Astell&Kern AK KANN CUBE High Resolution Audio Player Released – See Features, Specifications and Price

Astell&Kern recently released their 2nd gen high resolution portable audio player – the AK KANN CUBE. Like its predecessor, the KANN, the KANN CUBE features a “bulky”, body signifying that this portable audio player is not your typical DAP. It boast a powerful built-in amplifier, more powerful compared to a typical portable audio player. The AK KANN CUBE is powered with two ESS Sabre ES9038PRO DAC chips paired with a “greater power output”. It has 3 audio output modes (L, M, H) and it’s capable of delivering up to 12V of power. It also features a 5-pin mini XLR output for lesser noise. Personally, I am not a fan of the design at all. I didn’t like the 1st gen KANN’s design either. But, this is definitely a much better setup instead of having a DAP stack with an external AMP, portability-wise. Check out the rest of its features, specifications and price below.

UPDATE: AK KANN Cube now available via Amazon.com here

AK KANN CUBE Hi-Res DAP Features – “An Absolute Audio Powerhouse”

Right off the bat, the 2nd generation AK KANN CUBE features an ESS ES9038PRO Dual DAC chip. It supports both PCM and DSD (natively) audio formats just like most higher end hi-res portable digital audio players nowadays. The unit itself is powered by a quad core CPU and runs a heavily modified android OS.

The AK KANN CUBE is (I think) a huge improvement from its predecessor (the AK KANN), both its physical aspects and the internal components used. First, the KANN CUBE features a dual DAC setup with two ES9038PRO DAC chips; the 1st gen KANN only has a single AK4490 DAC chip. The KANN CUBE has three output settings, Low / Mid and High Gain settings; for both unbalanced and balanced output. Not only that, the output Vrms has also been increased, making it more powerful and able to drive almost every headphones currently available in the market. Astell&Kern also added an XLR output aside from the 2.5mm output. Too bad there’s no 4.4mm output, but you can also find some adapters out there; whether 2.5mm to 4.4mm or 5-pin mini XLR to 4.4mm adapter.

The AK KANN CUBE is also larger compared to the AK KANN. It’s bulky and not really pocket-able, but still very portable. It measures 3.45″ x 5.51″ x 1.24″ and weighs around 493 grams. It features a 5-inch touch screen display with a resolution of 720×1280. It also has WiFi and Bluetooth, but it seems AK has decided not to use the latest Bluetooth v5.0 and a faster or dual WiFi signal. It does support aptX HD though. It also comes with a built-in 128GB internal storage, plus a microSD card slot for storage expansion.

You can also install third party apps and supports MQA; and you can install services like Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, SoundCloud, Qobuz, SiriusXM, Tune-In, myTuner, Bandcamp and Deezer. You can check out the rest of its specifications below.

AK KANN CUBE Price and Availability

The Astell&Kern AK KANN CUBE Hi-Res portable audio player will become available starting at the end of Mar 2019. Expect it will hit store shelves by June 2019, and it will retail for $1,499 (MSRP).

UPDATE: AK KANN Cube now available via Amazon.com here

AK KANN CUBE Specifications

General Specs
Model NameKANN CUBE
Body ColorWolf Gray
Body MaterialAluminum
Display5" inch Touch display (720 x 1280 resolution)
Built-in Storage128GB (NAND)
External MemorymicroSD (1 slot)
Supported Audio FormatsWAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA
MQA PlaybackServices (Tidal Masters), Local Files, External USB, MQA-CD (ripped)
Samples RatePCM: 8kHz - 384kHz (8/16/24/32 bits per sample)
DSD Native: DSD64. DSD128, DSD256
Output LevelPhone Out
High: Unbalanced 6Vrms / Balanced 12Vrms (condition no load)
Mid: Unbalanced 4Vrms / Balanced 8Vrms (condition no load)
Low: Unbalanced 2Vrms / Balanced 4Vrms (condition no load)

XLR Out: 4Vrms (condition no load)
DACESS ES9038PRO SABRE 8 channel x2 (Dual DAC)
DecodingSupport up to 32bit / 384kHz bit-to-bit playback
InputUSB Type-C
OutputsPhones 3.5mm, Optical Out 3.5mm, Balanced Out 2.5mm (4-pole), XLR Out (mini 5pin)
Wireless ConnectionWiFi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)
Bluetooth V4.2 (A2DP, AVRCP, aptX HD)
Dimensions3.45" x 5.51" x 1.24" / 87.75mm x 140mm x 31.5mm
Weight493 grams
Feature EnhancementsFiremware upgrades supported (OTA)
Supported OSWindows 7,8,10, MAC OS X 10.7 and up
Battery Capacity7,400mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer
Continuous Playback Timeup to 9 hours
Charge Time~5.5 hours via 5V/2A general charging
~4 hours via 9V/1.67A Fast charging
Audio Specs
Frequency ResponsePhone Out
±0.027dB (condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced / ±0.025dB (condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Balance
±0.027dB (condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced / ±0.087dB (condition: 10Hz~70kHz) Balance
XLR Out
±0.025dB (condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced / ±0.032dB (condition: 10Hz~70kHz)
Signal to Noise RatioPhone Out - 117dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 117dB @ 1kHz, Balance

XLR Out - 128dB @ 1kHz
CrosstalkPhone Out - 129dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 136dB @ 1kHz, Balance

XLR Out - 146dB @ 1kHz
THD+NPhone Out - 0.0004% @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balance

XLR Out - 0.0004% @ 1kHz
IMD SMPTEPhone Out - 0.0005% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1), Unbalance / 0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1), Balance

XLR Out - 0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1)
Output ImpedancePhones 3.5mm (1.2 ohm), Balanced out 2.5mm (1.6 ohm)
Reference Clock Jitter250 Femto Seconds

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2 Responses

  1. Mike W says:

    Does the new Kann Cube have something like a ‘Pure Music’ mode (similar to the FiiO X7 MK II), that bypasses Android’s software decoders (which can limit the sampling rate to 48 khz). For the FiiO, only the Fiio Music app is usable in this mode, which isn’t really a problem since it works well. The difference in sound quality is significant and it’s the only way to hear what the ESS9028PRO DAP’s can do. I wouldn’t want the Android OS taking over the sound processing. Thank you !

    • Jeany Jane says:

      The KANN Cube is just a music player. Unlike with Fiio’s DAP where you get the usual Android system with App support and Google Playstore. I haven’t fully confirmed whether indeed it by pass Android’s decoders, but I am more positive that it does by pass them. I haven’t tested one yet and there are only very few reviews in the web.

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