Astell&Kern Launches KANN ALPHA Digital Audio Player
Jan 1, 2021 at 2:30 PM Post #811 of 1,243

Newsee

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A little - maybe stupid - question : if I want to connect the Kann Alpha to my desktop DAC (Chord TT2), can I send data from Kann with the USB port ? Means using the Kann as a simple transport via USB...
I red only about USB can be used as external DAC, but I want to do the opposite (of course, not the main use :wink: ).
Thank you for feedback about it.
See Kann Aplha user guide page 37 "How to Use USB Audio". You will need USB OTG cable, either a direct USB-C to USB-B, or a USB-C to USB-A OTG, then a normal USB-A to B cable.

Maybe you will get better quality sound if you use the optical SPDIF out on he alpha to the TT2 optical in.
 
Jan 1, 2021 at 2:35 PM Post #812 of 1,243

Newsee

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Good morning, I am having many problems with the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection, the Wi-Fi is very unstable and I suffer many stops streaming with Qobuz and Tidal, I have restarted the dap and I have changed the Wi-Fi channel of my router for a less congesting one but it continues Likewise, today I tested the Wi-Fi connection with my nad m10 and it has been a disaster, I do not know if it is my defective unit, someone with the same problem.
The 2.4 GHz band where the Alpha's wifi and bluetooth operates can be very congested, depending on own and neighbor's equipment.
Best test is to go somewhere outside, where noone lives or stays in 200m proximity, and test your bluetooth connection there. You can also test there the wifi if you have a mobile phone with wifi teethering capability.
 
Jan 1, 2021 at 5:14 PM Post #813 of 1,243

mikel

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I also struggle with AK Connect.
when screen goes dark .... it disconnects.
Any advice?
 
Jan 2, 2021 at 4:17 AM Post #815 of 1,243

mikel

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It is turned off... tried both settings
 
Jan 3, 2021 at 2:31 AM Post #818 of 1,243

mynamesjeff

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Hey guys do you think the kann alpha will be a good compliment to my Sony zx-500(507)?
It will be my first potential astell & kern player.
also it is easy to install Apple Music onto it?
 
Jan 3, 2021 at 5:11 AM Post #819 of 1,243

newworld666

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After nearly one week using the Kann Alpha intensively (probably more than 8 to 10 hours every day) some few feedbacks (mainly issues) :

-> SD cards are almost impossible to use to download Qobuz playlists (I tried Samsung 256&512 Gb and Sandisk 1Tb in fat32 or extfat), it's getting lost after a few hundreds songs within a few playlists (I wanted to download more or less 200Gb in around 90 playlists)

-> it's a real pain to switch between 3 ways of listening music with Kann Alpha through Qobuz, Synology MediaServer and microSD Library :
* no shortcut or memory of the last used Upnp server connected (you have to redo the same way again and again 5 or 6 steps minimum before reaching the music),
* almost impossible to switch to other way (Qobuz, SD Library) once you are in AK Connect without stopping Ak Connect,
* almost no covers for albums with AK Connect (only when playing a song, that's all)
* really annoying alphabetical selection level between Album and Songs which doesn't appear with Mconnect or USB Player Pro on other android devices (M11/R6pro) connected to the same media server.

=> Real available power seems to be much much lower than expected and high levels volume are not really usable in real life as there are loads of distortions after a certain level.
I don't have this issue with the 6W of the THX887 in balance mode when I connect the Kann Alpha trough Toslink to the amp (Via M500).
Actually, I just made a small A/B comparison between the M11 and the Kann Alpha, and M11 as more usable power than the Kann Alpha. It gives more volume without distortion and deeper and faster ultra low frequencies impacts.. it's a real disappointment.

=> one-way BT is an issue as it can't become a LDAC DAC (24/96) for any smartphone or Notebook without a cable (to watch a film or TV with a 4.4mm balanced IEM or Headphone with Kann Alpha as a DAC as I do it with my WM1A for a while).

I will wait for some next firmware upgrade, and I hope some issues are going to be fixed, but right now, it's not a really well finished software, and it makes the use of the Kann Alpha a bit too tricky to be as comfortable as it should be.
I have quit Fiio M11 or R6pro for Kann Alpha... I am afraid I will still have to search for a powerful DAP (as Dx220max or R8 can't do the job too with the heddphone by Hedd).
 
