Astell&Kern KANN CUBE Unboxing

Astell&Kern KANN Cube DAP Music Player - Open Box

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Announcing the second model of the KANN line, which focuses on high fidelity wit… More details

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KANN CUBE is the second model of the KANN line, which focuses on high fidelity with powerful output and low noise. The newly designed powerful amplifier and audio circuitry have been strategically implemented to offer a very low noise floor, even with its massive power output, making it an Audio Powerhouse capable of driving the most power-hungry headphones.

Main Features

  • ESS ES9038PRO SABRE 8-Channel Dual DAC
  • Three Audio Output Modes, Up to 12V of Power
  • Designed for Pro Audio Equipment
  • Quad-Core CPU
  • Supports Low/Mid/High performance modes (up to 12V)
  • 5-pin Mini XLR (4Vrms)
  • Internal Storage: 128GB
  • 5.0" 720x1280 HD Touchscreen
  • Aluminum body
  • 8-hour battery life
  • 32bit/384kHz, Native DSD256 Support
  • Open APP Service for music streaming options
ES9038PRO Dual DAC, 32-bit 384kHz bit to bit play, native DSD, Quad-core CPU, 720x1280 Touchscreen, 5-pin mini XLR, 128GB Built-in Memory, USB-C fast charging

Absolute Audio Powerhouse

KANN CUBE offers 3 different power output options of High / Mid / Low, which can drive any headphone with unprecedented power never seen before in any portable device - 12Vrms for Balanced output and 6Vrms for Unbalanced output. To provide a natural and neutral audio experience with minimal distortion, a newly designed OP Amp and Volume IC manages power optimally and efficiently.

A Comparison of outputs of KANN CUBE vs KANN vs AK380+AMP

Output comparison of KANN CUBE, KANN, and AK380+Amp


KANN CUBE uses two 8-channel DACs, the ES9038PRO, one for the left and one for the right channel. As each DAC chip sends out 8 channels of audio signal through the Astell&Kern Analog AMP Block, you experience unlimited sound stage and the full depth of the original performance.

Dual DACs send 8 audio channels descretely to each left and right channels


The ESS SABRE PRO series of Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC) is targeted for premium audiophile and professional recording studio equipment. The SABRE PRO series sets a new benchmark in high-end audio by offering the industry's highest dynamic range (DNR) with impressively low levels of total harmonic distortion plus noise (THD+N) in a 32-bit, 8-channel DAC. All PRO SABRE DACs feature ESS's patented 32-bit HyperStream DAC technology which delivers outstanding sound quality and industry-leading performance.

Sabre Pro DACs: ES9038PRO, ES9028PRO, ES9026PRO


ESS has two major lines of DAC chips – the ‘SABER PRO’ for audiophile systems and ‘SABER HIFI’ for mobile devices, such as the LG V10, V20, V30 smartphones or Onkyo DAPs. The SABER PRO DACs are seldom used for DAPs and are primarily used with Pro-Audio systems or traditional Hi-Fi products. The ES9038PRO is the latest DAC from ESS and the SABER PRO line. KANN CUBE is the first DAP device to adopt the SABER PRO DACs in a dual DAC configuration, dedicating 8-channels for the left and 8-channels for the right side.

ESS Technology: Audiophile grade Sabre Pro ES9038PRO DAC

5-pin Mini XLR Output for Even Less Noise

KANN CUBE offers a 5-pin mini XLR connector for the first time in an Astell&Kern player. Thanks to the even lower noise floor and higher audio output through the XLR connection, you can enjoy pure, clear audio playback. It offers easier connection to your home audio systems and active speakers with balanced connections.

KANN CUBE component diagram
KANN CUBE y-type cable with 5-pin Mini XLR to 3pin XLR (x2)
KANN CUBE Pin Out Cable specs
Kann Cube outputs

Enhanced Audio Processing Power with Quad-core CPU

Some may think that only sound matters in Hi-Fi systems. While it does matter greatly, there are other factors that influence your immersive music experience as well. KANN CUBE is designed to remove any distracting elements, including noise, distortion and unintuitive user interface.

