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Astell Kern’s Kann Ultra player is its most powerful yet

Not content with knocking out impressive portable music players, Astell & Kern has announced the launch of another in the Kann Ultra, it’s most powerful effort to date.

The Kann Ultra is the first within the Kann series of players to feature Octa-core processors, a step up from the Quad-core processors available in the previous models. According to A&K, this allows for “significant performance improvements”, with faster system speeds and swifter 4th generation user interface.

The new internal design features audio circuitry that is separated from the processors to reduce the impact of electrical noise on the audio, and comes with a dedicated shield to minimise heat and noise from the processor.

Astell & Kern is making a big noise (pun sort of intended) with its Digital Audio Remaster (DAR) technology, which it claims assists in delivering “fine sound at higher sample rates”. It’s been developed to upsample the sample rate of the sound source played to go beyond the limits of the source format. The Kann Ultra also features A&K’s latest flagship DAC from ESS in the ES9039MPRO (in a dual configuration) for richer, more expansive audio performance than before; with added benefits in reduced power consumption, noise and distortions for enhanced audio quality.

The Triple Output Mode aims to deliver natural, detailed sound when connected to “demanding headphones” and external devices. And with the company’s Teraton Alpha technology, optimal sound can be provided for the headphone out, line out and pre-out ports.

With 128GB in built-in storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth support up to aptX-HD and LDAC and support for PCM, DSD, and MQA files, the Kann Ultra is another Astell & Kern that looks to cover all the bases in what to expect from a portable music player. It does come at a significant price compared to the entry level A&ultima SR35, double the asking price at £1599 / €1899 / $1540 / AUD$2980.

It’s not the only product that Astell & Kern announced with a new portable DAC/amplifier in the AK HB1. Supporting Bluetooth and USB-C connections, and compatible with Native DSD256 and 32 bit/384 kHz playback, the AK HB1 is a portable device aimed at improving the sound quality of smartphones, tablets, PCs and portable gaming consoles; with a built-in mic to also help with any calls or online gaming.

It’s priced at £259 / $250 / €299 / AUD$489.

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