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Astell&Kern

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KANN ALPHA

  • ES9068AS
    Dual DAC
  • Quad-Core
    CPU
  • Native DSD
    256
  • 32bit 384kHz
    bit to bit play
  • Ultra-High Output,
    12Vrms
  • LED Indicator
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Hardware
    Full Decoder

The Power House

KANN ALPHA, the third product in the KANN series of Digital Audio Players.

While the goal of the Astell&Kern KANN line is to provide ultra high power output to drive any headphone or IEM,
KANN ALPHA has not forgotten the essence of being a portable DAP,
so you can enjoy a near-perfect sound experience wherever you are.

The first Astell&Kern DAP to feature a 4.4mm balanced output
Complete separation of balanced lines to provide noise-free output
Crosstalk of 141dB and top-notch audio performance through a complete circuit redesign
Powerful 12Vrms ultra-high output support
14 ½ hours of continuous playback
Equipped with the latest version of Bluetooth, Bluetooth 5.0
Artistic design and ultra-precision metal shaping technology that Astell&Kern has perfected

First DAP to Feature 4.4mm Balanced Output Port,
Completely Noise-Free

The newly introduced feature of the 4.4mm balanced output port is exciting, however, the most important part is how we implemented it.

Unlike other manufacturer’s products, KANN ALPHA has physically separated the 2.5mm and 4.4mm outputs using micro relays.

When 2.5mm and 4.4mm structures are connected only to the mute circuit they do not prevent noise interference
that may occur because each signal is not properly blocked.

KANN ALPHA boasts noise-free output because we built in an independent structure that completely blocks
interference from outputs that are not being used and to be switched off therefore preventing the noise from occurring.

KANN ALPHA L channel, R channel circuit design

Ø4.4_BALANCED
JACK
Ø2.5_BALANCED
JACK
MUTE
BAL_4.4PI
MUTE
BAL_2.5PI
OP AMP BAL_RN
BAL_RP
Analog Switch
(RELAY)
OP AMP BAL_LN
BAL_LP
Analog Switch
(RELAY)
GND L+ L- R+ R- L+ L- R+ R-

Other Manufacturer
2.5/4.4 Balanced Circuit Structure

Ø4.4_BALANCED
JACK
Ø2.5_BALANCED
JACK
OP AMP BAL_RN
BAL_RP
OP AMP BAL_LN
BAL_LP
MUTE GND L+ L- R+ R-

Gold PVD Coating Method

In order to minimize contact noise from the output,
a gold PVD coating method is applied to the headphone connector instead of the typical rings used by other products.
This improves both design and function.

By adopting NDICS' Pentaconn 4.4mm connector,
KANN ALPHA not only satisfies the requests of users, but the implementation boasts excellent quality and durability.

The Highest Level Of Channel
Separation(Crosstalk)

KANN ALPHA boasts excellent performance measurement for crosstalk. Channel crosstalk is how much signal leaking there is between the L and R channels.

The higher the crosstalk number, the better the separation between channels and the deeper and wider the sense of space that can be felt.

As evident with the newly developed audio circuit design, KANN ALPHA features a never before seen Crosstalk measurement of -141dB(High Gain), which is unmatched by any other portable audio products in its class.

KANN ALPHA L channel, R channel circuit design

R Channel L Channel DAC
ES9068AS
OP AMP VOUT_ARN
VOUT_ARP
Audio S/W BAL_BRN
BAL_BRP
UNBAL_BRN
UNBAL_BRP
DAC
ES9068AS
OP AMP VOUT_ALN
VOUT_ALP
Audio S/W UNBAL_BLN
UNBAL_BLP
BAL_BLN
BAL_BLP
VOLUME
CONTROL

Powerful 12Vrms Output
With 14 ½ Hours of Continuous
Playback

KANN ALPHA supports the same powerful 12Vrms output as the existing
KANN CUBE, however the player has been optimized to be more compact.
This is achieved through the miniaturization of numerous parts such as resistors
and capacitors, by rearranging various components and through circuit optimization.
This resulted in the modification of more than 60 parts during the development process.

Ultra-small tantalum capacitors, which were developed exclusively for Astell&Kern
through a collaboration with Matsuo Electric in Japan to meet our high performance
requirements, supply stable power to the player and suppress electrical noise.

This redesigned power circuit used in KANN ALPHA also allows us to achieve
14 ½ hours of continuous playback.

