Astel and Kern KANN MAX

Sale price$1,299.00

Color: Anthracite Gray

Engineered to Powerful Perfection

The KANN series is a portable player lineup loved by audiophiles all over the world for its performance focused on high output and clear sound. KANN MAX, the fourth product in the KANN series, builds on the advantages of the KANN series with higher output and portability. It provides 4 levels of gain and up to 15Vrms output so that a wide array of headphones can be driven in an optimal state.

By integrating the proven design of the KANN series into a lighter weight and smaller sized player, we have realized both ultra-high output and low noise. KANN MAX features ESS ES9038Q2M Quad-DAC together with Astell&Kern's unique audio technology to provide the best performance you can feel from a portable DAP.

  • 4-step gain level with maximum 15Vrms output
  • Perfect circuit design with ultra-high output and low noise in an even smaller sized player
  • Equipped with ESS ES9038Q2M Quad-DAC that reproduces clear, exceptional output
  • TERATON ALPHA, the epitome of Astell&Kern audio technology
  • 32-bit/768kHz, Native DSD512 support
  • Bluetooth 5.0 and 24-bit codec (Qualcomm® aptX™ HD , LDAC) support
  • ReplayGain that automatically adjusts volume to be consistent across tracks

Ultra-High Output in a
Smaller Size Device

KANN MAX takes the identity of the series to the next level to provide a perfect experience with high power and clear sound.
It provides 4 stages of gain level and ultra-high output of up to 15Vrms, which was previously only possible with a stationary headphone amplifier.

KANN MAX can perfectly drive even the most sophisticated headphones with high impedance.

KANN MAX offers a smaller size and weight than the KANN APLHA player, which boasted the best portability in the existing KANN series.

Although smaller in size, all power-related components have been analyzed and the power circuit has been redesigned several times to achieve 13 hours of continuous playback.


  • Output Level (Super) Unbalanced 8Vrms, Balanced 15Vrms
  • Output Level (High) Unbalanced 6Vrms, Balanced 12Vrms Unbalanced 6Vrms, Balanced 12Vrms Unbalanced 6Vrms, Balanced 12Vrms
  • Output Level (Mid) Unbalanced 4Vrms, Balanced 8Vrms Unbalanced 4Vrms, Balanced 8Vrms Unbalanced 4Vrms, Balanced 8Vrms
  • Output Level (Low) Unbalanced 2Vrms, Balanced 4Vrms Unbalanced 2Vrms, Balanced 4Vrms Unbalanced 2Vrms, Balanced 4Vrms
  • Dimensions (WxHxD) 68.3 x 117 x 23.6(mm) 68.3 x 117 x 25(mm) 87.7 x 140 x 31.5(mm)
  • Weight about 10.76oz (305g) about 11.14 oz (about 316g) about 17.3 oz (493g)
  • Playback Time 13 hours 14 ½ Hours 9 hours

* Based on condition no load, there may be differences depending on the measurement method.

Perfect Circuit Design That Achieves Both Ultra-High Output and Low Noise

As the output increases, so does the noise level.
KANN MAX is equipped with ultra-high output, does not allow any noise and conveys Astell&Kern's philosophy of delivering the original sound as it should be, without compromise. Together, we have completed the perfect circuit design to achieve this.

KANN MAX applies an analog volume controller to deliver a rich dynamic range without loss. By separately configuring the power supply IC for each Audio Block divided into DAC, Volume, and AMP, KANN MAX is designed to stably supply the power required for each Audio IC. Through this design, the interference ripple noise of the DC-DC power supply (the shaking noise phenomenon that occurs when power is supplied) is removed. Audio noise that can be heard amplified like audio sound in OP AMP is minimized.

Ultra-high output and low noise in the KANN MAX was achieved through different circuit design, including creating and dividing a limited PCB that is the same size as KANN ALPHA into 12 layers and reviewing the physical size of the device applied to the AMP circuit.

Quad-DAC Sound That Reproduces Clear and Overwhelming Sound Output

KANN MAX is the first player in the KANN series to be equipped with four ES9038Q2M DACs for high-output performance.

