Astell&Kern KANN CUBE
Jan 18, 2020 at 11:28 PM Post #1,366 of 1,985

sahmen

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Does this help?
He says it avoids the headphone amp

Yes it is informative on many levels, but then on that particular point of the amp's output through XLR (and possible double amping), i find him to be ambiguous, at best. He does not recommend attempting to power one's full size headphones through the 5-pin XLR output, but he considers the port to be okay for IEMs, and he even suggests that the volume control would work for IEMs. Being able to power IEMs does suggest to me that AMP is not by-passed through the XLR port,, at least not completely. That power might not be strong or flexible enough to drive full size amps, but there seems to be enough there to drive IEMs. Apart from that ambiguity, I enjoy everything else about the presentation.

By the way, I have used the KC with my Cavalli Liquid Platinum before, and it sounded okay, but the experiment was rather brief. I remember deciding very quickly then that I preferred listening to each of the two components separately rather than when hooked together like that. But I do not consider that decision to be conclusive, as the testing i did was not extensive.
 
Jan 18, 2020 at 11:35 PM Post #1,367 of 1,985

sahmen

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My KC sounds quite full and wide (in soundstage) with the Hifiman He 1000SE, but relatively lean and "struggling" (or "held back") with the LCD-4, with both cans connected in 2.5mm balanced mode. I mean that the KC can drive the LCD-4 adequately (to decent levels of loudness) and even showcase some of its relatively wide soundstage, but I can also tell that the LCD-4 is not performing at its optimal best at any of the KC's settings. In balanced mode, the HeKSE rocks hard and full at the 110-12 volume marks, whereas the LCD-4 leaves something to be desired, even at the 125 volume mark, and shows little to no improvement at 130. My sense is that the 200 ohm impedance (and 96db sensitivity) of the LCD-4 makes it harder for the KC to optimize its performance, whereas the Hifiman He 1000SE's specs of 35 Ohms, and 97db sensitivity, are just what the Doctor ordered. It is still a bit too early, in less than one month of ownership, for me to draw hard and fast conclusions, but if this analysis is accurate, then "full" or "not full" might depend on the specs of the headphone. As in almost every evaluation of this kind, the more accurate answer would lie in synergy, Imho.

I just realized that I auditioned the KC with these two headphones without playing with the gain settings on the KC (to be honest, I was not even aware that one could change the gain settings at that point). I am now wondering whether playing the LCD-4 on a higher gain setting might have produced different results in performance. I frankly doubt it, but I shall attempt auditioning it in high gain (balanced mode) and confirm whether I detect any changes or not.
 
Jan 19, 2020 at 3:28 PM Post #1,368 of 1,985

tb303

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I just realized that I auditioned the KC with these two headphones without playing with the gain settings on the KC (to be honest, I was not even aware that one could change the gain settings at that point). I am now wondering whether playing the LCD-4 on a higher gain setting might have produced different results in performance. I frankly doubt it, but I shall attempt auditioning it in high gain (balanced mode) and confirm whether I detect any changes or not.

Definitely changes the sound signature - LOW is sometimes lean but more detailed, HIGH - fully bodied with details but these are less pronounced, wide sound-stage. MID is my sweet spot, at least with ZMF Eikon. Enjoy your KC bro, and for the full sound, switch to HIGH and enjoy :)
 
Jan 19, 2020 at 3:49 PM Post #1,369 of 1,985

PACSman

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Definitely changes the sound signature - LOW is sometimes lean but more detailed, HIGH - fully bodied with details but these are less pronounced, wide sound-stage. MID is my sweet spot, at least with ZMF Eikon. Enjoy your KC bro, and for the full sound, switch to HIGH and enjoy :)
The KC software flashed a message which discouraged me from using High gain because it would deplete the battery. Once I got over that, I put it on High gain and kept it on High.

I initially said that I favored the pairing of my Fostex TH909 and JH Audio Layla over the pairing of my Mr. Speakers Ether Flow C (Planar) with the KC. Now that I've found the High gain setting, I find that each headphone benefits and that the Planar headphone benefits the most.
 
