Astell&Kern Launches KANN ALPHA Digital Audio Player
Apr 11, 2021 at 10:05 AM Post #1,231 of 1,259

DAPpower

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Out of curiosity, what would people like to see in a Kann Alpha v2?

* Dual-band Wifi (or simply consistently reliable Wifi)
* Rounded edges
* Double-tap to wake
* Tidal pre-loaded to allow for offline use
* Larger buttons

If you could, what would you tell the developers?
At this point I doubt they will address the microscopic side buttons on newer models, they seem to not care too much about ergonomics.

At least their players sound good. My SE200 I had sounded excellent, engaging and lightweight player. Alpha has a full bodied sounding neutral tuning.
 
Apr 12, 2021 at 4:43 AM Post #1,233 of 1,259

adityadubey

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Lovely to see a A&K product get a 4.4mm jack! Hope all newer devices get it too.

Is the 4.4mm ground pin connected? Can it be used as a line-out without needing a splitter to the 3.5mm jack for ground (like the 2.5mm does)?

I have used the 4.4mm as a line out without needing a splitter to the 3.5mm jack, so I would say that yes it does appear that the ground pin is connected. Nothing in the manual also to suggest that you would need a splitter to the 3.5mm jack.
 
Apr 12, 2021 at 4:38 PM Post #1,234 of 1,259

maggie17fan

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@JasonNYC

Could you please possible pass this suggestion onto the development team?

A double tap screen to wake from sleep feature would work wonders for the ergonomics on the Kann Alpha, would save from having to keep from having to awkwardly push the tiny power button everytime you want to wake the device from sleep mode.


This is killing the experience with the Kann Alpha for me. This is my 5th Astell&Kern player and I really wish the development team or more specifically the "design team" would have put more thought into conveniently bigger and more spacier physical buttons for their players. Seems all they are interested in is making the players look more expensive with their sharp designs and all.
Maybe in the Kann Alpha's case they may have well have been reusing SP1000M casing shells with the same power button placement to save money but still.
I have the original Kann and there's nothing on the sides, it's all bottom front controls. Do agree about the hassle having to find the tiny botton to wake it back up. Why can't there be an option to have the screen continuously on?
 
Apr 12, 2021 at 10:59 PM Post #1,235 of 1,259

DAPpower

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I have the original Kann and there's nothing on the sides, it's all bottom front controls. Do agree about the hassle having to find the tiny botton to wake it back up. Why can't there be an option to have the screen continuously on?
If you want a DAP with tons of functions with a nice and comfortable design, try the Fiio DAPs. They seem full featured as far as DAPs should go. My Fiio M15 was exceptional.
 
Apr 13, 2021 at 2:06 AM Post #1,236 of 1,259

Bodspella

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If you want a DAP with tons of functions with a nice and comfortable design, try the Fiio DAPs. They seem full featured as far as DAPs should go. My Fiio M15 was exceptional.
Had the M11 and it was very smooth UI and ergonomics were good but it had a lot of hiss with sensitive iem, Kann Alpha has almost none with the same kit, for me the Alpha was also a big step up in almost every area sound wise, plus a ton of power, yes there is a big price jump so maybe an unfair comparison. I guess nothings perfect just depends what you're prepared to compromise on.
 
Apr 13, 2021 at 2:47 AM Post #1,237 of 1,259

newworld666

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If you want a DAP with tons of functions with a nice and comfortable design, try the Fiio DAPs. They seem full featured as far as DAPs should go. My Fiio M15 was exceptional.

I have the M11 and far to be perfect too.... but It would be nice that at least we just get fully operational included functions in the Kann Alpha. It's not really acceptable to get some functions almost unusable in many situations (for many users there are mainly Wifi sources issues, and also some bluetooth issue for remote control users too).
 
Apr 13, 2021 at 2:56 AM Post #1,238 of 1,259

DAPpower

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Maybe I was referring directly to the Fiio M15, it's a.really good DAP, has 2.5mm, 4.4mm and single ended sockets from the get go, has dual AKM4499 chips that sound pretty great, battery is excellent, tuning has musical warm mids and decent treble and bass/lows, has good driving power for something like HD650s, has many nicely spaced functional and mapable side buttons, a big power button conveniently placed on the side, a very accurate and firm analog volume wheel on top and a very smooth and responsive UI.

While my Alpha can drive my Verites better, I feel like there is a lot left on the table switching to the Alpha.

For the money you spend on the brand name, I wish Astell & Kern would actually take charge and make their players more convenient to use instead of following their own niche of fancy high quality material looking DAPs that sound good but are lacking in design and features.
 