By applying Quad DACs, one DAC can be fully allocated to one channel, so the depth and realism of the sound source can be expressed to the fullest.

Combined with Astell&Kern's amplifier circuit technology that naturally and delicately raises the strengths of the DAC, and the perfect decoding ability of the DAC to deliver the original sound as it is, music output is expressed as the original sound without distortion.

Four DACs applied to KANN MAX, a power supply IC configured for each audio block, and a perfect circuit design produce ultra-high output and low noise, providing you with the best performance and sound that the KANN series is known for.

Quad-DAC Audio Block Diagram


Gold PVD Output Coating

In order to minimize contact noise from the output jacks, a gold PVD coating method is applied to the headphone connector instead of the typical rings used by other products. This improves both design and function.

32-bit/768kHz, Native DSD512 Support

Bit-to-bit playback is available up to 32-bit/768Hz, and DSD playback is native up to 22.4MHz, for uncompressed sound quality, staying true to the artist’s original intention, in high-resolution and with minimal distortion.

32-bit bit-to-bit Playback by KANN MAX detail_5 32-bit Playback by Other Product detail_6

Astell&Kern Audio Technology Forms
the TERATON ALPHA Sound Solution


TERATON ALPHA is AK's Ultimate Sound Solution to produce audio playback that is close to the original sound through the audio output interface by use of effective power noise removal, efficient power management and amplification with minimal distortion.

TERATON ALPHA features Astell&Kern's patented technologies, which are the result of tens of thousands of hours of continuous research and development to produce sound close to the original sound the artist and producer intended.

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Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 and Support
for Wireless 24-bit aptX™-HD, LDAC Codecs

Bluetooth 5.0 features faster transmission speed and greater range compared to Bluetooth 4.2, therefore providing a more stable wireless connection.
Both LDAC and aptX™ HD is supported to provide audiophiles with high-quality sound even when listening wirelessly.

Wireless Hi-Fi Sound Through BT Sink

The BT Sink function connects the KANN MAX to an external device via Bluetooth, similar to connecting a smartphone with a BT speaker. Music from an external device, such as a smartphone can now be played back in high-quality on the KANN MAX using the BT Sink function.

BT Connect (RX Mode/BT Sink) BT Connect (RX Mode/BT Sink)
BT Connect (TX Mode) BT Connect (TX Mode)

ReplayGain Automatically and Uniformly Adjusts Playback Volume

ReplayGain, which adjusts sound sources with different volumes to an identical level, has been applied. Now, enjoy your own playlists seamlessly through the ReplayGain feature on KANN MAX.

* ReplayGain supports up to 24bit/192 kHz sound sources.

AK File Drop to enjoy wireless transfers

The new AK File Drop function in the KANN MAX makes files transfers easier and more convenient.

Using AK File Drop, you can freely transfer files wirelessly through a PC, smartphone, or FTP program located on the same network.
Music file management is now possible with a cableless, wireless solution.

wireless transfers

Real-Time Information Confirmed by Light

KANN MAX features a LED volume wheel which displays various playback information, including volume level and bit-rate of the track currently playing.

* LED can be turned on or off according to user setting.

  • LED Lighting Off LED Lighting Off
  • 16bit 16bit
  • 24bit 24bit
  • 32bit 32bit
  • LED Lighting Off LED Lighting Off

  • mqa_logo

    MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) is an award-winning British technology that delivers the sound of the original master recording.
    The master MQA file is fully authenticated and is small enough to stream or download. Visit for more information.
    Astell&Kern KANN MAX includes MQA technology, which enables you to play back MQA audio files and streams,
    delivering the sound of the original master recording.

    The MQA logo is a trade mark of MQA Limited. © MQA Limited 2018

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  • qualcomm_logo

    Qualcomm aptX™ is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
    Qualcomm is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries.
    aptX™ is a trademark of Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd., registered in the United States and other countries.

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  • ldac_logo

    LDAC and LDAC logo are trademarks of Sony Corporation.

    Discover more


KANN MAX has been visualized as Maximum while inheriting the bold concept of the KANN series to capture the overflowing horsepower of a high-performance sports car and the intense power of a rocket engine.