Jan 19, 2020 at 4:07 PM Post #1,370 of 1,985

tb303

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The KC software flashed a message which discouraged me from using High gain because it would deplete the battery. Once I got over that, I put it on High gain and kept it on High.

I initially said that I favored the pairing of my Fostex TH909 and JH Audio Layla over the pairing of my Mr. Speakers Ether Flow C (Planar) with the KC. Now that I've found the High gain setting, I find that each headphone benefits and that the Planar headphone benefits the most.

I have checked my KC with a number of IEM and headphones and for instance with AEON FLOW CLOSED and CAMPFIRE AUDIO CASCADE both sounded great on KC. From my experience the warmer the sound of your headphone is the more I was spending my time with LOW gain and standard jack output (to make sound more natural, lean, more detailed). For planar (especially power hungry ones) I liked more HIGH gain on balanced. I can also highly recommend ZMF EIKON which pairs perfectly with KC (at least for certain genres). Without spending fortune KC + ZMF EIKON is for now my end game setup. And I can guarantee that this combo produces a really full sound :)
 
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Jan 19, 2020 at 5:08 PM Post #1,371 of 1,985

sahmen

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Definitely changes the sound signature - LOW is sometimes lean but more detailed, HIGH - fully bodied with details but these are less pronounced, wide sound-stage. MID is my sweet spot, at least with ZMF Eikon. Enjoy your KC bro, and for the full sound, switch to HIGH and enjoy :)
tenor.gif
Houston! We have a winner! The high gain setting is definitely making the LCD-4 sing now in a way that the Low gain setting could not come close to mustering! This is great, indeed, the detailed highs, the sumptuously dark and creamy mids, and even some of the old rumble and texture of the low end, not to mention the ample soundstage : all these are now richly present. Now I am not yet saying that the KC has brought the LCD-4 to its pinnacle of pinnacles in optimal performance. I have more listening and experimentation to do with gain settings, volume levels, not to mention, comparative head to head auditioning with other rigs, before I can arrive at any firm conclusion. What I can say for sure is that the LCD-4 no longer feels restrained or held back in performance at all. Hell, I can even say with confidence that the high gain setting on the KC brings the LCD-4 into the ballpark of my other desktop rigs in performance, and I do not see that as a mean feat at all, given that we're after all still talking about a DAP, no matter how beastly and huge the endowments of the Cube are... To play in the same ball park as dedicated rigs of separates that are each 3-4 times its price is indeed quite impressive...

The He 1000SE is also producing some interesting differences on the mid-gain setting that would deserve more exploration. I already liked it in low gain, but on the mid gain setting, I notice some subtle differences which are also pleasing. It would take more experimentation for me to settle on any "most favorite" settings, but I feel this experimentation with the HeKSE is just going to be gravy, and more gravy...

Now did I already mention that the LCD-4 is singing its heart out on high gain like the Dickens? Okay, let me just stop right there before I get more carried away and go overboard...

@tb303 : Thanks for your encouraging words:)
 
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Jan 19, 2020 at 8:21 PM Post #1,372 of 1,985

thecrow

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in experimenting with my kann cube and seeing what it can do i have a few questions if you can help

1) has anyone detected any difference if connecting the KC to a dac via the optical out (3.5mm) versus via usb c

2) when using, say audirvana on my IMAC, am i able to wirelessly send the audio/files to play on my kann cube and possibly connect the kann cube to my external dac.
I guess using the kann cube as an end point/wireless output device.

AK connect does not seem to do that but this is a little new to me (in case I missed something).
From what I’m reading it seems like the kc works as a server as opposed to an endpoint when it comes to a pc/imac....if my research is correct

however i believe you can send audio from a smart phone to the kann cube, right?

thanks
 
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Jan 20, 2020 at 12:22 AM Post #1,373 of 1,985

SeeSax

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New Kann Cube user here, purchased about two weeks ago and was loving it up until today. Anyone had theirs just completely die? Battery was charged last time I powered it down yesterday. Today, it will not power on at all no matter what. Connected to charger, not connected to charger, left charging for hours, hold power button for 30+ seconds, hold power button with each other button combination for 30+ seconds, nothing - completely dead. Pretty surprising and disappointing for a $1,500 DAP purchased two weeks ago brand new. Guess I'm pretty much dead in the water. Submitted a question to A&K via Facebook as well as their Q&A page, so will see what they say. But thought I would ask Head-Fi friends for any sage advice. Thank you for any thoughts.

