Astell & Kern Kann £899
As Oscar Wilde once remarked, ‘nothing succeeds like excess’. Astell & Kern’s Kann player has certainly taken that to heart. Its larger-than-life design won’t be to all tastes, but its superb sound quality makes it all worthwhile.
It’s flexible too – there are line-out ports so you can use this as a music source in your home system as well as taking it out and about. The Kann also has aptx HD Bluetooth support and can hold around 1200 albums.
There’s lashings of depth and detail from this player that will make you reluctant to take off your headphones. The Kann traces the peaks and troughs of a track without ever allowing the music to feel weighted down or compressed. It also keeps each musical strand organised in a spacious presentation.
Nor is this player biased in favour of particular musical genres, as our audition list of Daft Punk, Frank Sinatra and Childish Gambino reveals.
Dynamism, great timing and an insightful performance – it’s all here. When it comes to bang for your buck – even at this price – the Kann excels.