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Astell&Kern KANN ULTRA

Now Available at HeadAmp!

The KANN series is adored by audiophiles all over the world for its performance that focuses on ultra-high output and clear sound.

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Fueling Your Sound

KANN ULTRA, the 5th product in the KANN series, continues the success of the KANN series by providing the highest output of any Astell&Kern player, the inclusion of Triple Output Sound, and an optimized processor and UI/UX to make it even easier to enjoy clear sound performance. With four Gain Modes that provides up to 16Vrms of desktop Hi-Fi level output and sound, and ES9039MPRO Dual DAC chips, KANN ULTRA perfectly powers many of today's headphones with high resolution. A separate Pre/Line Out allow users to enjoy the sound with a variety of different devices.

Triple Output, Triple Sound

KANN ULTRA features a Triple Output Mode that allows you to enjoy Astell&Kern's perfectly prepared sound when connected to demanding headphones, highly detailed IEMs, and external devices. Instead of simply separating the output ports, Astell&Kern's Teraton Alpha technology allows for separate amplifier/sound design for the Headphone Out and Line/Pre-Out ports to provide the optimal sound for each port. Complete your powerful Head-Fi system even on portable devices with the KANN ULTRA with Triple Output.


The port features 4 preset gain settings and ultra-high output of up to 16Vrms. The headphone port is designed to perfectly run demanding headphones with high impedance using only the player with no external AMP.


Select Pre-Out mode on the Pre/Line Out port to output sound to an external amplifier or audio device. [ Pre-out ] This mode delivers sound through a specially designed Pre out amplifier, instead of the high-powered Headphone out amp. Pre-Out functions like a PRE AMP and you can control the volume with the volume wheel. * No Gain or Voltage settings, maximum output 2Vrms/4Vrms


Select Line Out mode on the Pre/Line Out port to output sound that is optimized when connected to external devices. [ Line out ] This mode outputs the sound from the DAC directly without going through an amplifier, resulting in the lowest noise level and making it ideal for connecting to external audio devices. Line Out has a fixed voltage output (4 levels) and no volume control. * Do not activate the Line Out mode while earphones or headphones are connected to the PRE·LINE OUT port. Doing so may cause permanent hearing loss.

4 Gain Levels And Outputs Up to 16Vrms for The Perfect Head-Fi

To run the most sophisticated IEMs and headphones, a DAP needs to be able to fully deliver an output that matches the characteristics of the receiver. KANN ULTRA features 4 preset gain settings up to 16Vrms, the most powerful output of any Astell&Kern player, to optimally run the many IEMs and headphones available today. The current-handling capability of the output port has been increased to reliably run devices of different impedances at the gain Level setting, and the AMPs have been separated into Balanced and Unbalanced to optimize currents and reduce noise for the best possible sound. On top of providing the most powerful output, KANN ULTRA features a larger 5.5-inch screen and improved grip compared to KANN CUBE, which was popular for its high output versatility. Weight of the KANN ULTRA has been significantly reduced to 390 grams.

TERATON ALPHA, The Essence of A&K Audio Technologies

From an ultra-high output that can run even the most delicate headphones, to the Triple Output design, and the complex amplifier design with minimal noise in a compact portable audio player, this would all not have been possible without AK's Ultimate Sound Solution, TERATON ALPHA. Astell&Kern has taken the TERATON ALPHA to the next level with its know-how in noise reduction at ultra-high power, acquired from its predecessors such as the KANN MAX and the CA1000 series. TERATON ALPHA, engineered through continuous research, is Astell&Kern's unique technology that has been designed to produce audio playback that is as close to the original sound through effective power noise removal, efficient power management and unwavering amplification, and a fully converted audio output interface.

Upgraded Sound, the Newest ESS Flagship DAC

The KANN ULTRA is designed with dual ES9039MPRO DACs, the newest flagship DAC from ESS, to deliver richer and more expansive sounds that exceed your expectations. The ES9039MPRO is an updated ES9039PRO model that has a built-in stereo hardware MQA renderer. It has even more advanced modulation than the existing flagship DAC to reduce power consumption, noise and distortions inside the DAC for enhanced audio performance. Astell&Kern has redesigned the AMP BLOCK to ensure that the clear, high-resolution sound of the ES9039MPRO is clearly expressed through every port of the Triple Output, and each output's characteristics show its own advanced performance.

Incredible User Experience with Next-Generation Octa-Core Processors

KANN ULTRA is the first to feature the next-gen Octa-Core processors with significant performance improvements, allowing you to enjoy KANN ULTRA's incredible sound performance with faster system speeds and a 4th generation UI/UX that flows faster and smoother. The audio circuit area is physically separated from the processor area, which includes the CPU, memory, and wireless communication components, and is equipped with a dedicated shield can to minimize the heat and noise generated by the processor.

Crimson User Interface, A Music-Only Player

KANN ULTRA features a Crimson-themed UI/UX for the first time in the KANN series, making it a "Player for Music" that leaves an impression in the process and experience of listening to music. The Crimson UX/UI is designed so that users can quickly browse music categories and re-discover songs within their music library. We also added an easy album art search function so that users can re-discover the joy of viewing and interacting with music album art whilst listening to their music. The crimson theme focuses on edge, simplicity, and dark mode keywords. The color theme of black with red highlights lowers visual fatigue and offers intuitive user experiences, and includes many other improvements to the device’s user-friendliness of streaming app services, artist view, album sorting, and album art search function. Immerse yourself in music with Crimson UX/UI.