-Collin-
 
Jan 20, 2020 at 2:57 AM Post #1,375 of 1,985

AudioBomb

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New Kann Cube user here, purchased about two weeks ago and was loving it up until today. Anyone had theirs just completely die? Battery was charged last time I powered it down yesterday. Today, it will not power on at all no matter what. Connected to charger, not connected to charger, left charging for hours, hold power button for 30+ seconds, hold power button with each other button combination for 30+ seconds, nothing - completely dead. Pretty surprising and disappointing for a $1,500 DAP purchased two weeks ago brand new. Guess I'm pretty much dead in the water. Submitted a question to A&K via Facebook as well as their Q&A page, so will see what they say. But thought I would ask Head-Fi friends for any sage advice. Thank you for any thoughts.

-Collin-
Hi Collin,

Happened to me exactly the same with a brand new Chord Poly. Unfortunately had to go to warranty.
 
Jan 20, 2020 at 4:41 AM Post #1,377 of 1,985

thecrow

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How are you guys dealing with playing by FOLDERS? I play song 1, click next and it doesn't go to song 2, it will play something else from other album, this is unthinkable! Am I missing something after 25 years using DAPs? :flushed:
I have a similar thing on a tidal downloaded/offline playlist (apk loaded). I chose next song and it sometimes goes two forward
 
Jan 20, 2020 at 5:20 AM Post #1,378 of 1,985

subguy812

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New Kann Cube user here, purchased about two weeks ago and was loving it up until today. Anyone had theirs just completely die? Battery was charged last time I powered it down yesterday. Today, it will not power on at all no matter what. Connected to charger, not connected to charger, left charging for hours, hold power button for 30+ seconds, hold power button with each other button combination for 30+ seconds, nothing - completely dead. Pretty surprising and disappointing for a $1,500 DAP purchased two weeks ago brand new. Guess I'm pretty much dead in the water. Submitted a question to A&K via Facebook as well as their Q&A page, so will see what they say. But thought I would ask Head-Fi friends for any sage advice. Thank you for any thoughts.

-Collin-
Reach out where you purchased it from, they have the relationship with the company and can make things happen for you quickly. Possibly exchange it for you.
 
Jan 20, 2020 at 6:39 AM Post #1,379 of 1,985

arftech

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New Kann Cube user here, purchased about two weeks ago and was loving it up until today. Anyone had theirs just completely die? Battery was charged last time I powered it down yesterday. Today, it will not power on at all no matter what. Connected to charger, not connected to charger, left charging for hours, hold power button for 30+ seconds, hold power button with each other button combination for 30+ seconds, nothing - completely dead. Pretty surprising and disappointing for a $1,500 DAP purchased two weeks ago brand new. Guess I'm pretty much dead in the water. Submitted a question to A&K via Facebook as well as their Q&A page, so will see what they say. But thought I would ask Head-Fi friends for any sage advice. Thank you for any thoughts.

-Collin-

Unfortunately machines sometimes fail. Reach out to your dealer for a resolution.
 
Jan 20, 2020 at 10:45 AM Post #1,380 of 1,985

HarlanDraka

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Thinking to buy a new dap and debating between kann cube and n6ii.

Unfortunately I cannot find many reviews online for the kann cube.

How would you describe the sound signature of the cube? Neutral/Bright/analitical or warm/organic/musical?

Anybody tried sensitive IEMs (for example Andromeda) out of the 2.5 balanced? How is the noise floor?

Is it possible to download songs from tidal to the sd card?I checked the astell page about side loading apps but I can’t really get the part about offline songs from streaming services and download path.

Are the side loaded apps like tidal responsive enough?

many thanks for any answers!:)
 

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