While the existing KANN series image was a heavy and strong image like an off-road car, with KANN MAX, we wanted to continue the identity of the Astell&Kern KANN lineup while boasting a thinner size and high-power performance like a high-performance sports car.

The slimmer shape is emphasized with the hexagonal top line that narrows sharply from the bottom up, and the hairline treatment on the back expresses the sense of speed and shows confidence that it can produce powerful output.
The wheel protectors wrapped around the volume wheel radiate sparks in the shape of a powerful engine mounted on them, giving off a strong image that looks like it will pop out at any moment.

The KANN MAX is made of an aluminum body, and is available in an Anthracite Gray color model that inherits the signature color of Astell&Kern, and a limited edition of the Brown Mud color.
The KANN MAX Brown Mud model is produced in limited quantities, and the identity of the KANN series with its bold and heavy concept is enhanced using this bold color and look. Experience the identity of the KANN series with the delicate and sophisticated design of the Anthracite Gray color model, and the Brown Mud color model with strength and luxury.


  • General Specifications

    • Model

      KANN MAX

    • Body Color

      Anthracite Gray, Brown Mud

    • Body Material


    • Display

      4.1-inch 720 x 1280 touch screen

    • Supported Audio Formats


    • 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), DSD512(1bit, 22.4MHz) Stereo

    • Output Level

      [Low] Unbalanced 2Vrms / Balanced 4Vrms (Condition No Load),
      [Mid] Unbalanced 4Vrms / Balanced 8Vrms (Condition No Load),
      [High] Unbalanced 6Vrms / Balanced 12Vrms (Condition No Load),
      [Super] Unbalanced 8Vrms / Balanced 15Vrms (Condition No Load)

    • CPU


    • DAC

      ESS ES9038Q2M x4 (Quad-DAC)

    • Decoding

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

    • Input

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

    • Outputs

      Unbalanced Out (3.5mm), Optical Out (3.5mm)
      Balanced Out (2.5mm, only 4-pole supported | 4.4m, only 5-pole supported)

    • Wi-Fi

      802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)

    • Bluetooth

      V5.0 (A2DP, AVRCP, Qualcomm® aptX™ HD, LDAC)

    • Dimensions

      2.68"(68.3mm)[W] x 4.6"(117mm)[H] x 0.92"(23.6mm)[D]

    • Weight

      about 10.76oz (305g)

    • Feature Enhancements

      Firmware upgrade supported (OTA)

    • Operating Temperature

      0℃ ~ + 40℃ (32℉~ 104℉)

  • Audio Performance

    • Frequency Response

      ±0.023dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.026dB (Condition : 20Hz~20kHz) Balanced
      ±0.035dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Unbalanced │ ±0.072dB (Condition : 20Hz~70kHz) Balanced

    • S/N

      114dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 115dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

    • Crosstalk

      -124dB @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ -135dB @ 1kHz, Balanced

    • THD+N

      0.0003% @ 1kHz, Unbalanced │ 0.0004% @ 1kHz, Balanced


      0.0007% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Unbalanced │ 0.0007% 800Hz 10kHz (4:1) Balanced

    • Output Impedance

      Unbalanced Out 3.5mm (1ohm) │ Balanced Out 2.5mm (1.6ohm), 4.4mm (1.6ohm)

  • Clock Source

    • Clock Jitter

      25ps (Typ)

    • Reference Clock Jitter


  • Battery

    • Capacity

      5,600mAh 3.8V Li-Polymer

    • Charge Time

      about 3.5 hours (9V 1.67A Fast Charging) | 5.5hours (5V 2A General Charging)

    • Playback Time

      about 13 hours (Standard: FLAC, 16bit, 44.1kHz, Unbalanced, Vol.40, LCD Off, LED On, Low Gain)

  • Memory

    • Built-in Memory

      64GB [NAND]

    • External Memory

      microSD x1 (Max. 1TB)

  • OS

    • Supported OS

      Windows 7,8,10(32/64bit) MAC OS X 10.7