Digital Audio Remaster Technology for Even More Vivid Original Sound

The KANN ULTRA is equipped with Digital Audio Remaster(DAR) technology, which was developed to deliver fine sound at higher sample rates. DAR technology is developed to upsample the sample rate of the sound source being played to go beyond the limits of the source format. The high sample rate allows more refined playback and offers delicate and analog-like original sound, helping you to enjoy the richness of the original sound, subtle differences in the nuance of the music and full-bodied sounds at a higher level.

Speaker effect when listening through headphones

In a headphone environment in which the left and right channels are clearly separated, ear fatigue may increase during prolonged listening. The moment you turn on Crossfeed, the experience of crisp, but comfortable sound begins. Crossfeed mixes parts of the original signal from one channel and sends that signal to the opposite channel with a time difference to center the sound image. Through the use of detailed settings such as Shelf Cutoff, Shelf Gain, and Mixer Level, you can set the level of crossfeed according to your listening preferences.

Real-Time Information Confirmed by Light

The LED lights on the volume wheel visually represent the power of the KANN ULTRA and show the volume level or the Bit Depth of the currently playing song.

Design Elements

The design concept of KANN ULTRA is "Forceful Impact". The design is an over-scaled volume wheel knob that has been slammed and embedded into the body of the KANN to visually represent its more powerful performance than its predecessor. With the KANN ULTRA, we continued the design identity of the KANN series, which emphasizes the hexagonal columnar body while still keeping it visible. We minimized the visible parting lines and designed the wheel protectors so that the outer edge of the body where the volume wheel sits naturally acts as a protector and improves usability. These elements emphasize the bold mass of the KANN ULTRA, representing primal power through a solid chunk of metal. We applied decorative parts that connect with the serrated pattern on the volume wheel knob to make the wheel visually larger and maintain a balance with the massive body, while expressing the powerful performance of the KANN ULTRA. Additionally, the hairline spin decoration applied to the rear of the wheel acts as a delicate detail element along with the lettering engraving, showing the volume wheel knob strongly embedded into the BODY. Due to the increased size, we have redesigned the orientation of the volume wheel to accommodate usage in different environments, such as on the desk, or held in your hand.


-Quick Start Guide
-Astell&Kern 1-year warranty card

General Specifications


Body Color: Astro Gray

Body Material: Aluminum

Display: 5.5inch HD 1080 x 1920 touch screen

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

Sample Rate: PCM : 8kHz ~ 768kHz (8/16/24/32bits per Sample); DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo / DSD128(1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo 
DSD256(1bit 11.2MHz), Stereo / DSD512(1bit 22.4MHz), Stereo

Output Level - HEADPHONE OUT
: [Low Gain] Unbalanced 2Vrms │ Balanced 4Vrms (Condition No Load) / 
[Mid Gain]Unbalanced 4Vrms │ Balanced 8Vrms (Condition No Load) /
[High Gain]Unbalanced 6Vrms │ Balanced 12Vrms (Condition No Load) /
[Super Gain]Unbalanced 8Vrms │ Balanced 16Vrms (Condition No Load)

Unbalanced 2Vrms │ Balanced 4Vrms (Condition No Load)

CPU: Octa-core

DAC: ES9039MPRO x2

Decoding Support: up to 32bit/768kHz Bit-to-Bit Playback

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


3.5mm (Unbalanced Out, Optical Out), 4.4mm (Balanced Out, only 5-pole supported)- PRE · LINE OUT: 
3.5mm(Unbalanced Out), 4.4mm (Balanced Out, only 5-pole supported)

Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz)

Bluetooth: V5.3 (A2DP, AVRCP, Qualcomm® aptX™-HD, LDAC, LHDC)

Dimensions: 3.24” (82.4mm)[W] x 5.55” (141.1mm)[H] x 0.96” (24.4mm)[D]

Weight: About 13.75oz (390g)

Feature Enhancements: Firmware upgrade supported (OTA)

Operating Temperature: 0℃ ~ + 40℃ (32℉~ 104℉)

Clock Jitter: 25pS (Typ)

Reference Clock Jitter: 200 Femto Seconds

Built-in Memory: 128GB [NAND]

External Memory: microSD x1 (Max. 1TB)

Battery Capacity: 8,400mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer

Charge Time: about 3.5hours (PD 3.0 Charger)

Playback Time: about 11hours (Standard: FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Vol.50, LCD Off, Low Gain) Supported OS Windows 8,10,11 (32/64bit) MAC OS X 10.7

Audio Specifications

Frequency Response: HEADPHONE OUT
±0.006dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.004dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
±0.016dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.020dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced
±0.022dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.023dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
±0.023dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.023dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced
±0.002dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.002dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
±0.007dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.006dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced

115dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 119dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
110dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 126dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
110dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 125dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

134dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 140dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
128dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 128dB @ 1kHz, Balanced
129dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 121dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

0.0004% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 0.0004% @ 1kHz, Balanced
0.0012% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balanced
0.0013% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 0.0005% @ 1kHz, Balanced

0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Unbalanced │0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Balanced
0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Unbalanced │0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Balanced
0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Unbalanced │0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Balanced

Output Impedance: HEADPHONE OUT
Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (1ohm) │ Balanced Out 4.4mm (1.3ohm)
Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (3.5ohm) │ Balanced Out 4.4mm (5.7ohm)
Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (6.5ohm) │ Balanced Out 4.4mm (10.7ohm)

About Astell&Kern

Astell&Kern is the group responsible for some of the world's best portable music players. The latest models include a full slate of features such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi playback with Roon, Spotify, Tidal, and Qobuz.