The Quad-core CPU gives you even more processing power for your digital music and a lot faster, natural UI experience. Get lost in your music without distractions.

Quad Core, Dual Core, and Single Core

Ultimate Sound Quality

The latest ESS ES9038PRO dual-DAC design and the upgraded CPU in the KANN CUBE allows for accurate playback of native 32bit/384kHz audio with no compromise on sound quality. The music is played back, bit-for-bit, just as the artist and engineer intended for it to be heard.

KANN CUBE also supports native bit-to-bit DSD playback up to 11.2MHz for the best sound possible.

bit-to-bit playback in KANN CUBE
32-Bit Bit-to-Bit Playback by KANN CUBE
normal 32-bit playback downsampling
32-Bit Playback by Other Players

Using Open APP Service

The Open APP Service enables the user to install specific APK music streaming apps to the device. Copy the desired APK into the Open Service folder of the product and install the relevant App in the Menu-Service of the product.

Using Open APP Service

Tidal, Qobuz, Deexer, Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, SoundCloud, TuneIn Radio, myTuner, Sirius Radio, DS Audio

Supported apps include Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer, Spotify, Amazon music, Pandora, SoundCloud, TuneIn Radio, myTuner, Sirius XM, DS Audio, Bandcamp, Melon, Bugs, Music Mate, AWA, QQ Music, KK BOX, KT genie, Joox and Moov.

Design Concept

The isolated sides of the rectangles on KANN CUBE are not simply for looks. They emphasize the role of the device by placing the player’s functions in the correct place for a more intuitive interface and better usability, while also providing a sense of aesthetic stability. The pursuit of connectivity and consistency of form and function is at the core of Astell&Kern's design philosophy.

Combining Astell&Kern’s player performance with the high-powered AMP, KANN CUBE can produce the most powerful performance in the Astell&Kern player lineup and is designed to deliver a heavy and solid impression.

Astell and Kern KANN CUBE portable music player

AK Player Comparison

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Wolf Gray
3.4" x 5.51" x 1.24"
17.3 oz
5" Touchscreen
HD 720x1280
Quad-Core Dual DAC:
USB Type-C Input
3.5mm Unbalance
2.5mm Balance
Optical 3.5mm
Mini XLR (5-pin)
Battery Life
9hr Playback
5.5hr charge (5V/2A)
4hr chg (9V/1.67A)
128GB Internal
microSD ≤400GB
Windows 7, 8, 10 (32/64bit)
MAC OS X 10.7+
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.2
≤32bit / 384kHz
Native DSD
Frequency Response
Condition: 20Hz-20kHz
±0.027dB Unbalance
±0.025dB Balance
Condition: 10Hz-70kHz
±0.07dB Unbalance
±0.087dB Balance
Output Level
2-6 Vrms Unbalance
4-12 Vrms Balance
0.5 Ohm (3.5mm)
1.6 Ohm (2.5mm)
Titan Silver
2.98" x 5.22" x 0.6"
8.5 oz
5" Touchscreen
HD 720x1280
Octa-Core DAC:
(8 Channel)
USB Type-C Input
3.5mm Unbalance
2.5mm Balance
Battery Life
11hr Playback
12hr charge (PC)
5hr charge (5V/2A)
2.33hr chg (9V/1.67A)
128GB Internal
microSD ≤400GB
Windows 7, 8, 10 (32/64bit)
MAC OS X 10.7+
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.1
≤32bit / 384kHz
Native DSD
Frequency Response
Condition: 20Hz-20kHz
±0.038dB Unbalance
±0.028dB Balance
Output Level
2.0 Vrms Unbalance
4.1 Vrms Balance
1.5 Ohm (3.5mm)
1 Ohm (2.5mm)
Select a DAP to view and compare specifications
Select a DAP to view and compare specifications


Tech Hive Editor's Choice Award
Secrets of HiFi Best of 2019 Award

Press and Reviews

Astell n Kern Magazine Guide
Astell&Kern Magazine

Guides & Reviews
by Moon Audio

What Hifi? Review
What HiFi?

