Astell and Kern are a leader in the top end 24bit portable media player market, but you would never know it in Australia, due to poor marketing, and a lack of exposure.
Distributed by Melbourne based BusiSoft the brand has had little if any exposure despite a big move to 24bit players, driven by the expanded availability of high res audio content.
In the USA retailers are being given a 256GB SD Card worth over $300 in Australia to give away with the product, Australia retailers have not been afforded the same offer.
Busisoft have not returned our calls.
Earlier this month Astell and Kern released a new KANN player which is selling in the USA for $999. It was developed following extensive consumer research according to the US Company.
What consumers wanted was more connections for dedicated line out and additional options for external storage.
In addition to a standard microSD card the new unit has space for a full-size SD slot for up to 576GB or more of storage.
You also get a headphone amplifier built-in to improve the sound going to your ears, and headphones can be connected to either the 3.5mm unbalanced or 2.5mm balanced outputs. A balanced output should provide better sound quality, because it adds a reverse phase signal (that’s left and right channels), which claims to eliminate unwanted noise interference.
Kann has built-in Wi-Fi and DLNA support for over-the-air software updates and wirelessly streaming files from a server, as well as support for hi-res streaming services such as Tidal.
The player can still be used as an external DAC like many of the other players in the Astell and Kern library, but the digital wired connection has now been switched over to the new USB-C format.
Other big bonuses include a larger battery (6,200mAh) and two gain settings on a new, more powerful headphone amplifier (7Vrms, 3x more than previous models). Internal impedance for the amplifier is a very respectable .65 ohms for the 3.5mm single ended jack and 1.3 ohms for the 2.5mm balanced headphone connection.
The KANN is also capable of decoding native DSD rates up to 256 (11.2mHz) and native PCM up to 32/384kHz.
Supported connectivity moves the versatility proposition even further forward with aptX HD, DNLA support, Wi-Fi, digital optical and even high resolution music streaming services like Tidal.
The new player comes in two colours, Astro Silver and Eos Blue and will be available for pre-order from a US online retailer with a free 256GB SD card as added incentive.
Addicted To Audio which is owned by the same executives who own BusiSoft, are taking pre-orders for the new unit, the cost is $1349.00 however it does not include the free 256GB SD card which in Australia retails for $388.
Moon Audio a US retailer will ship the same unit to Australia for the same price as Addicted to Audio and include a $388 256GB SD Card for free.