AT A GLANCE
Normal or high-gain output
Full and microSD card slots
Native 384/32 PCM and DSD support
Not as pretty as some other A&amp;K players
USB charger not included
Astell &amp; Kern&rsquo;s KANN is not only a subtly gorgeous-sounding performer loaded with features. It&rsquo;s also a great value.
Astell &amp; Kern&rsquo;s KANN (along with the recently announced AK70 MK II) makes its debut at a time when the dedicated music player is looking more and more like the passenger pigeon. Apple has just killed the innovative, shape-shifting iPod nano and the puny iPod shuffle, leaving only the now unprecedentedly cheap iPod touch, basically an iPhone without the phone, at $199. With Apple uncharacteristically catering to the middle of the market (let&rsquo;s not even contemplate the $20 nano knockoffs on Amazon), that leaves the high-resolution musicplayer carriage trade to companies like Astell &amp; Kern, FiiO, and HiFiMan, as well as newly hi-res-conscious big brands like Sony, Onkyo, and Pioneer.