Apr 13, 2021 at 3:10 AM Post #1,239 of 1,259

Bodspella

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I have the M11 and far to be perfect too.... but It would be nice that at least we just get fully operational included functions in the Kann Alpha. It's not really acceptable to get some functions almost unusable in many situations (for many users there are mainly Wifi sources issues, and also some bluetooth issue for remote control users too).
It's a shame their dragging their heels on the things that could be rectified with firmware, they don't effect my use but they should at least be viable for users that do. Design wise all those sharp edges and silly buttons are kind of what you expect from the brand and while they could be improved it's also what makes them stand out in a very big crowd.
 
Apr 13, 2021 at 3:21 AM Post #1,240 of 1,259

newworld666

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Basically, I liked some ideas of A&K :
-> a very simple powerful DAP (12V) dedicated to Hires Music with just the main features (based on SD and Wifi to access Qobuz, DLNA servers etc) (Fiio is falling short with power for some headphones)
-> one of the longest battery life available in such small box with wifi access too.
-> possible to access to an external micro USB-C card reader within the library ( to get access to 2 Tb of Hires Files) FIIO Can't do that, only the M11 as two card readers not the pro or M15.
-> the Toskink fiber makes the Kann Alpha also easily integrable in a desktop environment (office or home) with external DAC and Power Amp.
-> it's possible to put the Kann Alpha on a USB-C Dock and still access to the toslink or line out output (Fiio stupidly put the USB-C output with all input/output on the same side of the dap)
-> with Fiio there is no possibility to charge and use an external dac at the same time even via their Dock DK1 (which sounds crazy).

So I am not sure if there is a clear winner between Fiio and A&K regarding functionalities .. I would think, both are more losers than winners as they both have some really annoying issues, which makes both unusable in many situations (at least some of what I really need)
 
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Apr 14, 2021 at 12:46 PM Post #1,241 of 1,259

Newsee

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Maybe I was referring directly to the Fiio M15, it's a.really good DAP, has 2.5mm, 4.4mm and single ended sockets from the get go, has dual AKM4499 chips that sound pretty great, battery is excellent, tuning has musical warm mids and decent treble and bass/lows, has good driving power for something like HD650s, ......

While my Alpha can drive my Verites better...
Thank you, that is a very useful and enlightening information.
I was hesitating on the M15 for quite a long time.
 
Apr 14, 2021 at 7:22 PM Post #1,242 of 1,259

wolfstar76

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Just received mine from crutchfield along with the miter case from amazon. Once open and connected to wifi, there is a firmware udpate. The Kann Alpha is actually much lighter and smaller than I expected since I was a little worried about the portability of this DAP. Even heavier than ideally, I think I can bring it with me for running, it should fit in my flipbelt. Will spend sometime to test the SQ and others. :)
 
Apr 15, 2021 at 4:18 AM Post #1,243 of 1,259

MikeW9788

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I exchanged my player because of song skipping in the built in tidal app. The new player seemed fine for a while but now it is happening again. Can't stream albums from tidal because tracks don't finish, just skips to the next track. Going to install the apk tidal and hope that works. I really love the sound quality of this player but these problems are unforgivable for something this expensive.
 
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Apr 19, 2021 at 9:14 PM Post #1,244 of 1,259

wolfstar76

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I just returned my Kann Alpha today. Unfortunately, it is just not what I needs. First, the battery life is much shorter than the 14 hours AK claims. I fully charged the Kann Alpha, turn off wifi and bluetooth, and only play the flac files I uploaded to its internal drive with no microsd card. I went out running for 1 hour and 40 minutes, the battery went down to 80% when I got back home. I would assume that it won't last 8 hours, let alone 14 hours. After my second run of 1.5 hours, battery went down to 62%. Next, I have A/B test with 4xr, Sundara, and Monarch between Kann Alpha and Sony nw-a55, the SQ improvement over my a55 is very marginal. Without A/B test, I cannot even tell the difference. Finally, it is related to my personal use. This thing is not heavy, but very very dense. With very tight belt or armband, it was still dancing around while I was running. I know, this is NOT designed for sports such as running, but it is almost not usable. I already had whole set of desktop DAC/AMP in my home, I am not going to use any DAP in my home for sure. Either I will just ended up with my a55, or I could try some light-weight DAP for my running.
 
Apr 19, 2021 at 9:19 PM Post #1,245 of 1,259

DAPpower

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The Kann Alpha is basically if you are willing to sacrifice some things for the power to drive full sized headphones all in one package.

I just really wish they hadn't kept the same pointless tiny side buttons and hadn't kept such a small power button on the top of the device, this kills it a little for me.
 

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