A comparison of outputs of KANN ALPHA vs. KANN CUBE vs. KANN

A comparison of outputs of KANN ALPHA vs. KANN CUBE vs. KANN
Features KANN ALPHA KANN CUBE KANN
Product
Output Level [High]
Unbalanced 6Vrms
Balanced 12Vrms
(Condition No Load)
[High]
Unbalanced 4.1Vrms
Balanced 8.1Vrms
(Condition No Load)
[Mid]
Unbalanced 4Vrms
Balanced 8Vrms
(Condition No Load)
[Low]
Unbalanced 2.1Vrms
Balanced 2.1Vrms
(Condition No Load)
[Low]
Unbalanced 2Vrms
Balanced 4Vrms
(Condition No Load)
Dimensions (WxHxD) 68.3 x 117 x 25(mm) 87.7 x 140 x 31.5(mm) 71.2 x 115.8 x 25.6(mm)
Playback Time 14 ½ Hours 9 Hours 15 Hours

Equipped With Bluetooth 5.0 and Support for
Wireless 24-Bit Qualcomm® aptX™ HD , LDAC Codecs

KANN ALPHA is the first Astell&Kern player to use Bluetooth 5.0.
The latest Bluetooth version provides high sound quality with the convenience of wireless playback to headphones and IEMs.

Bluetooth 5.0 features faster transmission speed and greater range compared to Bluetooth 4.2, therefore providing a more stable wireless connection.

Both LDAC and Qualcomm® aptX™ HD is supported to provide audiophiles with the best wireless sound possible.

The high-quality sound that Astell&Kern is known for can now be heard when using Bluetooth earphones, headphones, and speakers.

Bluetooth Code Bit-rates Compared (kbps)

LDAC
(Quality)
LDAC
(Normal)
LDAC
(Connection)
SBC
(Max)
SBC
(Mid)
990 660 330 328 229 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000

Bluetooth version comparison

Bluetooth version comparison
Features Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 4.2
Speed 2Mbps 1Mbps
Range 40meters 10meters
Power Consumption Low High
Battery Life Longer Shorter

Customize Your Sound

With KANN ALPHA, you can enjoy the fun of creating your own
customized sound by selecting among various DAC filters
provided by the DAC manufacturer.

Impulse Response

Filter name

Description

Linear Phase Fast Roll-Off

Most Common filter with clean suppression and high rejection, best for music with high transients. Provides crisp clean highs

Minimum Phase Slow Roll-Off

Non Symetrical filter designed to minimize pre ringing.
Strong punchy bass with good transient attacks

Hybrid Fast Roll-Off

Combination of Linear phase and Minimum phase.
Fast transient attack, strong punchy bass, crisp highs.

Real-Time Information Confirmed by Light

KANN ALPHA features a LED volume wheel which displays various playback information,
including volume level and bit-rate of the track currently playing.

* LED can be turned on or off according to user setting.

LED Lighting Off

16bit

24bit

32bit

DSD

Unique Manufacturing Technology Taken to a New Level

Astell&Kern products are often compared with art sculptures in that they feature colorful facets and angles
that cannot be found in other products.
This is accomplished through the use of extremely precise metal manufacturing technology
that has been perfected by Astell&Kern over many years.

The first generation KANN used an extrusion method to form the aluminum body
where the KANN ALPHA uses precise metal manufacturing to create a luxurious and detailed design.

A precision mold is then separately manufactured for the high-gloss ceramic top cover.
Astell&Kern then uses more than seven different processes including low-speed machining to form the ceramic top cover and prevent cracking.

Unlike other manufacturers, a ring is not simply inserted into the ceramic top where each audio terminal is located, instead
a gold PVD coating is applied to minimize noise. A special coating is also applied to the ceramic surface to prevent fingerprints and smudging.

Astell&Kern's proprietary aluminum body design suppresses noise to improve sound quality,
while providing the best signal transmission to the audio circuits.
With our laser ground extension technology, you can achieve the best sound possible.

The vibration-free processing machines used by Astell&Kern are the same ones used by expensive Swiss luxury watch manufacturers.
This is reflected in the crafting of the volume wheel which is processed precisely like the crown of a luxury watch for the best operating feel.
Independent machining processing is applied to individual areas to create each small pattern.

Support for MQA 8x Rendering and MQA-CD
Enjoy the original master sound through the dedicated hardware full decoder installed in KANN ALPHA.
KANN ALPHA includes MQA technology, which enables you to play back MQA audio files and streams,
delivering the sound of the original master recording.
MQA-CD playback is also supported on KANN ALPHA when playing MQA-CDs content using the AK CD-Ripper.
You now do not need special, expensive equipment to play back MQA-CDs.

MQA and Sound Wave Device are registered trademarks of MQA Limited.
© MQA Limited 2016

Qualcomm® aptX™ HD is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
Qualcomm is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries.
Qualcomm® aptX™ HD is a trademark of Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd., registered in the United States and other countries.