Astell&Kern KANN ALPHA hi-res audio player offers high power output in a compact, portable-friendly design

Astell&Kern introduces the KANN ALPHA, a high-resolution music player that offers the high power output of a headphone amplifier in a more portable design with longer battery life and Bluetooth 5.0.

The new ALPHA player is the 3rd generation in the KANN series of digital audio players, which are equipped with a more powerful, built-in headphone amplifier that provides high power output – this in turn allows KANN players to drive any headphone without the need for a separate amplifier. The KANN ALPHA now arrives in a stunning Urbanely Blue edition, along with support for the multi-music platform, Roon.

Thanks to rearranging various components, miniaturising resistors and capacitors, and optimising the circuit board, Astell&Kern were able to provide the KANN’s powerful output in a smaller, more portable-friendly design in the ALPHA.

The redesigned power circuit also resulted in the KANN ALPHA having 14.5 hours of battery life – a significant improvement upon the previous KANN CUBE’s 9 hours – allowing users to carry their high-resolution music library with them everywhere and enjoy music for longer.

The KANN ALPHA features the same powerful 12Vrms output via the balanced connection as the previous generation’s KANN CUBE, but is the first Astell&Kern player to feature a 4.4mm balanced output headphone port that’s completely noise-free. It also achieves an excellent crosstalk measurement (141dB), resulting in the ALPHA’s high quality audio performance.

The KANN ALPHA is also the first Astell&Kern player to implement Bluetooth 5.0. This provides greater range and a more stable wireless connection to headphones and, along with support for 24-bit aptX HD and LDAC codecs, offers the best possible wireless sound quality.

Audio file support is extensive for high-resolution fans, with the KANN ALPHA capable of playing up to 32-bit/384Hz PCM and DSD256 files, and also supports MQA playback via downloaded MQA audio files and through the Tidal music app. Any KANN ALPHA owner with a Roon subscription can wireless stream all their high-resolution music, whether from Tidal, Qobuz services or digital music files stored on a hard-drive, computer or NAS drive, from this immersive music platform to the player.

Users can discern the volume level, file type and bitrate being played thanks to the colour-coded LED light surrounding the player’s volume wheel (the same feature is seen in the A&futura SE200 player).

Featuring a 4.1in touchscreen display, the KANN ALPHA comes in an aluminium body design that suppresses noise while also offering better grip. The 64GB on-board memory can be expanded up to 1TB via a microSD card slot, meaning users can carry thousands of hi-res albums with them at all times.

KANN ALPHA’s interface runs on a customised version of Android 9.0 and supports Android APK, which allows users to install music streaming apps to the player using the Open APP service. Services supported include Amazon Music, Apple Music, Audible, BBC Radio, Bandcamp, Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify, SiriusXM, Tidal, TuneIn and more (supported streaming services varies by country).

The Astell&Kern KANN ALPHA is available now priced £1,099.

To discover more about Astell&Kern and the KANN ALPHA visit

Technical specifications

Body Color: Onyx Black

Body Material: Aluminium

Display: 4.1inch HD 720 x 1280 Touch Display

Supported Audio Formats: WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA

Sample rate: PCM : 8kHz ~ 384kHz (8/16/24/32bits per Sample) / DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo / DSD256(1bit 11.2MHz), Stereo

Output Level:

High: Unbalanced 6Vrms / Balanced 12Vrms (Condition No Load)
Mid: Unbalanced 4Vrms / Balanced 8Vrms (Condition No Load)
Low: Unbalanced 2Vrms / Balanced 4Vrms (Condition No Load)
DAC: ESS ES9068AS x2 (Dual DAC)

CPU: Quad-Core

Decoding: Support up to 32bit / 384kHz Bit-to-Bit Playback

Input: USB Type-C input (for charging PC & MAC)


Unbalanced Out (3.5mm) / Optical Out(3.5mm)
Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported 4.4m, only 5-pole supported)

Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)

Bluetooth: V5.0 (A2DP, AVRCP, Qualcomm® aptX™ HD, LDAC)

Dimensions: 2.68 ”(68.3 mm) [W] x 4.60 ”(117 mm) [H] x 0.98 ”(25 mm) [D]

Weight: about 11.14 oz (about 316 g)

Feature Enhancements: Firmware upgrades supported (OTA)

Frequency Response:

±0.021dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced / ±0.024dB (Condition: 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
±0.021dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced / ±0.155dB (Condition: 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced

Signal to Noise Ratio:

116dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 117dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
Crosstalk-128dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / -136dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
THD+N0.0003% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced / 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balanced
IMD SMPTE: 0.0003% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Unbalanced / 0.0003% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Balanced

Output Impedance

Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (0.8ohm) / Balanced out 2.5mm (2.0ohm), 4.4mm(1.8ohm)

Clock Jitter: 25ps(Typ)

Reference Clock Jitter: 250 Femto Seconds(VCXO)

Capacity: 5,600mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer Battery

Playback Time: About 14.5 hours (Standard : FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Vol.80, LCD Off, Low Gain)

Charge Time: About 3.5 hours (9V/1.67A Fast Charging) / 5hours (5V/2A General Charging)

Built-in Memory: 64GB [NAND]

External Memory: microSD (Max. 1TB) x1

Supported OS: Windows 7,8,10 (32/64bit), MAC OS X 10.7 and up


Click on the images below for hi-res files