True audiophiles love Astell&Kern for its portable hi-fi music players, which not only sound great but look cool, too; they’re cut out of a single slab of aluminum. Until now, its Kann ($999) has been heralded as being one of the best — if not the best — portable hi-fi player that money could buy. The company just released details of an even better version: the Kann Cube ($1,499).
The Kann Cube has a new, more-powerful headphone amplifier and almost twice the power output of the original Kann. According to Astell&Kern, it’s powerful enough to drive any headphone without the need for a separate amplifier.
There are a bunch of other upgraded specs. It has a quad-core processor to improve the user interphase and it features two 8-channel ESS Sabre ES9038PRO DACs in a dual-mono configuration, which should give the Kann Cube a wider soundstage and better stereo separation over the older Kann. It has a larger display (five inches), more internal memory (128GB) and a larger battery that can fast-charge through USB-C. A single charge gets you nine hours of playback. Like the original Kann, the new Kann Cube allows users to download audio from Tidal as well as the big music streaming services: Amazon Music, Spotify, Qobuz and Deezer.
The Kann Cube will cost $1,499 — $500 more than the current Kann. Expect it to hit exclusive retailers by the end of May.