by Becky Roberts
Apr. 2019

Inner Fidelity Review
Inner Fidelity

by Rafe Arnott
Apr. 2019

Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity Review
Secrets of HiFi

by Peter Lo Raso
Nov. 2019


Technical Features

Body Color
Wolf Gray
Body Material
5-inch (720x1280) Touch Display
Output Level (XLR)
4Vrms (Condition No Load)
ESS ES9038PRO SABRE 8-channel x2 (Dual DAC)
Support up to 32bit / 384kHz bit-to-bit playback
802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)
V4.2 (A2DP, AVRCP, aptX™HD)
USB Type-C input (for PC and Mac)
Phones (3.5mm)
Optical Out (3.5mm)
Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported)
XLR Out (Mini 5-pin)
Built-In Memory
128GB [NAND]
External Memory
micro SD (x1)
Supported OS
Windows 7, 8, 10 (32/64bit), Mac OSX 10.7 and up
3.45" W x 5.51" H x 1.24" D (87.78mm x 140mm x 31.5mm)
17.3 oz (493g)
Astell and Kern KANN CUBE dimensions


Feature Enhancements
Firmware upgades supported (OTA)
Supported Audio Formats
WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF, MQA (Support Scheduled)
MQA Playback
Services (Tidal Masters), Local files, External USB, MQA-CD (ripped)
Sample Rate
PCM: 8kHz ~ 384kHz (8/16/32bits per sample
DSD Native: DSD64(1bit 2.8MHz), Stereo
DSD128 (1bit 5.6MHz), Stereo
DSD256 (1bit 11.2MHz), Stereo
Output Level (Phone)
High: Unbalanced 6Vrms / Balanced 12Vrms (Condition No Load)
Mid: Unbalanced 4Vrms / Balanced 8Vrms (Condition No Load)
Low: Unbalanced 2Vrms / Balanced 4Vrms (Condition No Load)
Frequency Response (Phone Out)
±0.027dB (Condition: 20Hz-20kHz) Unbalance / ±0.025dB (Condition: 20Hz-20kHz) Balance
±0.07dB (Condition: 10Hz-70kHz) Unbalance / ±0.087dB (Condition: 10Hz-70kHz) Balance
Frequency Response (XLR Out)
±0.025dB (Condition: 20Hz-20kHz) / ±0.032dB (Condition: 10Hz-70kHz)
Signal to Noise Ratio
Phone Out: 117dB @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 136dB @ 1kHz, Balance
XLR Out: 128dB @ 1kHz
Phone Out: 129dB @ 1 kHz, Unbalance / 136dB @ 1 kHz, Balance
XLR Out: 146dB @1kHz
Phone Out: 0.0004% @ 1kHz, Unbalance / 0.0005% @ 1 kHx, Balance
XLR Out: 0.0004% @ 1kHz
Phone Out: 0.0005% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Unbalance / 0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1) Calance
XLR Out: 0.0006% 800Hz 10kHz(4:1)
Output Impedence
Phones 3.5mm (1/2 ohm) / Balance Out 2.5mm (1.6ohm)
Reference Clock Jitter
250Femto Seconds
Battery Capactiy
7,400mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer Battery
Continuous Playback Time
upt o 9 hours (standard - MUSIC: FLAC, 16-bit/44kHz, Unbalance, Volume 80, EQ OFF, LCD OFF, Low Gain)
Charge Time
About 4 hours (Standard - 9V/1.67A Fast Charging)
About 5.5 hours (standard - 5V/1A General Charging)

Package Includes

  • DAP
  • USB-C Charging Cable
  • Micro SD Card Slot Cover
  • Protective Film
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • one year limited warranty*

*The warranty period for all the products is one year from the date of purchase. However, every other item except the main body will be classified as accessories, and in this case, the warranty period may be different. Just like replaceable batteries, 1-year warranty from the date of purchase is applied to embedded batteries.


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