Astell&Kern Debuts Three New Products at HIGH END MUNICH 2022

Astell&Kern To Debut Three New Products at HIGH END MUNICH 2022

KANN MAX Player, HC2 USB-C Dual-DAC Cable and PATHFINDER IEMs Will Be Featured in Astell&Kern’s Booth at MOC Munchen Hall 1, D02/E03a

Astell&Kern, a global leader in high-resolution audio players and accessories, launches three new products at HIGH END Munich 2022.  All three products, along with Astell&Kern current line of portable digital audio players and accessories will be on display at their HIGH END booth – HALL 1, D02/E03a from May 19 – 22, 2022.  All three products will be available at authorized US/Canadian Astell&Kern dealers in June and July 2022.

KANN MAX (June 2022 - $1,299)



KANN MAX becomes the fourth player in Astell&Kern’s KANN line of Digital Audio Players (DAP).  The KANN series of portable high-resolution audio players are equipped with a more powerful, built-in headphone amplifier, which allows KANN players to drive any headphone, including high-impedance headphones, without the need for a separate amplifier.  Users can select between four levels of gain - low, mid, high and super gain modes for up to 15 Vrms output to provide the precise output required to drive even the most demanding headphones. 

As the output increases, so does the noise level.  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.  The allows the KANN MAX to provide high output with low noise.

KANN MAX features ESS ES9038Q2M DACs in a Quad-DAC configuration.  By using 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.  KANN MAX supports native 32bit/768kHz and DSD512 playback and full support for MQA. 

Connection options include a 3.5mm unbalanced, 2.5mm and 4.4mm balanced headphone outputs.  KANN MAX features Bluetooth 5.0 which features faster transmission speed and greater range compared to Bluetooth 4.2, therefore providing a more stable wireless connection.  Both LDAC™ and aptX™ HD are supported to provide audiophiles with 24-bit audio playback wirelessly.

Other features found on KANN MAX include:

  • ReplayGain, which allows the player to automatically adjust the volume between tracks and maintain a consistent playback level.
  • BT Sink allows KANN MAX to connect to an external device via Bluetooth, and function as a Bluetooth DAC. Music from an external device, such as a smartphone can now be played back in high-quality, taking full advantage of the hi-res audio decoding in the player.
  • With AK File Drop, transferring your music files from a computer or NAS is even 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.

KANN MAX includes a 4.1-inch 720x1280 HD touchscreen, 64GB of internal memory with support for microSD cards up to 1TB, Wi-Fi, DLNA networking, USB digital audio output, USB-C for data transfer and fast-charge support, and the ability to use KANN MAX as a USB DAC for your Mac or Windows-based PC.  KANN MAX includes support for the most popular music streaming services including Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify.

Roon Ready support will be available via a future firmware update pending testing and certification of the player by Roon Labs. 

KANN MAX will be available in June 2022 at authorized Astell&Kern dealers in the US/Canada for $1,299.

Three cases for KANN MAX will also be available in June 2022, made of high-quality vegetable leather from CONCERIA WALPIER and BADALASSI CARLO for $149.

HC2 – USB-C Dual DAC Cable (June 2022 - $249)


The HC2 is Astell&Kern’s second USB DAC/Headphone amplifier designed to provide playback of high-resolution audio from your computer or mobile device.  With more mobile phone manufacturers removing headphone jacks from their devices, the Astell&Kern USB DAC Cable provides users the ability to get the best sound possible out of their mobile devices while using existing headphones they already own.

The Astell&Kern USB DAC Cable features two Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHIFI™ DACs which supports native playback of high-resolution audio up to DSD256 and 32bit/384kHz PCM.  The dual CS43198 DACs are paired with an independent analog amplifier, designed to provide true audio playback so you can feel the live, warm and clear sound as intended, without distortion. This is made possible based on years of Astell&Kern’s expertise in AMP design.  Although it is a small and simple cable type external DAC, it can sufficiently drive high impedance headphones with a 4 Vrms output level.

The Astell&Kern USB DAC cable features a USB-C connection, which can be found on the latest Android-based smartphones and Windows and Mac computers.  Since the USB DAC Cable draws power from the playback device it is connected to, there is no need for a separate charger. The USB DAC Cable supports any headphone or earphone with a 4.4 mm balanced connector.  An official MFi certified USB C to lightning adapter insures compatibility with iOS-based lightning port devices. 

A dedicated app for detailed volume adjustment of the HC2 will be released soon for Android devices.  The new Android app will also be compatible with the PEE51 USB-C DAC after a future firmware update.

The HC2 will be certified Roon Tested pending completion of the testing and certification process by Roon Labs.

The HC2 USC-C Dual DAC Cable will be available at authorized Astell&Kern dealers in the US and Canada in June 2022 for $249.

AK PATHFINDER IEM (July 2022 - $1,899)



The AK PATHFINDER becomes the second collaboration with IEM manufacturer Campfire Audio to produce in-ear monitors (IEMs) under the Astell&Kern brand.  Pathfinder is a newly designed hybrid IEM not based on previous Campfire IEM.

PATHFINDER has a new Dual-Chamber Balanced Armature (BA) Driver from Knowles for the key part of the midrange, two BA drivers for high frequencies, as well as two dynamic drivers with a hybrid diaphragm that create bass and midrange.

Knowles’ new ‘Dual Chamber’ Balanced Armature Driver, used for the first time ever in PATHFINDER, is an innovative driver in which a single coil operates two individual diaphragms. It’s like a twin cylinder engine – delivering more horsepower and smoother operation compared to one with a single, larger piston.

Compared to a traditional BA with a single, larger diaphragm, the all-new design incorporates two chambers, each housing its own diaphragm and drive rod actuated by a single coil, resulting in a higher, more powerful output for its size than any other BA and is excellent at expressing a warmer and more natural midrange.

A Radial Venting Acoustic Chamber, newly developed by Campfire Audio, is applied to Dual Custom 10mm Dynamic Drivers. The 3D-printed chamber design naturally expresses the intense low-frequency sound produced by the two dynamic drivers while preserving the unique sound of the BA driver. 

Beryllium Copper MMCX connectors are more resilient against wear and tear than regular brass connectors, providing a robust mating mechanism; one that is typically made from soft brass.  This selection of a harder material extends the life of the component and the earphone.

PATHFINDER comes with three silver-plated copper cables (terminated in 3.5mm, 2.5mm and 4.4mm headphone jacks) allowing the earphones to reach their full performance potential. The silver-plated OFC copper Litz cable is a newly produced flat cable, with enameled silver-plated copper wire conductor to offer clearer, extended sounds.  The flat cable prevents tangling, can be wound for easy storage, and has minimal cable distortion.   It is over-molded for increased durability and finished with a metal housing.



In addition to the three cables, AK PATHFINDER includes five (5) pairs of Final Audio E-Type Tips (XS/S/M/L/XL), three (3) pairs of Campfire Audio Marshmallow Earphone Tips (S/M/L), three (3) pairs of Silicon Earphone Tips (S/M/L), Earphone Cleaning Tool, Leather Zipper Case, Earphone Protection Sleeve and Earphone Tips and Cable Storage Pouch.  All IEMSs are handcrafted in Portland, Oregon by Campfire Audio.

AK PATHFINDER will be available in July 2022 at Astell&Kern dealers in the US and Canada for $1,899.