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Jan 3, 2021 at 9:56 AM Post #821 of 1,243

alsorkin

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Hey guys do you think the kann alpha will be a good compliment to my Sony zx-500(507)?
It will be my first potential astell & kern player.
also it is easy to install Apple Music onto it?












Hey guys do you think the kann alpha will be a good compliment to my Sony zx-500(507)?
It will be my first potential astell & kern player.
also it is easy to install Apple Music onto it?
I am keeping my Sony 507 to listen to lesser quality tracks due to the enhancement capabilities of DSEE HX feature. I use the Alpha with Tidal and Amazon HD Music.
 
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Jan 3, 2021 at 10:01 AM Post #822 of 1,243

vicens bosch

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I am having many problems with the Wi-Fi connection and bluethoot, before they have spent a fiio in m11 and m11pro and perfect in that sense, so that that there are interferences I do not think it is the problem, I am reading here that people have many problems. I am thinking of selling it too, it is incredible that they release a product with software or hardware that does not work well so expensive.
 
Jan 3, 2021 at 10:41 AM Post #823 of 1,243

Andrew Harper

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Ok, quick write up here. I'm not an audiophile just a music lover.

I've only used the player for maybe 45-60 minutes but some quick observations.

I tested the player with the B&W PX7's. Rock solid connection, no issues at all. However the lack of any bluetooth EQ I suppose is a bit of a pain. I listen to rock and blues and that kind of music can benefit from a more "warmer" signature (for me anyway). So there is tonnes of detail on APTX HD but maybe a little tiring on the ears after a while it's needs to be a bit more smoother (if that makes sense). Maybe I'll adjust to it. No shortage of bass though, listened to some R&B and the headphones played the lower bass really nicely, kicked hard no problem at all.

Bizarrely the Pioneer 300R outputted the EQ sound settings via Bluetooth. Maybe that is one of the rare players that did. Maybe A&K will allow this in a future update.

Wifi works fine for me, no issues at all. I don't stream much though, I can use an iPad or iPhone for that, but on Tidal I had no issues. I tend to always use music on a sd card, purely because I'm travelling a lot and Wi-Fi is not always available.

I used a Sandisk Ultra Micro SD card 1TB (the gold coloured range). 16,000 tracks took about 20-25 minutes to completely upload to the player. Some tracks are a bit messed up on punctuation, but maybe I missed those before, For example. It's shows as It?!£">s instead. Need to check. All album artwork is there and hi-res files are picked up fine.

Tested out with the Sennheiser 660S this morning, about two thirds volume needed (so huge improvement over the Pioneer which was maxed out on both the 660S's and the AKG N40's). I tried out some jazz, played with the EQ and set a more V shape. Truly sublime, really nice. Launched the 1917 Soundtrack in Hi-Res. The final piece "Come Home". The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, the real emotion of the music comes through. Very nice as well.

I had no issues with sound distortion or connection issues at all but I'll listen some more this evening.

I wasn't sure at first if I would keep the player or return it, purely because I know when I'm on the plane or train I would opt for Bluetooth (usually because I don't want to accidently pull on a headphone lead). The kind of clinical sound they were producing wasn't nice to me at first, just different.

Nice features....

The player remembers the tracks, on some player apps I tried on the Pioneer they would catalogue the music every time you started the app, so you had to wait 5 minutes before you could listen to anything, so I just stuck with the Pioneer player.
Fast response time to user inputs, software is more or less well designed. Not an iOS experience for sure but good enough.
The extra headroom in the amp is really useful, I was using a Fiio amp with the Pioneer but it had no balanced output and just was a lot to carry around.
Battery seems to be good, listened for an hour last night, only lost 3% so that's ok.
Headphone sockets feel nice and strong. The Pioneer ones never broke on me but I was always very careful as they felt fragile.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi seem solid so far, no issues.

Not so nice features...

For a player this expensive, it should have an OLED display.
Ok for me, but I can see some users being unable to read the screen type as it's very small on certain screens.
It does get very warm, mind you with the cold weather it's a nice hand warmer! lol
I would like an EQ output via Bluetooth, even a basic one.

I'll maybe add more to this when I listen some more but ok so far.
 
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Jan 4, 2021 at 6:45 AM Post #825 of 1,243

mynamesjeff

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Does the Apple Music APK allow download and offline streaming for Astell & Kern players? Hoping to get the Kann Alpha as a means to play my high res files and also have Apple Music handy.
 

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