualcomm® aptX™-HD, LDAC)
  • Dimensions: 5.5" x 3.2" x 0.9"
  • Weight: 13.8 oz
  • Firmware upgrade supported (OTA)
  • Operating Temp: 0℃ ~ + 40℃ (32℉~ 104℉)
  • Clock Jitter: 25ps (Typ) | 200 Femto seconds reference
  • Built-In Memory: 128GB NAND
  • External Memory: microSD x1 (Max. 1TB)
  • Supported OS: Windows 8,10,11 (32/64bit) | MAC OS X 10.7+
  • Astell&Kern 1 Year Warranty
  • KANN Ultra User Manual

Battery

  • Capacity: 8400mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer
  • Charge Time: about 4.5 hours (9V, 1.67A Fast) | 6.5 hours (5V, 2A Std)
  • Playback: About 11.5 hours (Reference: FLAC, 16-bit, 44.1kHz, Vol. 50, LCD Off, Low Gain)

Audio Specifications (Low Gain)

  • Frequency Response
    • Headphone @ 20Hz~20kHz: ±0.006dB UnBAL │ ±0.004dB BAL
    • Headphone @ 20Hz~70kHz: ±0.016dB UnBAL │ ±0.020dB BAL
    • Pre Out @ 20Hz~20kHz: ±0.022dB UnBAL │ ±0.023dB BAL
    • Pre Out @ 20Hz~70kHz: ±0.023dB
    • Line Out @ 20Hz~20kHz: ±0.002dB
    • Line Out @ 20Hz~70kHz: ±0.007dB UnBAL │ ±0.006dB BAL
  • SNR, HP: 115dB @ 1kHz, UNBAL | 119dB @ 1kHz, BAL
  • Crosstalk, HP: -134dB @ 1kHz, UNBAL │ -140dB @ 1kHz, BAL
  • THD+N, HP: 0.0004% @ 1kHz
  • IMD SMPTE: 0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1)
  • Output Impedance
    • Headphone: 3.5mm, 1Ω │ 4.4mm BAL 1.3Ω
    • Pre Out: 3.5mm, 3.5Ω │ 4.4mm BAL 5.7Ω
    • Line Out: 3.5mm, 6.5Ω

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Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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33%
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P
Pierre Carre

Astell&Kern KANN Ultra | Powerhouse Digital Audio Player

1
123

Nice but need better support

C
Craig Keehn
Excellent product & great company selling it

I’m really enjoying my new KANN Ultra. Had some issues with UPS shipping, but Bloom Audio stepped up and fixed the problem. A+++ customer service


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